Fashion Master's Degree Programs

Whether it covers making, selling or buying apparel and accessories, a master's degree program in fashion design, merchandising or textiles can prepare you to enter this competitive field. Learn more about these degree options as well as coursework and possible career paths. Schools offering Fashion Design degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Is a Master's Degree Program in Fashion Right for Me?

The most important factor when considering a fashion master's degree is what type of program suits your career ambitions. For example, a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Fashion Design program teaches advanced techniques for creating clothes or costumes, while a Master of Arts (M.A.) in Fashion Studies program focuses more on research, theory and criticism. Master of Science (M.S.) options are also available, but may emphasize more technical components of the craft. However, only an undergraduate degree is needed to work in this field, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (

Degree Varieties Master of Arts, Master of Fine Arts, and Master of Science
Prerequisites Bachelor's degree is required; some institutions may require a creative portfolio and/or letters of recommendation
Important Enrollment Considerations Cost, location, degree type, school reputation
Specializations Textiles, technology, manufacturing, costuming, illustration
Possible Careers Editorial director, fashion designer, brand manager, senior merchandiser
Median Salary (2018) $72,720 (for all fashion designers)*
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 3% growth (for all fashion designers)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Prerequisites Are Needed to Enroll?

Most master-level programs require applicants to hold a bachelor's degree in a related field with a minimal GPA of 3.0. For fashion studies, related subject areas might include business, marketing or art. Submission materials that may need to accompany your application and undergraduate transcripts include a portfolio of work, such as sketches, fabric samples or photographs of designs, as well as letters of recommendation and proof of work experience in the field.

How Do I Choose a Program?

First, you should determine how much time you can commit to a program. An MFA program may last longer than one resulting in an M.A. or M.S. Also, if you're currently employed, you may wish to keep working while enrolling in a part-time or online program. Tuition is another important consideration; many fashion schools and institutes in the United States are privately owned and may therefore come with a higher price tag than their public school counterparts. Lastly, a school's reputation and connections within the fashion world may affect your decision. Many popular choices are located in urban areas like New York City, where New York Fashion Week is held twice each year.

What Do These Programs Cover?

Most master's degree programs in fashion are generalized, covering fashion arts or fashion design, but they often provide concentrations in areas such as manufacturing, illustration, costuming, technology or textiles. Several research-based programs examine how fashion affects and can be influenced by society; these tend to prepare participants for continued studies resulting in a Ph.D. However, regardless of specialization, most programs combine theoretical and practical units totaling 42-63 credits. Real-world work experience, as well as a thesis paper or project, are typically required.

What Careers Can I Pursue?

Those with a graduate-level background in fashion might work for designers to help create clothing lines, or they might market manufactured products. Creating and selling fabrics and accessories is another aspect of the profession. Career titles for graduates with a master's degree in fashion might include fashion designer, senior merchandiser, editorial director or brand manager.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

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  • Winthrop University

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  • School of the Art Institute of Chicago

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