Graduate Schools for Fashion Design

While most employers are looking for people with either an associate's or bachelor's degree in fashion, along with some knowledge about the field, you might consider pursuing a master's degree in fashion design. This degree can set you apart from the competition in this creative field. Read ahead to find out the curriculum of fashion graduate programs and online learning options. Schools offering Fashion Design degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Fashion designers work to create clothing and accessories by sketching out designs, choosing materials and collaborating with others to see their creations come to life. They also study trends in fashion to ensure their designs are relevant to consumers' tastes and interests. Learn about the schools that provide graduate level opportunities to study fashion design in-depth.

What Graduate Degrees Are Available in Fashion Design?

The category of fine arts is generally the first thing that comes to mind when graduate-level fashion design programs are mentioned. Although many graduate schools with programs in this field are located in Europe, you can earn a Master of Fine Arts with a concentration in fashion design at a number of colleges in the United States. Some schools offer a Master of Design, while others unite the design portion of the curriculum with merchandising and marketing.

Which Schools Offer Graduate Programs in Fashion Design?

A select number of colleges provide master's degrees in fashion design. Here are just a few you might consider:

  • Savannah College of Art and Design features a Master of Fine Arts in Fashion.
  • Drexel University offers a Master of Science in Fashion Design through its College of Media Arts and Design.
  • Cornell University provides graduate programs in Fiber Science and Apparel Design with Master of Science, Master of Arts and even PhD degree options.

How Do I Choose a School?

You can access the website of U.S. News & World Report to see a short list of top schools in the United States with graduate programs in fine arts. A further specialization in fiber arts that, in some cases, includes fashion design is also an option when looking at these rankings. The National Association of Schools of Art and Design also has a list of accredited member schools offering degree programs. You can purchase online access to the list or a hard copy at the association's website (nasad.arts-accredit.org).

Can I Complete Programs Online?

Some institutions offer online fashion design programs leading to a Master of Fine Arts. The courses are presented asynchronously, in that you'll have access to them at your convenience by way of a course management system, such as Blackboard. Discussion rooms enable you to post assignments, graphics or links to sites in order to complete course requirements. Courses may include DVDs or downloadable lectures. Communication with instructors takes place via discussion boards, e-mails, fax and telephone.

Admission requirements to an online graduate program are usually the same as those to a traditional program. You'll need a bachelor's degree from an accredited school. The degree doesn't have to be in fine arts. You'll have to submit a resume that includes any relevant work experience, education, competitions and prizes. Internships with design or manufacturing firms or experience with personal stylists or custom tailors can enhance your chances of acceptance. Generally, you'll need a number of letters of recommendation from faculty or people with whom you've worked. Finally, you'll need to submit a portfolio of work that reflects your talents, concepts and abilities in the field of fashion design.

What Courses Will I Take?

Most programs require you to take a survey course in Western art, architecture and design, in conjunction with a course covering the history of fashion. You'll take a number of studio design courses focusing on various subjects, such as fusion of fashion techniques and styles, contextualizing and interfacing fashion. Fabrication will be explored in at least one course. Courses in professional practice will expose you to the use of computer technology and 3-D design, as applied to fashion creation.

A fashions systems course will introduce you to the concept of how fashion is affected by influences outside the realm of design. You may take a course in photography to provide you with another language in which to communicate your fashion design ideas. Usually, you'll be required to devise and present a thesis, capstone project and final portfolio of work.

While you may not need graduate level expertise to begin work in the field of fashion design, gaining a master's degree will greatly increase your knowledge and set you apart from your competitors for jobs. A few select colleges can provide you with this in-depth level of training in fashion.

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:

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