PhD in Fashion

Though Ph.D. programs specifically in fashion aren't available, you could pursue a doctorate in fiber science, apparel design, or textile and apparel management. Explore what you'd study as a doctoral student in one of these fields, which are all offered through on-campus programs. Get info on internship options for Ph.D. students in the fashion and apparel industry.

Can I Earn a Ph.D. in Fashion?

If you're interested in advanced fashion study, you can pursue a Ph.D. program in apparel design, fiber science, and textile and apparel management. Programs at this level aren't specifically titled as being in fashion. In order to enroll, you'll likely need a master's degree in one of these areas. Most programs also require you to submit a portfolio of prior work as part of the admissions process.

Admission Requirements Master's degree in related field and portfolio
Concentration Options Consumer behavior, material culture, historic dress, product development, apparel design
Common Courses Apparel history, consumer retail, fabric analysis, textile economics, aesthetics
Online Programs Not available
Other Requirements Internship may be required
Median Salary (2019) $57,000 (for all apparel production managers)*
Job Outlook (2018-2028) 31% decline (for all industrial production managers in the apparel manufacturing industry)**

Sources: *, **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Will I Study?

Some doctoral degree programs are offered in apparel studies or apparel management but allow you to choose a concentration. Some of these concentrations include consumer behavior, material culture, historic dress, product development and apparel design. You'll spend time studying such subjects as fashion theory, quality assurance, global marketing, textiles and visual thinking.

Fashion and apparel programs offer a number of research methodology courses, writing courses, apparel history courses, consumer retail courses and clothing as culture courses. If you want to research and design fashion, you'll study the common problems and solutions in the fashion industry. You'll also study product development, textile economics and the cultural and behavioral aspects of clothing and fashion. Some of the topics that may arise include functionality vs. fashion, production, pricing, aesthetics, fiber science and fabric analysis. You'll also study sizing and coloring for targeted consumers.

Can This Degree Be Earned Online?

Doctoral degree-level fashion degree programs are essentially nonexistent online. Fashion degrees require hands-on experience designing, developing and creating clothing and merchandise. Additionally, Ph.D. programs in apparel design and related fields require intensive guided study with faculty, making online learning difficult.

Any Additional Requirements?

You may also be expected to complete an internship, which, of course, would need to be completed in person. Through an internship, you'll work under supervision for a set duration in a fashion design firm or a larger apparel corporation. Possible internship positions include designer, merchandiser and retail buyer. Internships often satisfy a good portion of your credit hour requirement, with some internships awarding as many as eight credit hours.