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What Are the Courses in a Master's Degree in Fashion Merchandising?

A master's degree in fashion merchandising can prepare you for a career in fashion buying, marketing or retail management. To earn a fashion merchandising master's degree, you'll take courses in retail management, fashion analysis and economics. Read on to learn more about the essential topics covered in a master's degree curriculum.

Master's Degree Programs in Fashion Merchandising

If you love fashion and have a knack for business and math, a master's degree in fashion merchandising may be an option for you. As a graduate of this type of program, you can explore a number of job opportunities, such as retail buyer, store manager, visual merchandiser or another leadership position in the fashion industry. The average salary for retail buyers, as reported by Payscale, was $52,565 in 2019. On average, a store manager salary was $43,203, while a visual merchandiser earned an average of $42,193 that same year. While every graduate program is different, there are some core courses in all programs that cover essential topics, such as those detailed below.

Important Facts about this Field of Study

Prerequisites Undergraduate degree in related field, GRE
Concentrations Textile Science, Historic Costume and Textiles, Fashion Merchandising
Possible Careers Assistant designer, fashion merchandiser, retail manager, buyer
Online Availability Some courses and certificates could be completed online

Common Courses

Fashion Retail Supply Chain Management

Since many fashion merchandising master's degree students become managers or buyers for retail apparel stores or chains, retail management courses provide instruction in store operations and buying. These classes may cover the following essential topics:

  • Managing profitability of retail operations
  • Selecting and pricing merchandise to meet customer demand
  • Organizing fashion retail operations and supply chains

Fashion Theory & Analysis

As a master's degree student in fashion merchandising, you'll also take courses designed to hone your fashion industry knowledge. This is an important skill, because the success of fashion apparel companies depends on predicting what consumers will want in the future. In fashion analysis courses, you'll study these subjects:

  • Social and psychological influences on fashion
  • History and structure of the fashion industry
  • Quantitative analysis and forecasting of fashion trends

Textile Markets

Fashion buyers and retail managers are responsible for ensuring profitability, so they must constantly analyze market statistics and sales figures to cut costs and stay ahead of the competition. Courses dealing with the economic realities of decision-making look at the textile market specifically and what social, political, and economic issues impact it. You will likely deal with these topics:

  • Consumer economic behavior
  • Analysis of retail markets
  • Principles of a global economy

Development of Contemporary Fashion

As a fashion industry professional, it is important to have a historical perspective of fashion and the fashion industry. This course deals with the more recent history, from the 20th century to the present. In courses covering the history of fashion, you'll likely touch upon these important topics:

  • Fashion and psychology
  • Historical and contemporary fashion movements
  • The role of contemporary fashion centers