What Is the Core Curriculum of a Visual Merchandising Degree?

Those who are interested in a career in retail may consider earning a visual merchandising associate's or bachelor's degree. The core curriculum courses include training in visual presentation, technical design and color theory. Continue reading for some course descriptions and career information. Schools offering Communication Design & Interactive Media degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Visual Merchandising Degree Overview

Visual merchandising isn't widely offered as a major, though some schools offer this field of study at the associate's and bachelor's degree levels; bachelor's programs are more common. The core curriculum often includes coursework in visual merchandising techniques, fashion marketing, retail buying, graphic communication and technical drawing. Other courses may include fashion history, e-commerce, accounting, spreadsheet management and ethics.

Also, practical training is typically included in visual merchandising degree programs through internships or co-ops. By the end of the program, students are often required to have built a professional portfolio.

Important Facts About Visual Merchandising

Prerequisites Official transcripts, SAT/ACT score, letters of recommendation, and in some instances, an interview
Online Availability Some programs are available completely online
Concentrations Styling, fashion communications, retail and merchandise management, and, digital business strategy
Continuing Education Opportunity to study abroad and participate in an honors program, if available

Course Descriptions

Below are descriptions for core courses that are typically included in visual merchandising degree programs:

  • Visual Merchandising: A study of how a store can match its design to the presentation of its products. The course examines the interplay of signs, fixtures, lighting and product displays in visual merchandising. Students can develop techniques for designing window displays to highlight a sale or best-selling product and dressing mannequins in different styles to showcase products.
  • Fashion Dynamics: Learn how consumer purchases drive style and fashion while learning how to develop, produce and market goods.
  • Color Theory: Learn how color affects people physically, chemically and psychologically, and study practical applications for the use of color in visual merchandising.
  • Technical Design and Drawing: Learn how to draft plans of a store floor. This core curriculum course covers display drafting principles, rendering and perspective to illustrate concepts in visual design.

Career Information

Graduates from a visual merchandising degree program can seek employment in the retail industry, and many work in fashion stores. They may land positions as visual display designers, visual display managers, exhibit designers or retail store designers, among other positions. Per December 2013 online job advertisements, employers often prefer a couple years of experience, and a degree is typically required or desirable. According to PayScale.com, the median annual salary for visual merchandisers was $40,138, and the median wage for visual merchandising managers was $56,665 in January 2016.

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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  • University of Notre Dame

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