Not many people in the field of fashion consider graduate school as a viable option. Most aspiring fashion industry professionals feel it’s better to get their foot in the door of the industry sooner rather than later, and often ignore master’s programs after completing their bachelor’s degrees. However, graduate school for various sectors within fashion, such as design, merchandising or marketing, can be beneficial. A Master in Fashion can provide a comprehensive understanding and foundation in aspects such as art, cultural heritage and history. In some sectors like fashion journalism and fashion business, an increase in salary is another benefit you can reap from a Master in Fashion. Luckily, the programs offered are endless.
1. LIM College
Location: New York, NY
Options: Fashion Marketing, MPS; Fashion Merchandising and Retail Management, MPS; Global Fashion Supply Chain, MPS; Visual Merchandising, MPS
LIM College ensures its students have the chance to pursue a Master of Professional Studies in Fashion Marketing, Fashion Merchandising and Retail Management, Global Fashion Supply Chain Management or Visual Merchandising. Students can receive training in merchandising for retail, fashion forecasting and building and maintaining brands. In addition, they could learn about fashion sales as well as gain knowledge about the global supply chain through analytics and logistics from a management perspective. There’s even the opportunity to focus on sustainable design if visual merchandising is the course one settles on. For all of these programs, there’s an emphasis on hands-on training, which will place its graduates ahead of others in this increasingly competitive field.
2. University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Location: Lincoln, NE
Options: MA in Textiles, Merchandising and Fashion Design; MS in Textiles, Merchandising and Fashion Design
A Master in Textiles, Merchandising and Fashion Design offered at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln allows grad students to get involved in research and creative projects that extend across all areas of fashion, from costume history to textile science to quilt studies. If this isn’t convincing enough, there’s specially designed laboratories and screen-printing, weaving and digital textile printing as well as apparel design studios for students to work in. On top of this, there’s historic textile and costume collections, such as the International Quilt Study Center and Museum’s collections, that are available and are packed with over 5,000 pieces on display for students. To top it all off, students are given connections to amazing internship opportunities both in the United States and abroad that are not limited to the fashion industry.
3. Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD)
Location: Savannah, GA
Options: MA, MFA Fashion
A Master from Savannah College of Art and Design or an MFA in Fashion should be on your radar, since the school was placed in the top five of the Business of Fashion (BoF) Global Fashion School Rankings in 2015. If this catches your attention and you decide to apply, some of the master’s courses you could pursue include Fashion and Accessory Sketching and Illustration, Multimedia Communication for Fashion and Computer-enhanced Fashion Design. If an MFA from SCAD is what you’re looking for, you can also enroll in courses like Art Criticism, Fashion Promotion and Fashion Theory. Both of these programs are available online since they are included in SCAD’s recognized eLearning program, a 10-week online program that allows students to engage with the faculty and programs at SCAD without interrupting their professional or personal lives.
4. Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT)
Location: New York, NY
Options: MA Fashion and Textile Studies: History, Theory, Museum Practice
Studying Fashion and Textile Studies: History, Theory, Museum Practice combines different creative elements like fashion history and conservation theory and practice with more academic focuses like writing and research. What distinguishes the classes offered in this program are that it hones in on the functions of fashion in global cultures and societies, in addition to the choice to follow the curatorial or conservation studies concentrations. Public speaking skills are developed too, as students are required to create a topic and deliver a public presentation at the end of each year. Not to mention, for two semesters, students map out and bring an exhibition to life that is put up at The Museum at FIT. Landing at least one internship is a requirement for the BS program so that students will gain valuable experience in the field.
5. Parsons School of Design
Location: New York, NY
Options: MFA Fashion Design and Society
Those who are selected into the MFA Fashion Design and Society department at Parsons School of Design will quickly realize that this is no ordinary fashion design institute. Characterized by its combination of different fashion-centric disciplines and its global-oriented method of teaching and viewing fashion, the school will encourage students to put innovation first — something to expect from the number one art and design school in the United States. This specific master’s program was kickstarted by world-renowned designer Donna Karan, which makes it easier to understand why originality and progressiveness are stressed in the making of students’ work. Some notable courses include Design in Fashion Systems, Advanced Visual Practicum and Multiple Consecutive Design Studios.
While you do not have to major in fashion or get a masters in fashion to land your dream job in the industry, these schools offer specialized credentials that will surely set you apart.
A version of this article appeared in the April 17 print edition.
Sherah Ndjongo is a staff writer. Email her at email@example.com.