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Retail and Fashion Merchandising

Retail Merchandising and Fashion Product Development

Program Code BS6384

Is your dream job in the fashion industry? Interested in product development, merchandising, buying, or retail management? Start your career off by studying Retail and Fashion Merchandising.

Retail and Fashion Merchandising is offered as both a major and a minor. Learn more about the minor in Retail and Fashion Merchandising.


The Retail and Fashion Merchandising curriculum offers coursework in both creative (Adobe Photoshop/Illustrator, Product Development, and Promotion) and analytical (buying and planning, Excel, and statistical reasoning) areas of merchandising, with a focus on fashion products. Through this program, students learn how to navigate a career path in a fast-paced, dynamic industry. Supervision, leadership, and management activities, in the context of fashion and retail careers, are emphasized. 


Career Opportunities

Career opportunities include retail management, merchandising, buying, assortment planning, product development, visual presentation, wholesale sales, entrepreneurship, and more. 

Our graduates have gone on to exciting careers with companies such as:

  • DSW
  • Maurices
  • Kohl's
  • Abercrombie & Fitch
  • Big Lots
  • L Brands
  • Nordstrom
  • Express
  • Bath & Body Works
  • NES Group Jewelry Wholesalers
  • ESP Trendlab

Honors Program

The MacKenzie King Honors program provides opportunities for involvement in scholarly independent work, one-on-one interaction with faculty, and an in-depth study related to your major. Learn more.


  • Courses:
    Students in the program take a variety of retail-specific and related courses to create a well-rounded, business-focused major. The plan of study includes professional development, knowledge of industry-specific business and sales applications, and hands-on retailing experiences. 
  • Internships:
    Students complete two work experiences for the program. The first, one-credit-hour, work experience (RFM 2910) equips students with the entry-level competencies necessary to obtain and succeed in a comprehensive internship program. The internship course is variable (RFM 4910) and is placed in either the junior or senior year once course prerequisites are met. RFM 4910 is a rigorous semester-long, full-time internship for academic credit and allows students to apply competencies obtained from major courses to result in a meaningful and productive experience for both the employee and the employer. Students must be completing their work hours during the semester or summer in which they are enrolled in these classes.
  • Capstone Course:
    The capstone course (RFM 4800) serves as an intensive personal and professional assessment tool for prospective leaders in the retail and fashion industry.

View the Course Catalog entry to see detailed requirements and curriculum. 

Facilities and Resources

The Retail and Fashion Merchandising program is housed in the newly renovated Patton Hall, which includes:

  • The Schuyler Eaton Cone Textiles Laboratory
  • The Product Development Room
  • The Mary C. Doxsee Historic Clothing and Textiles Collection - the Collection encompasses items from the early 19th century through today.
  • Student project rooms available for reserve
  • An experimental technology laboratory

Points of Pride

  • Study away opportunities:
    Students can participate in learning about the retail industry through study away programs offered through the department. The program offers a trip to New York City to learn about various aspects of the industry through visits to a variety of retail businesses. One-week trips over spring break to Paris, France, or Florence, Italy are available in alternating years and allow the students to learn about the retail industry in international fashion capitals. A wide variety of study away opportunities and connections are also available through the University Office of Global Opportunities.
  • Two required internships:
    Our program requires students to complete a minimum of 180 hours of internship work for the major which gives the student more opportunity to gain valuable work experience than similar academic programs in the state.
  • Student Organizations:
    Our program offers a variety of student organizations to allow students to connect and to network within their field. These organizations include Fashion Associates, Phi Upsilon Omicron, Professional Retail Leaders, National Retail Federation Student Association, and Variant magazine.

Apply Now

For more information, contact:

Lisa Williams
Program Coordinator
Associate Professor of Instruction
Patton Hall 121B