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School of Human and Consumer Sciences

Grover Center W324
Athens, OH 45701

Beth VanDerveer
Interim Director   
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Undergraduate Admissions

120 Chubb Hall
1 Ohio University
Athens, OH 45710

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Retail Merchandising and Fashion Product Development (preprogram)  

The Retail Merchandising and Fashion Product Development program prepares you for retail management, marketing, distribution, and product development positions, such as buyer, store or corporate manager, visual merchandiser, manufacturer’s sales representative, and fashion coordinator. The Program and courses at Ohio University prepare students for dynamic careers in industry. The course of study includes professional development, knowledge of industry-specific business and sales applications, and hands-on retailing experiences. In addition, study tours to New York City and abroad enhance classroom instruction and provide valuable networking opportunities. The program works cooperatively with an advisory board composed of retailers, business people and educators in related fields. Faculty and students network with corporate representatives who provide internships and hire Retail Merchandising majors. Program resources provide insight into the ongoing development of our market-driven program. In addition, an historic costume collection is housed in our facilities and managed within our program. Your professional development will be enhanced through regular meetings with an academic advisor and through a sequence of professional development and retail content courses that will prepare you for the world of opportunities in retailing.

Career Opportunities

Career options include retail management, buying, design and product development, merchandising, visual presentation, quality control and wholesale sales and entrepreneurship. Our market-driven Retail Merchandising program prepares you to land the job of your dreams!

Major corporations such as The Limited, Inc. (and its divisions), The Gap, Federated Department Stores, Mercantile Stores, WalMart, Kohl’s, Target, Ann Taylor, Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, and J.C. Penney have employed OU Retail Merchandising and Fashion Product Development graduates. Graduates have also secured employment with various design companies and manufacturers including Bugle Boy, Halston, Betsey, Johnson, and Cejon. Alumni have landed specialized jobs such as fashion stylists, artistic consultants, fashion show coordinators , costumers for TV and motion pictures, apparel and textile designers.

The faculty in the Program are available to work with each student. It is our goal that each student realize his or her goals! We encourage you to attend career fairs at Ohio University and at other universities. Ohio University’s Career Services office regularly scheduled interviews with retail companies for both internships and entry-level positions. Additionally, companies seeking internship students often contact Ohio University for candidates. The faculty are here to guide you as you network with resource people including the Retail Merchandising and Fashion Product Development advisory board, alumni contacts, and other industry professionals.

Most entry level positions are as trainees - in merchandising, management, product development, or buying. You may begin your career as a manager in training at a major department store or within a specialty store, as a buyer trainee, or as a merchandise coordinator for a major label. Secondary positions such as sales representative, buyer, divisional merchandise manager, fashion coordinator, stylist, and production coordinator are typically available to people with 3 to 6 years of experience in retailing. Retail Merchandising and Fashion Product Development graduates may also find employment in departments of human resources of retail firms or with design and manufacturing companies.


Our Faculty

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Patton College of Education

The Patton College of Education has been a proud pillar of Ohio University since 1886, when it became the first state-supported teacher preparation program in Ohio. Today, the college has grown to include undergraduate and graduate programs that lead to careers in teaching, counseling, and public school and higher education administration.

Learning is at the heart of all we do in The Patton College of Education, but our mission is about more than just providing an education. The Patton College of Education strives to be an equitable, effective, and interactive learning community that makes a difference to education and human development through excellent teaching, scholarship, and service. We seek answers to questions about how people learn and what they should know and be able to do as students, teachers, counselors, and administrators.

The Patton College of Education's teacher and administrator preparation programs are accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education. Counselor education programs in the college are accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Programs and the Council on Rehabilitation Education.

Ohio University

Established in 1804, Ohio University is the oldest public institution of higher learning in the state of Ohio and the first in the Northwest Territory. Admission to Ohio University is granted to the best-qualified applicants as determined by a selective admission policy.