Department of Design and Merchandising

The Apparel and Merchandising program emphasizes the study of product design and development; promotion, distribution, and retailing; and consumer behavior in the global environment, while fostering cultural awareness and a commitment to social responsibility. There are three concentrations in the major: Apparel Design and Production, Merchandising, and Product Development.

Learning Outcomes

Students will demonstrate their understanding and apply core design, merchandising, textiles science, and technical skills relative to their program areas. The three concentrated areas include:

  • Apparel Design and Production core skills will include, but are not limited to: use of industry-related technology for sketching pattern drafting, marker making, constructing; and crossing disciplines to include properties of design conceptual development technical production specifications communication, materials sourcing, and marketing strategies.
  • Merchandising core skills will include, but are not limited to: domestic and global retailing, merchandise buying, sales and customer service, product forecasting, product promotion, consumer behavior; and crossing disciplines to include knowledge and skills in accounting/budgeting, purchasing, management, and marketing.
  • Product Development core skills will include, but are not limited to: market research, product design and development, prototypes, specification sheets, global sourcing, and supply chain management. Skills in this concentration are enhanced through industry related technology. Students in the Apparel and Merchandising major will be able to assess and synthesize multiple factors in creating/producing quality products, services, and design solutions. The factors will address human, design, industry and business, global, science, and technology sensitivities.

Students will be able to describe their understanding of multiple processes that are involved in the practice of apparel design and production, merchandising, and product development. These processes include but are not limited to critical and creative thinking, communication, ethics, social responsibility and sustainability, collaborative, and interdisciplinary.

Students will distinguish and demonstrate qualities of professionalism and business practice that contribute to the industry, and advance the value of their knowledge to the near and/or built environments.

Students will enroll in Internships credits at least one semester before graduation and a pre-internship course during their third year in the major. Placement with businesses and organizations in national and international settings are intended to facilitate depth and integration of knowledge in the study of apparel and merchandising and to enhance students’ professional development and career opportunities. Students with a 2.500 GPA are eligible to participate in department-facilitated internships.

Students who engage in co-curricular learning experiences will have the opportunity to visit apparel and fashion headquarters, manufacturers, and markets, network with industry professionals, engage in project based learning experiences, assist with department recruiting events and new student orientations, and participate in a variety of leadership events.

Potential Occupations

Example careers for Apparel Design and Production graduates include, but are not limited to: apparel and fashion designer, computer–aided design (CAD) manager, creative director, design director, fashion illustrator, fashion magazine editorial contributor, fashion stylist, pattern-maker, technical designer, trend/fashion forecaster.

Example careers for Merchandising graduates include, but are not limited to: brand/product merchandise manager, merchandise buyer, retail analyst, retail manager, retail store/website planner, resident buying office administrator, sales representative, showroom coordinator/manager, inventory control agent, consumer or market researcher, product trend analyst, advertising and promotions coordinator/manager, public relations specialist, social media specialist, and visual merchandiser.

Example careers for Product Development graduates include, but are not limited to: consumer or market researcher, product designer/developer, prototype engineer, import/export specialist, sourcing agent, product testing specialist, production manager, quality control agent, and sourcing agent.