Earn a Fashion Merchandising Degree
- $320/credit (120 total credits)
- Transfer up to 90 credits
- Gain in-demand business and merchandising skills
- Courses taught by industry experts
- 24/7 online access to the classroom
- Required internship for real-world experience
Fashion Merchandising Degree Online Program Overview
Develop a timeless sense of style and gain a firm grasp of business strategy with the online Bachelor of Science (BS) in Fashion Merchandising Management degree from Southern New Hampshire University.
The fashion world is dynamic – evolving as seasons, culture, materials and consumer behavior influence new trends. With an online fashion merchandising degree, you’ll study fashion marketing, color and textile theory, consumer behavior and retail operations, planning and management. You’ll learn how to identify what styles will sell and how to sell them well.
The fashion merchandising degree online courses are taught by industry experts working in the field. Class sizes are small, so you’ll have the opportunity to interact with instructors who understand how style, business and technology intersect. You’ll also gain valuable real-world experience by completing a required fashion merchandising internship.
Learn how to:
- Identify product life cycle merchandising within the fashion industry
- Apply management theories and techniques to achieve retail objectives
- Analyze research in the fashion industry within a global context
- Examine differences between retail and wholesale fashion environments
- Illustrate how business and fashion decisions relate to industry technology
Not ready to commit to a bachelor's program? Earn your online fashion merchandising associate degree in two years or less.
Earning a fashion merchandising degree online can position you for an exciting career that puts you – and fashion – in the public eye. You can combine a love of style with business strategy to help fashion brands and retailers gain exposure and increase revenue in an evolving industry.
According to a 2019 report from the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee, the fashion industry employs more than 1.8 million people in the United States alone.1
The types of jobs available continue to shift, as more fashion and retail business moves online. In the United States, retail e-commerce revenue from the sale of fashion apparel, footwear and accessories is projected to reach $146 billion by 2023, up from $102 billion in 2018.2
As the industry evolves, fashion companies and retailers are working to adjust. More than ever, fashion retailers need business-minded leaders with an eye for style and the bottom line.
"The bachelor’s degree in fashion merchandising at SNHU prepares students for careers in fashion merchandising, fashion marketing, retail, and branding," said Dr. Jessica Rogers, associate dean of business programs at SNHU. "With career focused projects this degree will prepare students for fashion industry careers in store management, visual merchandising, social media, entry level merchandising analytics, retail buying, corporate retail positions."
Job options for online fashion merchandising degree holders include:
- Merchandising manager: Oversee all retail functions for clothing or shoe departments within a store. Create merchandising displays, coordinate the workflow and activities of retail employees, and ensure an attractive appearance for the retail store.
- Retail fashion buyer: Select products and negotiate with product vendors on behalf of retail companies. Understand the trends in the fashion industry and identify products that will drive sales, reinforce brand attributes and increase the competitive edge of companies.
- Corporate retail merchandiser: Ensure the right amount of goods are available in stores and enhance profits through pricing and promotional strategies. Work with retail buyers and merchandisers to plan store products and coordinate with suppliers, distributors and analysts.
- Retail planner: Help a retail company create sales and inventory plans that meet financial targets. Work toward sales goals by analyzing inventory and sales performance data and bringing in new products based on predicted trends and consumer needs.
- Purchasing manager: Oversee the work of buyers and purchasing agents. Handle more complex procurement tasks, including visiting suppliers’ distribution centers to learn about products, services and prices.
- Fashion marketing manager: Promote a fashion company's products to identified target markets. Conduct market research and coordinate a variety of campaigns to market a brand or product to potential customers.
- Retail store manager: Oversee the daily operations of a retail store to help it run smoothly and effectively. Motivate sales teams, create business and marketing strategies, develop promotional materials and train new staff.
- District manager: Lead a group of retail stores within a specific region, working with company leadership and individual stores to recruit and train store managers, set regional goals and ensure stores adhere to company and industry regulations.
- Boutique manager: Manage the daily operations of a small retail store focusing on a niche market. Recruit and train staff, network with vendors, order supplies, handle customer complaints and develop marketing strategies.
- Showroom manager: Oversee staff, maintain cleanliness and coordinate merchandise layouts of a retail showroom. Ensure the showroom attracts buyers and meets sales goals.
With so many diverse opportunities available for online fashion degree holders, salary and job growth potential will vary.
Jobs for marketing managers, for example, are projected to grow 8% through 2028. Marketing managers earned a median salary of $136,850 in 2019.3
Purchasing managers earned a median salary of $121,110 in 2019. Jobs in the field are projected to grow 4% through 2028.3
No matter what your specific area of interest, earning a bachelor’s degree in fashion merchandising can boost your long term earning and career potential.
In 2019, the median weekly earnings for bachelor’s degree holders was about 40% higher than for workers with an associate degree. Bachelor’s degree holders earned about 67% more per week than workers without any college experience.3
Workers with a bachelor's degree also had lower unemployment rates than workers without a 4-year degree. In 2019, the unemployment rate for bachelor’s degree holders was just 2.2%. The unemployment rate was 2.7% for associate degree holders and 3.7% for workers with a high school diploma.3
Start Your Journey Toward an Online Fashion Merchandising Degree
Why SNHU For Your Fashion Merchandising Degree
With no set class meeting times, you can learn on your schedule and access online course materials 24/7.
Take advantage of some of the lowest online tuition rates in the nation, plus financial aid for those who qualify. We also make it easy to transfer to SNHU by accepting up to 90 credits from your previous institution.
Founded in 1932, Southern New Hampshire University is a private, nonprofit institution with over 100,000 graduates across the country. SNHU is regionally accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), which advocates for institutional improvement and public assurance of quality.
Recently, SNHU has been nationally recognized for leading the way toward more innovative, affordable and achievable education:
- “Most Innovative” regional university honors from U.S. News & World Report each year since 2015
- A $1 million grant from Google.org to explore soft skills assessments for high-need youth
- Recognition as a 2017 Digital Learning Innovator by the Online Learning Consortium
At Southern New Hampshire University, you'll have access to a powerful network of more than 200,000 students, alumni and staff that can help support you long after graduation. Our instructors offer relevant, real-world expertise to help you understand and navigate the field. Plus, with our growing, nationwide alumni network, you'll have the potential to tap into a number of internship and career opportunities.
Bring together a love of fashion with business strategy when you earn a fashion merchandising degree online. A fashion marketing degree can prepare you for a career as a fashion buyer, purchasing manager, sales manager or merchandising manager. A required fashion internship can help you develop valuable career skills and start building your industry network before graduating.
96.5% of students would recommend SNHU.4 Discover why SNHU may be right for you.
Part of our mission to expand access to quality higher education means removing the barriers that may stand between you and your degree. That’s why you can apply at any time and get a decision within days of submitting all required materials.
Acceptance decisions are made on a rolling basis throughout the year for our 6 (8-week) undergraduate terms.
How to Apply
Simply work with an admission counselor, who can help you explore financial options, answer all your questions and walk you through the application process. Start by:
- Completing a free undergraduate application
- Providing previous institutions attended – so SNHU can retrieve transcripts for you at no cost
Courses & Curriculum
In earning your online fashion merchandising degree, you'll combine your understanding of design and color theory with business planning and marketing. Textiles, retailing and merchandise planning are just the beginning – you'll also choose from electives in consumer behavior, retailing management and global fashion merchandising topics.
The online fashion degree includes a strong foundation in general business courses. Business core courses may include:
- Financial Accounting
- Managerial Accounting
- Business Law
- Business Systems Analysis and Design
These courses ensure you understand the business of fashion and can incorporate key business concepts into fashion merchandising roles.
You can also build a strong foundation of valuable career skills with general education courses focused on writing, quantitative reasoning, humanities, social sciences and more.
In your primary degree courses, you can gain a deeper understanding of both the art and business of fashion.
You can hone your design skills by exploring color theory and textiles, learning about the history of fashion and exploring new trends like sustainable fashion.
Merchandising and management courses can help you understand how merchandise planning and purchasing impact retail profit. You can apply your learning to analyze profit and loss statements and gain insight into the factors that influence a retailer’s financial performance.
You’ll also explore the relationship between manufacturers and retailers. You'll learn how ordering and managing the right merchandise are key to a retailer’s success. And you can put this learning to the test by designing a fashion merchandise strategy for a local fashion retailer.
You can also explore consumer behavior and retail sales promotion. These courses can help you prepare for fashion marketing roles. You can explore the way that consumers make buying decisions, and discover how store layout and design, merchandising, pricing and other factors influence retail fashion sales.
Your degree also includes 18 elective credits so you can supplement your fashion merchandising online courses with courses in marketing, information technology, graphic design or another area of interest.
Throughout your coursework, you’ll learn from expert faculty with years of experience working in the fashion and retail industries. They’ll use their professional experience to help you apply your learning to real world situations.
You’ll also get to apply your learning to a required fashion internship. The internship must be U.S.-based and include a minimum of 150 hours on the job. Your academic advisor can assist you with any questions you may have about finding an internship.
"The internship course that is offered at SNHU has given students the chance to work with some of the best retailers in the country in some of the most amazing fashion experiences," said Dr. Jessica Rogers, associate dean of business programs at SNHU. "Students have worked with the development of wholesale sales in corporate offices, shadowed department store management, used digital technology to help promote sales for social media, and worked in the corporate office merchandising a line of apparel. Internships enhance the skill set of the student’s intent in the field."
With a fashion marketing degree internship, you can build valuable career skills that are in high demand across many industries. These career skills include:
- Communication: Share ideas within an organization, department or leadership team and target your message to a variety of business and consumer audiences.
- Analysis: Gather and review consumer behavior and retail data to set strategic goals and monitor an initiative’s progress.
- Problem solving: Connect classroom learning and practical experience to solve real-world retail problems and discover new opportunities.
- Critical thinking: Evaluate problems objectively and apply ethical, legal and socially responsible practices to make strategic decisions.
As an online student, you’ll also benefit from the full range of SNHU student services. These services include writing help, tutoring and even online student clubs and professional organizations.
Our career advising team can help you get ready for a job search by reviewing your resume and cover letter helping you prepare for interviews. These services are available even after you graduate.
Curriculum Requirements & Resources
- Business core: Revised for fall 2020, our undergraduate business programs contain 10 cutting-edge business courses. These core courses are designed to help prepare you for success wherever you go.
- General education courses: All online bachelor's degree students are required to take general education classes, if not obtained in prior coursework. Through these foundation, exploration and integration courses, students learn to think critically, creatively and collaboratively, giving you the edge employers are looking for.
- Technology resources: We provide cloud-based virtual environments in some courses to give you access to the technology you need for your degree – and your career. Learn more about our virtual environments.
- Save time and tuition: Depending on your scores, you could earn up to 12 math credits – the equivalent of 4 courses – toward your degree for less than $50 per assessment with our Pathways to Math Success assessments.
|View Full Curriculum in the Catalog|
|BS in Fashion Merchandising & Management|
|Courses May Include|
|BS in Fashion Merchandising Management Online|
|FMM 114||Introduction to Fashion Merchandising||Fashion principles and procedures used in planning, selecting, pricing and selling fashion goods in retail stores, catalogs and on the Internet are studied. Merchandising systems, assortment plans and inventory control methods are analyzed.|
|FMM 204||Textiles and Color Theory||Textile information pertinent to merchandising is included in this course. Analysis of fibers, yarns and weaves, fabric recognition, and a detailed study of natural and man-made materials are emphasized.|
|FMM 208||History of Fashion and Costume||Fashion is another term for the costume of a time and place, an expression of a period with all of its passions, politics, attitudes and history. This course considers textiles, silhouettes, shapes, and design adaptations in light of the technological capacities of the time, the geographic environment, social structure, political systems and economic conditions around the globe and over time. Students will gain an understanding of appreciation of how these underpin and influence contemporary fashion design and development.|
|FMM 225||Merchandise Planning||This course seeks to instill in students a complete understanding of the influence of merchandise planning and purchasing on retail profit. Students analyze profit and loss statement and demonstrate a complete understanding of the factors that influence the retailer's financial performance.|
|FMM 325||Sustainability in Fashion||The overall objective of this course is to explore the role that sustainability plays in fashion merchandising managers' decision to buy from vendors. It explores production and commercialization decisions with respect to buying green. It exposes students to the influence of social responsibility on fashion retailers' decisions.|
|FMM 340||Merchandise Management Strategies||Effective merchandise management involves efficient decision making. Ordering, keeping and managing the right merchandise in terms of size and quantity are the key to a retailer's success. Retail merchandise management brings to light the vital relationship between the manufacturer and the retailer. Students explore various strategic techniques that influence profit including vendors-fashion retailers' negotiations over merchandise. Offered online and offered on campus only in Spring semester.|
|FMM 410||Fashion Research and Forecasting||This course applies the qualitative and quantitative investigations approaches to fashion and fashion accessories. Students will analyze descriptive and inferential statistics to understand consumer taste for current and future trends in fashion.|
|FMM 457||Strategic Fashion Management||Students utilize knowledge accumulated in various courses of the program to design a fashion merchandise strategy for a local fashion and apparel retailers or a strategy for fashion accessory retailers. This course considers both qualitative and quantitative research methodologies to investigate management issues or examine opportunities for fashion retailers. Offered online and offered on campus only in Spring semester.|
|QSO 330||Supply Chain Management||This course focuses on effective supply chain strategies for companies that operate globally with emphasis on how to plan and integrate supply chain components into a coordinated system. Students are exposed to concepts and models important in supply chain planning with emphasis on key tradeoffs and phenomena. The course introduces and utilizes key tactics such as risk pooling and inventory placement, integrated planning and collaboration, and information sharing.|
|Total Credits: 120|
Tuition & Fees
Tuition rates for SNHU's online degree programs are among the lowest in the nation. We offer financial aid packages to those who qualify, plus a 30% tuition discount for U.S. service members, both full and part time, and the spouses of those on active duty.
|Online Undergraduate Programs||Per Course||Per Credit Hour||Annual Cost for 30 credits|
(U.S. service members, both full and part time, and the spouses of those on active duty)
Tuition Rates are subject to change and are reviewed annually.
No Application Fee, $150 Graduation Fee, Course Materials ($ varies by course)
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I get a fashion merchandising degree online?
Yes, you can. By earning a degree from your choice of online fashion merchandising schools, you can balance an online fashion degree with a full-time job or family obligations.
At SNHU, our fashion merchandising degree online offers a strong foundation in business skills and practices, key career skills and fashion-specific knowledge. You’ll explore color theory, textiles and other elements of design. And you’ll also dig deep into the merchandising, marketing and retail management strategies that go into running a successful fashion or retail brand.
Our online fashion degree is designed with busy students in mind. Fashion merchandising online courses are available 24/7. You can complete your coursework when it’s convenient for you – whether that’s at 9 am or 9 pm.
As an online student, you’ll benefit from our full range of student services. These services include writing help, tutoring and academic advising. Online student clubs and professional organizations can supplement your coursework. They can also help you expand your personal network.
As you prepare for graduation, our career services team can help you polish your resume and cover letter, prep for interviews and connect with our vast alumni network. And this support doesn’t go away when you complete your degree: You can still access career services even after graduation.
Last, but certainly not least, your fashion merchandising degree includes an internship – giving you direct, hands-on experience employers want to see. These internships can be completed online or in-person, giving you the flexibility you need to succeed.
What can you do with a fashion merchandising degree?
With a fashion merchandising degree online from SNHU, you can prepare for a career that brings together a love of style with business savvy to help fashion brands and retailers grow.
There are many opportunities for fashion merchandising degree graduates across many fields. The fashion industry employs more than 1.8 million people in the United States alone, according to a 2019 report from the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee.1
As the industry evolves to include more online business, the variety of jobs available is also shifting.
With an online fashion degree, you could oversee a team of fashion buyers for a retail brand. You could analyze consumer data and manage the merchandise for a major retail operation. You could work for a fashion brand to build out their online shopping experience. Or you could lead marketing efforts for a specific apparel line.
Jobs for online fashion merchandising degree holders include:
- Merchandising manager
- Fashion marketing manager
- Retail buyer
- Retail planner
- Corporate retail merchandiser
- Purchasing manager
- Store manager
- District manager
- Boutique manager
- Showroom manager
Is a degree in fashion merchandising worth it?
If you want a career that combines creativity with business know-how and offers plenty of opportunities for career growth, then yes. A fashion merchandising degree can help you prepare for a career in the evolving fashion market.
The fashion industry is one of constant change. Trends move with the seasons and evolve based on consumer behavior. The way consumers buy fashion apparel and accessories is also changing, with more and more shopping occurring online.
In the United States, retail e-commerce revenue from the sale of fashion apparel, footwear and accessories is projected to reach $146 billion by 2023, up from $102 billion in 2018.2
With a fashion merchandising degree online, you can prepare to help fashion and retail brands navigate these industry changes, boost brand awareness and increase revenue - and you can enter a number of growing fields.
Marketing manager jobs, for example, are projected to grow 8% through 2028.3 Jobs for purchasing managers are projected to grow 4% through 2028.3
Where can I get a fashion merchandising degree?
Fashion merchandising is a growing field, and you’ll have plenty of options when it comes to choosing among online fashion merchandising schools. The key is finding the fashion merchandising online courses that can help you reach your goals.
At SNHU, our fashion merchandising degree focuses on building both a strong foundation of business skills and equipping you with valuable industry knowledge. The degree combines the creative side of fashion with the business of retail management and merchandising. You can get a unique combination of skills that are in high demand across the fashion industry.
By taking fashion merchandising online courses, you can also get your degree while working full time or balancing family obligations. SNHU’s online courses are available 24/7 so you can learn when it fits your schedule.
What degree do you need for fashion merchandising?
It depends. Some fashion merchandising jobs require only an associate degree. Others will require a bachelor’s-level fashion merchandising degree or 4-year degree in a related field, such as marketing.
An online fashion degree can give you a strong foundation of business knowledge. And gaining specific industry knowledge through a fashion merchandising degree can help you stand out when applying to jobs.
Fashion merchandising degree course topics may include:
- Color theory and textiles
- Fashion history
- Retail management
- Merchandise planning
- Consumer behavior
- Fashion research and forecasting
- Supply chain management
What is the salary for fashion merchandising?
It varies based on your specific career path. Earning a degree from a fashion merchandising school can prepare you for a wide variety of jobs across the industry. These jobs include entry-level and management-level positions.
Marketing managers earned a median salary of $136,850 in 2019. On the retail side of the business, purchasing managers earned $121,100 in 2019.3
Data show that earning a bachelor's degree can help boost earning potential. In fact, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median weekly earnings for bachelor’s degree holders in 2019 was about 40% higher than for workers with an associate degree and about 67% higher than for workers without any college experience.3
Southern New Hampshire University is a private, nonprofit institution accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE) as well as several other accrediting bodies.
This program and its concentrations are accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP). Student achievement data can be found on College Navigator.
Sources & Citations (1, 2, 3, 4)
1U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee, Economic Impact of the Fashion Industry 2019, on the internet, at https://www.jec.senate.gov/public/_cache/files/39201d61-aec8-4458-80e8-2fe26ee8a31e/economic-impact-of-the-fashion-industry.pdf (viewed June 30, 2020)
2Statista, Fashion E-commerce in the United States, 2019, on the internet, at https://www.statista.com/topics/3481/fashion-e-commerce-in-the-united-states/(viewed June 30, 2020)
3Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, on the internet, at:
- https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/advertising-promotions-and-marketing-managers.htm (viewed June 30, 2020)
- https://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/purchasing-managers-buyers-and-purchasing-agents.htm (viewed June 30, 2020)
- https://www.bls.gov/emp/chart-unemployment-earnings-education.htm (viewed June 30, 2020)
Cited projections may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions and do not guarantee actual job growth.
4According to a survey responses from over 9,200 SNHU online students conducted in the fall of 2019.