Degree Programs

Merchandising Curriculum

Graduate Program in Fashion Merchandising, Retail Visual Merchandising, Retail Branding

MPS students will take 24 credits of core courses, a 3-credit capstone project utilizing skills developed throughout the program, and a 3-credit internship.

The MPS in Fashion Merchandising and Retail Management is open to applicants from a variety of academic and professional backgrounds. Full-time students finish in one year, while part-time students may go through the program at a slower pace. 

Below is the curriculum for the MPS in Fashion Merchandising and Retail Management. Click any course title to view a complete course description. 


Semester 1:

  • MPSR 651 Advanced Fashion Merchandising

    Fashion consumers today are technologically savvy and global in their choices. Technology today provides consumers with the ability to view the world of fashion faster than ever before. This class provides a broad foundation for students hoping to become a part of the fashion industry. Advanced Fashion Merchandising is designed to offer graduate students a foundation of knowledge related to the history of fashion, the most current theories in fashion development, production, and merchandising of various categories of fashion goods. It will expose students to the changing world of fashion (nature, environment, movement & business), the producers of apparel (product development: men’s, women’s, children and teens), the marketing of fashion (globally), and the policies and strategies of fashion.

  • MPSS 652 Sales and Consumer Behavior

    Consumer behavior affects all aspects of design, production, merchandising, and promotion in the fashion industry. The course offers graduate students a foundation of learning that will support their ability to assess consumer situations and provide conclusions that will increase consumption and therefore influence retail sales. The Sales and Consumer Behavior class enables students to identify and interpret needs and wants of consumers and how industry processes are applied to plan, develop, produce, communicate, and sell profitable product lines. Specifics, such as how psychological, sociological, and cultural factors influence the what, when, where, why, and how consumers buy what they buy will be studied. It will also include topics ranging from consumer attitudes, personality, and values to the global marketplace, ethics, and social responsibility.

  • MPSR 653 Fashion Retail Management

    Examines retail operations and strategies within the contemporary marketing context that includes an understanding of the history of retailing, the study of contemporary retailing strategies for consumption, merchandise mix and selection processes, product assortment analysis from the context of the retailer, the examination of retail store and space allocation for product assortments, and an investigation of current retail operations in the global marketplace. Provides an advanced understanding of the United States (U.S.) retail merchandising and how companies have expanded globally. Graduate students will develop their knowledge of why retailers go international, while maintaining their brand integrity assuring each customer has the same shopping experience as if they were in the U.S. In addition, students will examine how non-U.S. retailers have influenced American’s ideas of consumption through their own cultural retailing influences, atmospherics, marketing and product assortments.

  • MPSR 655 Fashion Retail Branding and Promotion

    An important and rapidly growing challenge for retailers is developing stimulating and strong representations of products for consumers to purchase in brick & mortar shops, online, in catalogues, through direct marketing, door-to-door and on television- this has been called branding. In this class, students investigate and experience fashion retail brands in today’s multichannel fashion context. Students will explore how certain social and cultural topics impact the methods consumer use to purchase merchandise, as well as how retailers use these multichannel methods to communicate, represent, and translate their product’s position in the fashion market. Special emphasis will be put on the fashion branding process based upon research, writing, theoretical concept development, marketing, and topics related to the big companies and entrepreneurs. The role of retailers and merchandisers in the branding process will be discussed critically. Students will be responsible for moving beyond traditional “surface” readings and meanings of branding in order to critically understand how media mixes are important to product presentation. New dimensions of product selling are examined for students to become competitive managers in this field.

Semester 2:

  • MPSR 655 Retail Visual Merchandising Strategies

    Provides students with an understanding of how retailers use visual merchandising to gain retail market share. Students will examine the store design process identifying the objects used in store design, the mechanics of store design, details and physical structures, and the tangible and intangible aspects of stores. Next, visual merchandising, merchandise presentation, art elements, design elements, window displays, and in-store displays will be discussed. The incorporation of safety, security and loss prevention techniques and devices in visual merchandising will be considered so that students are aware of their importance for assets protection and customer wellbeing. By the end of this course, students will be able to identify the differences between “ artful display” and “merchandise presentation” becoming attuned to the importance of both for successful selling.

  • MPSR 656 Retail Merchandise Management

    Provides a working knowledge of the merchandise mathematics as it relates to planning, flow, distribution, inventory, and pricing. Covers profitable merchandise and assortment planning and control in conceptual, technical and practical formats. Merchandiser functions, duties and operational processes will be discussed as students develop an annual merchandise plan and then investigate possible modifications and how they could impact the merchandise flow and processes. An understanding of the basic principles of retail math including cost, retail price, and profit is essential in every aspect of the fashion business. Conceptual and authentic formats will be used to demonstrate profitable merchandise and sales planning. Course content, while relating to prior “fashion” learning, will also allow students to understand how to apply math and analytical aspects of retail strategy to products.

  • MPSR 657 Technology in Fashion Merchandising and Management

    A major goal of this course will be to technology in fashion merchandising and retailing. Students will critically and analytically explore current technological business strategies and their impact on the business of retail. Various topics include, but not limited to sales, experiential retailing, retailing abroad, advance apparel product development, fashion product promotional strategies, as well as critical analysis of fashion branding. Other topics related to technology could include customer service, human resources, planogram/floorset, visual merchandising/display, sales and completing the sale, merchandising the store, quality of merchandise/product, leadership responsibilities, and future goals. This course will provide students with practical experiences and discussion leading to all aspects of a retail establishment in the merchandising managerial role.

  • MPSR 658 Product Development in Fashion

    This course focuses on the product development process in fashion corporations, from idea generation, screening, concept development, physical development, testing, and commercialization of new products through launch. Cross-functional relationships among departments and managers responsible for design, production, marketing and sales are examined. Particular emphasis is placed on Computer-Integrated Manufacturing (CIM) particularly used for fast-changing areas such as textiles and fashion design. Because CIM simultaneously provides high product variety with low costs, conventional assumptions about competitive strategy and organization design need reevaluation. Special emphasis is placed on how product managers, designers and merchandisers are involved in the development of a line or collection of fashion products.

Semester 3:

  • MPSV 659 Internship in Fashion Merchandising and Management

    The fashion business is ever changing, therefore the best method of student engagement is real world experience guided by academia. This class is designed in three parts; an assessment of the types of jobs available in the corporate and store environment; an eight week experiential internship within the corporate office of a major retailer; and professional development sessions to enhance the students competitiveness in the work world. During the total time period of the class, the student will complete a handbook designed to capture their experience with the retailer.

  • MPSV 660 Capstone: Fashion Merchandising and Management

    The capstone class is designed to be the crowning achievement of the student at the end of the program. It is a course designed to give students an opportunity to use knowledge and skills acquired from the other classes completed in the program. Faculty will use this class as a method of student evaluation of what they have learned. The students will gain experience solving a problem in the fashion industry that will span several areas studied in the program. Based on previous class content, students will be able to choose projects related to the changing world of fashion, product development, producers of apparel, the marketing of fashion (globally), and the policies and strategies of fashion, and the relationship between sales and consumer behavior. The project will necessitate the use of fashion retail analysis.