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Degree Overview: Bachelor of Science (B.S.) Degree in Retail Management

Majors Overview April 6, 2014

Students will be prepared for leadership positions in the fields of purchasing, buying, and retail with a bachelor’s program in Retail Management. A college’s department of retail management or hospitality may offer these 4-year programs.

B.S. Programs in Retail Management

Students enrolled in bachelor’s degree programs in Retail Management complete coursework that often combines classroom lectures with hands-on training via class projects and work experience. Students are taught about every side of the business, ranging from the choice of items to sell in a retail environment, to ways of motivating employees. Hands-on experience may also be gained through completion of an internship. Students enrolled in some programs are given the opportunity to gain knowledge about international retailing through study abroad options.

Admission criteria typically require incoming students to hold a GED certificate or high school diploma.


Coursework in a BS program in Retail Management covers numerous ideas in the field, such as purchasing methods, promotions, and in-store and electronic sales. Some programs allow students to choose between a corporate track and a store management-training track. Basic business ideas, such as finance, economics and accounting, are also taught. Coursework may commonly include topic areas such as:

•Online retailing
•Customer management
•Retail buying
•Culture and fashion
•Visual merchandising
•Retail laws and ethics

Career Choices

Recruiters for management-level retail career positions often seek those with a relevant bachelor’s degree. These positions may include responsibilities such as retail evaluation, merchandising and buying. Individuals may choose from career options such as:

•Sales manager
•Retail buyer
•Purchasing agent
•Wholesale buyer

Job and Wage Outlook

A job growth rate of 7% has been predicted for purchasing managers, buyers and purchasing agents over the 2010-2020 decade (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)). In May 2012, retail buyers earned an average annual wage of $58,210, while buying agents took home an average annual wage of $60,550 (BLS).

Continuing Education Choices

Graduates can pursue continued education in Retail Management by enrolling in master’s degree programs that typically take two years to complete, and allow students to seek executive or management positions in retail management. Students may also use the master’s degree to diversify their concentration area of study to choose options such as event management or food service management. Students could also choose a research option, allowing them to pursue doctoral degree programs or academic positions.

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