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Degree Overview: Bachelor’s Degree Program in Product Development and Merchandising

Majors Overview April 19, 2015

Get information about bachelor’s degree programs in product development and merchandising and their educational requirements, coursework, career choices, job and wage outlook, and continuing education choices.

Bachelor’s Degree Program in Product Development and Merchandising

Students enrolled in a bachelor’s degree program in product development and merchandising gain a strong foundation in numerous business areas, including accounting, marketing, finance, and economics. While apparel and fashion are the primary focus of many programs, a more general focus is available through some programs.

It is also possible to apply the concepts learned in these programs to a variety of products. It takes four years for most students to complete a product development and merchandising bachelor’s degree program.

Increasingly, undergraduate product development and merchandising programs are emphasizing internships with buyers, retail chains, and designers. Students who already hold a related associate’s degree can enroll in shorter degree programs.

Educational Requirements

Admission criteria typically require incoming students to hold a GED certificate or a high school diploma. Schools offer most bachelor’s degree programs to students that lack experience in product development and merchandising; however, students who already hold an associate’s degree in the field can avail a shorter professional track offered by some schools.


Numerous courses are available in the curriculum of a bachelor’s program in product development and merchandising, including sociology, computer science, and human resource management. Retail, marketing, basic business management, and general education are in the curriculum.

Business education apart, courses in organizational behavior, procurement, and online retail are also available. Students also learn strategies for recognizing trends, developing brands, and marketing products. Core coursework may include topic areas such as:

•Analyzing apparel
•Principles of online retail
•Visual components in merchandising
•Consumer textiles
•Merchandising systems

Career Choices

With degrees in product development and merchandising, graduates may seek jobs with engineering firms, advertising agencies, and manufacturing companies. They may pursue career options such as:

•Retail manager
•Distributions director
•Personal shopper
•Public relations representative

Job and Wage Outlook

Over the 2010 – 2020 decade, job growth rate of 17% have been predicted for retail salespersons (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). In May 2012, these professionals brought home an average annual wage of $21,110 (BLS).

Over the 2010 – 2020 decade, a slower-than-average job growth rate of 8% has been predicted for first-line supervisors of retail sales workers, including retail managers; in May 2012, these supervisors banked an average annual wage of $36,820.

Between 2010 and 2020, an average job growth of 10% has been predicted for transportation, storage, and distribution managers, and the average annual wage earned by these workers in May 2012 amounted to $81,830.

Continuing Education Choices

Those who complete the bachelor’s degree program may seek continuing education by enrolling in a graduate or professional school program. Students may opt for a master’s degree in business administration, accounting, or marketing to pursue a career in executive or managerial positions.

Armed with doctoral degrees in business-related fields, individuals may seek job opportunities with government agencies, research organizations, and academic institutions.

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