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Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) Degree Programs Related to Fashion Overview

Majors Overview February 28, 2016

This article talks about Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree programs related to fashion and their education requirements, coursework, career choices, job and wage outlook, and continuing education options.

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) Programs Related to Fashion

A program in apparel design would be eminently suitable to the needs of those seeking a PhD program related to fashion. In this program, fashion design is blended with textile science and research. Doctoral students in apparel design perform both studio and laboratory work; they create garments and conduct tests on textiles.

Individuals who hold related master’s degrees can seek a PhD program in Apparel Design, a unique program that only some schools offer. Students will learn about fashion design along with textile science, the history of fashion and textiles, design technologies such as CAD, and issues relating to the apparel industry. Enrollees in this program can expect to gain a strong grasp of both the science and art of fashion.

Education Requirements

Admission criteria typically require incoming students to hold a bachelor’s degree along with submitting letters of recommendation and GRE scores. The TOEFL may have to be taken by international students. Additionally, a portfolio of their best design work must be submitted by students.


Program coursework is a combination of lab work and independent research along with classroom instruction. They are expected to complete a doctoral thesis and its defense, apart from gaining familiarity with the use of industrial sewing equipment in a studio setting. Program coursework is a combination of business, art and science topics aimed at providing students with an in-depth grasp of apparel design. Core coursework may commonly cover topic areas such as:

•Portfolio development
•Fiber analysis
•Retailing and distribution
•Quality assessment
•Fiber Science
•Fashion theory
•The apparel industry
•Color and design

Career Options

Program graduates may pursue career options in various fashion-related fields, including research and development facilities, design firms, and stores. They may also pursue teaching positions in higher education. They may choose from possible job positions such as:

•Professor of apparel design
•Design consultant
•Senior product developer
•Design Director
•Fashion designer
•Women’s apparel vertical retail buyer
•Fashion design director
•Textile designer
•Art Director
•Visual merchandise manager

Job and Wage Outlook

Fashion designers are expected to see a three percent job growth, over the 2012 – 2022 decade (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). In May 2014, these professionals brought in an average annual wage of $73,690 (BLS).

Continuing Education Options

A PhD program in Apparel Design could lead to teaching jobs in similar programs. Those who seek continuing education on the scientific side can enroll in a graduate program in textile chemistry or textile science.

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