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Information on Master’s Degree Programs in Retail Buying

Majors Overview June 9, 2015

This article talks about master’s degree programs in retail buying and their education requirements, coursework, job outlook, and continuing education choices.

Master’s Programs in Retail Buying

Students enrolled in a merchandising master’s program gain the theoretical background necessary for accomplishing the movement of products from initial design to a consumer’s purchase. Students will also gain an outlook on system collaboration that involves cultural, environmental, political, economic, and social factors. Many schools offer such master’s programs in online formats. Program graduates may additionally earn professional certifications including the Certified Professional Purchasing Manager and Certified Purchasing Professional by passing qualifying exams.

Education Requirements

Admission criteria typically require incoming students to submit scores from the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) and hold a bachelor’s degree. Prerequisites are usually limited to the graduate school’s entrance requirements. Schools may also require a certain grade point average.


Program graduates gain expertise in market research, tracking of inventory, and negotiation with suppliers. Core coursework may cover topic areas such as:

•Product evaluation and specifications
•Response to factors that influence business performance
•Researching merchandise techniques
•Factors influencing consumer behavior
•Merchandising financial trends
•Application and theory of merchandising strategies
•Personal leadership philosophy development

Job Outlook

Over the 2010 – 2020 decade, a job growth rate of 9% has been predicted for retail and wholesale buyers (excluding those employed in the farming industry) (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). In May 2012, these professionals brought in an average annual wage of $51,470. During the same period, retail and wholesale buyers working for piece goods, apparel, and notions merchant wholesale companies brought in an average annual wage of $60,980.

Continuing Education Choices

Program graduates may seek professional certification to ensure career advancement. Graduates may look into Certified Purchasing Professional (CPP), Certified Professional in Supply Management (CSPM), Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP) or Certified Professional Purchasing Manager (CPPM) certifications. Certified organizations also offer continuing education courses required to maintain certification.

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