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Degree Overview: Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.) Degrees in Fashion Design

Majors Overview April 14, 2015

Get information about Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.) degree programs in Fashion Design and their education requirements, coursework, job and wage outlook, and continuing education choices.

Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.) Degree Programs in Fashion Design

Students enrolled in a four-year Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.) in Fashion Design program can bolster their technical abilities and artistic sensibilities through courses related to fabrics and fashion design techniques. Admission criteria may require incoming students to submit a portfolio and hold a GED certificate or a high school diploma. Students’ production, aesthetic, and illustration skills are built over the duration of the program in classroom and studio settings.

A portfolio, alternatively referred to as a collection, of original work is often required to be completed by students along with completion of a thesis or participation in a fashion show, all aimed at showcasing their designs and demonstrating their knowledge of materials.

Education Requirements

Apart from holding a GED or a high school diploma, applicants may have to submit standardized test scores and a personal statement, in addition to a portfolio showcasing their drawing skills and their ability to create both functional and artistic apparel.


Coursework not only discusses garment construction and design, but also involves the study of the history of fashion. Studio sessions are available in many programs, wherein practical experience can be gained by students. Core coursework may include topic areas such as:

•Computer-aided fashion design
•Color theory

Job and Wage Outlook

Armed with a bachelor’s degree in fashion design, candidates may seek careers in performing arts or specialized design services and spectator sports, among other related industries. In a competitive industry, a negative job growth of three percent has been predicted for fashion designers over the 2012 – 2022 decade (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics).

In May 2012, over 22,300 individuals were employed as fashion designers in the United States, earning an average annual wage of $62,680 (BLS). Motion picture, cut and sew apparel manufacturing, and footwear industries, alongside the management of enterprises and companies, were among the highest paying employers of fashion designers (BLS).

Continuing Education Choices

Bachelor’s degree program graduates may seek continuing education by earning Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.) in Fashion Design degrees, wherein the focus may be on the ways the industry has been transformed by technology, along with courses on design in the global context and sustainability.

It takes two years to complete these programs, and students are required to spend several semesters in design studios, where they can develop their personal style, meet industry professionals, and, in some instances, take on a design project for a professional enterprise. A thesis of their professional work is also a requirement of students enrolled in the program.

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