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Information on Master’s Degree Programs in Merchandising

Majors Overview June 10, 2015

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

Master’s Programs in Merchandising

Students enrolled in a Master of Science (M.S.) in Merchandising program learn about ways of promoting products to customers and vendors. Coursework covers extensive study of consumer behaviors and marketing strategy. Students also study the different stages of production, including product design, testing, production, and shipping. The emphasis of coursework in many programs is on the global aspects of merchandising, including the political and cultural issues pertinent to working with foreign manufacturers, as well as international trade. Students may opt for a specialization in a particular branch of merchandising, such as textiles, fashion, or retail studies.

Education Requirements

Admission criteria typically require incoming students to hold a bachelor’s degree. While few graduate programs, if any, stress on a specifically required undergraduate field of study, relevant degrees offered may include apparel merchandising, fashion design, and textile management. Many programs also aim at training experienced professionals and may insist on prior work experience requirements.


Coursework combines theory-based lectures and practical case studies. Core coursework may commonly cover topic areas such as:

•Marketing theory
•International merchandising
•Consumer behavior analysis
•Product design
•Promotional strategies

Career Choices

Program graduates can seek possible job options with apparel and textile industries such as:

•Service quality consultant
•Purchasing manager
•Marketing strategist
•Retail manager
•International shipping manager

Job and Wage Outlook

Over the 2012 – 2022 decade, a job growth rate of eight percent has been predicted for sales managers (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). The best prospects are expected to be enjoyed by managers in the business-to-business sales sector. In 2012, sales managers brought in an average annual wage of $105,260 (BLS).

Continuing Education Choices

Program graduates may seek continuing education by earning additional degrees for career advancement. Those looking for careers in academia may choose to pursue a doctorate. While few schools, if any, offer a Ph.D. in Merchandising, many offer related merchandising graduate programs, including Ph.D. programs in Textile Sciences, Marketing, and Apparel Design. Employers for jobs in merchandising do not insist on professional certification.

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