Master of Arts in Family and Consumer Sciences—Fashion Merchandising and Apparel Design


Program overview

This program is offered in-person.

The Master of Arts in Family and Consumer Science: Fashion Merchandising and Apparel Design track offers a flexible program for students interested in preparing for advancement within key sectors of the fashion industry.

The program is designed to build and enhance competency in three core learning domains:

1. Foundational Skills

  • Ability to analyze, evaluate and create new ideas or products in the focused area of study

2. Academic and Research Skills

  • Recognize and develop strategies to solve problems in the apparel and textile field
  • Link theory to practice
  • Writing/APA skills

3. Professional and Personal Development

  • Collaboration
  • Self-directedness
  • Critical analysis/problem solving

Who should apply?

The program is appropriate for students interested in pursuing management level positions in organizations that design, produce and market apparel and related products. The program also serves students planning to pursue a doctorate in preparation for a career in academia. The program offers a personalized approach to advanced study in fashion merchandising and design. Students will work closely with graduate faculty to develop a plan of study and individual research agenda to capitalize on your educational background and professional experience and interests. 

This fashion merchandising and design M.A. program may be appropriate for applicants with a bachelor's degree in another discipline. Additional undergraduate coursework may be required for admission to the master's program. 

To apply

Please check your application type at WMU’s Graduate College page and review the application requirements, including general application information for the university, the residency policy, and specific requirements for your graduate program of interest, before beginning your application. International students should check and apply at International Admissions and Services.

  • A minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale in the last two years of undergraduate work. Students with a GPA between 2.5 and 2.99 may establish eligibility for regular admission to WMU by completing 6 credit hours of approved graduate-level courses toward their M.A. with a grade of “B” or better in the first two graduate courses taken.  

  • Students with a bachelor’s degree in another field may be required to take additional undergraduate courses to qualify for entrance into this track.  

  • An essay statement describes how experience(s) have shaped career goals and motivation to pursue a graduate degree, and how the Fashion Merchandising and Apparel Design program will advance these career goals. 

  • A resume indicating previous education experiences and listing positions held with relevant professional work, volunteer, and internship experience. 

  • Recommendation letters from three persons able to comment on the applicant’s potential for success in the graduate program.

Career opportunities

Our graduates find success in a wide variety of industry and educational sectors, including as college instructors, marketing executives, brand and quality managers, product developers and international trade association representatives. Graduates have also used their studies as preparation for entry to a doctor of philosophy degree program.


Courses focus on developing advanced competencies necessary for success in the fashion business or education environment. 

Download the program guide 


FCS 6220: Practicum in Family and Consumer Sciences (two to six credits)

This practicum gives master's level students an opportunity to apply knowledge and information acquired in the family and consumer sciences academic setting and further develop and refine professional skills with the guidance and assistance of professionals currently working in the field. Prerequisite: Admission to the M.A. in Family and Consumer Sciences. To plan a practicum, contact Dr. Karen Blaisure (September-April) or Dr. Suzan Smith-Ayers (May-August).

Cost & Funding

Helpful links



Check out the faculty's research interests (from left to right)

Graduate Advisor


Dr. Karen Blaisure, Graduate Advisor