Freshman Admissions

Retail Merchandising

students in front of posterCombine your creative talent with your business interest in the Bachelor of Science in retail merchandising (B.S.) program at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities.

A rare find, this is one of the only retail merchandising programs in the country that is located within a design college. As a student, you will develop a unique design focus and complete a creative curriculum that gives you an edge in the retail world. You will build critical thinking and analytical skills while honing your creativity and charisma.

Developing Your Design Skills and Business Knowledge

project posterFocusing on the bridge between design and business, you will apply your learning to a wide range of areas—promotion, consumer behavior, buying, sourcing, retail technology, marketing, human resource management and creative leadership, distribution, and design.

You will start your studies with coursework that emphasizes design thinking, visual literacy, creative problem solving, and business analysis and leadership skills. This retail merchandising program collaborates closely with the Carlson School of Management to provide you with a holistic education and combine your creative design skills with strategic business practices.

Taught by faculty who are leaders in their fields, the B.S. program includes the option to customize your area of study. This gives you the freedom to explore specialty areas and select courses that fit your academic and personal goals, such as visual merchandising, buying, consumer behavior and research, global fashion retailing, and product development.

As a student in the retail merchandising program, your courses may include:

  • Fashion, Ethics, and Consumption

    Here is where your fashion sense and business sense meet! Calculate the multiple steps and ethical considerations that go into successfully creating and merchandising apparel in the marketplace—and see the results of this process in action through case study examples.

  • Dress, Society, and Culture

    Reimagine apparel as more than what you wear—imagine apparel as a form of communication. Explore what clothing is really saying. From body modifications to socio-economic factors, religious and cultural values to individuality, there is much more to apparel choices than even the wearer might think.

  • Visual Merchandising

    What factors contribute to consumer behavior in the retail store environment? Learn about the physical and psychological effects that initiate and motivate consumer behavior, as well as how merchandising display features—such as lighting, creativity, department layout, fixturing, and more—can impact buying decisions.

  • Creative Leadership in Retailing

    Take a closer look at creative charisma and explore the theories and research behind the world’s most successful retail leaders. Examine the essential qualities of creative leadership, develop your own leadership perspectives and offer solutions on how to address the contemporary issues facing today’s practicing retail leaders.

Applying Your Learning to Real-World Experiences

The U of M has strong ties to supportive Twin Cities community businesses, and these collaborations often result in intriguing, real-world learning through course projects. You will benefit greatly from these connections, working directly with professionals in product development and presentation leadership. For example, as a visual merchandising student, you will collaborate with the Weisman Art Museum to create display projects that integrate current art exhibits and events.

Study Abroad

With a range of study abroad programs available, you will have ample opportunities to develop a worldwide view of retailing. Study, research, and internship experiences are available at prestigious institutions in cities such as London, England; Florence and Milan, Italy; and more. This international exposure provides a rich context to guide your success and leadership in the field. 

Experience the Twin Cities Design and Retail Culture

student and mentor talkingThe Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul are two major retail centers and are home to 17 Fortune 500 companies, in addition to hundreds of small- and medium-sized businesses. These businesses form a landscape of unlimited opportunities to connect with industry-leading companies and create important pathways for your career success.

Graduates begin their careers in a variety of corporate or store environments with key roles, such as merchandising, marketing, product development, distribution, store management, visual merchandising, advertising, sales promotion, and human resources.

It’s time to integrate your creative sense with your business savvy–by starting the retail merchandising program at the U of M.

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Explore Other Design Majors:
Apparel Design (BS)
Architecture (BDA, BS)
Graphic Design (BFA)
Interior Design (BS)
Landscape Design and Planning (BED)
Product Design (BS)

Student Quote:

“Going to such a large University, I am able to connect with so many different types of people within the retail field. By having such a diverse group of students in my major, I have learned how to better work with people vastly different from me in my career."

Jessica Donlon,
Retail Merchandising