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
Focusing 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.
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
The 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.
If you have completed college credits after graduation from high school, then you are considered a transfer student.
The following factors are considered in the review of transfer applications:
- Minimum cumulative GPA of 2.00; preferred minimum cumulative GPA of 2.80.
- Grade patterns over time - overall GPA, term GPA, and number of withdrawals.
- Presence of any major-related courses and grades in those courses.
- An especially challenging pattern of coursework. If fewer than 26 college credits completed at the time of application, high school record and test scores will be considered for review.
- Space in the major. Note: some majors are more competitive than others.
- Extenuating circumstances. Please explain any grades or academic patterns in a letter of circumstance submitted with your admissions application. Include information about why you are a good fit for the major to which you are applying.
Program Type: Baccalaureate
Required credits to graduate with this degree: 120
Required credits within the major: 47-49
Degree: Bachelor of Science
Only completed applications will be reviewed for admission into the College of Design. The transfer application checklist provides details on the application requirements.
If you have questions, call the Office of Admissions at 612-625-2008 or 1-800-752-1000.
Please note that while programs admit for spring, studio sequencing for Pre-Architecture, Pre-Apparel, and Pre-Interior Design only begin in the fall term.
Transferring Courses and Submitting Coursework for Review:
Use the Transferology system to see how transfer courses from other schools may fulfill U of M liberal education requirements. After admission, the Office of Admissions reviews a student's transfer coursework to determine transferability of credit as elective and/or liberal education requirements. For classes not listed in Transferology, or on the regional transfer guides at right, admitted students can submit course materials to be reviewed by faculty for transferability into a Design major.
If you would like to submit transfer course work for review to meet major (versus liberal education) requirements please contact Woody Stulberg to discuss course petition process.