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Oklahoma State University

OSU’s design and merchandising majors earn top-10 rankings

Tue, June 20, 2017
fashion show

The apparel design and merchandising degree options at Oklahoma State University are among the highest ranked programs in the country, according to, which is offering several national and regional surveys for 2017. OSU’s apparel design program ranked sixth nationally among public schools and colleges offering fashion design, while OSU’s fashion merchandising program is ranked eighth nationally among both public and private schools. 

In the southwest region, the OSU programs are ranked first and second respectively among fashion design and merchandising schools. In addition to Oklahoma, the southwest region includes Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah and Nevada.  

The rankings are the result of surveys conducted using criteria on academic reputation, admission selectivity, depth and breadth of the program and faculty and value related to tuition. The schools were able to provide information on their specific programs and offer their perspective on programs they considered ‘best’ nationally and regionally. 

The high-ranking programs are offered through the design, housing and merchandising (DHM) department in the College of Human Sciences at OSU. Courses in the apparel design and production program are taught by nationally and internationally recognized faculty in fully-equipped design studios. The Gerber Technology FashionTech lab features digitizers for pattern making, industrial plotters and cutters which students use in the actual production of their design projects. With an emphasis on product development, sustainability and the use of technology in the retail context, OSU merchandising students often begin their careers at corporate levels of major retail and wholesale firms. 

Dr. Jane Swinney, DHM department head and president of the American Collegiate Retail Association, said the rankings parallel what industry reports about OSU students. 

“Our graduates compete exceptionally well with nationally known design-focused schools,” Swinney said. “Design and merchandising companies report that our students are well prepared to move into management positions because of their internship experiences and the curriculum, which is based on current industry standards.” 

Students in DHM experience state-of-the-art technologies in the department’s new VR Mixed Reality lab and “Our partners have provided DHM students with the tools that are used every day at world class companies,” Swinney said. “Who wouldn’t want employees with the expertise our students have when they graduate?” 

The Apparel Design and Production program at OSU is one of only thirteen apparel programs in North America to receive the American Apparel and Footwear Association (AAFA) approval, which assures that the curriculum and facilities have met the rigorous standards of this important industry organization.