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Field of Study: Apparel and Textiles


Apparel and textiles programs prepare people to work with clothing and fabric.



Apparel and textile programs include topics such as:

  • Properties of different types of fabrics and how they are processed
  • Design and use of fabrics
  • Marketing trends in the textiles industry
  • Retail merchandising

In apparel and textile programs, students may be able to specialize in:

  • Apparel and textile manufacturing
  • Fashion and fabric consultation
  • Merchandising management
  • Textile science

Many colleges and universities offer 4-year bachelor's degrees in apparel and textiles. Community colleges also offer 2-year associate degrees.

Some colleges and universities offer graduate degrees in apparel and textiles. A master's degree typically requires two years of study beyond a bachelor's degree. Doctoral (PhD) degree programs usually require two or more years of study beyond the master's degree.


College preparation

You can prepare for this program by taking courses in high school that prepare you for college. This typically includes four years of English, three years of math, three years of social studies, and two years of science. Some colleges also require two years of a second language.

  • Marketing
  • Applied Math
  • Business Math
  • Issues of American Culture
  • Consumer Law
  • Business Law
  • Clothing and Textiles
  • Introduction to Business
  • General Computer Applications
  • Computer Graphics
  • Clothing and Sewing
  • CAD Design and Software
  • Art
  • Drawing and Painting
  • Textiles


Graduate admissions

Admission to graduate programs is competitive. You need a bachelor┐s degree, good grades, and positive letters of recommendation.

You typically need to have a bachelor's degree in apparel and textiles. Also, depending on the area of graduate study you choose, you may need to complete background college courses. For example, if you wanted to focus on textiles marketing in graduate school, you should take textiles and marketing courses in college.

Additional requirements at some schools include:

  • Graduate Record Exam (GRE) General
  • Portfolio of your artwork


Typical course work

As mentioned above, you usually don't study just apparel and textiles. In the case of many undergraduate programs, you can choose a concentration. Depending on what you choose, your course work typically includes at least some courses in the following subjects:

  • Apparel Products Analysis
  • Apparel Textiles Assembly
  • Computer Applications for Textiles, Apparel, and Merchandising
  • Consumer Buying Behavior
  • Costume History
  • Dress, Culture, and Human Behavior
  • Ecology of the Global Textile and Apparel Complex
  • Economics of the Textile and Apparel Industry
  • Fashion Dynamics and Analysis
  • Fiber and Fabric Analysis
  • Interior Textiles
  • Pattern Grading
  • Promotion of Fashion
  • Retail Merchandising
  • Textile Production and Consumption
  • Training and Industry

Course work in graduate programs that lead to a master's or doctoral degree vary, but the outline of a typical graduate curriculum looks like the following:

  • Required core courses
  • Thesis and thesis defense (master's degree only)
  • Dissertation and dissertation defense (doctoral degree only)

You also typically take courses in statistics and research methodology. This is because graduate work emphasizes independent research.


Things to know

If you attend a school that does not offer an internship, consider getting one. It's a great way to meet potential employers and get references for your future job or graduate study plans.

Getting a bachelor's degree in this program qualifies you for many jobs in the apparel and textiles industry. If you're interested in extensive research or teaching at the college level, you should consider getting a master's or doctoral degree as well.


Similar fields of study

Careers you may qualify for

Fabric and Apparel Patternmakers
Farm and Home Management Advisors
Fashion Designers
Interior Designers



American Apparel and Footwear Association

American Fiber Manufacturers Association
Click on ┐FiberWorld Classroom.┐

The Fiber Society

Schools that offer program

Click on the school name to see a list of their programs related to this field of study.

Minneapolis Community and Technical College , Located in Metro
Minneapolis Community and Technical College - Online , Located in Metro
St. Catherine University - St. Paul , Located in Metro
University of Minnesota, Twin Cities - Minneapolis, Located in Metro