Michelle Foley 5 min read Academic Tips and Info, College Lists

List of All U.S. Colleges With a Fashion Design Major

Pop artists, actresses, and First Ladies alike have long been scrutinized for their fashion choices. Clothing is a powerful medium for self-expression and a tool for looking one’s best. 

 

Given the special thought many put into the clothes they wear, it’s of little surprise that so many students are drawn towards designing pieces of their own through a career in fashion design. Students in this major learn not only the technical and artistic skills behind creating their own clothes, but also the business aspects of this competitive, vibrant industry.

 

Interested in this major? Here, we’ll break down which colleges offer Fashion Design programs and what to look for in a school.

 

Overview of the Fashion Design Major

 

Course requirements for this major will vary considerably depending on the college, but students can more or less universally depend on exploring the same central concepts:

 

  • English, Communications
  • Business, Marketing 
  • Creative Fashion Design 
  • Drafting and Sewing 
  • History of Costume/Fashion 
  • Textile Science
  • Computer Applications and Pattern Drafting

 

Afterwards, many students pick out specialized electives, and universities often require that they work an internship for class credit.

 

Of course, you’ll need a strong passion for fashion to succeed in this major. It’ll be hard to find the motivation to work as hard as you’ll have to without enjoying the process.

 

Additionally, initiative and organizational skills are crucial for building a project from start to finish, as are excellent written and verbal communication skills. Like most creative fields, this one is heavy on teamwork and networking.

 

Successful Fashion Design majors are, above all, artistically inclined. They have a strong sense of color, balance, and composition, and are skilled in pairing artistic elements together. They’re original thinkers, unafraid to learn a few rules and then bend them. They’re flexible and up-to-date with the ever-shifting tides and trends of the fashion world. 

 

A master’s isn’t typically necessary for the careers that B.F.A. grads are typically interested in, which are, in a word, diverse.

 

Depending on their specific skill set, graduates will find themselves specializing in a specific area, like women’s clothing or swimwear.

 

The most obvious job choice is one as a fashion designer, but the road to Coco Chanel-esque success is a complex one. Graduates often work as pattern designers, costume designers, and fashion assistants before working their way up towards a directorial position and bringing their unique visions to life.

 

Fashion know-how allows grads to enter jobs that don’t necessarily entail clothes-making. Many B.F.A.’s become fashion marketers, bloggers, product managers, or even fashion buyers, predicting trends and purchasing accordingly for their company or client. All of these jobs require strong business and communication skills in addition to a solid fashion sense.

 

While arts-based degrees are notorious for not building the typically employable skills you might find in an accounting or engineering program, it’s still possible to find the right job for you. It will take considerable effort, but internships, networking, and passion projects will put you in over the top.

 

What to Look for in a College as a Design Major

 

Location

 

Paris, London, Milan, New York—these cities are the historic fashion capitals of the world. In recent years, Tokyo, Rome, Buenos Aires, and Los Angeles made the list as well. Attending a school in or near locations like these will boost your chances of “making it” in the fashion world due to the vast opportunity and inspiration available to locals.

 

The Pratt School of Design is a fantastic example; its location in New York, one of this world’s fashion giants, is a significant draw for applicants.

 

If for whatever reason you cannot attend a school in a location known for its fashion world, look into study-abroad opportunities. Many schools offer intensive study-abroad opportunities and exchange programs that’ll allow you to experience life in one of these iconic fashion capitals.

 

Showcasing Opportunities and Connections

 

Though artists often joke that they can’t pay rent in exposure, putting your work out publicly is still crucial to landing the gigs you want. 

 

Examine your schools’ programs and opportunities: Do they have seasonal runway shows available to the public? How about design and art shows? Are these available for all design students to participate in? Does your school have strong connections to the industries and companies that interest you?

 

Fashion Design Software/Resources

 

While hard-working talent will ultimately produce the best work, you don’t want faulty tech to hinder your work’s quality. 

 

Look into the equipment available to you at the schools you’re interested in. Is it accessible? Is it up-to-date? Is their software strong and reliable? How many of your materials will be provided to you, and how many will you have to acquire on your own? Check out nearby shopping centers to see if you’ll have easy access to the materials you need.

 

Accomplished Professors

 

Good schools have good teachers, ones who are accomplished in their field and proficient in the skill sets necessary to succeed in it. If they teach well, the experienced will convey insights to their students surrounding the fashion industry and how to best advance in it. 

 

Additionally, look at the history of the school; has it turned out successful fashionistas? Do its alumni inspire you?

 

While alumni success is likely more closely linked to talent, work ethic, and connections than anything else, it’s still a good factor to consider. Unfair a practice as it may be, hiring managers will often prefer that graduates come from reputable design schools with a history of “producing” skilled designers. 

Discover your chances at hundreds of schools

Our free chancing engine takes into account your history, background, test scores, and extracurricular activities to show you your real chances of admission—and how to improve them.

List of All U.S. Colleges With a Fashion Design Major

 

School Name City State
Marist College Poughkeepsie New York
Montclair State University | MSU Montclair New Jersey
Arizona State University | ASU Tempe Arizona
Savannah College of Art and Design | SCAD Savannah Georgia
Texas Woman’s University | TWU Denton Texas
Woodbury University Burbank California
University of North Texas | UNT Denton Texas
Indiana University Bloomington | Indiana Bloomington Indiana
Texas Tech University | TTU Lubbock Texas
Bennington College Bennington Vermont
Cazenovia College Cazenovia New York
Otis College of Art and Design Los Angeles California
Purdue University West Lafayette Indiana
Ball State University | BSU Muncie Indiana
Pratt Institute Brooklyn New York
Lindenwood University Saint Charles Missouri
Lasell College | LC Newton Massachusetts
Stephens College Columbia Missouri
Michigan State University East Lansing Michigan
Iowa State University Ames Iowa
University of Cincinnati Cincinnati Ohio
Miami University Oxford Ohio
California College of the Arts | CCA San Francisco California
Bowling Green State University | BGSU Bowling Green Ohio
Clark Atlanta University | CAU Atlanta Georgia
Kent State University Kent Ohio
Syracuse University Syracuse New York
Washington University in St. Louis | WashU Saint Louis Missouri
Columbia College Chicago Chicago Illinois
University of Delaware Newark Delaware
University of Maryland, College Park | Maryland College Park Maryland
Western Michigan University | WMU Kalamazoo Michigan
Baylor University Waco Texas
Virginia Commonwealth University | VCU Richmond Virginia
Thomas Jefferson University Philadelphia Pennsylvania
Drexel University Philadelphia Pennsylvania
New School New York New York
Seattle Pacific University | SPU Seattle Washington
Howard University Washington DC Washington DC

 

Notice a school that’s missing? Email us and let us know!

 

What Are Your Chances of Acceptance?

 

No matter your major, you must be academically comparable to previous years’ admits to be a competitive college applicant. Most selective schools use the Academic Index, a complex tool based on your grades, test scores, and class rankings, to evaluate academic aptitude and filter out students who don’t meet their standards.

 

The qualitative aspects of your application, like your test scores, extracurriculars, and portfolio, are your place to show who you are and demonstrate fit with your chosen schools and major. 

 

Prospective Fashion Design majors should consider joining or starting an artist’s club at school. Take all of the visual arts classes you can, and if your town has an artist’s group or community, immerse yourself in it!

 

Perhaps more importantly, develop a strong design portfolio. For art-and-design-based schools, this is often the most crucial part of your application. Seek inspiration from a broad range of fashion professionals and the world around you. Experiment and create freely to produce work that is authentic to you. 

 

Find your voice! Many design schools subscribe to the philosophy of recognizing creative potential and personality first, and drilling in technical skills second.

 

If you’re struggling to figure out where you match up to other applicants, we recommend using our free Chancing Engine. Unlike other solely stats-based chancing calculators, ours considers much of your entire profile, including both your quantitative stats and qualitative extracurriculars.

Want more tips on improving your academic profile?

We'll send valuable information to help you strengthen your profile and get ready for college admissions.


Michelle Foley
Essay Breakdown Writer at CollegeVine
Short bio
Michelle Foley is currently taking a gap year before starting at Yale College in Fall '21, where she is considering majoring in Art, English, or Cognitive Studies while earning her Spanish certificate. In her free time, she likes to paint, run, and read!