Grad School Profile: MA, MS and PhD degrees in Apparel Studies at UMinnesota

Institution: University of Minnesota, College of Design

Location: Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota

Department: Department of Design, Housing and Apparel

Concentration(s): Apparel studies (MA, MS and PhD programs)

Application Deadline: January 15th, 2011.

Admission Requirements: Application form (online); Personal Statement of Academic Goals (1-2 pages); Transcripts; Letters of Recommendation (3); Writing Samples (for PhD applicants only); GRE scores (500 verbal, 500 quantitative, 4.0 analytical writing); TOEFL Scores (if applicable); Application Fee ($55, $75 for international students).  Prospective students must have an undergraduate degree in an area of Clothing & Textiles (Retail Merchandising, Clothing Design).   Interested prospective students with other education and work experience are encouraged to schedule an appointment with faculty representing the emphasis area to determine whether they have sufficient background to pursue this area of study at the graduate level.

Accepted Students: At present the number of students accepted into the program is not limited to a certain number; students whose applications meet the qualifications and are a good fit for the program/the program is a good fit for them are accepted.  About 10-15 per year are accepted.

Tuition and Financial Aid: $814.59 per credit.  Relatively strong assistantship program with lots of opportunities for research, teaching, museum and lab work.  Assistantships include work at the Goldstein Museum.

Course Curriculum: Class strengths include behavior, innovation and aesthetics, philosophy of design, research methods, retail and consumers.  Refer to this link for degree completion checklist specifics.

Degree Requirements: Masters students take 33 credits (up to 7 years maximum), PhD students take 63 credits over a 5 year period.  Masters Plan A includes a Thesis, Poster and Oral Examination.  Masters Plan B includes a Project, Poster and Oral Examination.  PhD students are required to write a dissertation and subsequent examinations.

Course Highlights: A robust program with many acclaimed faculty members who are greatly involved in the community on an international level and thorough facilities; The Goldstein Museum of Design is a huge study collection and has rotating exhibits; the Human Dimensioning Lab does advanced research on product development such as sizing; faculty focus areas include aesthetics, retail/consumers, social psych and social cultural, design, product development, and engineering; noted for the large amount of students and faculty in attendance.

Professional Goals: Students wishing to pursue careers in academia, consulting, museum, design/product development should apply for this program.  A majority of the students have backgrounds in retail, merchandising and apparel design.

Notable Faculty include:

Marilyn Delong – CSA board member, editor of Fashion Practice Journal, author of The Way We Look: Dress and Aesthetics.

Kim Johnson – past president of the International Textile and Apparel Association and author of multiple journal articles and books

Elizabeth Bye – author of Fashion Design.

Juanjuan Wu – author of Chinese Fashion: From Mao to Now.

Karen LaBat – Director of the Human Dimensioning Lab.

Joanne B. Eicher – dress anthropologist, author of The Visible Self, Dress and Ethnicity, and editor of the Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion (she is retired so she doesn’t teach classes very often anymore, but she is still available for occasional committee work and research projects).

Contact: Charleen Klarquist


Worn Through‘s Founder and Editor Monica just completed her PhD at this university.  The Apparel Studies program is one of the strongest PhD programs in the United States for Costume and Textile Studies.  She would be happy to answer any questions related to her time and experiences there.

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