A female student sketches a design in a drawing pad at a desk scattered with a laptop and other school items.
Undergraduate, Adult Degree | In-Person

Fashion Merchandising, BFA | Adult Degree

The fashion industry is an ever-changing, fast-paced environment. As a Fashion Merchandising student at Belmont, you will gain the skills, business acumen and strong design foundation required to compete in this competitive field.

Why Study Fashion Merchandising in Nashville?

Already known as a leader in the music and healthcare industries, Nashville is quickly emerging as a hub for technology and a home for aspiring creatives and entrepreneurs. With the growth of Nashville, students have unrivaled access to established fashion businesses in the city and have access to one of the most exciting markets to intern and pursue a career as an alum.

Belmont's Fashion Merchandising BFA program will prepare you to find success in the demanding fashion industry through practical skills and experiential learning in our well-rounded program that intertwines design, business and the latest technologies.

Our graduates use their advanced skills with Fortune 500 companies and others that include, but are not limited to, Dollar General, Tractor Supply, Genesco, Inc., Workwear Outfitters, ABLE, Kirkland's, Hanesbrands, Inc., Starboard Cruise Services, Natural Life, Tao Footwear and Johnathan Kayne.

A curriculum with a mission-based approach and focused on collaboration, we prepare our students to lead in the area of design or the business of fashion.

A female student stands at a drafting table and cuts a large piece of fabric with scissors.

Am I an Adult Student? 

What makes Adult Degree Programs special?

Your Success is Personal: Our students are not one-sized fits all, and neither is our commitment to you. Your path to a college degree is unique, and we take your success as personally as you do. Our staff and faculty will be with you from the first point of contact all the way through graduation and beyond, providing personalized guidance and assistance so you don’t have to go it alone.

Education Designed to Elevate Your Career: Whatever adult degree program option you choose, a career-focused curriculum will help you elevate your current career or prepare you for new professional or personal opportunities. 

Unique Tuition Discount for Adult Degree Program Students: Belmont is dedicated to offering access to high-quality education for busy adults. Students in Belmont’s Adult Degree Program receive more than a 40% discount off of the tuition cost that traditional Belmont students pay for the very same quality, private school education.

What You'll Learn

The Fashion Merchandising major is a four-year program that prepares you for a successful career in the fashion industry. Graduates of our program will:

  • Demonstrate an advanced skill level of design that meets professional standards in the fashion industry and specialized markets
  • Attain knowledge of design and how it correlates to successfully producing a quality product to the end consumer
  • Proficiently communicate their ideas through a full range of written, verbal and technological skills
  • Execute decisions in the fashion industry using design thinking to analyze, conceptualize and solve problems
  • Acquire the business acumen necessary to compete in the global world of fashion
A close-up shot of a pair of hands using small scissors to cut a piece of fabric.

Career Possibilities

  • Merchandising Coordinators
  • E-commerce Managers
  • Fashion Forecasters
  • Retail Buyers
  • Merchandise Planners
  • Visual Merchandisers
  • Wardrobe Consultants
  • Wholesale Representatives
  • Fashion Event Managers
  • Marketing Managers
  • Product Developers

Program Details


The Fashion Merchandising (B.F.A) does not require you to complete a minor. The degree requires 128 credit hours of coursework:

  • BELL core requirements: 38 hours
  • Major requirements: 84 hours
  • Electives: 6 hours

See All Program Requirements

Courses You'll Take:

  • FSM 1314, Flat Pattern Design  A basic course with an emphasis on pattern drafting skills focusing on the upper body while developing a series of bodice, torso, collar and sleeve patterns to be critiqued for neatness and precision in drafting, truing and cutting. Students will also be involved with the annual Fashion Show.
  • FSM 1400, Introduction to Fashion An overview of the fashion industry’s structure and functions, operations, practices and career opportunities. The interrelationships between the consumer and the primary, secondary, retailing and auxiliary segments of the fashion industry will also be explored.
  • FSM 1420, Evolution of Fashion I The sociological, political, economic and technological forces will be explored to demonstrate how they have shaped the evolution of dress, and will be a chronological study and research of historic costume from the origin of clothing beginning in the Mesopotamian Civilization through the 19th century.
  • FSM 1430, Evolution of Fashion II Evolution of Fashion II will be a continuation of the discussion where sociological, political, economic and technological forces will be explored to demonstrate how the history of costume has influenced the 20th and 21st centuries.
  • FSM 1440, Fashion Illustration I An introduction to fashion design and illustration. The basics of drawing the fashion figure, proportion, rendering fabrics and flat sketching will be emphasized during the course of the semester.
  • FSM 2100, Fashion Forecasting Color analysis and 2D fundamentals are discussed and executed in experiential projects within the course Fashion Forecasting. In addition, the topics of color and 2D fundamentals are intertwined in the discussion of predicting color, fabrics and styles/trends in the field of fashion. Students create extensive 2 visual boards throughout the course.
  • FSM 2200, Fashion Textiles A course devoted to the study of fibers (natural and man-made), yarns, and fabric construction. Students will investigate fiber performance, aesthetics and suitability for a variety of applications. Fibers and fabrics will be tested and evaluated in an experiential learning environment.
  • FSM 2306, Clothing Construction I A fundamental course involving the completion of a variety of garments from commercial patterns focusing on fabric, fit and master of basic techniques in construction. Discussion will also encompass an introduction to terminology, design elements and principles.
  • FSM 2307, Clothing Construction II Students will advance their understanding in the area of patterning and construction of garments. Emphasis will be placed on the details of construction and the manipulation of pattern pieces for the human figure.
  • FSM 2410, Fashion Technology I Introduction to Adobe Illustrator. Students will create apparel and accessory flats, focused mood boards and simple print/textile and graphic designs. The course will also focus on concept development and expanding the thought process with three well-rounded projects.
  • FSM 2420, Fashion Technology II A continuation of Adobe Illustrator and introduction to Adobe Photoshop. Students will advance their skills in Illustrator and develop fundamental skills in Photoshop with three intensive projects to be included in their Design or Merchandising portfolios.
  • FSM 2440, Fashion Illustration II Students develop a personal sketching style in manual and digital form using a variety of artistic mediums and techniques. Focus is on rendering, color, fabrics, textures, patterns and construction details.
  • FSM 3000, Fashion Entrepreneurship This course focuses on understanding the process of creativity and opportunity recognition and introduces students to the entrepreneurship process. Students will create an elevator pitch to present and evaluate their model to others. Students will also acquire an understanding of business ethics and social responsibility in business creation.
  • FSM 3200, Merchandise Retail Buying I An introduction to the role of a retail buyer including their duties, the support structure and their position within an organization or as a small business owner. Topics include the retail environment and how they make buying and purchasing decisions. Introduction to basic retail math and excel spreadsheets utilized in the buying world.
  • FSM 3201, Merchandising Planning I Students will concentrate on the analysis aspect of the business and how decisions affect the bottom-line profit. Emphasis will be placed on Excel spreadsheets and retail math concepts, formulas and analysis. Financial concepts include: productivity elements, markup equations, open to buy control, profitability and inventory management.
  • FSM 3220, Fashion Retail Management Students will be introduced to the world of retailing from a managerial viewpoint. Studies will include the elements that comprise the retail mix, types of retailers, multichannel retailing, consumer buying behavior, retail marketing strategies, selecting retail site locations, supply chain management, merchandising, pricing, store management, store layout & design and customer service.
  • FSM 3231, Merchandising Planning II Advanced Excel concepts will be covered that include VLOOKUP and Pivot Tables. Students will strengthen their understanding of the many financial components that affect the bottom-line of a business. Continued discussion and emphasis will be placed on productivity elements, markup equations, open to buy control, profitability and inventory management.
  • FSM 3300 Marketing Fashion Brands Students will define fashion marketing and how it works. Build a fashion marketing strategy and learn how to focus the marketing mix on the fashion consumer and communicate the value through promotion within an evolving industry and consumer shopping behaviors.
  • FSM 4015, Senior Capstone in Fashion Culmination of the BELL Core, taken in the final year of the Fashion degree programs. Investigation of intersections of fashion and general studies. Students will reflect on both their personal and professional development and the impact that BELL core had on rounding out their education and provide evidence of their preparation to enter their chosen career field as an individual from the creation of their digital portfolios, website and internship experiences.
  • FSM 4211, Fashion Portfolio Development Emphasis will be placed on the development of the student’s personal style and creating an online portfolio. A study of business etiquette, communication techniques and professional skills will also be discussed to prepare students for interviewing and networking in the industry.
  • FSM 4225, Merchandise Simulation Advanced course designed to create a simulation environment. Students will take concepts learned from Retail Buying, Merchandise Planning I and II and Retail Management, and apply them to business scenarios using design thinking to solve problems.
  • FSM 4270, Fashion Internship I The goal of the internship program is to establish a link between business and education. Students will complete 180 hours and apply the knowledge acquired in the classroom to a professional environment. In addition, they will gain experience working directly with and under the supervision of a design or merchandising professional in a business environment, network with the industry to establish contacts, and learn the importance of developing business communication skills within a professional environment.
  • FSM 4350, Fashion Technical Design The role of the technical designer is explored. This course focuses on writing development packages for manufacturing with emphasis on offshore production using Adobe Illustrator, Microsoft Word and Excel. The course includes specification writing, design product evaluation, quality control and basic fit and garment construction issues.
  • FSM 4441 Visual Merchandising Students are introduced to the fundamental techniques and design concepts of product presentation in retail department and specialty stores, trade shows, and fashion events. Students will be able to demonstrate their mastery of concepts through the completion of assigned projects.
  • FSM 4472, Merchandising Seminar I The course will test students’ ability to solve a problem using design-thinking strategies, and competency of their chosen field of study. The project has to demonstrate the full breadth of the knowledge and skills acquired in the merchandising degree program. Students will further develop their concept in FSM 4473.
  • FSM 4473, Merchandising Seminar II A continuation of a senior’s final merchandising project that is a culmination of the knowledge and skills acquired in the program. Students are required to communicate their ideas through a full range of written, verbal and technological skills. Execute decisions through research, critical thinking and analysis. Produce advanced work that meets professional standards and demonstrate an understanding of how the areas of design and business are intertwined. Projects will be juried by a panel of industry professionals, the course instructor and the chair of the department.
  • FSM 4550, Apparel Manufacturing Analysis of apparel manufacturing processes related to product development, production planning, quality assurance and sourcing.

The admission decision process for the Adult Degree Program is different from what someone might experience right out of high school. To be eligible for an Adult Degree program,  applicants must be 24 years or older or provide evidence of two years or more of military service, marriage or having a family of your own.

Even if you struggled academically when you first attended college, the Belmont Admissions Committee looks at more than just your academic history. We also consider your professional experience and personal accomplishments as we review your application materials.

Learn more about Adult Degree Admissions & Financial Aid

Go beyond the classroom. In Nashville and around the world, you’ll find opportunities to learn and grow.

There is no portfolio requirement for admittance into the O'More College of Architecture and Design's programs. All you have to do is complete your application to Belmont and indicate Fashion Merchandising as your major when applying.

If you are admitted to the university, then you are admitted to our Fashion Merchandising program!

Each year, the O’More College awards a number of scholarships to incoming fall undergraduates majoring in one of its academic programs. These awards are renewable for four years (five for B.Arch. majors), provided the recipient maintains all required academic and citizenship expectations. To qualify, you must submit your Belmont application and scholarship essay by December 1.

Learn More about the Scholarship

  • What is the difference between fashion design and fashion merchandising?Fashion Design is the process of creating a product in the area of apparel, outwear, accessories, jewelry or footwear using critical thinking skills with free-hand or computerized skills with a number of materials for brick and mortar that includes specialty and department stores or direct to consumer. Fashion Design is finding a void in the market to meet the needs and wants of individuals in an ever-changing world. Nothing is more exciting than selling creations to consumers and seeing your designs displayed in a store, visually merchandised online or showcased on the runway.

    Fashion Merchandising is the business of fashion that includes the analysis, management, marketing and distribution of items with the end goal of maximizing profit. Students interested in pursuing a degree in Merchandising also need skillsets in digital design to be able to compete with graduates from other top programs. Professionals in the area of Fashion Merchandising are the backbone to the success of a fashion brand and product.

    The curriculum for both the Fashion Design and Fashion Merchandising programs begin with the same introductory courses, typically taken in the first semester, which offer students in both areas a foundational understanding of the fashion industry. At the end of the first semester, students typically know if they want to switch their major from Design to Merchandising or vice versa and are encouraged to talk with their advisor in order to do so without falling behind in their coursework.
  • Is there a portfolio review?
    There is currently no portfolio review requirement for admission to the Fashion programs at Belmont.
  • When does the term start for the fashion programs?
    Students may begin the Fashion Design or Fashion Merchandising program in the Fall or Spring term.

    See the official Academic Calendar for more important dates.
  • What laptop/software will I need for my coursework?
    Students who enroll in the Fashion Design or Fashion Merchandising program are required to bring a laptop (either PC or Mac) for use in and outside of the classroom to avoid falling behind in coursework.

    Many of the courses require students to have a laptop for in-class projects. Software needed for coursework includes the most updated versions of Adobe Creative Suite and Microsoft Office. Students may need additional software as they progress through the curriculum.
  • I have a degree in another field. Can I transfer my current credits toward this degree?

    We have many students who hold associate or bachelor’s degrees prior to enrolling in an O'More program. All credits from a previously earned associate or bachelor's degree programs are evaluated on an individual basis by the Office of the Registrar and applied as appropriate toward the B.F.A. degree. In addition, if a student has completed design-based courses at another institution, he or she may be asked to submit class work completed in classes to determine skill level and transferability of courses.

    While credits earned from previous coursework may be transferred in, it is important to note that earning a B.F.A. in Fashion Design or Fashion Merchandising at Belmont will likely take 8 semesters as studio and lab courses must be taken sequentially and the curriculum is planned as a four-year degree program.

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Application Deadlines

Apply by August 1

Start on August 21

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Adult Degree Program

Sarah Cullen
Admissions Coordinator
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