Discover the Duration of Fashion School: How Long is Fashion School?

Considering pursuing a career in the fashion industry but unsure about the different types of fashion schools and their curriculum?

Curious about the duration of fashion school and the various degree options available?

We will explore what fashion school is, the different types of fashion schools, the duration of various degree programs, the core and elective courses offered, and the different specializations you can pursue.

Let’s dive in and unravel the world of fashion education!

Key Takeaways:

  • Fashion school offers various degree options, including bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees, with varying durations depending on the specialization and program.
  • The duration of fashion school is influenced by factors such as the type of program, the student’s pace of learning, and any internships or study abroad opportunities.
  • The curriculum of fashion school includes core courses in design, merchandising, and marketing, with elective courses available for students to customize their education and explore their interests in the industry.
  • What is Fashion School?

    Fashion school is an educational institution certified by the Ministry of Education or other administrative entity in a country that offers coursework in the art, techniques, and principles of working in the fashion industry. Most reputable fashion schools offer both BA and MA degrees. Programs are typically between 2 and 4 years long to complete the units requirements to get the degree. Some fashion schools are specialized certificate schools, which offer students basic to advanced level fashion education, and last between three and twelve months.

    From 2016 to 2018, the TR Cutler Associates fashion school admissions consultants conducted several reviews and visits to fashion schools like the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), Central Saint Martins, The Parsons School of Design in Paris, and The Savannah College of Art and Designs (SVA) fashion school to establish the mean costs and lengths of study.

    What are the Different Types of Fashion Schools?

    The different types of fashion schools are specialized schools, art schools, and technical or community colleges. Specialized fashion schools are post-secondary institutions that offer intensive degree programs in fashion merchandising, design, marketing, product management, and related topics. They often offer undergraduate, master’s, or continuing education certificates in fashion. As examples, London College of Fashion (UK) offers programs in fashion design and marketing, and the Fashion Institute of Technology (USA) offers programs in fashion business, design, marketing, and technology.

    Art schools focus on the visual or sculpture aspects of fashion design, allowing schools and students to be creative with few or no constraints. KLC School of Design in the UK offers a 3-month intensive Diploma in Interior Design apt for a career in interior design or a foundation course for further higher education.

    Technical or community colleges offer associate degrees that include hands-on training. They teach students how to create patterns, construct garments, use industry software, market new trends, and other specific topics required for a profession in fashion. Houston Community College in the USA offers programs in fashion including a 30 credit hour one-year certificate and a 60-credit-hour associate degree in Applied Science in Fashion Merchandising.

    How Long Does Fashion School Last?

    Fashion school lengths range from six weeks to a few years. For academics like e-studies, Coursera programs, and Creative Live workshops it might go as short as six weeks. These are short-term and often partially remote options that mostly survey fashion ideologies and technology. Fashion schools can last past four years, especially when pursuing all degrees. Full 2-year associate’s degrees and 4-year bachelor’s degrees with a major in Fashion usually require confirmed internships or student-run events as part of their curriculum.

    Many fashion programs will offer optional elective classes or skills certificates that can be taken. These optional classes can easily add an extra semester of academics for most Bachelor’s programs. Master’s fashion degree programs are usually a year or two long, and will have only fashion courses required. Certificate programs and just Bachelor’s programs in fashion or a fashion modification of another degree are almost always shorter. This priorities music, fashion marketing, or visual merchandising for example.

    Rolex affiliated fashion school Istituto Marangoni advises: “A One-Year Undergraduate Certificate Program allows you to study a wide range of subjects related to the world of fashion, without demanding too much time. This course is better suited for those who want to briefly stimulate and broaden their knowledge of fashion. It can also be a good option if you work during the day, and need to study at night. A One-Year Post-Graduate Certificate Program aims to enhance and deepen your understanding of the fashion industry without needing a complete Undergraduate base. This program, dedicated exclusively to learning in the field of fashion, offers a higher level of specialty than an Undergraduate Certificate.”

    What Are the Factors That Affect the Duration of Fashion School?

    The factors that affect the duration of fashion school include the school system in the particular country (number of courses, trimester vs semester system, thesis length and lab credit time), the student’s course load (part-time vs full-time), availability of required courses during semesters (including electives), academic standing or discipline record of the student (if retakes are needed), the number of optional internships taken, and the amount of time dedicated to internships, research, and real-life projects.

    What is the Curriculum of Fashion School?

    The curriculum of fashion school includes the following classes:

    • Principles of Economics for fashion and retailing
    • Survey of the fashion industry
    • Garment production technology
    • Apparel manufacturing management
    • Fashion trend research
    • Textile science
    • Fashion theory and literature
    • Global issues and ethics in fashion
    • Patternmaking
    • Illustration techniques for the fashion designer
    • Bandaging and taping for sportswear

    Face-to-face courses may include internships to gain hands-on experience in the field of fashion. These internships can be in small or large apparel companies, design studios, or retail businesses. USC states that the internships provide first-hand experience in the industry, help one find out what areas interest them most, and add a great dynamic piece to any resume.

    What Are the Core Courses in Fashion School?

    The core courses in fashion school are Introduction to Fashion Design, Fashion Visuals, Textiles, Illustration and Graphics, Computer Aided Fashion Design (CAD), Fashion Design History, Clothing Construction, Pattern Making, Portfolio Presentation, and Fashion Business Practices. According to, the core programs in a fashion degree may include any of the following such as Fashion Merchandising, Fashion Marketing, Footwear and Accessory Design, Fashion Design and Knitwear, and Fashion and Textile Management.

    What Are the Elective Courses in Fashion School?

    Elective courses in fashion school allow students to round out their understanding of the industry by selecting courses in business or technology and by exploring niche topics. While the broadness of too many electives can diminish the range of one’s expertise, selectivity can further boost one’s competitive knowledge and expertise. Most fashion schools offer a mix of introduction, intermediate, and advanced elective courses. Elective course examples include the following topics:

    What Are the Different Degree Options in Fashion School?

    The main different degree options in fashion school are:

    1. Associate’s Degrees: The most common is an AAS (Associate of Applied Science).
    2. Bachelor’s Degrees: Options include a BFA (Bachelor of Fine Art), BA (Bachelor of Art), or BS (Bachelor of Science).
    3. Master’s Degrees: Options include MS (Master of Science), MBA (Master of Business Administration), and MA (Master of Arts).
    4. Doctoral Degrees: PhDs in the various disciplines of fashion have different names, such as Doctor of Philosophy in Design, Doctor of Business Administration in Luxury, etc.

    The exact duration depends on the degree, country, and specific school, but the following are common durations for fashion degrees in the US:

    • Associate’s Degree: 2-3 years
    • Bachelor’s Degree: 3-4 years
    • Master’s Degree: 1-3 years
    • Doctoral Degree: 2-3 years

    What is the Duration of a Bachelor’s Degree in Fashion School?

    The duration of a bachelor’s degree program in fashion school on average varies between 3 to 4 years.

    The number of units required for graduation varies and classes are consolidated under fewer scholastic requirements than US bachelor degrees. While some schools offer shorter three-year tracks as part of a larger academic program, most require four years that includes studies in design, media, business, and the history of fashion. Some to continue to a master’s degree before entering the workforce.

    Examples of the Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Fashion Degree duration from well-known international schools include the following:

    1. Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) (United States): 3 years
    2. Central Saint Martins – University of the Arts London (UK): 3 years
    3. Politecnico di Milano (Italy): 3 years
    4. Shenkar College-Institute of Fashion and Design (Israel): 3 years
    5. Robert Gordon University (UK): 3 years
    6. ESMOD International (France): 3 years
    7. Algorithm (Pakistan): 3 years
    8. SCAD – Hong Kong campus (Hong Kong): 3 years
    9. Most schools including Parsons at The New School of Design (US): 4 years

    Universities with a three-year bachelor’s program such as SCAD typically take the compensatory measure of having students attend two full semesters and a summer for three years rather than two semesters for four years. This still totals 90 credit hours with each class requiring 1 hour of class time per week which is the same as that required for a four-year bachelor’s degree.

    What is the Duration of a Master’s Degree in Fashion School?

    The duration of a Master’s Degree in fashion school such as Italy’s IED or Britain’s LCF is generally between 11-24 months (in the English system). Topics covered include fashion promotion, design, innovation, consumer behavior, design management, communication, HR, marketing, branding, e-commerce, and more. Master’s degrees are practical programs that mix traditional classroom learning with the creation and presentation of a portfolio. Researching and choosing a thesis topic is also a part of the Master’s program.

    What is the Duration of a Doctoral Degree in Fashion School?

    The duration of a doctoral degree in fashion school in the US can take between 3 and up to 9 years to complete. Doctoral degrees in fashion school generally require 58 to 96 semester credit hours of coursework but could require a large amount of research and writing, depending on the program and individual student pace. A thesis or dissertation is always required that includes an original research project in the field, followed by an oral defense of one’s work. Students then often take written examinations on a series of subjects to test the limits of their knowledge on the fashion field as a whole.

    Doctoral degrees in fashion are almost always PhDs or Doctorates of Philosophy. According to the National Science Foundation’s 2023 Science and Engineering Degrees Survey, of the 64,543 Engineering, and Business Bachelors’ degrees awarded in 2021 in the United States, more than 88% were awarded by for-profit institutions.

    Students seeking a doctorate in fashion must decide what sort of doctorate they want to pursue. A Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) is a research degree that represents mastery in a specific academic field. A Doctor of Education (EdD) focuses on developing applications for theories within educational spheres. A Doctor of Science (ScD) is a research degree that represents mastery in a specific scientific field. A Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) focuses on addressing organizational issues in various business applications. In general, PhDs or DYs take the longest to complete at an average of 8 years to graduate – and doctoral degrees. According to the National Center for Education Statistics students who pursued postsecondary education at for-profit institutions are less likely than students in other sectors to complete their programs.

    What Are the Different Specializations in Fashion School?

    Specializations in fashion school include majoring in a degree concentration that focuses on one of the following fashion segments – fashion business, product development, visual communications, technology, trade, design, or production.

    Programs and curriculums within different specializations are significantly different from one another. Within the United States you do typically get to explore a number of these including marketing, product development, and drafts-person classes during your freshman and sophomore years before specializing entirely in upper-classmen courses.

    What is the Duration of a Fashion Design Specialization?

    Fashion design at Marist College takes 4 years regardless of time spent at the Florence branch. A Bachelor of Arts in Fashion Design from Marist is 120 to 122 credit hours. At 12 to 15 credits per academic semester, it should take the 8 to 10 semesters to graduate. No regard is made to the summer between the first and second years or the complete second year in which all remaining courses are taken in Florence.

    The London College of Fashion BA in Creative Direction for Fashion takes 3 years and is 360 credit. The Birmingham City University BA in Fashion Design takes 3 years. The San Francisco Campus of the Academy of Art University BA in Fashion Design, Textile Design requires 4 years according to most sources but it allows up to 8 years to complete it. It is 120 credit hours, which is the equivalent of 40 3-credit courses.

    What is the Duration of a Fashion Merchandising Specialization?

    The duration of a fashion merchandising specialization typically takes two years. This includes the four to six additional semesters of study beyond the core curriculum. Courses will include instruction in creativity design, color theory, fashion trends, textiles, sales, marketing, consumer behavior, e-commerce, social media for fashion, and store management. Again, due to many of these courses not requiring as much specialized knowledge, they can be obtained at shorter-term, privately funded institutions or schools. Students at NYU earn a Professional Diploma in Fashion Business in two years. Another option is the Undergraduate in Professional Studies (UPS), a new category of higher education introduced by FIT which is ideal for fashion career training.

    What is the Duration of a Fashion Marketing Specialization?

    The duration of a fashion marketing specialization is 4 years following high school or 2 years following a bachelor’s degree for integrating students. Semester duration is dependent on the institution, but there are 2 semesters in a year.

    A Bachelor of Science in Product Management from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York and the Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) in marketing specialization from the Retail Business School in Asia are two examples of similar bachelor’s degrees from U.S. and international schools.

    The retail business school in Asia has a shorter time of 33 months, but 60 months are the more general timeframes for bachelor’s degrees. estimates a total of 2750 hours of study in theoretical sessions, group projects, industrial projects and contract work, assignments, exams.

    The Bachelor’s Degree is generally divided into 4 years, 8 semesters of equal duration, with opportunities for interns and experience outside of the classroom during the summer and winter break. In the Master’s Degree, candidates study 2 years, 4 semesters of equal duration and have a break for a semester before they are required to complete their thesis.

    These numbers may be tailored to the country and institution concerned.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    How long does it take to complete fashion school?

    The length of time it takes to complete fashion school can vary depending on the program and your individual academic progress. Typically, it can take anywhere from two to four years to earn a degree in fashion.

    Is there a specific duration for fashion school?

    Fashion school programs can range in length from one year to four years, depending on the type of degree or certificate you are pursuing. Some programs may also offer accelerated options for students who want to complete their education in a shorter amount of time.

    Can I complete fashion school online?

    Yes, there are many online fashion school programs available. However, it’s important to research the program and make sure it is accredited and offers the resources and support you need to succeed in the fashion industry.

    How long does it take to earn a bachelor’s degree in fashion?

    A bachelor’s degree in fashion typically takes four years to complete. This includes general education courses, as well as major-specific classes focused on fashion design, merchandising, or marketing.

    Is there a difference in length between a bachelor’s and an associate’s degree in fashion?

    Yes, an associate’s degree in fashion typically takes two years to complete, while a bachelor’s degree takes four years. An associate’s degree may provide a more focused education and can be a faster way to enter the workforce in a specific fashion-related career.

    Are there any options for shorter fashion school programs?

    Yes, there are certificate programs and diploma programs available that can be completed in one year or less. These programs may focus on specific skills or areas of fashion, such as pattern making or fashion styling.

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