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2022 Most Affordable Online Schools for Fashion Degrees

By the OnlineU team | Updated 9/22/2022
2022 Most Affordable Online Degrees Badge

An online degree in fashion is an excellent fit for people who are passionate about the trends, marketing, techniques, and history of the global fashion industry. Most programs in this field cover finance, textiles, visual merchandising, and business strategies. Graduates of an online fashion degree program can enter a wide variety of careers: art directors, graphic designers, and purchasing managers, to name a few. For this reason, we include a wide-ranging scope of fashion degrees that include fully online programs in fashion design, such as the degree offered at Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design, as well as online fashion merchandising and management degrees. If you are interested in exploring similar degree options, you should also check out the best online degrees for art designgraphic design, and management. It may also be worthwhile to consider pursuing a dual degree, such as business.

View our methodology for more details about rankings or learn more about us.

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Online Fashion Bachelor's Degrees You May Be Interested In


All tuition numbers were manually collected and verified
Rank School Locations Annual Tuition
# 1 #1 Southern New Hampshire University Online Manchester (NH) $9,600
# 2 #2 Central Michigan University Mount Pleasant (MI) $12,750
# 3 #3 Old Dominion University Norfolk (VA) $13,110
# 4 #4 Liberty University Lynchburg (VA) $13,869
# 5 #5 Lindenwood University Saint Charles (MO) $14,250
# 6 #6 Johnson & Wales University - Online Providence (RI) $14,850
# 7 #7 Fashion Institute of Technology New York (NY) $22,165
# 8 #8 LIM College New York (NY) $23,998
# 9 #9 The Art Institutes Nationwide $24,075
# 10 #10 Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design Lakewood (CO) $24,803
#1
#1
Annual Tuition: $9,600
Annual Tuition: $9,600
Annual Tuition: $9,600

Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) is a large, private nonprofit institution offering an online Bachelor of Science in Fashion Merchandising Management, which totals 120 credit hours. The program is a combination of fashion and business strategy courses. Sample coursework includes Financial Accounting, Sustainability in Fashion, and Visual Merchandising.

At SNHU, online students access coursework on the platform Brightspace, and the classes are delivered via asynchronous and synchronous formats. Online student support includes career services, academic advising, and an online library. The program’s admission requirements are for students to simply submit transcripts and an application.

  • Online Degrees: 1
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 77%
  • Graduation Rate: 44%
  • Acceptance Rate: 78%
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 86,849
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 19,526
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: NECHE
  • Phone #: (603) 668-2211

Example Classes: Global Sourcing and Apparel, History of Fashion and Costume, Merchandise Planning, Retail Sales Promotion, Strategic Fashion Management, Sustainability in Fashion, Textiles and Color Theory

#2
#2

Central Michigan University

Mount Pleasant (MI)
Annual Tuition: $12,750
Annual Tuition: $12,750
Annual Tuition: $12,750

Central Michigan University (CMU) — a public institution with a medium student population — offers two online degrees in fashion merchandising: a Bachelor of Applied Arts and a Bachelor of Science in Fashion Merchandising and Design. Both programs, which require 120 credit hours to complete, offer two concentrations: (1) Product Development and (2) Visual Merchandising. Prospective careers for these degrees include CAD designer, product developer, and design assistant.

CMU’s online students' complete work in an asynchronous format on Blackboard. Online students can access academic advising, tutoring, a writing center, and IT support. Admission requirements include an application, official transcripts, an essay, and a letter of recommendation.

  • Online Degrees: 3
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 96%
  • Graduation Rate: 61%
  • Acceptance Rate: 68%
  • Average SATs: 990 -1200
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 1,326
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 2,485
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: HLC
  • Phone #: (989) 774-4000

Example Classes: 3D Printing and Fashion, Apparel Product Analysis, Dress and Culture, Experimental CAD, Fashion Retail Management, Textile Analysis

#3
#3
Annual Tuition: $13,110
Annual Tuition: $13,110
Annual Tuition: $13,110

At Old Dominion University (ODU Online), a large, public institution, prospective students can pursue an online Bachelor of Science in Occupational and Technical Studies - Fashion Merchandising. This program requires 120 credit hours and provides students with the skills to succeed in fashion merchandising careers. Some courses within the curriculum include Sales Technique, Fashion Consumer Behavior, and Communication Technology Processes.

Students participating in ODU Online complete assignments both synchronously and asynchronously on Canvas. Online student support includes academic advising, tutoring, mentoring, a writing center, and IT services. The program’s admission department requires an application, official high school or college transcripts, and ACT or SAT scores.

  • Online Degrees: 1
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 94%
  • Graduation Rate: 51%
  • Acceptance Rate: 86%
  • Average SATs: 980 -1180
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 3,948
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 2,206
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC
  • Phone #: (757) 683-3000

Example Classes: Fashion Consumer Behavior, Fashion Forecasting Market Trip, Fashion, Textiles, and Construction Analysis, The Foreign Fashion Market Trip, Visual Merchandising and Display, Web-Based Organization for Fashion

#4
#4

Liberty University

Lynchburg (VA)
Annual Tuition: $13,869
Annual Tuition: $13,869
Annual Tuition: $13,869

Liberty University (LU) is a large, private nonprofit institution offering an online Bachelor of Science in Fashion Merchandising. Totaling 120 credit hours, this program helps students develop their creativity, marketing, and merchandising skills to pursue a career in fashion. This program offers three specializations: (1) General, (2) Creative Design, and (3) Fashion Writing. Sample coursework includes Elements of Fabric, Retail Merchandising, and Digital Drafting I.

At LU, students complete online coursework asynchronously on the learning management system, Canvas. In addition, students can access online resources like a writing center, career center, and tutoring. Program admission requirements include official high school or college transcripts, an application, and proof of English proficiency.

  • Online Degrees: 3
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 99%
  • Graduation Rate: 47%
  • Acceptance Rate: 30%
  • Average SATs: 1040 -1260
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 34,092
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 36,337
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC
  • Phone #: (434) 582-2000
#5
#5

Lindenwood University

Saint Charles (MO)
Annual Tuition: $14,250
Annual Tuition: $14,250
Annual Tuition: $14,250

Prospective students interested in fashion can pursue an online Bachelor of Science in Fashion Business and Entrepreneurship at Lindenwood University (LU) Online, which is a medium-sized, private nonprofit institution. The program, which is 120 credit hours, teaches students the latest trends and styles in the fashion industry as well as some practical business strategies.

LU Online facilitates online coursework on Canvas in both asynchronous and synchronous formats. Online student resources include accessibility services, academic advising, mentoring, and tutoring. LU Online’s program admission requirements are an application, official transcripts, a resume, and a letter of intent or personal statement.

  • Online Degrees: 1
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 100%
  • Graduation Rate: 50%
  • Acceptance Rate: 74%
  • Average SATs: 980 -1170
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 494
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 1,042
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: HLC
  • Phone #: (636) 949-2000

Example Classes: Advertising and Promotional Strategy, Computer-Aided Design I: Apparel Design, Fashion Business and Entrepreneurship, Global Business and Society, History of Costume from 1900, Principles of Microeconomics

#6
#6
Annual Tuition: $14,850
Annual Tuition: $14,850
Annual Tuition: $14,850

Johnson & Wales University - Online (JWU Online) is a small, private nonprofit institution offering an online Bachelor of Science in Fashion Merchandising and Retailing that requires 121 credit hours. The program’s curriculum helps students develop the skills to work in the global fashion industry. Some potential industries where graduates may find themselves working include sales, management, and retail marketing.

At JWU Online, students complete work in a hybrid (asynchronous and synchronous) format on Blackboard. In addition, online students can access tutoring, academic advising, and career services. The program’s admission requirements are official transcripts, a minimum grade average of C+, and optional ACT or SAT scores.

  • Online Degrees: 1
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 50%
  • Acceptance Rate: 81%
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 1,070
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 682
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: NECHE
  • Phone #: (401) 598-1000

Example Classes: Cases in Fashion and Retail, Merchandise Mathematics, Retail Executive Decision Making, Retail Industry Seminar, Textiles, The Business of Fashion

#7
#7
Annual Tuition: $22,165
Annual Tuition: $22,165
Annual Tuition: $22,165

The Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) is a medium-sized, public institution offering an online Bachelor of Science in International Trade and Marketing for the Fashion Industries. The two-year, full-time program provides flexibility to distance learning students interested in fashion trade and marketing. Prospective students can expect to learn about the legalities and finances of the global financial industry.

AT FIT, online students complete coursework in an asynchronous format on Blackboard. In addition, online students have access to disability support, counseling, and academic advising. Prospective students must have an associate degree from an accredited institution before applying to the program.

  • Online Degrees: 1
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 73%
  • Graduation Rate: 80%
  • Acceptance Rate: 47%
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 210
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 0
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: MSCHE
  • Phone #: (212) 217-7999

Example Classes: Global Marketing, Global Sourcing, Import/Export Regulations, International Business Transactions, Microeconomics

#8
#8

LIM College

New York (NY)
Annual Tuition: $23,998
Annual Tuition: $23,998
Annual Tuition: $23,998

LIM College (LIM) is a small, private, for-profit institution that offers two online fashion-related degrees: (1) a Bachelor of Business Administration in Business of Fashion and (2) a Bachelor of Business Administration in Fashion Merchandising. Both programs require 120 credit hours, and students must complete an internship before graduation. In addition, both programs offer several minors, like Fashion Media, Event Planning, and Entrepreneurship.

LIM’s online students complete coursework synchronously on Canvas. Online student support at LIM includes academic advising, counseling, and IT support. Each program’s admission requirements are a minimum 2.8 GPA, ACT or SAT scores, official transcripts, and an application.

  • Online Degrees: 2
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 90%
  • Graduation Rate: 54%
  • Acceptance Rate: 93%
  • Average SATs: 940 -1130
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 176
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 126
  • School Type: For-Profit
  • School Accreditation: MSCHE
  • Phone #: (212) 752-1530

Example Classes: Digital Tools for Fashion Presentations, Fabric for Fashion, Fashion Merchandising Senior Capstone, Product Development and Merchandising, Retailing: Global and Omni, Sustainability and the Future of Fashion

#9
#9

The Art Institutes

Nationwide
Annual Tuition: $24,075
Annual Tuition: $24,075
Annual Tuition: $24,075

The Art Institutes (Ai) is a small, private, for-profit institution that has a branch, the Art Institute of Tampa, which offers two online degrees in fashion marketing: (1) a Bachelor of Arts in Fashion Marketing and Management and (2) a Bachelor of Science in Fashion Marketing and Management. Both require 180 credit hours. In addition, students are expected to complete a portfolio and internship before graduation. Sample coursework includes Finance Principles, Brand Strategy, and Survey of the Fashion Industry.

Ai facilitates online coursework synchronously on the platform, Brightspace. Online student support at Ai includes career services, disability support, and tutoring. Program admission requirements are a high school diploma or GED, official transcripts, and an application.

  • Online Degrees: 2
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 91%
  • Graduation Rate: 28%
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 0
  • School Type: For-Profit
  • School Accreditation: HLC

Example Classes: 3D Visual Merchandising, Apparel Fit & Construction Evaluation, Digital Color Theory, Elements of Retail Logistics & Distribution, Event & Fashion Show Production, Global Marketing

#10
#10
Annual Tuition: $24,803
Annual Tuition: $24,803
Annual Tuition: $24,803

Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design (Rmcad) is a small, private, nonprofit institution that offers an online Bachelor of Fine Arts in Fashion Design — the only degree on our list that emphasizes design. Requiring 123 credit hours, the program’s curriculum covers couture constructions, accessories, textile science, etc., and students must have a specific sewing machine and professional female dress form with collapsible shoulders for classes.

At Rmcad, online students complete assignments synchronously on a learning management platform. In addition, online students can access counseling, disability support, career services, and IT support. The program’s admission requirements include an interview with the admissions counselor, an application, a portfolio, official high school or college transcripts, and the completion of a FAFSA application.

  • Online Degrees: 1
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 97%
  • Graduation Rate: 43%
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 851
  • School Type: For-Profit
  • School Accreditation: HLC
  • Phone #: (303) 753-6046

Example Classes: Apparel, Couture Construction, Design Technologies, Sustainable Fashion, Textile Science, Textiles: Knits + High Tech

Can You Get a Fashion Degree Online?

Yes, students can earn an online fashion bachelor's degree, and the number of schools offering this degree online is expected to increase in the future. Some degree programs focus on the artistic side of fashion design, others focus on the business side of fashion marketing and merchandising, and a third category of programs combine the two. You may also find schools offering additional design-oriented concentrations, such as knitwear, children's clothing, accessories, and textiles.

Fashion Degree Quick Facts
  • Average Credits: 120
  • Average Duration: 4 years

Which Degree Is Best for Fashion Designing?

If you're considering a career in the fashion industry, it can be helpful to have a bachelor's degree. Most schools that focus on fashion design will offer programs that lead to a Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Applied Arts, or Bachelor of Fine Arts. For those who are interested in the business side of the industry, fashion marketing and merchandising degree programs usually lead to a Bachelor of Science degree.

How Do You Become a Fashion Designer Online?

Studying fashion design online is similar to studying fashion on campus, except that you'll interact with your instructors and exchange feedback with peers via the internet. Using your own sewing machine and other creative materials at home, you'll take many hands-on courses that will help you develop your design skills and teach you about garment construction and manufacturing, known as fabrication. Other courses will provide you with an understanding of the fashion business and help develop essential communication, analytical, and problem-solving skills.

Online Fashion Courses

Online fashion design programs are designed to give students a solid foundation in the fashion industry. Often covering the entire process from design and production through distribution, programs may include many of the following:

  • Apparel Product Development: This course examines the creation and production of garments and other fashion products from start to finish. Students examine design trends and incorporate them into the design of their own products. Additionally, they learn how to choose and source the raw materials and plan for the manufacturing of their products.
  • CAD Fashion Design: In addition to courses on hand-drawn sketching and illustration, many programs teach students to use industry-standard technology—computer-aided design—in the design process. Coursework explains how to use CAD technology to turn design concepts into practical products, including digital specification sheets for their construction.
  • Fashion Buying, Merchandising, and Display: This course focuses on the retail end of the fashion industry. Students discover how to identify on-trend products that fit with their brands and gain a broad understanding of how to strategically promote and present these products to consumers.
  • History of Fashion: Many fashion design programs include a survey of fashion trends in Western history. Students learn about the types of garments that have been worn, why they were developed, and the terminology associated with fashion over the centuries.
  • Marketing and Promotion: A course on fashion marketing will explore all of the major aspects of promotion, pricing, and distribution, and will often use case studies to provide real-world examples. Students will learn how to develop and implement various types of media campaigns and other promotional strategies, such as fashion shows and product launches.

How Much Does a Fashion Degree Cost?

The most affordable online schools for aspiring fashion designers and marketers have an average annual tuition of $16,779. Several of them charge lower annual tuition fees for online programs than on-campus degrees, and some charge the same for both online and on-campus programs.

The most affordable online schools for aspiring fashion designers and marketers have an average annual tuition of $16,779.

Financial Aid for Fashion Students

Students aspiring to earn a fashion degree online have a number of options for paying for their education. In most cases, you'll start by submitting a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form. After the school(s) you've applied to receive this information, they'll let you know which types of financial aid are available to you.

The best types of financial aid don't need to be paid back. These include scholarships and grants offered by the federal government, your state, or the college you attend. There are also a few private scholarships for fashion students, such as the FSF Case Study Scholarship and CBC Spouses Visual Arts Scholarship. Many students also qualify for federal or private loans, but these can add significantly to the overall cost of earning a degree. Both types need to be paid back with interest, although federal loans typically offer lower interest rates so they are preferable to private loans.

Fashion Careers

In a recent survey of fashion industry insiders, 74% of professionals described themselves as satisfied or very satisfied with their careers, so an online degree in fashion may be the first step toward a fulfilling career. Fashion designers typically find opportunities to work for apparel manufacturers or retailers, or they may opt to start their own fashion design businesses.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for fashion designers is $75,810. Another popular occupation in this field is fashion buyer, which involves predicting upcoming trends, purchasing desired items, and making them available at prices that align with customer expectations. Other possibilities in the fashion industry include fashion merchandising management, marketing, production management, and journalism.

Is an Online Degree in Fashion Design Worth It?

A degree is not always necessary in the fashion industry, but many professionals do hold a bachelor's degree. As job growth for fashion designers is projected to decline by 4% over the next decade, it may be more challenging to gain employment, and earning a degree could increase these odds. To decide if an online fashion degree will be worth it for you, you should consider these factors alongside your own circumstances, including your current financial situation, motivations for earning a degree, and future goals.

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