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Best 15 Fashion Design Schools in 2021

August 18, 2021 | Staff Writers

Fashion Design Schools
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BestValueSchools.org is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Fashion design schools provide specialized training for students who wish to pursue a fashion career. One of the most popular majors for students enrolled in a school specializing in fashion is fashion design. Quality fashion design schools offer degree candidates both theoretical knowledge in traditional classrooms and hands-on experience through field applications and internship opportunities.

Fashion design schools are as unique as the industry itself. Some programs approach fashion design from a business perspective, a manufacturing perspective, a merchandising approach, or a design perspective, so it is important to select the academic program with a curriculum that meets one’s career objectives.

Top 5 Fashion Design Schools

Rank School Location
1The Fashion Institute of TechnologyNew York City, New York
2Oregon State University Corvallis, Oregon
3Iowa State University of Science and Technology Ames, Iowa
4The University of CincinnatiCincinnati, Ohio
5Massachusetts College of ArtBoston, Massachusetts

As such, it is important for students interested in attending one of the many fashion design schools available in the marketplace to research the fashion degree program from its accreditation to its ultimate mission and program outcomes. Overall, aspiring designers can select from fashion design schools and programs offered through a traditional college or university or from a more specialized higher learning institution dedicated exclusively to art or fashion.

Both types of fashion design schools have been included in the list of available schools with dedicated, quality fashion design programs.

Best 15 Fashion Design Schools

1

The Fashion Institute of Technology

  • New York City, New York

The Fashion Institute of Technology (SUNY FIT), situated on famed Fashion Avenue (aka 7th Ave.) in the heart of New York City, offers several levels of degree programs in fashion design and has done so for the last 65+ years. As a member school of the State University of New York system and one of the finest fashion design schools in the nation, FIT has been recognized globally for its academic programs in fashion, design, communication, and art.

Degree Programs Offered

  • AAS (An Associate of Applied Science) in Fashion Design.
  • BFA (Bachelor of Fine Arts) in Fashion Design.
  • MFA (Master of Fine Arts) in Fashion Design.

School Overview

Tuition (Undergraduate – Lower Division): $216 Per Credit
Tuition (Undergraduate – Upper Division): $295 Per Credit
Tuition (Graduate): $481 Per Credit
Student Enrollment: 8,726
Accreditation: MSCHE & NASAD
Visit School Website
2

Oregon State University

  • Corvallis, Oregon

Oregon State University is recognized as one of Oregon’s most cutting-edge fashion design schools, offering a unique degree in apparel design, process, and thinking through the school’s College of Business. High achieving students have the option of participating in OSU’s dean’s academy or studying abroad in London, Italy, and South Korea, among others.

Degree Programs Offered

  • BS in Apparel Design

School Overview

Tuition Fees: $ 270.33 per credit (Resident) – Undergraduate.
Student Enrollment: 31,719
Accreditation: NWCCU
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3

Iowa State University of Science and Technology

  • Ames, Iowa

Iowa State University‘s College of Human Services offers one of the state’s most innovative baccalaureate degrees in fashion design. ISU’s program is recognized as one of Iowa’s best fashion design schools and offers a broader major in apparel, merchandising, and design. Students explore the use of high-tech equipment like digital printers used for industrial purposes or 3D body scanners.

Degree Programs Offered

  • BS in Apparel, Merchandising & Design.

School Overview

Tuition Fees: $ 336 per credit (Resident) – Undergraduate
Student Enrollment: 33,372
Accreditation: HLC & NASAD
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4

The University of Cincinnati

  • Cincinnati, Ohio

The University of Cincinnati‘s Ullman College of Design, Art, Architecture & Planning offers several of Ohio’s most innovative and best programs from one of the country’s top-rated and oldest fashion design schools. Students graduate from the University of Cincinnati’s fashion design program prepared for careers in the world of communication, industrial or fashion design, among others.

Degree Programs Offered

  • BS in Fashion Design (5 years)
  • Master of Design (MDes) (2 years)

School Overview

Tuition (Undergraduate (Resident)): $389 per credit
Tuition (Graduate (Resident)): $640 per credit
Student Enrollment: 39,263
Accreditation: HLC & NASAD
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5

Massachusetts College of Art

  • Boston, Massachusetts

Massachusetts College of Art (MassArt) is one of the oldest fashion design schools in the country, offering one baccalaureate degree in fashion design and one certificate program in fashion design. Students enrolled in MassArt’s fashion design program explore the relationships between classic design and innovative creativity.

Degree Programs Offered

  • BFA in Fashion Design.
  • Certificate in Fashion Design.

School Overview

Tuition (Certificate): $450 per credit
Tuition (Undergraduate (Resident Mass)): 1,030 per credit
Tuition (Residents of CT, ME, RI, VT, NH): $1,552 per credit
Student Enrollment: 2,095
Accreditation: NECHE & NASAD
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6

Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising

  • Los Angeles, California

The Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising is one of the west coast’s finest fashion design schools, offering associate degrees in fashion and related baccalaureate degrees. Students enrolled in FIDM’s fashion design programs delve deeply into the required technical, artistic, and theoretical aspects of fashion design. Classes include computer application design, sketching, and creative design, among others.

Related FIDM degrees include the BA (Bachelor of Arts) in Creative Industry Studies where students can study one of 11 core areas, including Fashion Design. Students who hold an associate degree in Fashion Design can apply to the BA in Design (Fashion Apparel track) or the BS (Bachelor of Science) in Apparel Technical Design.

Degree Programs Offered

  • AA in Fashion Design
  • AA Professional Designation in Fashion Design

Advanced and bachelor’s degree programs for continuing fashion design and qualified transfer students:

  • AA Advanced Study in Fashion Design
  • AA Advanced Study in The Business of Denim
  • AA Advanced Study in Film & TV Costume Design
  • AA Advanced Study in International Manufacturing & Product Development
  • AA Advanced Study in Menswear
  • AA Advanced Study in Theatre Costume Design
  • BA Creative Industry Studies (Core study in Fashion Design)
  • BA Design (Fashion Design)
  • BS Apparel Technical Design

School Overview

Tuition: $640 per credit – Undergraduate
Student Enrollment: 2,227
Accreditation: WSCUC & NASAD
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7

Savannah College of Art & Design

  • Savannah, Atlanta

Savannah College of Art & Design (SCAD) is recognized internationally as one of the best fashion design schools in the United States. The baccalaureate programs from SCAD are available in Savannah, Atlanta, with the graduate-level degrees available on those campuses, plus through the school’s eLearning platform.

Degree Programs Offered

  • BFA in Fashion.
  • MA in Fashion.
  • MFA in Fashion.

School Overview

Tuition (Undergraduate): $835 per credit
Tuition (Graduate): $855 per credit
Student Enrollment: 14,840
Accreditation: SACSCOC
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8

Istituto Marangoni

  • Miami, Florida

Istituto Marangoni‘s School of Fashion, founded in 1935 in Italy, offers a Bachelor of Arts degree (BA) in Fashion Design or Fashion Studies or Fashion Styling from its campus in Miami. Istituto Marangoni operates a variety of international fashion design schools, including its only US location in South Florida’s Wynwood Art District. Students enrolled in this degree can complete the program in 36 months.

Degree Programs Offered

  • BA in Fashion Design.
  • BA in Fashion Studies.
  • BA in Fashion Styling.
  • MA in Fashion & Luxury Brand Management.

School Overview

Tuition (Undergraduate): $900 per credit
Tuition (Graduate): $1,100 per credit
Student Enrollment: 2,200
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9

Kent State University

  • Kent, Ohio

Kent State University’s School of Fashion is recognized among the top 25 fashion design schools in the world. It is an exploratory research led teaching institution; a diverse community of staff, students and faculty with over 500 active links to the fashion industry, a compulsory Study Away program and a 97% employability rate. Kent State is the only fashion program in the USA that makes the study away experience a fully integrated component of the curriculum. Their satellite facilities in New York City, Florence (Italy), and the study abroad experiences available throughout North America, Europe and Asia, prepare students for a fast-paced global career. Students interested in attending Kent State University’s School of Fashion should check out the 50+ scholarships offered exclusively for fashion students. Internships are offered as a curricula requirement to enable students to gain valuable work experience in the fashion industry.

Today, over 5,000 School of Fashion alumni are actively working in the sector. In addition to fashion design, the school also offers an undergraduate degree in fashion merchandising and a graduate degree in fashion industry studies.

Degree Programs Offered

  • BA in Fashion Design
  • BFA in Fashion Design
  • BS in Fashion Merchandising
  • MFIS in Fashion Industry Studies

School Overview

Tuition Fees for Undergraduate (Full-time, In-State Ohio Resident): $11,432
Tuition Fees for Undergraduate (Full-time, Out-of-State Resident) $20,308
Tuition Fees for Graduate (In-State Ohio Resident) $11,766 (11-18 credit hours per semester)
Tuition Fees for Graduate (Out-of-State Resident) $21,952 (11-18 credit hours per semester)
Undergraduate Student Enrollment: 22,262 (Kent State University)
Accreditation: HLC, NASAD, CFDA & IFFTI
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10

The Academy of Art University

  • San Francisco, California

The Academy of Art University’s School of Fashion offers several undergraduate and graduate degree programs in fashion design from one of the country’s best fashion design schools. Coursework from the Academy of Art University’s fashion degree programs covers a comprehensive liberal arts curriculum including human-centered design, the genius of appeal, and creative perspectives in sound design, to name a few.

Degree Programs Offered

  • BFA in Fashion Design.
  • MA in Fashion Design.
  • MFA in Fashion Design.
  • Certificate in Fashion Design.

School Overview

Tuition (Undergraduate): $1,011 per credit
Tuition (Graduate): $1,137 per credit
Student Enrollment: 9,812
Accreditation: WASC & NASAD & ACICS
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11

Thomas Jefferson University

  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Thomas Jefferson University Kanbar College of Design Engineering and Commerce offers several quality fashion design degree programs that also offer students the opportunity to study abroad in London or Rome and other fashion centers internationally. Students enrolled in one of the nation’s most innovative fashion design schools are also provide the option to participate in the university’s yearly fashion show.

Degree Programs Offered

  • BS in Fashion Design.
  • MS in Fashion Design Management.

School Overview

Tuition (Undergraduate): $1,035 per credit
Tuition (Graduate): $1,190 per credit
Student Enrollment: 8,026
Accreditation: MSCHE
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12

Columbus College of Art and Design

  • Columbus, Ohio

Columbus College of Art & Design (CCAD) is recognized as one of the Midwest’s most innovative fashion design schools, located in the third-largest commercial area of fashion designers in the country. Students graduating from Columbus College of Art & Design’s fashion design degree program find rewarding work as patternmakers, stylists, costume designers, and fashion boutique business owners, among others.

Degree Programs Offered

  • BFA in Fashion Design.

School Overview

Tuition: $1,216.67 per credit (12 to 18 credits) – Undergraduate
Student Enrollment: 1,093
Accreditation: HLC & NASAD
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13

The Parsons School of Design – at The New School

  • New York City, New York

The Parsons School of Design within The New School offers several quality academic degrees in fashion design from one of New York’s best fashion design schools. The New School, established as a private higher learning institution more than a century ago in famed Greenwich Village in downtown Manhattan, is a unique university where designers and scholars combine forces and intellect to generate positive change for all.

Degree Programs Offered

  • AAS in Fashion Design.
  • BFA in Fashion Design.
  • MFA in Fashion Design & Society.

School Overview

Tuition (Undergraduate): $1,700 per credit
Tuition (Graduate): $1,810 per credit
Student Enrollment: 10,432
Accreditation: MSCHE
Visit School Website
14

Rhode Island School of Design

  • Providence, Rhode Island

RISD – the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) is one of the most well-respected art and fashion design schools in the United States. Students tackle a wide variety of apparel projects that allow each student to develop their unique creative voice in design. Degree candidates complete internships and participate in competitions to gain real-world experience under the watchful eye of design experts and professors. Students complete the degree with a culminating thesis project that expresses their design initiatives, concepts, and technical skills.

Degree Programs Offered

  • BFA in Apparel Design.

School Overview

Tuition: $1,794 per credit – Undergraduate
Student Enrollment: 2,501
Accreditation: NECHE & NASAD
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15

The Otis College of Art & Design

  • Los Angeles, California

The Otis College of Art & Design (OCAD) is recognized among the best and most innovative fashion design schools of California. OCAD’s unique approach to fashion education allows for a nearly 90% placement rate within three months of graduating. OCAD also offers an academic emphasis in costume design, not typically offered by most fashion design schools. Students can also minor in sustainability, of special interest to OCAD’s leadership.

Degree Programs Offered

  • BFA in Fashion Design.

School Overview

Tuition: $1,937.50 per credit – Undergraduate
Student Enrollment: 1,183
Accreditation: WASC & NASAD & AACSB
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Best Fashion Design Schools Ranking Methodology

The fashion design schools and more traditional colleges/universities noted above represent some of the most innovative, quality degree programs that are available in the education marketplace today. These fashion design schools have been listed with the most affordable per-credit fees listed first. Note, however, that some of the more affordable programs are from state schools that require a defined residency to be eligible for the amazingly low tuition fees.  

Tuition fees analyzed represent the latest tuition expenses (2020/2021) disclosed by either the listed fashion design schools’ website or from the NCESCollege Navigator website. Tuition fees were calculated based on a typical 120 credit unit degree program completed over four years. Additional information provided includes student enrollment data and the higher learning institution’s specific accreditation.

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