Best 15 Fashion Design Schools in 2021 - Best Value Schools

Best 15 Fashion Design Schools in 2021

Staff Writers by: Staff Writers

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.

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 (SUNY FIT)

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.

  • Tuition Fees Per Credit
    • $216 Per Credit – Undergraduate – Lower Division.
    • $295 Per Credit – Undergraduate – Upper Division.
    • $481 Per Credit – Graduate.
  • 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.
  • Student Enrollment – 8,726
  • Accreditation – MSCHE & NASAD

2. Oregon State University (OSU)

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.

  • Tuition Fees – $ 270.33 per credit (Resident) – Undergraduate.
  • Degree Programs Offered
    • BS in Apparel Design
  • Student Enrollment – 31,719
  • Accreditation – NWCCU

3. Iowa State University (ISU) of Science and Technology

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.

Tuition Fees – $ 336 per credit (Resident) – Undergraduate.

  • Degree Programs Offered
    • BS in Apparel, Merchandising & Design.
  • Student Enrollment – 33,372
  • Accreditation – HLC & NASAD

4. The University of Cincinnati (UC)

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.

  • Tuition Fees
    • $389 per credit – Undergraduate (Resident)
    • $640 per credit – Graduate (Resident)
  • Degree Programs Offered
    • BS in Fashion Design (5 years)
    • Master of Design (MDes) (2 years)
  • Student Enrollment – 39,263
  • Accreditation –– HLC & NASAD

5. Massachusetts College of Art (MassArt)

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. Students

  • Tuition Fees
    • $ 450 per credit – Certificate.
    • $ 1,030 per credit – Undergraduate (Resident Mass); $1,552 (Residents of CT, ME, RI, VT, NH).
  • Degree Programs Offered
    • BFA in Fashion Design.
    • Certificate in Fashion Design.
  • Student Enrollment – 2,095
  • Accreditation NECHE & NASAD

6. The Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising (FIDM)

The Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising is one of the west coast’s finest fashion design schools, offering both a baccalaureate and graduate-level degree in fashion design. 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.

  • Tuition Fees
    • $640 per credit – Undergraduate.
  • Degree Programs Offered
    • BA in Fashion Design.
  • Student Enrollment – 2,227
  • Accreditation – WASC & NASAD

7. Savannah College of Art & Design (SCAD)

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.

  • Tuition Fees
    • $ 835 per credit – Undergraduate.
    • $ 855 per credit – Graduate.
  • Degree Programs Offered
    • BFA in Fashion.
    • MA in Fashion.
    • MFA in Fashion.
  • Student Enrollment – 14,840
  • Accreditation – SACSCOC

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.

  • Tuition Fees
    • $ 900 per credit – Undergraduate.
    • $1,100 per credit – Graduate.
  • Degree Programs Offered
    • BA in Fashion Design.
    • BA in Fashion Studies.
    • BA in Fashion Styling.
    • MA in Fashion & Luxury Brand Management.
  • Student Enrollment – 2,200
  • Accreditation – Not applicable

9. Kent State University

Kent State University’s School of Fashion is recognized among the top fashion design schools in the nation and among the top 25 in the world. Kent State University operates a satellite facility in the heart of New York City, with about three-dozen students studying abroad each year in Paris or Italy. Students interested in attending Kent State University should check out the more than 50 available scholarships available for design students.

  • Tuition Fees
    • $ 965.48 – Undergraduate (Resident).
  • Degree Programs Offered
    • BA in Fashion Design.
    • BFA in Fashion Design.
  • Student Enrollment – 27,716
  • Accreditation – HLC & NASAD

10. The Academy of Art University (AAU)

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.

  • Tuition Fees
    • $ 1,011 per credit – Undergraduate.
    • $ 1,137 per credit – Graduate.
  • Degree Programs Offered
    • BFA in Fashion Design.
    • MA in Fashion Design.
    • MFA in Fashion Design.
    • Certificate in Fashion Design.
  • Student Enrollment – 9,812
  • Accreditation – WASC & NASAD & ACICS

11. Thomas Jefferson University (TJU)

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.

  • Tuition Fees
    • $1,035 per credit – Undergraduate.
    • $1,190 per credit – Graduate.
  • Degree Programs Offered
    • BS in Fashion Design.
    • MS in Fashion Design Management.
  • Student Enrollment – 8,026
  • Accreditation – MSCHE

12. Columbus College of Art and Design (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.

  • Tuition Fees
    • $ 1,216,67 per credit (12 to 18 credits) – Undergraduate.
  • Degree Programs Offered
    • BFA in Fashion Design.
  • Student Enrollment – 1,093
  • Accreditation – HLC & NASAD

13. The Parsons School of Design – at The New School (NYC)

The Parsons School of Design within The New School offers several quality academic degrees in fashion design from one of New York City’s (and the world’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.

  • Tuition Fees
    • $1,700 per credit – Undergraduate.
    • $1,810 per credit – Graduate.
  • Degree Programs Offered
    • AAS in Fashion Design.
    • BFA in Fashion Design.
    • MFA in Fashion Design & Society.
  • Student Enrollment – 10,432
  • Accreditation –MSCHE

14. Rhode Island School of Design (RISD)

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.

  • Tuition Fees
    • $ 1,794 per credit – Undergraduate.
  • Degree Programs Offered
    • BFA in Apparel Design.
  • Student Enrollment – 2,501
  • Accreditation – NECHE & NASAD

15. The Otis College of Art & Design (California)

The Otis College of Art & Design (OCAD) is recognized among California’s best and most innovative fashion design schools.  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.

  • Tuition Fees
    • $ 1,937.50 per credit – Undergraduate.
  • Degree Programs Offered
    • BFA in Fashion Design.
  • Student Enrollment – 1,183
  • Accreditation –WASC & NASAD & AACSB

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.

Scroll to Top