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MA Fashion Merchandise Management

Course Description


Are you fascinated by the fashion industry? Would you like a career that combines creativity with business acumen? Southampton Solent University’s postgraduate fashion merchandise management programme will help you to develop an advanced understanding of merchandising practices, retail space design, product buying, consumer behaviour, marketing and academic research methods.

- Students study under the guidance of veteran industry professionals with strong links to fashion and retail businesses.
- Core units cover contemporary retail innovation, industry contexts, marketing, retail design, research methods, fashion buying and merchandising.
- Students work closely with Solent’s industry contacts. Retailing company B&Q is currently involved in teaching the ‘Retail Futures: Innovation and Enterprise’ unit.
- Previous industry collaborators have included MRA Architecture & Interior Design, and IBM.
- Students will also have the opportunity to work in Re:So, our student-managed high-street retail boutique, or pitch for agency work through Solent Creatives.
- Students are supported by tutors to secure industry work placements.
- Graduates will have learnt transferable business management, marketing and employability skills that are sought after by employers in a range of sectors.
- Available facilities include a 24 hour library; industry-standard design software; photographic and fashion studios; and a range of merchandising equipment.

The industry -

The retail workforce is projected to grow between 2013 and 2020, with job opportunities expected to increase for managerial positions in particular (Prospects, 2015). This unique degree programme will help you to capitalise on the growth, developing key skills that visual merchandising and product buying employers are seeking.

The programme -

With increasing competition in the retail sector, fashion merchandisers play a vital role in transforming ordinary store environments into exciting retail experiences. Students studying on Southampton Solent’s unique fashion merchandise management programme will undertake in-depth study of visual merchandising, retail design and fashion buying – delving into the psychological and cultural factors that influence consumer spending.

The curriculum also covers technical innovation and the place of technology in the modern retail environment. These contemporary innovations are examined alongside retail design, visual merchandising, in-store branding and the benefits of customer interaction.

Students can get involved in retail activities at Re:So, Solent’s student-run high-street store. Re:So stocks a range of fashion and craft products produced by our creative students, making it the ideal place to get hands-on visual merchandising experience. The store’s upper floor ‘learning zone’ has previously hosted guest speakers from the fashion industry, workshops, photo-shoots and exhibitions – all with an emphasis on developing student retail, enterprise and employability skills.

The course concludes with a final master’s project. This is a chance for students to specialise in an area that suits their unique career ambitions, applying the skills that they have learnt throughout the course. Project supervisors are chosen based on the topic of the dissertation, ensuring that students have one-to-one access to expert support.

Course Content

Programme specification document - http://mycourse.solent.ac.uk/course/view.php?id=6152

Teaching, learning and assessment -

The course is taught through seminars, tutorials and workshops, with an emphasis on creativity and critical thinking. You will collaborate with our industry partners and take part in occasional group projects.

Work Experience -

We can provide support and guidance to help you find relevant work experience at a fashion or design company through our close links with industry. Former students have completed placements in a wide range of areas, including:

- trend reporting for WGSN
- merchandising at the Hobbs Head Office
- design/trend consultancy for Mudpie
- design at Jenny Packham
- marketing at Harvey Nichols
- MRA Architecture and Interior Design
- visual communication at Calvin Klein.

Assessment -

Assessment is through projects, reports and a dissertation.

Our facilities -

You will have access to multimedia and IT suites, photography and printing studios, fashion studios, design-and-make workshops, and excellent library facilities.

Study abroad -

There are opportunities for trips abroad, as well as regular excursions to museums and exhibitions in and around London.

Web-based learning -

Solent’s virtual learning environment provides quick online access to assignments, lecture notes, suggested reading and other course information.

Why Solent?

What do we offer?

From a vibrant city centre campus to our first class facilities, this is where you can find out why you should choose Solent.

Facilities - http://www.solent.ac.uk/about/facilities/facilities.aspx

City living - http://www.solent.ac.uk/studying/southampton/living-in-southampton.aspx

Accommodation - http://www.solent.ac.uk/studying/accommodation/accommodation.aspx

Career Potential

Following this course, you will be well prepared for a career in fashion merchandise management or the broader fashion industry.

Suitable roles for graduates include:

- Visual merchandiser
- Buyer/allocator
- Merchandising
- Creative marketing
- Consumer behaviour consultant
- Store planner/designer
- Retail management
- Visual merchandising
- Business owner.

Links with industry -

Industry professionals share their knowledge and experiences with students through guest presentations, lectures, one-to-one tutorials and portfolio-viewing workshops.
Recent visiting lecturers have included: Caryn Franklin, Perry Curties, Iain R Webb, Wayne Johns, Bruce Smith, Ellen Rogers, Hannah Al-Shemmeri, Elaine Waldron, Maria Bonet and Richard Billingham.

On this course, we also work closely with industry partners, including MRA and IBM, who are involved in teaching on two specialist units.

Transferable skills -

During the course you’ll develop your research, writing and critical thinking skills, along with experience in presentation, networking and teamwork.

Tuition fees

The tuition fees for the 2016/2017 academic year are:

UK and EU full-time fees: £6,695 per year

International full-time fees: £11,260 per year

UK and EU part-time fees: £3,350 per year

International part-time fees: £5,630 per year

Graduation costs -

Graduation is the ceremony to celebrate the achievements of your studies. For graduates in 2015, there is no charge to attend graduation, but you will be required to pay for the rental of your academic gown (approximately £42 per graduate, depending on your award). You may also wish to purchase official photography packages, which range in price from £15 to £200+. Graduation is not compulsory, so if you prefer to have your award sent to you, there is no cost.
For more details, please visit: http://www.solent.ac.uk/studying/graduation/home.aspx

Next steps

Think a career in fashion retail might be for you? With an expert teaching team, industry-standard facilities and a long history of providing graduates for retail and fashion management roles, Southampton Solent University’s postgraduate fashion merchandise management programme could be the ideal next step towards your dream career.

Visit the MA Fashion Merchandise Management page on the Southampton Solent University website for more details!

(Student Profile)

Carly Millett, graduate

I would definitely recommend the MA Fashion Merchandise Management if you’d like to pursue a career in fashion. The units cover a variety of areas which helped me to gain an in-depth knowledge of the fashion industry and the wide variety of career choices available.
"Teaching on the course is excellent and a mix of academic lecturers and industry professionals is an added bonus. I have now followed a marketing career in the fashion industry and I’m applying the knowledge and skills gained from this course.


Entry Requirements

An honours degree at 2:2 or higher in a fashion or related discipline. More Information: View Website

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