Online Merchandising Graduate Certificate

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About the Merchandising Graduate Certificate

In the ever changing, global atmosphere of retailing, the ability to merchandise the product to the consumer is a strategic advantage. Understanding merchandising at every level, which this program provides, will distinguish a person among their peers. Retailing is a major impact on the U.S. economy; representing 1/3 of the total U.S. economy or $4 trillion. The online Merchandising graduate certificate is ideal for professionals in a variety of retail-related fields.

You may have chosen retailing, apparel design or business as a profession but don’t have the theoretical background of merchandising. The additional expertise offered through the Merchandising graduate certificate could position you for career advancement or a new career in merchandising.

Program Structure and Curriculum

The 12-credit online Merchandising graduate certificate consists of three required 3-credit courses and one elective 3-credit course.

To view the complete curriculum and when courses are being offered, visit the GP IDEA's Merchandising Graduate Program Course Planner page.

Merchandising Graduate Certificate Plan of Study

Required Core Courses:

Elective Courses: (3 CREDITS)

Total Credits: 12

Careers and Outlook


With a Merchandising graduate certificate, students will be set up to advance their careers and increase their potential earning. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, between 2020 and 2030 there will be an estimated 45,800 job opening each year for purchasing managers, buyers and purchasing agents. For advertising, promotions and marketing managers, there is an estimated 10% job growth. This equates to roughly 31,000 job openings each year between 2020 and 2030.


Many GP IDEA alumni credit the degree and certificate programs as a reason for promotion and salary increases. Recipients of the online Merchandising graduate certificate are prepared to lead corporate social responsibility initiatives in the following areas:

  • Buying and merchandising
  • Market research and entrepreneurial initiatives
  • Product development
  • Retail and sales leadership
  • Promotions and social media marketing
  • Sourcing and supply chain management

Watch the video below to learn about how graduates earn the skills necessary to bring success to their employers and businesses in the soft goods industry.

Partnership with Great Plains IDEA

The Online Merchandising Graduate Certificate is offered through a partnership with the Great Plains Interactive Distance Education Alliance (GP IDEA). GP IDEA is a consortium of 19 public universities from across the United States, offering online degree and certificate programs in human sciences and agriculture. Through GP IDEA, students are able to take courses from any of the partner universities that all count towards their degree at their home institution.

The courses in this program are taught by the same instructors which teach on campus at the participating universities. Curriculum is specially adapted for the online environment to ensure students receive the same quality education as they would experience on campus. Course schedules are determined by the teaching institution, but do not have set class times, allowing students to access course content when it is convenient for them. Students meet deadlines as outlined by the instructor, and interact with instructors and other students through e-mail, chats, discussion boards, and other interactive methods. Students must have access to a computer, e-mail, and the Internet.

Merchandising Faculty

A list of graduate faculty for the Merchandising Graduate Certificate as well as their current research interests is available on the NDSU catalog page. In addition to faculty information, you can find more information about the program in the catalog.


For current admission requirements, visit the Graduate Certificate in Merchandising catalog page.

To apply for this degree program, click the link below to start the application process. The application fee is $35.

The deadline to apply is one month before the beginning of the semester you choose to begin. Semester start dates can be found on NDSU One Stop's Dates and Dealines page.

The application process includes completing the following:

  • Online application and fees
  • Statement of purpose
  • Transcripts
  • Test scores

Tuition & Fees

The tuition and fee structure for this program is set by the GP IDEA consortium. Classes you take are charged at the same tuition rate regardless of which university is your home university. Books and supplies are not included in the tuition and fees. Since a certificate is not a degree track, federal Title IV student financial assistance and tuition waivers will not be available for certificate students. Please note that courses offered through GP IDEA are not eligible for NDSU tuition waivers.

Contact Information

NDSU Department of Apparel, Design, and Hospitality Management
Phone: (701) 231-8220

NDSU GP IDEA Coordinator

NDSU Graduate School
Phone: (701) 231-5945


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