Online Master of Science Degree in Merchandising

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About the Merchandising Program

The online Master of Science (M.S.) in Merchandising prepares graduates of the program to work in product development, promotions, and retail management in this ever expanding industry. In the ever changing and global atmosphere of retailing, the ability to merchandise the product to the consumer is a strategic advantage. Understanding merchandising at every level, which this degree 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.

NDSU offeres both an M.S. in Merchandising and a graduate certificate in merchandising. Both programs are great options 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. Through the online M.S. in Merchandising you will learn to deliver the consumer the right product or service in the right place, in the right quantities, at the right time, and the right price. This program could position you for career advancement or a new career in merchandising.

Students in the online M.S. in Merchandising program will be able to accomplish the following items.

  • Gain leadership skills for ever-changing situational contexts.
  • Advance within the field of merchandising or begin a new career.
  • Work at every level, from product development to promotions and retail management.
  • Think critically about issues related to consumers, technology, industry trends, product development and distribution, the research and strategic planning process, ethics and social responsibility

Learn how the collaborative approach to this master's program sets it apart from similar programs. Adam Ojeda, a current student earning a master's degree, recently participated in a recruitment webinar to help explain the program to prospective students.

Program Structure and Curriculum

The program consists of ten required 3-credit courses, as well as a 6-credits of either thesis, comprehensive study or electives.

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

Merchandising Online Master's Degree Plan of Study

Required Core Courses:

    Total Credits: 36

    Careers and Outlook


    With a master's degree in Merchandising, 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.

    What Can You Do with a Master's Degree in Merchandising?

    Many GP IDEA alumni credit the degree and certificate programs as a reason for promotion and salary increases. Graduates of the online master's degree in Merchandising 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

    Partnership with Great Plains IDEA

    The Online Master of Science in Merchandising 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

    For information about graduate faculty for this program as well as their current research interests, visit the M.S. in Merchandising catalog page.

    Admission Requirements

    For current admission requirements, visit the 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
    • Three letters of recommendation
    • Transcripts
    • Test scores

    Tuition and 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. 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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