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Kent State to Offer Nation’s First Master of Fashion Degree

Posted Mar. 10, 2014

Kent State University’s Shannon Rodgers and Jerry Silverman School of Fashion Design and Merchandising (the Fashion School) is now offering a Master of Fashion (MFash) degree program. Launching in fall 2014, the program is designed for highly creative and motivated fashion industry professionals who wish to conduct intensive practitioner-based research. The Fashion School at Kent State is the first school anywhere in the United States to offer a Master of Fashion degree.

Photo of a Kent State Fashion School studentThe Master of Fashion is a 30-credit professional degree program designed to enable students with specialized interests to pursue advanced studies. These areas of study complement the traditional elements of the fashion curriculum, allowing students to customize a cross-disciplinary course of study with a high level of specialization.
“We think of this program as the future of the fashion industry in practice,” said Kent State’s Fashion School Director J.R. Campbell. “The unique Master of Fashion degree program is positioned to engage with the broad range of resources we support through the school, such as our TechStyleLAB, Fashion School Store and study away locations worldwide.”

The program approaches advanced fashion practice from a number of different perspectives, including technology implementation, management, design, sustainability and product development. Unlike M.A., M.B.A. and M.Des. degree programs, which engage with specific areas of the fashion world, the MFash degree is based in the comprehensive context of today’s fashion practitioners.

“Rather than compartmentalizing aspects of fashion practice into ‘art’ and ‘business,’ the MFash program explores fashion as an aggregate phenomenon,” said Catherine Leslie, graduate studies coordinator for Kent State’s Fashion School. “The coursework is theoretically rich, but it’s also commerce-based. We think of the industry as an extension of the classroom.”

“The degree has more industry context than an M.F.A., as well as a research and thesis component that may not be present in the M.B.A. approach,” Campbell explained. “The MFash positions graduates to fulfill hybridized roles competitively with applicants who have several years of industry experience. Our graduates will be able to approach the industry creatively and drive innovation.”

The MFash is designed to prepare graduates who are ideally suited to meet the demands of today’s rapidly evolving fashion world. New technology has resulted in unprecedented job opportunities, and companies are thinking differently about the way they hire.

The MFash also addresses emerging entrepreneurial trends toward small- to medium-sized businesses that manufacture locally or within the United States. Through the integrated use of new technologies, the curriculum will support a greater diversity of employment opportunities connected to the broader fashion universe.

“We are excited to add graduate education alongside the Fashion School’s already superb undergraduate programs,” said John R. Crawford, dean of Kent State’s College of the Arts.

Funded graduate assistantships will be available as part of a comprehensive recruitment package. The MFash program is accepting applications to enroll beginning in fall 2014. For more information, visit or contact Leslie at or 330-672-0169.

To watch a video of Campbell discussing the new Master of Fashion degree program, visit

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Photo Caption:
A student in Kent State University’s Fashion School stands in Rockwell Hall, home of the Fashion School. Kent State is launching the nation’s first Master of Fashion degree program in fall 2014.

Media Contacts:
Catherine Leslie,, 330-672-0169
Emily Vincent,, 330-672-8595