MA Fashion Merchandise Management

Build your skills for a creative career in fashion merchandise management.

Enquire: 023 8201 5066

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.

For more details on the individual units that students study on this MA Fashion Merchandise Management programme, please visit the ‘course content’ tab.

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.

Have you got a question about applying?


Don't just take our word for it...

Carly Millett
"Teaching on the course is excellent and a mix of academic lecturers and industry professionals is an added bonus"
  More from Carly

Other courses you might be interested in


  • 1 Year Standard entry


  • 3 Years Standard entry

Typical entry requirements

An honours degree, at 2:2 or above, in a related discipline



Year one


Core units

  • Retail Space Analysis and Design
  • Retail Futures: Innovation and Enterprise
  • Professional Practice
  • Research Methods
  • Buying and Merchandising
  • Masters Project

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 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.



  • 1 Year Standard entry


  • 3 Years Standard entry

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.

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.


Key facts


Location of study: East Park Terrace

Study mode: Full-time, Flexible

Entry requirements

  • An honours degree at 2:2 or higher in a fashion or related discipline. 
  • Applicants will be required to send a portfolio and may be contacted by video call. 
  • Alternatively, applicants may be considered with industry experience in one or more areas of the fashion industry, including retail, management, design or a related field.

 Portfolio interview requirements

Before attending your interview or sending us your portfolio, please read the following:

English language requirements

Applicants who do not have English as their first language will be required to demonstrate an approved level of proficiency in the use of the English language. The agreed minimum requirements for this course are:

  • IELTS minimum 6.5 overall with minimum of 6.0 in writing and a minimum of 5.5 in reading, listening and speaking
  • TOEFL IBT 92 with minimum of 22 in writing and a minimum of 19 in reading, listening and speaking - TOEFL is only valid for EU students
  • or equivalent.

Qualifications are checked before enrolment, and international students must bring their original certificates or certified copies when coming to study at the University.

The University also offers a Pre-Sessional English Language Course for international students who wish to improve their level of English before starting a degree course.

Note to all international students requiring a visa:

All international applicants need to be aware that the English language requirements to attend Southampton Solent University, and the English language requirements to obtain a visa from the Home Office, may be different. This means that if you meet the Southampton Solent University language requirement to gain a place on the course, you may still have to meet additional requirements to be granted with a visa by the Home Office.

We strongly advise all applicants to visit the Home Office website which outlines all the requirements for a successful visa application and to take a look at this PDF document which outlines both Solent University and Home Office requirements for a number of language tests.  

Non-standard entry

If you do not have these qualifications or are unsure of your eligibility please contact the University using the contact details found at the top of this page.

Costs involved


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

Other costs

Compulsory presentation materials, portfolio and printing costs: £300

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:

How to apply


Applications for postgraduate courses can be made at any time prior to the start of the course. However, we strongly recommend you apply at your earliest convenience.  

If you would like to apply for admission as a postgraduate student please make sure you have carefully read the general application guidance notes that are available with the form.

You should then fully complete the postgraduate application form and return it to our admissions team, details can be found at the top of the page.

Solent alumni could be eligible for up to a 50% reduction of tuition fees if returning to study a postgraduate course. The discount applied will be dependent on your undergraduate degree classification as follows:

Solent Alumni with a:
• First (1.1) will be offered a 50% discount to study at PG level
• 2.1 or 2.2 will be offered a 20% discount to study at PG level

The discount applied will be based on the most recently completed course.

If you are currently a student at Southampton Solent University and are continuing on without a break in your studies, your discount will be automatically applied on your return.

If are not following directly on from a course at Southampton Solent University, but have studied with us in previous years, you will need to register for the alumni discount.

Click here to register or to find out more. 

Student support and services


Student welfare

Southampton Solent University is committed to giving you the best possible educational experience during your time with us. As such we have a number of support services and policies set up covering funding, careers and employability, chaplaincy, counselling, international advice, student affairs, key academic skills, disability support and general student advice. Find out more about our approach to student welfare.

University facilities

You will have access to a modern, comfortable and efficient environment in which to study, following our extensive refurbishment and modernisation over recent years. Some key facilities include Mountbatten library, a wide variety of sports and watersports facilities, plus superb IT and media facilities. Find out more about our first-class facilities here.

Living in Southampton

Southampton is a vibrant student city and studying at Solent means that you will be at the very heart of the action. Find out more about being a student in Southampton.

Solent Students’ Union

Run by students for students, Solent Students’ Union is a key part of any student’s time at Solent. Visit the Students’ Union website for more information.



  • 1 Year Standard entry


  • 3 Years Standard entry


Cookies and Southampton Solent University

We need to place cookies on your computer to ensure your browsing experience with us is enhanced. Please continue browsing as normal if you are happy for cookies to be placed on your computer. However, you can change your settings at any time.
Find out how these cookies are used and how to change your settings

Hide this message