Welcome to the Merchandising, Apparel, and Textiles (MAT) program!  

The MAT program develops graduates who are consumer and technology focused. Students study concepts and develop skills necessary for understanding consumer and market trends and retailing and buying strategies. You will learn about industry structures that facilitate the development, sourcing, marketing, and merchandising of consumer goods and services in the domestic and international market place.


Coursework is composed of instruction and hands-on interactions designed to complement the internship opportunities that will help you achieve your individual career goals. You will be challenged to exercise creative thinking in business operations, merchandising strategies, and consumer issues.  You will gain the knowledge and experience you will need to understand current trends and applications in the merchandising, apparel, and textiles industries. Upon graduation, the knowledge you have obtained can be applied to business, management, and professional development settings.

Students complete several projects focusing on various aspects of merchandising, apparel, and textiles: Sourcing, Market Trends, Consumerism, Marketing, Entrepreneurship, Retailing, Visual Merchandising, Textiles, and Brand Management.  Courses such as MAT 237: Aesthetics in Merchandising, introduces students to design principles which they later use to create window displays in Lexington retail stores.  In MAT 514: Retail Entrepreneurship, students learn concepts of business ownership and develop a business plan for their own retail store. For a complete list of courses and their descriptions, click Course Descriptions.            

Other Industry-Focused Courses Offered:

            • Dress and Culture
            • Textiles for Consumers  
            • Brand Management
            • History of Costume
            • Merchandise Planning and Control
            • Social and Psychological Aspects of Apparel
            • Electronic Retailing
            • Merchandising Strategy Analysis
            • Color Theory                                                         

The Target Project

In 2012, local Target store managers approached Merchandising, Apparel, and Textiles faculty to see if a partnership could be born between the two parties that allowed students to conduct research on the company's retailing needs. Since the initial conversation, students have been actively researching and providing Target with suggestions for how to enhance their business strategies.  The actual research conducted takes place in MAT 359: Target Marketing, where students spend the entire semester researching and formulating ideas to pitch to district and regional Target representatives.  Each semester the topic of choice is different based on Target's immediate needs, research in previous years has been conducted on the Hispanic market and digital media usage.  At end of the semester, students present their cumulative findings to which Target representatives select a wining group and present each member a $1,000 scholarship!

Study Tours            

The Department of Retailing and Tourism Management offers many diverse opportunities for students to travel the world while earning course credit.  As an alternative to education abroad trips offered through the university, MAT students also have the ability to visit multiple countries and enjoy unique educational experiences outside of classrooms through our MAT 480 Study Tour course. MAT 480 is a pre-planned 3 credit course where students participate in a week-long domestic or international study tour with scheduled professional visits and tourism activities to expose students to merchandising activities and careers in worldly locations.

Our students have travelled to Panama, Paris, New York, Scotland, London, Florence, and many more! The ability to earn credit in a foreign country is an exceptional opportunity, and to make sure our students get to experience this, we offer scholarships and work with curriculum equivalencies to ensure these lifelong memories are made. 

Be sure to watch our New York Study Tour video (above) to learn more about this great opportunity! 

Students can also participate in Education Abroad, which has several programs for students to participate in such as, study abroad, intern abroad, teach abroad, and research abroad.


Outcomes: What’s in it for you?

As you enter college and try to decide which degree matches your interest, always think ahead about career opportunities and positions available.  With a Bachelor of Science in Merchandising, Apparel, and Textiles you will have the opportunity to integrate concepts, philosophies, and components which are applicable to various careers such as:

        • Retail Store Manager
        • Planning Manager
        • Brand Manager
        • Fashion Buyer
        • Stylist
        • Small Business Owner
        • District/Regional Store Manger
        • Product Management
        • Visual Merchandiser
        • Marketing
        • Fashion Forecaster
        • Quality Assurance Manager in Textiles
        • Public Relations
        • Showroom Manager
        • Brand Representative
        • Fashion Coordinator/Director
        • Loss Prevention

Average Salaries for Popular MAT Jobs:

        • Buyer: $52,543-$115,024
        • Store Manager: $38,333-$78,871
        • Visual Merchandiser: $26,609-$55,927
        • Brand Manager: $69,513-$119,641