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  • MS in Retail & Merchandising


    Drexel’s online master’s program provides a broad overview of the retail and merchandising industry, focusing on topics such as branding, fashion, visual communication, omni-channel marketing, product development, and supply chain management.

    Considering both theoretical and practical approaches, the curriculum will develop your ability to think critically, research and solve problems, and implement innovative solutions in a dynamic global marketplace.

    Program Features

    • Taught by faculty with advanced degrees and substantial career experience as leaders in the retail, merchandising, and fashion fields
    • Designed for both current industry professionals and those seeking to change careers
    • Coursework covers cultural theory, new merchandising technologies, retail data analysis, strategic planning, and social media
    • Can be personalized based on your interests and level of experience
    • For those already in the field, information learned in class can be immediately applied to your job
    • Four start times throughout the year (Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer)

    Career Outlook

    The forecasted job growth shows a strong need for managers possessing a nimbleness in retail operations, merchandise management, customer relations, strategic planning, product analysis, advanced problem solving, and human resource development. With an MS in Retail & Merchandising, you will be able to pursue such opportunities as Retail Corporate Manager, Retail Sales Manager, Manufacturer Sales Representative, Educator, and more.

    Optional Residencies Abroad and in Philadelphia

    You'll have the opportunity to study abroad in locations such as London, Italy, China, or Iceland. During the trip, you'll learn about brand communication, product design and development, retail models, store layout, visual merchandising, and product promotion within that specific area of the world.

    There are also residencies available in Philadelphia where you'll have the opportunity to meet in person with faculty and fellow students.

    Project or Research Thesis

    All students complete a project or thesis that is presented to a three-person committee for review. Projects can include investigative studies at a particular company, practice-based innovations in the industry, or hands-on explorations surrounding management and merchandising.

    State restrictions may apply to some programs. Learn more.


    This program is organized into four 10-week quarters per year (as opposed to the traditional two semester system) which means you can take more courses in a shorter time period. One semester credit is equivalent to 1.5 quarter credits.

    Required Courses 
    RMER 500Retail & Merchandising 3.0
    RMER 510Research Methods in Retail & Merchandising 4.0
    RMER 520Retail Analysis and Economic Structures 3.0
    RMER 530Omni-Channel Product Promotion & Retail Analytics 3.0
    RMER 540Brand Management & Intellectual Property 3.0
    RMER 550Merchandising Technologies 3.0
    RMER 560Selling Techniques & Strategies 3.0
    RMER 570Retail Supply Chain Analysis 3.0
    RMER 580Retail Merchandising Seminar in Leadership 3.0
    RMER 600Retail Futures 3.0
    Research & Practice Based Courses14.0
    RMER 697Research & Data Collection  
    RMER 698Project/Research Thesis  
    These courses can be substituted for RETL 550, 560, or 570 with advisor approval: 
    RMER 575Globalization in Retail & Merchandising  
    RMER I599Retail & Merchandising Independent Study  
    Total Credits45.0


    Admissions Criteria

    • A bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university
    • GPA of at least 3.0
      • GRE scores may be required if your GPA is below a 3.0
      • If you don't meet this requirement you're still encouraged to apply and your file will be reviewed on an individual basis by the Program Director 

    Required Documents

    With multiple ways to submit documents, Drexel makes it easy to complete your application. Learn more by visiting our Completing Your Application Guide.

    • A completed application
    • Official transcripts from all universities or colleges and other post-secondary educational institutions (including trade schools) attended
    • Two letters of recommendation (professional references preferred)
    • Personal statement (500 words) that addresses one or more of the following topics:
      • Why you are choosing this particular program
      • What you consider to be the direction of retail and merchandising today, and how it will affect the industry you manage in the future
      • Your short and long-term career plans, including how this degree will further them
      • The topic of your best undergraduate or professional research paper and why it was the best (you may also submit it if you choose)
    • Resume
    • Additional requirements for International Students


    The tuition rate for the academic year 2016-2017 is $1192 per credit.

    • This rate applies only to new online students.
      • Students being readmitted to Drexel University must contact within the first two weeks of the term to request tuition savings for which they qualify.
    • This program is eligible for Financial Aid.
    • Special tuition rates available for Drexel University Alumni, Military members, and members of our Partner Organizations.
    • Special rates cannot be combined. If you qualify for more than one special rate, you'll be given the one with the largest savings.
    • When receiving special tuition plans with Drexel University Online, you may not combine them with other tuition benefits that may be available from Drexel University.

    Program Director

    Joseph H. Hancock, II, Ph.D.
    Program Director, MS in Retail & Merchandising

    Joseph “Joe” Henry Hancock, II is an international authority in the area of fashion branding as a form of storytelling. He started in academia after 20 years in the retailing industry, having worked for such legendary brands as The Gap Incorporated, The Limited Corporation and Target Corporation. He released his book Brand/Story: Ralph, Vera, Johnny, Billy and Other Adventures in Fashion Branding (2009) and the 2nd Edition in 2016 called Brand/Story: Explorations and Cases in Fashion Branding both by Bloomsbury. His works on branding and storytelling have appeared in such publications as The Brand Challenge by Kartikeya Kompella (Kogan Page 2016) and Strategic Design Thinking by Natalie Nixon (Bloomsbury, 2015). He has completed three co-edited books, Fashion in Popular Culture (2013), Global Fashion Brands (2014), and Cotton: Companies, Fashion & The Fabric of Our Lives (2016) with Intellect Publishing through The University of Chicago Press. Dr. Hancock is the principal editor of the peer-reviewed journal Fashion, Style and Popular Culture (Intellect Publishers) and he is working on an authored book on Jeans and another called The Fashion Business Reader, both with Bloomsbury, that will be released in 2018 and 2019.

    Dr. Hancock is the Executive Director for Events for the Popular Culture/American Culture Associations (PCA/ACA) and was their 2009 recipient of the Felicia F. Campbell Award for Area Chairs. He has been awarded Drexel's 2008 Steinbright Cooperative Career Center's faculty of the year and recently received the 2011 Stanley J. Gwiazda Professorship Award. He has received over $100,000 in grants, fellowships and awards and has generated $13,000 in corporate gifts for Drexel University.

    Dr. Hancock has lectured and taught courses at University of Technology in Sydney, Australia and at Stockholm University. Has been an invited speaker at Cornell University, The Ohio State University, Albright College, and the University of Delaware. He has received research fellowships and grants from the Popular/American Culture Associations, the London College of Fashion, and Stockholm University and has taught courses at The Ohio State University, Ohio University, and Oregon State University.

    Academic Calendar

    2016-2017 Academic Year

    Classes Begin 
    Classes End 
    Exams Begin 
    Exams End 

    Fall 2016     

    September 19, 2016

    December 3, 2016

    December 5, 2016

    December 10, 2016

    Winter 2017 

    January 9, 2017

    March 18, 2017

    March 20, 2017

    March 25, 2017

    Spring 2017 

    April 3, 2017

    June 10, 2017

    June 12, 2017

    June 16, 2017

    Summer 2017 

    June 26, 2017

    September 2, 2017

    September 5, 2017

    September 9, 2017

    2017-2018 Academic Year

    Classes Begin 
    Classes End 
    Exams Begin 
    Exams End 

    Fall 2017     

    September 25, 2017

    December 9, 2017

    December 11, 2017

    December 16, 2017

    Winter 2018 

    January 8, 2018

    March 17, 2018

    March 19, 2018

    March 24, 2018

    Spring 2018 

    April 2, 2018

    June 9, 2018

    June 11, 2018

    June 15, 2018

    Summer 2018 

    June 25, 2018

    September 1, 2018

    September 4, 2018

    September 8, 2018

    Apply today for the MS in Retail & Merchandising

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