Highly-Ranked Kent State Fashion School Launches New Graduate Program

This semester, the Kent State University Fashion School, an Ohio Center of Excellence, added a new graduate-level educational experience to their highly nationally and internationally ranked offerings. The new program, a Master of Fashion Industry Studies (M.F.I.S.), is the first of its kind in the academic world. While other graduate degrees can be applied to many specialties, the M.F.I.S is exclusively focused on the fashion industry. This two-year initial masters level degree is designed for the academic advancement of individuals who engage in learning, both inside and outside the university.  


Graduate studies coordinator, Dr. Catherine Leslie, is thrilled to finally launch the program after working on it for the past several years “Our School is seeking to be a front-runner in education for the fashion industry. Rather than dividing knowledge and students into ‘art’ or ‘business’ as is the trend in many undergraduate and graduate programs in our field, the Master of Fashion Industry Studies seeks to make connections between theory and practice, developing an understanding of the industry in a holistic manner,” expressed Dr. Leslie.  

Graduate Students and Graduate Coordinator standing on staircase in Rockwell Hall

By requiring a practicum along with robust coursework, the M.F.I.S prepares professionals with the capacity for critical analysis of the fashion industry who can utilize cross-disciplinary and applied research methods, generate ideas based on testing and experimentation and effectively synthesize and present solutions to issues present in the fashion industry. 


The Fashion School joins other industry-focused programs at Kent State University such as nursing, public health and aviation, by driving innovation while preparing future professionals for success.  Each M.F.I.S. graduate will develop a thesis accompanied by a visual presentation that proposes an innovative and practical research-based solution for the fashion industry.  The goal of the program is to provide graduates with the ability to solve complex industry issues through research.  Throughout the program, students will be expected to utilize interactions with industry stakeholders and emerging technologies to develop ideas for the industry as an extension of the classroom.


With an award-winning faculty, state-of-the-art equipment, lab/studio space, and an abundance of strong industry partnerships, The Fashion School is well-positioned to guide students in exploring critical issues facing the industry. Some critical issues that will be explored include changes in retail, supply chain management, sustainability, innovative design, entrepreneurship, wearable technology and more.  


Eight students are currently enrolled in the first M.F.I.S. cohort, a number that the school hopes to more than double by next fall. “Next year, we expect to have at least 20 students involved in the program and continue to grow from there. We strive to be a front-runner and are confident that by having our graduate coursework infused with real-world investigations into critical issues facing the industry, we will prepare future leaders,” said Dr. Leslie. “We welcome students with degrees from all areas, as this strengthens and expands the interdisciplinary nature of graduate fashion education.”


This graduate program is currently accepting applications for the fall 2019 semester. Those interested in submitting materials can apply directly on the Kent State Graduate Studies admissions page, www.kent.edu/graduatestudies/admissions/. Review of applications will begin on February 1, 2019. Assistantships are available for those who qualify. For more information regarding the M.F.I.S. program, please visit the Fashion School’s Website at www.kent.edu/fashionor email MFIS@kent.edu.



Established in 1983 as the Shannon Rodgers and Jerry Silverman School of Fashion Design and Merchandising at Kent State University, the school was named an Ohio Center of Excellence by the state Board of Regents and is a member institution of the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA), International Foundation of Fashion Technology Institutes (IFFTI) and National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD).





Media Contact

Brittani Peterson, marketing associate, bpeter12@kent.edu, 330-672-2714

Dr. Catherine Amoroso Leslie, graduate studies coordinator, cleslie1@kent.edu, 330-672-0169



POSTED: Tuesday, August 28, 2018 - 3:38pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, September 19, 2018 - 11:28am