Highly Ranked Kent State Fashion School Launches New Graduate Program | Kent State University

Highly Ranked Kent State Fashion School Launches New Graduate Program

This semester, Kent State University’s School of Fashion Design and Merchandising, an Ohio Center of Excellence, added a new graduate-level educational experience to its 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 Master of Fashion Industry Studies is exclusively focused on the fashion industry. This two-year initial master’s-level degree is designed for the academic advancement of individuals who engage in learning, both inside and outside the university.  

Catherine Leslie, Ph.D., graduate studies coordinator of Kent State’s Fashion School, 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,” Dr. Leslie said. “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.”

By requiring a practicum along with robust coursework, the Master of Fashion Industry Studies 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 such as nursing, public health and aviation by driving innovation while preparing future professionals for success. Each Master of Fashion Industry Studies 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, Kent State’s 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 Master of Fashion Industry Studies 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,” Dr. Leslie said. “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. 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 2019 Fall Semester. Those interested in submitting materials can apply directly on the Kent State Graduate Studies admissions page at www.kent.edu/graduatestudies/admissions. Review of applications will begin on Feb. 1, 2019. Assistantships are available for those who qualify. For more information regarding the Master of Fashion Industry Studies program, please visit the Fashion School’s website at www.kent.edu/fashion or email MFIS@kent.edu.

About Kent State University’s Fashion School

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 (now the Ohio Department of Higher Education) 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). For more information about Kent State’s Fashion School, visit www.kent.edu/fashion.

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Media Contacts:
Brittani Peterson, bpeter12@kent.edu, 330-672-2714
Catherine Leslie, cleslie1@kent.edu, 330-672-0169
Emily Vincent, evincen2@kent.edu, 330-672-8595