dha College of Design
Design, Housing, and Apparel


Graduate study in the apparel studies track advances both theoretical and practical knowledge of textile and apparel products related to human behavior.  Here you will be provided with the opportunity to work with established scholars, participate in innovative research, and interact with a cohort of graduate students.


As a graduate student in Apparel Studies, you can select from a wide range of supporting classes available from a multitude of programs at the University of Minnesota.  You will also have access to social, cultural, and business resources abundant in the metropolitan setting of Minneapolis/St. Paul.

Laboratories and Centers related to Apparel Studies located within the College of Design include the following:


The Goldstein Museum of Design (GMD) houses a superb collection of historic dress and textiles available for study.  In addition the GMD curates 3-6 exhibitions per year related to various aspects of history and culture. The GMD offers assistantships and opportunities for students to study historic dress and textiles.   


The Wearable Technology Lab is an innovative research facility available to interested and qualified students that conducts research on novel wearable technologies and their applications. The Lab is interdisciplinary, bringing together students and faculty with backgrounds in apparel design, engineering, and human factors, to conduct original research. Projects in the lab are often sponsored by Industry (e.g., W.L. Gore, Stratasys) or Government (e.g., NASA, NSF), and range in topic from technology development (e.g., garment-integrated sensing and actuation) to e-textile manufacturing, human factors of wearable systems, and a variety of applications (e.g., medical devices, human spaceflight, and technology-augmented everyday clothing).


The Human Dimensioning Lab


The Center for Retail Design & Innovation (CRDI)



Degree options include the Master of Art (MA), Master of Science (MS), and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD).  Upon completion of the graduate degree, students are prepared for teaching and research positions in academia, as well as other careers within the textile and apparel industry.

Concentrations include:





Dress, History, and Culture, which focuses upon understanding and conducting research on material culture, historic trends, and psychological and social behaviors related to dress.  Students explore the ways in which historical context, socio-psychological and cultural factors influence material culture.  Students may select a minor, such as Museum Studies, Anthropology, Art History, or American Studies.  As a result of their study, students learn to analyze products of our time and interpret them through human response.


Product Development focuses upon theories and processes used in developing wearable soft goods products.  An in-depth understanding of user psychological, physical, and social needs provides the foundation for analyzing, implementing, and finalizing design solutions.  Students have the opportunity to work on industry-sponsored, applied, research-based projects through the Wearable Product Design Center.


Retail and Consumer Studies emphasizes understanding and conducting research on individuals, groups, organizations, and the processes they use to select, secure, use, and dispose of apparel products.  Students explore the ways in which environmental, socio-psychological, and cultural factors influence consumption at all stages.  The result of their study is the ability to inform decisions concerning retailing and marketing strategies, as well as the ability to effect socially desirable behavior in a changing, globalized world.


Prospective Students


Minimum Admissions Requirements:  To engage in graduate study in the apparel studies track, the student must have an undergraduate degree in an area of Clothing & Textiles (e.g., Retail Merchandising, Clothing Design). Interested prospective students with other education and work experience are encouraged to schedule an appointment with faculty representing the emphasis area to determine whether they have sufficient background to pursue this area of study at the graduate level.


Information on Funding and Tuition:  Financial support in the form of graduate assistantships is available on a limited basis and is based upon the expertise of the student and the needs of the department. Assistantship offers will not be made until after the student has been accepted into the program.  Assistantship availability is not guaranteed.  More information.


Apparel Studies Faculty Profiles

Required Coursework (Degree Planning Sheets)




Meet our Graduates!


Recent Graduates, Dissertation Titles, Current Positions, Advisers

Application & Info


Contact us!



Contact Information

College of Design

Saint Paul Offices

32 McNeal Hall, 1985 Buford Ave, St. Paul, MN 55108

P: 612-626-9068 | F: 612-625-1922

[directions and maps]

Minneapolis Offices

101 Rapson Hall, 89 Church St SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455

P: 612-626-9068 | F: 612-625-7525

[directions and maps]