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College of Education and Human Development

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Product Development Emphasis

« Back to Textile and Apparel Studies major

A professor helps a student with a design

Program Description

The Product Development emphasis meets increasing industry demand for graduates who have an understanding of both design and merchandising aspects of the industry. The design and merchandising functions are becoming more inter-related as apparel firms rely increasingly on private brands, and as apparel manufacturers assume a more prominent retailing function. Students who elect this option take courses in merchandising, design and business to prepare them for challenging careers in product development.

Prospective students may arrange a department visit by contacting Dr. Barbara Frazier at or Kelly Weathers at .

To declare a Textile and Apparel Studies Product Development major, visit the College of Education and Human Development Office of Admissions and Advising.


The College of Education and Human Development Advising Office assists students in planning their studies. Majors should meet with an Advisor each semester to ensure that they stay on track toward graduation.


Girl SmilingCareer opportunities in product development include:


For class listings, program guides and other resources, visit the advising page for the textile and apparel studies: product development major.
Course descriptions for textile and apparel studies


Field Experience/Internships

FCS 2020 Field Experience (3 credits)

Student working on clothingField experience offers students the opportunity to apply classroom learning in real world situations, as well as gain valuable work experience. Textile and Apparel Studies majors earn three semester credits by completing 300 hours of pre-approved, supervised field experience in apparel design and marketing firms. In addition to completion of required hours, students complete reflective assignments and receive periodic employer evaluations during the enrollment period.  Field experience may be completed during the fall, spring or summer semester/sessions. It is possible to complete this requirement over more than one semester.  Students may enroll for one, two or three credits per semester, with 100 work hours required for each enrolled credit.

FCS 4290 Internship (3 to 6 credits)

Textile and Apparel Studies majors may elect to complete an internship as part of their program. Internships provide students with supervised, management-level training experience with leading industry firms during late-junior or senior year. Internships may be completed in fall, spring or summer  semester/sessions, and must be approved by major faculty prior to enrollment. FCS 2020 Field Experience is a prerequisite, and must be satisfactorily completed prior to enrolling in FCS 4290. A minimum of three credits (300 hours) is required, with a maximum of six credits (600 hours). In addition to completion of required work hours, enrolled students complete reflective assignments and periodic employer evaluations during the semester of enrollment.

To plan a Field Experience or Internship, Textile and Apparel Studies majors should contact Dr. Barbara Frazier at or (269) 387-3719.

Study Abroad Opportunities

The Textile and Apparel Studies major at WMU has partnerships with the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, Regents University in London and Florence University of the Arts in Italy. Product Development majors may attend one of these schools as part of their WMU program. Attending one of these schools provides a unique perspective on the industry and the chance to make valuable industry connections.

Helpful planning documents:

For information on planning your studies at Fashion Institute of Technology, please contact Dr. Barbara Frazier .

Student Organization

Merchandising Opportunities and Design Association (MODA)
MODA is the student organization representing Textile and Apparel Studies majors and minors. Joining this organization enhances personal and professional skills and provides opportunities to meet and develop friendships with fellow majors, network with companies, and learn about careers. Members use their creativity and leadership skills to help produce annual student fashion shows. Contact:  faculty advisor Kelly Weathers .
Visit MODA on Facebook