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USA: Study Fashion Design - Best Colleges

Updated: Jun 19, 2023

Introduction:


The fashion industry is a global multi-billion dollar business that is constantly growing and evolving. Pursuing a fashion design degree in the United States can provide international students with the opportunity to learn from experienced industry professionals, gain exposure to different cultures and design styles, and build a strong network of connections. In this blog, we will discuss the top fashion design colleges in the United States for international students, along with important considerations for admission, courses offered, tuition fees, scholarships, visa process, work opportunities, and post-study career prospects.

Top Fashion Design Colleges in the USA:

  1. Parsons School of Design at The New School: Parsons School of Design at The New School is located in the heart of New York City, one of the world's fashion capitals. It offers a range of undergraduate and graduate programs in fashion design, including an Associate in Applied Science in Fashion Design, a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Fashion Design, a Master of Fine Arts in Fashion Design and Society, and a Master of Professional Studies in Fashion Management. The school's faculty comprises experienced professionals from the fashion industry, and students have the opportunity to participate in internships with well-known fashion houses and brands.

  2. Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT): The Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) is a public college located in New York City. It offers a range of fashion-related programs, including a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Fashion Design, a Master of Arts in Fashion and Textile Studies, and a Master of Fine Arts in Fashion Design. FIT also offers international student scholarships, which can cover up to 50% of the tuition fees for qualified students.

  3. Pratt Institute: Pratt Institute is a private art and design college located in Brooklyn, New York. Its fashion program offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Fashion Design and an Associate in Applied Science in Fashion Design. The school's curriculum emphasizes hands-on learning, and students have access to state-of-the-art facilities and equipment.

  4. Rhode Island School of Design (RISD): The Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) is a private art and design college located in Providence, Rhode Island. Its fashion program offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Apparel Design and a Master of Fine Arts in Apparel Design. RISD's curriculum emphasizes creativity and innovation, and students have access to well-equipped studios and workshops.

  5. Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD): Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) is a private art and design college with campuses in Savannah, Georgia, and Atlanta, Georgia. Its fashion program offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Fashion, a Master of Fine Arts in Fashion, and a Master of Arts in Fashion. SCAD's fashion program is known for its interdisciplinary approach, and students have the opportunity to collaborate with students from other design disciplines.

  6. Academy of Art University: Located in San Francisco, California, the Academy of Art University offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) and a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degree in Fashion Design. The school has a diverse student body, with students from over 112 countries, making it a great option for international students. The admission criteria include a portfolio of creative work and transcripts from previous schools. The tuition fee for the 2021-2022 academic year is $27,636 per semester for undergraduate students and $28,260 per semester for graduate students. The cost of living in San Francisco is estimated to be around $1,500-$2,000 per month. The university offers scholarships and financial aid to eligible students.

  7. Otis College of Art and Design: Located in Los Angeles, California, Otis College of Art and Design offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree in Fashion Design. The admission criteria include a portfolio of creative work and transcripts from previous schools. The tuition fee for the 2021-2022 academic year is $47,250 per year for undergraduate students. The cost of living in Los Angeles is estimated to be around $1,500-$2,000 per month. The college offers scholarships and financial aid to eligible students.

  8. California College of the Arts (CCA): Located in San Francisco and Oakland, California, CCA offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree in Fashion Design. The admission criteria include a portfolio of creative work and transcripts from previous schools. The tuition fee for the 2021-2022 academic year is $51,780 per year for undergraduate students. The cost of living in San Francisco and Oakland is estimated to be around $1,500-$2,000 per month. The college offers scholarships and financial aid to eligible students.

  9. Drexel University: Located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Drexel University offers a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Fashion Design and a Master of Science (MS) in Fashion Design. The admission criteria for the BS program include a portfolio of creative work, transcripts from previous schools, and standardized test scores (SAT or ACT). The admission criteria for the MS program include a portfolio of creative work, transcripts from previous schools, and a bachelor's degree in fashion design or a related field. The tuition fee for the 2021-2022 academic year is $55,668 per year for undergraduate students and $1,416 per credit for graduate students. The cost of living in Philadelphia is estimated to be around $1,000-$1,500 per month. The university offers scholarships and financial aid to eligible students.

  10. Kent State University: Located in Kent, Ohio, Kent State University offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree in Fashion Design and a Master of Fashion Industry Studies (MFIS) degree. The admission criteria for the BFA program include a portfolio of creative work, transcripts from previous schools, and standardized test scores (SAT or ACT). The admission criteria for the MFIS program include a bachelor's degree in fashion design or a related field, transcripts from previous schools, and a minimum GPA of 3.0. The tuition fee for the 2021-2022 academic year is $19,813 per year for undergraduate students and $11,876 per year for graduate students. The cost of living in Kent, Ohio, is estimated to be around $800-$1,200 per month. The university offers scholarships and financial aid to eligible students.

Admission Criteria:


The admission criteria for fashion design programs in the United States vary depending on the school and program. Generally, schools require a high school diploma or equivalent, a portfolio of creative work, and English language proficiency test scores (such as TOEFL or IELTS) for international students. Some programs may also require standardized test scores (such as SAT or ACT) and letters of recommendation.

Important Considerations for Admission:


When applying to fashion design programs in the United States, it is important to research the school's requirements and expectations. Consider factors such as the school's location, program focus, curriculum, faculty, facilities, and student life. It is also important to carefully review the application deadlines and prepare a strong portfolio of creative work that showcases your skills and interests.

Courses Offered:


Fashion design programs in the United States typically offer a range of courses that cover topics such as design theory, fashion history, textile science, patternmaking, draping, sewing etc Tuition Fees and Living Expenses:


Tuition fees vary depending on the college and program of study. As an international student, you may be required to pay higher fees than US residents. However, the tuition fees at these top fashion schools are worth it due to the excellent education they offer. Below are the estimated tuition fees and living expenses for international students for the academic year 2022-2023 at the five colleges mentioned above:

  • Parsons School of Design at The New School: The estimated tuition fee for international undergraduate students is $51,550 per year, and the estimated living expenses are around $22,500 per year.

  • Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT): The estimated tuition fee for international undergraduate students is $20,310 per year, and the estimated living expenses are around $22,000 per year.

  • Pratt Institute: The estimated tuition fee for international undergraduate students is $52,646 per year, and the estimated living expenses are around $19,260 per year.

  • Rhode Island School of Design (RISD): The estimated tuition fee for international undergraduate students is $59,810 per year, and the estimated living expenses are around $21,950 per year.

  • Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD): The estimated tuition fee for international undergraduate students is $38,575 per year, and the estimated living expenses are around $19,330 per year.

Living Expenses

Living expenses in the United States can vary depending on the location and lifestyle of the student. Students should consider costs such as accommodation, transportation, food, and personal expenses. According to College Board, the average annual living expenses for an international student range from $10,000 to $15,000.

Other Expenses

In addition to tuition and living expenses, students should consider other expenses such as health insurance, textbooks, supplies, and materials for projects. Health insurance is mandatory for all international students in the United States. The cost of health insurance varies depending on the university and the coverage provided.


Scholarships:


Attending one of the top fashion schools in the US can be expensive, but there are several scholarships available to international students that can help reduce the financial burden. Here are some scholarships offered by the colleges mentioned above:

  • Parsons School of Design at The New School: The college offers several merit and need-based scholarships to international students. Some of the scholarships available are the Parsons Scholars Program, the Eugene Lang Scholars Program, and the New School Presidential Merit Scholarship.


  • Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT): FIT offers several scholarships to international students, including the FIT Presidential Scholars Program and the FIT Foundation Scholarships.


  • Pratt Institute: The college offers several scholarships, including the Pratt Institute Trustee Scholarship and the Pratt Institute Merit Scholarship.


  • Rhode Island School of Design (RISD): The college offers several scholarships, including the RISD Presidential Scholarship and the RISD Trustees Scholarship.


  • Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD): The college offers several scholarships, including the SCAD Achievement Scholarship and the SCAD Founder's Scholarship.

Visa Process:


International students planning to study fashion design in the United States must obtain a student visa (F-1 or M-1). To apply for a student visa, students must first be accepted by a Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP)-approved school. Students must then pay the SEVIS I-901 fee, complete the DS-160 form, and schedule an appointment with the U.S. embassy or consulate in their home country.

Work During Studies

International students on an F-1 visa are allowed to work on-campus for up to 20 hours per week during the academic year and up to 40 hours per week during breaks. Off-campus employment is also available, but students must obtain authorization from the International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) office.

Post-Study Work Visa

International students on an F-1 visa may be eligible for Optional Practical Training (OPT) after completing their degree. OPT allows students to work in the United States for up to 12 months in a field related to their degree. Students who graduate with a degree in a STEM field (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) may be eligible for an additional 24 months of OPT.

Typical Salaries:


The fashion industry is highly competitive, but graduates from the top fashion schools in the US have an advantage due to their excellent education and industry connections. Salaries can vary depending on various factors such as experience, location, and job role. According to Payscale, the average salary for a fashion designer in the United States is around $63,000 per year. However, salaries can range from $35,000 to $126,000 per year depending on the factors mentioned above.

Conclusion

Studying fashion design in the United States can be an exciting and rewarding experience for international students. However, it is important to consider all aspects of the application process, including admission criteria, courses offered, tuition and living expenses, scholarships, visa process, work during studies, post-study work visa, and typical salaries. By doing so, students can make informed decisions and achieve their goals of pursuing a career in fashion design in the United States.



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