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  • Master’s Degree in Retail & Merchandising Online

    Think outside the shop

    Drexel's online master’s program provides a broad overview of the retail and merchandising industry, focusing on topics such as branding, fashion, visual communication, omni-channel marketing, product development, and supply chain management.

    Considering both theoretical and practical approaches, the curriculum will develop your ability to think critically, research and solve problems, and implement innovative solutions in a dynamic global marketplace.

    The Future of Retail Management

    The world of retail is in the midst of a technological revolution, and Drexel’s online MS in Retail and Merchandising prepares you to excel in this ever-evolving industry. With an eye to both the future of retail and the mind of today’s consumer, this program focuses on the emerging technologies changing how we think of retail today. You will learn about the rise of e-commerce and the importance of mobile technologies in today’s shopping experience, and make strategic plans to best utilize these tools to grow your business.

    Program Features

    • Faculty have expertise in retail, fashion, merchandising, and management leadership, making them well-connected to industry executives 
    • Designed for both current industry professionals and those seeking to change careers
    • Coursework covers cultural theory, new merchandising technologies, retail data analysis, strategic planning, and social media
    • Can be personalized based on your interests and level of experience
    • For those already in the field, information learned in class can be immediately applied to your job
    • Four start times throughout the year (Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer)

    Learn more about the MS in Retail & Merchandising program:

    What can you do with a degree in retail management?

    The forecasted job growth shows a strong need for managers possessing a nimbleness in retail operations, merchandise management, customer relations, strategic planning, product analysis, advanced problem solving, and human resource development.

    With an MS in Retail & Merchandising, you will be able to pursue such opportunities as:

    • General Merchandise Manager
    • Manufacturer Sales Representative
    • Merchandise Buyer
    • Post-Secondary Educator
    • Regional Retail Operations Manager
    • Retail Corporate Executive

    Optional Residencies Abroad and in Philadelphia

    You'll have the opportunity to study abroad in locations such as London, Italy, China, or Iceland. During the trip, you'll learn about brand communication, product design and development, retail models, store layout, visual merchandising, and product promotion within that specific area of the world.

    There are also residencies available in Philadelphia where you'll have the opportunity to meet in person with faculty and fellow students.

    Project or Research Thesis

    All students complete a project or thesis that is presented to a three-person committee for review. Projects can include investigative studies at a particular company, practice-based innovations in the industry, or hands-on explorations surrounding management and merchandising.

    Archived Webinar

    Drexel's 10,000 Hours Podcast: It’s Called Fashion, Look it Up

    Have you ever wondered where cargo pants come from? Drexel’s Joe Hancock has. In fact, he wrote an entire dissertation on them. He also talks to us about growing up in mall culture, why he loves Ralph Lauren and the styles he never wants to come back.

    Drexel University offers a variety of Graduate Minors that can be added to any master's degree program.
    State restrictions may apply to some programs.


    This program is organized into four 10-week quarters per year (as opposed to the traditional two semester system) which means you can take more courses in a shorter time period. One semester credit is equivalent to 1.5 quarter credits.

    View a Sample Plan of Study

    Required Courses  
    RMER 500 Retail Merchandising 3.0
    RMER 510 Research Methods in Retail & Merchandising 4.0
    RMER 520 Retail Analysis and Economic Structures 3.0
    RMER 530 Omni-Channel Product Promotion & Retail Analytics 3.0
    RMER 580 Retail & Merchandising Seminar in Leadership 3.0
    RMER 540 Brand Management & Intellectual Property 3.0
    RMER 550 Merchandising Technologies 3.0
    RMER 560 Selling Techniques & Strategies 3.0
    RMER 570 Retail Supply Chain Analysis 3.0
    RMER 600 Retail Futures 3.0
    RMER 697 Research & Data Collection 6.0
    RMER 698 Project/Research Thesis 8.0
    Total Credits 45.0

    View Course Descriptions

    Admissions Criteria

    • A bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university
    • GPA of at least 3.0
      • If you don't meet this requirement you're still encouraged to apply and your file will be reviewed on an individual basis by the Program Director 

    Required Documents

    With multiple ways to submit documents, Drexel makes it easy to complete your application. Learn more by visiting our Completing Your Application Guide.

    • A completed application
    • Official transcripts from all universities or colleges and other post-secondary educational institutions (including trade schools) attended
    • Two letters of recommendation (professional references preferred)
    • Personal statement (500 words) that addresses one or more of the following topics:
      • Why you are choosing this particular program
      • What you consider to be the direction of retail and merchandising today, and how it will affect the industry you manage in the future
      • Your short and long-term career plans, including how this degree will further them
      • The topic of your best undergraduate or professional research paper and why it was the best (you may also submit it if you choose)
    • Resume
    • Additional requirements for International Students


    The tuition rate for the academic year 2020-2021 is $1141 per credit. (A 15% tuition savings off Drexel's regular tuition rate of $1342 per credit)

    • This program is eligible for Financial Aid.
    • Special tuition rates available for Drexel University AlumniMilitary members, and members of our Partner Organizations
      • These rates apply only to new online students and students being readmitted.
      • These rates apply only to fully online courses. Hybrid or on-campus courses may have different rates.
      • Tuition rates are subject to increase with the start of each academic year in the fall term.
      • All students must contact applyDUonline@drexel.edu within the first two weeks of the term to request tuition savings for which they qualify.
      • Special rates cannot be combined. If you qualify for more than one special rate, you'll be given the one with the largest savings.
      • When receiving special tuition plans with Drexel University Online, you may not combine them with other tuition benefits that may be available from Drexel University.


    The program is taught by faculty with advanced degrees and experience in the retail, merchandising, and fashion fields.

    Faculty Bios

    Joseph H. Hancock, II - Program Director, MS in Retail & Merchandising

    Joseph H. Hancock, II, Ph.D.
    Program Director, MS in Retail & Merchandising

    Joseph “Joe” Henry Hancock, II is an international authority in the area of fashion branding as a form of storytelling. He started in academia after 20 years in the retailing industry, having worked for such legendary brands as The Gap Incorporated, The Limited Corporation and Target Corporation. He released his book Brand/Story: Ralph, Vera, Johnny, Billy and Other Adventures in Fashion Branding (2009) and the 2nd Edition in 2016 called Brand/Story: Explorations and Cases in Fashion Branding both by Bloomsbury. His works on branding and storytelling have appeared in such publications as The Brand Challenge by Kartikeya Kompella (Kogan Page 2016) and Strategic Design Thinking by Natalie Nixon (Bloomsbury, 2015). He has completed three co-edited books, Fashion in Popular Culture (2013), Global Fashion Brands (2014), and Cotton: Companies, Fashion & The Fabric of Our Lives (2016) with Intellect Publishing through The University of Chicago Press. Dr. Hancock is the principal editor of the peer-reviewed journal Fashion, Style and Popular Culture (Intellect Publishers) and he is working on an authored book on Jeans and another called The Fashion Business Reader, both with Bloomsbury, that will be released in 2018 and 2019.

    Dr. Hancock is the Executive Director for Events for the Popular Culture/American Culture Associations (PCA/ACA) and was their 2009 recipient of the Felicia F. Campbell Award for Area Chairs. He has been awarded Drexel's 2008 Steinbright Cooperative Career Center's faculty of the year and recently received the 2011 Stanley J. Gwiazda Professorship Award. He has received over $100,000 in grants, fellowships and awards and has generated $13,000 in corporate gifts for Drexel University.

    Dr. Hancock has lectured and taught courses at University of Technology in Sydney, Australia and at Stockholm University. Has been an invited speaker at Cornell University, The Ohio State University, Albright College, and the University of Delaware. He has received research fellowships and grants from the Popular/American Culture Associations, the London College of Fashion, and Stockholm University and has taught courses at The Ohio State University, Ohio University, and Oregon State University.

    Drexel’s 10,000 Hours Podcast: It’s Called Fashion, Look it Up

    Have you ever wondered where cargo pants come from? Drexel’s Joe Hancock has. In fact, he wrote an entire dissertation on them. He also talks to us about growing up in mall culture, why he loves Ralph Lauren and the styles he never wants to come back.

    Vivianna Bermudez - Director of Communications and Events

    Vivianna Bermudez

    Vivianna Bermudez is the Director of Communications and Events for the Westphal College of Media Arts and Design. She is responsible for upholding Drexel University brand standards across multiple digital platforms and developing visual communications that cater to Drexel’s online student population. Her experience in social media, visual communications and data visualization spans her career in the communications field, which has included positions with Johns Hopkins University and the University of Delaware. She has also worked for specialized boutiques, such as Velvet Lounge and Pitcrew. Vivianna has served as a board member for the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) Baltimore Chapter, mentoring and connecting undergraduate students with internships and job opportunities in the design and retail industries. She also held the positions of Financial Educator and Marketing and Communications Director for Shine Foundation, a non-profit organization that educates homeless survivors of domestic violence about financial literacy.

    Vivianna holds an MA in Digital Communications from Johns Hopkins University and earned her BS in Fashion Merchandising from the University of Delaware.

    Nicole Carter – Adjunct Instructor, MS in Retail & Merchandising

    Nicole Carter

    Nicole Carter is a management professional that has led teams for diverse brands such as Abercrombie & Fitch, Theory, and Shinola. Nicole is experienced in retail operations and leadership and her intense knowledge of visual merchandising, customer service, and sales analysis has allowed her to excel in the retail industry.

    Nicole earned her MBA in Economic Leadership from Alvernia University and graduated from Drexel University with a bachelor’s degree in Fashion Design.

    Anne Cecil - Adjunct Instructor, MS in Retail & Merchandising

    Anne Cecil

    As a professional educator with more than 30 years of teaching experience, Anne Cecil lectures locally, nationally, and internationally on a variety of topics: Visual Merchandising, Popular Culture, Online Learning, and Technostress. She is the founding Area Chair of the Punk Culture Area for the Popular Culture Association where she has consistently grown area participation and has spearheaded an effort to legitimize punk research in the academic arena.

    Anne has returned to part-time teaching to pursue various entrepreneurial and creative endeavors including: ONO Made in the 191, a consultancy that works with Independent Makers, Manufacturers and Sellers to create and maintain sustainable business; Roxanne Lava, a bespoke women's shoe company; Co-host of Fashion Matters, a collaboration between Anne Cecil & Philadelphia personality Phillip Silverstone. Each week the two discuss how Fashion touches our lives. Her thoughts can be heard on Time Out with Phillip Silverstone via TuneIn Radio.

    Tsz Kwok - Adjunct Instructor, MS in Retail & Merchandising

    Tsz Kwok, EdD

    Dr. Tsz Kwok joined Drexel in 2000 with nearly eighteen years of academic training and experience in higher education. He is currently an Adjunct Professor and the Associate Director for Drexel’s Graduate College. Working together with faculty, professional staff, students, and administrators across the University, Dr. Kwok is committed to a range of initiatives aimed at enriching the many academic, research, and experiential learning opportunities for graduate students.

    Dr. Kwok’s primary areas of research include leadership development, creative leadership, pre-orientation program, comparative and international education, qualitative research methods, and teaching and learning about multicultural education in teacher preparation courses.

    Joel Rodriguez - Adjunct Instructor, MS in Retail & Merchandising

    Joel Rodriguez

    Over the past 15 years, Joel Rodriguez has led the development of online and hybrid courses across Drexel University’s 17 colleges and schools, including the development of courses in the MS in Retail and Merchandising program. In addition, he currently serves as the Associate Director of Emerging Technologies at Drexel University Online. In this role Joel researches technology trends across industries, such as education, retail and finance. Joel has spent the last 10 years consulting with more than a dozen start-ups and small to medium size businesses across the Northeast. He also teaches as an adjunct faculty member in Drexel’s School of Education.

    Joel graduated from Indiana University of Pennsylvania with an MA in Adult Education and Communications Technology. He is currently pursuing an EdD in Educational Leadership.

    Academic Calendar

    2020-2021 Academic Year


    Classes Begin

    Classes End

    Exams Begin

    Exams End

    Fall 2020

    September 21, 2020

    December 5, 2020

    December 7, 2020

    December 12, 2020

    Winter 2021

    January 4, 2021

    March 13, 2021

    March 15, 2021

    March 20, 2021

    Spring 2021

    March 29, 2021

    June 5, 2021

    June 7, 2021

    June 12, 2021

    Summer 2021

    June 21, 2021

    August 28, 2021

    August 30, 2021

    September 4, 2021

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