Program Summary
Cost per credit hour:

2019-2020: $580
2020-2021: $590

Average time to complete
Master's degree: 34 months
Graduate certificate: 24 months

36 Hours

12 Hours

alt=A storefront where jeans are displayed with a sale sign in the window.  A person wearing jeans is walking into the front door of the store.

A master’s degree in merchandising will help you deliver the right product or service to the consumer in the right place, in the right quantities, and at the right time.  Our courses are offered 100% online so you can complete coursework when it's convenient for you.

What can I do with a Merchandising master's degree?

Graduates of this program are prepared to lead corporate social responsibility initiatives in the following areas:

  • Buying and merchandising
  • Market research and entrepreneurial initiatives
  • Product development
  • Retail and sales leadership
  • Promotions and social media marketing
  • Sourcing and supply chain management

“I have been promoted a few times since starting the degree and I believe it played an important role in that.”

Student survey response, Merchandising master's degree, North Dakota State University


In this video, instructor Greg Clare shares how faculty in this program interact with retailers to understand the future of the industry and prepare graduates to be leaders in their field.

What will I learn in this program that the retail industry needs?

You will learn to:

  • Analyze data using a variety of techniques
  • Research and implement effective business strategies
  • Design customer-focused product development strategies
  • Create flexible promotional campaigns
  • Balance the sustainable interests of businesses, consumers, and society
  • Predict micro and mass-market cost controls
  • Navigate trade regulations and recognize cultural concerns
  • Understand the evolving standards of corporate social responsibility

For a complete list of learning outcomes and skills, view the Merchandising Student Handbook.

In addition to learning about the industry, you will create relationships with other students who work all over the world in various aspects of retail.  Listen as Kelsey Bruner, a graduate of the merchandising master's degree program, explains how the perspectives and experiences of other students create a unique learning environment.

In this video, instructor Jennifer Jorgensen shares what employers in the soft goods industry need to be successful, and how our graduates earn the skills to help their business be successful.

How does this degree program work?

Our program is offered completely online, providing flexibility for busy adults who don’t have access or time to attend on-campus classes.  Visit our How It Works webpage to learn more, or watch this short video.

Ready to get started?  Visit our Getting Started page to learn what to do next. 

Still have questions?  Check out our FAQ section of the website.

What makes this program unique?

Aside from our student-centered curriculum and affordable tuition, five universities work together to offer a top-notch master's degree.  The faculty in the merchandising program work collaboratively across partner universities, providing diverse perspectives on the field, giving you unique experiences you couldn’t get when taking classes from just one university. 

"One of my favorite things about Great Plains IDEA is that faculty from across many universities get to work together, bounce ideas off one another, and make sure the curriculum is the absolute highest quality.  We have so many diverse perspectives among faculty, providing us multiple ways to teach information most effectively.  We are a close-knit family in the merchandising program."

Linda Manikowske, associate professor at North Dakota State University

Great Plains IDEA Student Handbook

The master's degree program is 36 credit hours and consists of 10 required courses plus six credit-hours of practicum, thesis or elective credits.

Degree and certificate titles vary by university. Consult each university for the title as it will appear on the diploma or certificate.

Course List for Master's Degree

The graduate certificate program is 12 credit hours and consists of three required courses and one elective course.

Course List for Graduate Certificate

University Contact
These campus coordinators can help you navigate Great Plains IDEA. Click on the university name to learn more about how Great Plains IDEA works at that campus. Rachel Ohmes
Melissa Selders-Ortez
Karla Sisco
Aimee Maher
Melisia Bieber
University Members
Members of the Great Plains IDEA are universities accredited by a regional accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. Member universities recruit, admit and graduate students, teach in an academic program and contribute to the leadership and maintenance of the alliance. Membership in the alliance is a selective process that engages institutional leadership at all levels.

Ana Treptow headshotIn addition to professional development and advancement, this program challenges and promotes my personal growth as I gain skills and understanding appli More »

– – Ana Treptow, Family and Community Services Student,