In the ever-changing, global atmosphere of retailing, the ability to merchandise the product to the consumer is a strategic advantage. Merchandising is the theoretical background needed to deliver the right product or service to the consumer in the right place, in the right quantities, at the right time and the right price. The Great Plains IDEA sponsors fully-online Merchandising programs that allows students to complete coursework while maintaining their professional lives.

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Graduates of the program are prepared to work in product development, promotions and retail management. Retailing has a major impact on the U.S. economy, representing 1/3 of the total U.S. economy or $4 trillion. For professionals in retailing, apparel design or business who lack the theoretical background of merchandising, the expertise offered through the merchandising master's degree may provide for career advancement or a new career in merchandising.

Five universities work together to offer a top-notch master's degree.  In the quote below, Jennifer Jorgenson, assistant professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, explains how faculty from multiple universities can provide a program with greater breadth than if a university were to offer it alone.

"One of my favorite things about Great Plains IDEA is that the 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."

Great Plains IDEA Student Handbook

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

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.

Curriculum for Master's Degree

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

Curriculum for Graduate Certificate

Program Summary
Cost per credit hour:

2017-2018: $565
2018-2019: $580

36 Hours


12 Hours

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
Karen Murie
Susan Malec
Theresa Ireland
Danielle Silsbee
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.

– – Angela Stagg, Iowa State University