Top School in Indianapolis for Fashion Design Training

Sep 11, 2022

School and Ranking Information

Within 60 miles of Indianapolis, IN, students can find only a few schools with courses related to fashion design. The following three public universities offer undergraduate programs in fashion design and are some of the best schools in the area based on rankings, program offerings, and tuition levels:

  • Winner: Purdue University in West Lafayette is ranked first due to its notable U.S. News & World rankings and cooperative education arrangement with the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City.
  • Runner Up #1: Indiana University in Bloomington has the highest graduation rate among all three schools and offers both a certificate and a degree program in fashion design.
  • Runner Up #2: Ball State University in Muncie is the most affordable school on the list for both in- and out-of-state undergraduates.

School Comparison Chart

Category Purdue University - Main Campus Indiana University - Bloomington Ball State University
Rankings (2022) 51st for National Universities,
18th for Top Public Schools (national universities),
7th for Most Innovative Schools (national universities)*
72nd for National Universities,
29th for Top Public Schools (national universities)*
212th for National Universities,
107th for Top Public Schools (national universities)*
Location West Lafayette, IN (56.2 miles from Indianapolis) Bloomington, IN (45.9 miles from Indianapolis) Muncie, IN (45.9 miles from Indianapolis)
School Type 4-year, public 4-year, public 4-year, public
Tuition & Fees (2021-2022) $9,992 (undergraduate, in-state),
$28,794 (undergraduate, out-of-state),
$9,992 (graduate, in-state),
$28,794 (graduate, out-of-state)**
$11,329 (undergraduate, in-state),
$38,352 (undergraduate, out-of-state),
$11,329 (graduate, in-state),
$33,352 (graduate, out-of-state)**
$10,290 (undergraduate, in-state),
$27,524 (undergraduate, out-of-state),
$10,144 (graduate, in-state),
$26,600 (graduate, out-of-state)**
Fashion Design Award Levels Offered Bachelor's degrees*** Certificate;
Bachelor's degrees****
Bachelor's degrees*****
Fashion Degrees Awarded (All Levels) in (2020-2021) 2** 15** 10**
Graduation Rate (in 150% of normal degree time) for 2015 Entering Class 83%** 81%** 68%**
Noteworthy International Fashion and Retailing study abroad tour Apparel Merchandising and Interior Design Department awards $70,000 in scholarships every year Immersive learning experiences have included the design of hospital gowns for cancer patients

Sources: *U. S. News & World Report, **NCES College Navigator, ***Purdue University, ****Indiana University - Bloomington, *****Ball State University.'

Winner: Purdue University - Main Campus

  • Access to up-to-date computer-aided design software
  • Annual, student-run fashion show
  • Junior-year field experiences in apparel design and retail management
  • Semester or study abroad opportunities in Florence, Hong Kong or London
  • Relevant co-curricular activities include the Professional Development Council and campus-based fashion and retail organizations

At the main campus of Purdue University, students can pursue an undergraduate program in apparel design and technology. The curriculum includes 57-58 credits of major coursework in, among other topics, clothing construction, computer-aided pattern design, fashion history and textiles. As seniors, students also take a course in professional development and complete an apparel portfolio.

Unique to the school is the opportunity to earn a Bachelor of Science from Purdue University and an Associate of Applied Science from the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) in New York City's garment district. Through the visiting student program, qualified undergraduates spend a fall and spring semester at FIT and complete 32 credits of lower-level coursework in design, fine arts and textiles.

Additional programs offered through the Department of Consumer Sciences (College of Health and Consumer Sciences) include undergraduate programs in retail and sales management, as well as a certificate in entrepreneurship.

Runner-Up #1: Indiana University - Bloomington

  • For-credit, summer internships provide opportunities for real-life experience
  • Individual workstations and access to industrial-grade equipment
  • Sage Study Collection allows for the analysis of key apparel samples
  • Opportunities to participate in student design competitions sponsored by, among other groups, the American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists, Fiber to Fashion, Fashion Group International (FGI), Miami Fashion Week International and Supima Cotton
  • Campus-based organizations include the Costume Society of America, FGI and the International Textile and Apparel Association (ITAA)

The Department of Apparel Merchandising and Interior Design offers a 27-credit certificate program that includes sequential class and studio work in fashion design, as well as the opportunity to develop a line and a portfolio. Related coursework covers topics in fashion history, illustration, research and textile science.

Similar coursework can be found in the Bachelor of Arts in Fashion Design curriculum, where students can take electives in computer-aided and accessories design, draping, shaping and tailoring. This program also includes a number of topics in dress studies.

Additional programs include a Bachelor of Science in Apparel Merchandising program, which may include an optional fashion studio and the opportunity to develop patterns and create custom-designed clothing. A maximum of two courses from the certificate program can be applied simultaneously to the Bachelor of Science in Apparel Merchandising.

Runner-Up #2: Ball State University

  • American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences accredits the Family and Consumer Sciences Department
  • Access to the Beeman Historic Costume Collection
  • Opportunity to participate in a junior-year internship
  • Campus-based Fashion Design Society provides professional networking opportunities
  • Alumni of the fashion-merchandising program include Angela Ahrendts of Burberry

The Family and Consumer Sciences Department at Ball State University offers a bachelor's program in apparel design that can help to prepare students for careers in buying, custom retail, designing, pattern making and sewing. Course topics include those in apparel CAD, draping, flat pattern construction and tailoring. Undergraduates also acquire a background in wholesale manufacturing, learn how to analyze fashion products and study costume history. The program culminates in the development of a portfolio.

Students pursuing other majors may also be interested in the 18-credit fashion minor. Related programs include a major in fashion merchandising, with topics in retailing, clothing construction, textiles and visual merchandising.

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