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Master of Science in Merchandising And Consumer Studies

Graduate Program in Merchandising and Consumer Studies
 The Master of Science degree in Merchandising and Consumer Studies (MCS) is an applied program that provides graduate level study from a consumer-centric perspective to help the next generation of product developers, retail and merchandising managers, as well as consumer studies professionals, who will make pivotal and transformative decisions vital to intelligent economic, social, and environmental resource management.

Core courses include:
  • MCS 5301     Research Methods
  • MCS 5330     Merchandising and Consumer Theory
  • MCS 5341     Ethics and the Consumer Science Professional
  • MCS 5342     Sustainable Consumer Economy
  • MCS 5391     Seminar in Merchandising and Consumer Studies
  • PSY 5320      Statistics
  • MCS 5398      Directed Study in Merchandising and Consumer Studies (non-thesis option)
  • MCS 5399A    Thesis (thesis option, 3-6 credit hours)
  • MCS 5399B    Thesis (thesis option, 3-6 credit hours)
Depending on the track you choose, you will have 9 hours of elective coursework, which should be selected to complement your career interests and enable you to develop a plan of study that best fits your personal and professional goals. Some of these courses include:
  • MCS 5302A   Merchandising in the Experience Economy
  • MCS 5302B   Merchandising Strategies in Domestic and International Markets
  • MCS 5302C   Buying, Planning and Allocation
  • MCS 5331     Strategic Merchandise Planning
  • MCS 5332     Innovation in the Global Market
  • MCS 5333     Global Sourcing and Distribution
  • MCS 5336     Culture, Society and Dress
  • MCS 5346     Foundations of Merchandising and Consumer Studies
  • MCS 5390     Merchandising and Consumer Studies Practicum

You can also choose the thesis or non-thesis option.

  • If you choose the non-thesis option (36 hours), you will complete a written comprehensive examination.
  • If you choose the thesis option (39 hours), your written comprehensive examination will be the thesis proposal and defense of the completed thesis.


Graduate Program Handbook


Admission Policy


Admission to the MCS graduate program requires the following (effective from Fall 2016 admission):

  • A bachelor's degree with adequate preparation for M.S. in MCS
  • Minimum GPA of 3.0 on the last 60 hours of undergraduate coursework
  • A preferred score of 300 or higher on the GRE combined score 
    (Alternatively, a preferred score of 500 or higher on the GMAT)
  • Two letters of recommendation (*see the note below)
  • Statement of intent that describes professional goals and rationale for pursuing graduate study
  • Resume
  • International applicants must take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and achieve a minimum score of 550.
  • Transcripts for any coursework NOT listed on the Texas State transcript

*Please note for “Letters of Recommendation” Submission announced by the Graduate College:

"We are pleased that the “Letters of Recommendation” portion of the Graduate Admissions Document Upload (GADU) is now going live. 

Applicants are required to enter the names and contact information for references into the GADU tool where they also upload their other documents.  Recommenders will receive a communication from GADU asking them to write a letter of recommendation for the applicant and they will be given a unique link to upload the letter to GADU.  In other words, recommenders will no longer email their recommendation letters to us.

Applicants should visit GADU ( to submit documents and letters of reference requests required for admissions.

There is NO option for applicants to mail or email their documents to the graduate college.

Our Steps webpage at details the application process for students."


For more information about our MCS program, please email:


Please visit the Graduate College for more information and apply for our program.


If you have questions about the master’s program in Merchandising and Consumer Studies, please visit the following BEFORE sending questions to the graduate advisor:

-MCS Graduate Program:

-Application Deadline and other information related to MCS:

-Steps to Apply (for All applicants) :

-How to apply: International applicants:


-Financing Your Graduate Education:

-The Graduate College: (512) 245-2581;;

-The College of Applied Arts:



Rodney C. Runyan, Ph.D.

Director, Family & Consumer Sciences 104; 512-245-2155;

Research Interest: Small retail entrepreneurship; downtown branding; social capital and communities; research methods; international retailing

Current Research Activity: Branding of destination marketing organizations; small business orientation theory development


Gwendolyn Hustvedt, Ph.D.

Family & Consumer Sciences 126A; 512-245-4689;

Research Interest: Product development; Sustainable supply chains; consumers and resources consumption; willingness to pay for information; textile labeling
Current Research Activity: Climate change and STEM education in apparel and textile curriculums; sustainable household behavior and the drought; marketing of wool-based compost; animal welfare and fiber production; wool and pediatric sleep enhancement; mislabeling of rayon


Jiyun Kang, Ph.D.

Family and Consumer Sciences 126B; 512-245-2534;

Research Interest: Sustainable decision making; corporate social responsibility (CSR) from the brand-consumer relationship perspective; brand trust crisis; innovation adoption and diffusion; consumption and emotions; psychological well-being; research methods (data mining, scale development, and multi-level modeling)

Current Research Activity: CSR and branding; brand crisis and resilience; sustainable retailing; emotional responses from sustainable consumption


 Vertica Bhardwaj, Ph.D.

 Family & Consumer Sciences 145; 512-245-4620;

 Research Interest: Luxury branding and consumption; counterfeit consumption, internationalization process of fashion brands (born versus gradual global); cross cultural differences in shared economy; sustainable consumption of fast fashion 

 Current Research Activity: Luxury consumption by Hispanics; evaluating consumer knowledge toward sustainable fast fashion; peer-to-peer collaborative consumption via renting, swapping, or buying fashion and non-fashion goods.


 Stefanie A. Ramirez, Ph.D.

Family and Consumer Sciences 144; 512-245-5529;

Research Interest: Product Development and Innovation; Apparel and Creative Design; Sustainable Design and Social Responsibility; Consumer Behavior with specific interest in Identity.

Current Research Activity: Use of 3D printing for product development of wearable art and wearable technology; conceptual design model for Slow Fashion; Sustainable consumption by Hispanic consumers; Millennials and Social Responsibility.


  Olivia Johnson, Ph.D.

 Family & Consumer Sciences 126C; 512-245 - 2444;

 Research Interest: Dr. Johnson’s research is focused on the socially responsible consumption behavior of Millennials and the socio-psychological factors that influence their behavior. Her research areas also include multicultural subgroups, inclusive sizing, incorporating technology in fashion merchandising courses, and color forecasting.

 Current Research Activity: Socially responsible consumption behavior of Millennials; inclusive sizing; and incorporating adaptive aids in technology courses. 

 Scholarships and Financial Aid

There are a number of scholarships available to graduate students at Texas State University.
In particular, students who have a high GPA and/or can demonstrate need are in a good position to pursue scholarship opportunities. There are also scholarships available according to specific criteria, e.g., for study abroad programs (Benjamin A. Gillman) or for Hispanic students (Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities). A number of scholarship grantors are listed below. Students planning to apply for a scholarship should first check the organization’s website as informationa may have changed and pay particular attention to the application deadlines. Most Texas State scholarships have a deadline of March 1.
  • American Association of University Women (AAUW) – Career Development Grants support women who hold a bachelor's degree and are preparing to advance or change careers or re-enter the work force.
  • Benjamin A. Gilman (study abroad opportunities) – This program offers awards for study abroad, for U.S. citizen students who are receiving federal Pell Grant funding at a 2-year or 4-year college or university.  
  • DAR American Indian Scholarship-The American Indians Committee of the DAR awards this scholarship to Native Americans and is intended to help Native American students of any age, any tribe and in any state striving to get an education. All awards are judged based on financial need and academic achievement.
  • Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities – The scholarship programs administered by HACU are made possible due to generous contributions from corporate and federal organizations. 
  • Marjorie Joseph Scholarship for beginning graduate students awarded by the International Textile and Apparel Association (ITAA)
  • Texas State Celebrity Classics Scholarship and the Texas State Graduate College Scholars Program – The Classics and Scholars scholarships are to encourage students with intellectual/creative promise and leadership to complete a master’s degree at Texas State. 
  • Phi Upsilon Omicron is a national honor society in family and consumer sciences. The organization offers numerous scholarship, fellowship and award opportunities, which are available only to Phi Upsilon Omicron Members. More information about these opportunities can be found at 
  • Sara Douglas Fellowship – This fellowship fund is named in honor of Sara Douglas, former professor at the University of Illinois and outstanding mentor, leader, and individual.
  • The Costume Society of America – The CSA offers awards for a student presenter and a student researcher, who are members of the Costume Society of America. For information about these awards visit,
Please visit the following web sites for information regarding additional scholarship monies:
A listing of state scholarship programs can be obtained from:
Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board            Texas State Financial Aid Office:
P.O. Box 12788 Capitol Station                                 J.C. Kellam Building
Austin, TX 78711                                                       Room 240 (Second Floor)
1-800-242-3062                                                           601 University Drive                                       San Marcos, TX 78666

 What can I do with a Master's degree in Merchandising and Consumer Studies?

Graduates of this program have career options as:
  • Assistant Buyer
  • Associate Merchandiser-Europe
  • Buyer
  • Channel Marketing
  • Digital Account Manager
  • eCommerce Marketing
  • Extension Agent
  • Fashion Journalist
  • Fashion Product Account Coordinator
  • Inventory Control Planner
  • Location Planner
  • Senior Program Analyst
  • Store Manager and Research Analyst 
Graduates with a M.S. in Merchandising and Consumer Studies can teach at the Community College level and go on to doctoral studies.

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