Virginia Tech Magazine
College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences

Design for Living

Amanda Locke, who earned her fashion merchandising and design degree in 2016, served as president of Virginia Tech’s student fashion society, which organizes an annual runway show.
NOT JUST
WINDOW DRESSING
Amanda Locke, who earned her fashion merchandising and design degree in 2016, served as president of Virginia Tech’s student fashion society, which organizes an annual runway show.

IMAGE: JASON JONES

USA Today has ranked Virginia Tech as the nation’s best for majoring in family, consumer, and human sciences.

The ranking category spans all the majors in the Department of Apparel, Housing, and Resource Management: consumer studies, family and consumer sciences, fashion merchandising and design, property management, and residential environments and design.

“Our programs involve active learning,” says Julia Beamish, head of the department. “Classes are hands-on as well as foundational, and our students seem to revel in the experiential part of the curriculum.”

The consumer studies major prepares students to analyze issues from the perspectives of consumers, business, and the government, while the family and consumer sciences major prepares graduates to teach in the areas of financial security, housing, nutrition, and health and wellness.

In the fashion merchandising and design program—ranked among the best in the world—students supplement classroom learning with New York City internships or study in such fashion capitals as London, Paris, and Rome.

Property management majors learn the complexities of managing multimillion-dollar real estate investments. Graduates of the program—the first of its kind in the nation—pursue careers in operations, marketing, development, and acquisition of multifamily and commercial properties.

Majors in residential environments and design learn to design, select, market, and manage residential spaces and products. Opportunities for hands-on learning include the Center for Real Life Kitchen Design, which allows students to learn not only new applications for products, materials, and technologies, but also universal accessibility standards.

The department has long held a national reputation for excellence. USA Today named the program first in 2015 as well. “Our programs are comprehensive but at the same time professionally driven, which means our students have no trouble securing jobs,” Beamish says. “Our students are broadly and deeply trained to respond to a fast-changing world.”