Doctor of Philosophy

Graduate studies in apparel, merchandising, and design extend your knowledge, research, and creative scholarship beyond the basics to take a close look at industry-wide issues, such as outsourcing, sustainability, and customer buying behavior. Students in this program are afforded many opportunities to present and publish their research and creative work alongside world-renown faculty members.

The apparel, merchandising, and design program offers two formats to complete doctoral studies:

  • Doctor of philosophy
  • Distance doctor of philosophy

Download flyer for more information.

General Requirements

Visit the Iowa State University Graduate College site for application requirements. The program outlined below has the common requirements for all doctoral students. Each specific program will depend on the student’s previous preparation, goals, and needs. Find your 500 and 600 level courses along with course descriptions in the online catalog.

Ph.D. Requirements

72 credits: Minimum number of credits required

12 credits minimum: Research methods and statistics (a minimum of one course must be in statistics)

20 or more credits: 500-600 level AMD courses (must include AMD 570 teaching practicum)

12 or more credits: Additional courses outside the department (must include one course in education theory)

15 credits minimum: Dissertation

Distance Ph.D. Requirements

Iowa State University (ISU) offers a distance (hybrid) format to complete the Ph.D. in apparel, merchandising, and design degree. As a distance (hybrid) doctor of philosophy student, award-winning ISU faculty prepare you to succeed as a professional in industry, museums, or academia.

This hybrid distance format features one or two short on-campus summer coursework sessions (on-campus requirement waived for summer 2021 due to Covid19). Other credits can be done at a distance, most through synchronous course delivery with on-campus courses.

72 total credit hours:

  • 36 credits must be taken at Iowa State
  • 24 credits must be taken at Iowa State over six consecutive semesters to earn residency
  • Nine credits must be taken in the first two summers

Program of Study

Each student plans an individualized program of study in consultation with the student’s advisor and Program of Study (POS) Committee, which includes faculty members from apparel, merchandising, and design and other Iowa State departments. The student submits this program to the Graduate College for approval, usually by the beginning of the second year at Iowa State University.

Supporting Courses

The POS committee may require a student whose undergraduate degree was not in apparel, merchandising, and design to take supporting courses in preparation for graduate study. The Iowa State University course catalog lists course descriptions of graduate courses offered.


The student selects a dissertation area by the time the program of study is submitted, so suitable courses can be chosen to strengthen the research. The research methods course should be taken as soon as possible to permit the student to explore possibilities for the dissertation research with the advisor and other committee members.

Preliminary Examinations

Written and oral preliminary examinations are required in the major and co-major or minor, if any.

Contact the Director of Graduate Education (DOGE) for apparel, merchandising, and design with any questions.

Need More Information?

Ann Marie Fiore

1062 LeBaron Hall
626 Morrill Rd
Ames, IA, 50011-2100