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Postgraduate Diploma in Buying & Merchandising for Fashion

  • Gain a post graduate qualification to support your professional development
  • Extend your knowledge of higher level management skills related to Buying & Merchandising
  • Post Graduate progression route to a career in Buying & Merchandising

The Postgraduate Diploma in Buying & Merchandising offers you an opportunity to develop personally and professionally. Whether you are currently working within the fashion industry or looking for a career change, this postgraduate course will help you to develop a more specialist knowledge, with a higher level of management skills specifically related to buying and merchandising.

The FRA Postgraduate course has been exclusively developed in partnership with Falmouth University which has been ranked gold in the Teaching Excellence Framework, the new classification of degree teaching standards. Gold is reserved for institutions where teaching, retention and graduate outcomes are consistently outstanding and are of the highest quality found in the UK. Falmouth University has a 115 year history at the leading edge of creativity and is now at the forefront of driving innovation and entrepreneurialism across the creative economy with its mission of “doing it for real”.

The course will be delivered wholly at the FRA in London by its team of dedicated academics and industry professionals. Teaching/directed learning is delivered across one extended day per week (9am – 9pm), allowing you to apply your learning and manage your self-directed study across the rest of the week. Upon successful completion of the courses, you will be awarded a Postgraduate Diploma from Falmouth University..

As well as being a student of the FRA, you will also benefit from having joint studentship with Falmouth University, which gives you access to Falmouth University’s extensive online library collection and resources. You will also become a member of the FXU Students’ Union.


This dynamic course will develop creative flair, commercial, numerical and analytical awareness, brand awareness, and a deep understanding of global retail and the impact of all functions in driving a successful contemporary retail business.

The Postgraduate Diploma is specifically focused on providing the skills and knowledge you will need in order to undertake, or advance, a career in buying and/or merchandising within the fashion retail industry.

You will explore your profession further and consider the professional challenges associated within your specific area of practice, with modules that are designed to help you review and analyse the current debates relevant to the professional context in which you are working.

Along with your study you will benefit from a range of rich industry touch points which will further enhance and enrich your skills and understanding including:

  • Behind the scenes visits to industry facilities
  • Access to industry masterclasses

Modules (20 credits each):

Study Block 1: 60 credits

Buying and Merchandising Concepts

This module aims to develop your understanding of buying and merchandising, and facilitate your exploration of the role of design and garment technology functions in the initial proposal for a range. You will consider a variety of factors in developing your skills in both management and planning, including the creation of commercially viable collections of design options, lead times, and the importance of pricing and sourcing strategies alongside the use of merchandising data to help in the development your range.

Contemporary Fashion Retail: Consumers and Brand

This module offers you a working understanding of the psychological, social, and cultural aspects that drive consumer behaviour and the processes by which businesses construct and pitch a product offer that satisfies the needs of the target consumer.

You will explore Consumer Behaviour and Marketing Strategies and apply these in relation to the release of the range you proposed in the Buying and Merchandising Concepts module. Here you will generate desirability and evidence your understanding of how brand identity will be used as a strategic tool for building and developing your proposed range.


This module is about applying your understanding of how to respond to changes in demand and the variety of external factors that influence them. Pre-planning requires an ability to make effective risk assessment and respond accordingly. Retail sales are vulnerable to many industry forces including deteriorating economic conditions, increasing or intense competition, global variations or even unseasonal weather conditions or simply poor decisions.

Professionals need to be able to identify these through trend data analysis and determine the appropriate response using a range of merchandising and marketing strategies. You will work in teams in a role-play scenario, making decisions based on live data and within roles consistent with specific retail functions that address issues in the case scenario presented to you. Further to this, senior industry specialists will contribute their experiences and approaches during these scenarios.

Study Block 2: 60 credits

Understanding the Fashion Retail landscape through B&M data and systems

Today’s fashion retailers are faced with an increasingly complex environment, driven by strong demand for e-commerce, more sophisticated consumer preferences, increasing channel complexity and intensifying competition. This module will examine the increasing disconnect between the new norms of consumer retail and some of the supply-chain and demand-planning models that were built around supplying goods to traditional retails stores. You will consider the challenge for retailers that have to match demand and supply across multiple channels (owned stores, wholesale, online and franchised stores) and fashion retailers, which typically have shorter product lifecycles.

Presenting you with the diverse and continuously changing fashion landscape where product and consumers share space - a space where product is showcased and is the subject of an economic transaction.

Merchandising for Fashion Retail

This module will enable you to develop a critical understanding of fashion merchandising through examination of current market influences upon planning and trading on retail profit, and the management of the customer experience. You will gain working insight through the application of business analysis techniques to a variety supply chains for large multiple fashion retail businesses and marketing mixes appropriate to UK and overseas markets in a multichannel environment.

Buying for Fashion Retail

This module will help you develop a critical understanding of fashion buying and the influence of planning and purchasing on retail profit. The module has been developed to ensure an in-depth understanding of the essential interaction between the buyer and other head office roles in a modern, globalised retail environment.

Assessment tasks will enable the development of enquiry-related skills including critical analysis, evaluation and appraisal. The application of skills attained will enable you to select, develop and apply appropriate methods of work-based enquiry to your projects such as:

  • Analysis of the context in which a project is being undertaken, including your role and position as worker/researcher and the ethical implications that may arise from this.
  • Devising and applying real-time work-based activity development processes such as critical appraisal of research/professional literature, organisational or national policy, professional standards or directives.
  • Appropriate enquiry methodologies and approaches to obtaining and analysing data in relation to the specific contexts of your work/practice.
  • Engagement with professional practice networks to inform the development and application of enquiry methods.

Formative feedback is given at strategic points throughout the duration of the module and summative assessment occurs at the end. Assignment deadlines, assessment criteria and modes of assessment are clearly identified and defined at the briefing stages of each module. The Postgraduate Diploma is validated by Falmouth University, which provides additional academic support through working collaboratively with FRA and its curriculum teams to ensure rigour throughout then student experience.

The course is designed for students who may already have relevant work experience upon which to build or a strong enthusiasm for the busying and merchandising business area.  While focusing on buying and merchandising, you will be prepared for professional roles such as: Business unit/Brand manager

  • Licensing manager
  • Area manager,
  • Retail manager
  • Product manager
  • Buyer
  • Merchandiser
  • Digital strategist
  • Communications manager
  • Customer relationship manager
  • Supply chain manager
  • Managerial tools (for instance, related to buying and merchandising, brand identity and retail management) used in fashion and design-based companies can also be successfully applied to other sectors and industries.

Typically, applicants will have a first degree at Level 6 (or its equivalent), however FRA recognises a wide variety of qualifications and/or relevant experience, and encourages applications from people of all ages, backgrounds and cultures, with a demonstrable interest in their subject. If you do not have the required qualifications, but do have relevant work experience or can evidence other learning, this could be used as the basis for your application.  This process is called Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL). Prior learning includes both formal and/or 'certified' learning (such as training courses not run by universities or colleges) and informal or 'experiential' learning (gained as a result of work experience or self-study). This experience should be current (i.e. gained within the last five years) and equivalent to the learning outcomes of our minimum entry qualifications. Please note that some APL applications require a one-off administration fee. Please see the APL Policy and Procedure on the Falmouth University Student Regulations page for further information and guidance.

You will be invited to an interview with a member of the academic staff who will have access to your application form. During your interview you will be asked to demonstrate:

  • a passion for fashion and awareness of current ideas
  • knowledge of the fashion industry and a strong interest in buying and merchandising
  • appropriate professional experience in business and/or management
  • academic credit for previous study or relevant professional experience

Awarding Body 

 Falmouth University

Credits / FHEQ Level

120 credits / Level 7

Term Dates/Study Blocks

23 Jan 2018 – 08 September 2018 (induction week at FRA, 15 January 2018)


Annual tuition fee: £5,700*

Approximate typical course costs: £70 - recurring annual cost.

£50-£200 - One off costs for the course duration (compulsory trips, final portfolios or shows, etc).

£300 - Optional study visits and placements for the course duration. Additionally, if you need to bring equipment or materials with you, these will be outlined in your induction

*This fee does not include the cost of any re-sits and/or re-takes that may be required


The course requires full-time study, including assessment and feedback, across two 15-week study blocks.

Attendance at FRA: On-campus, one extended teaching day per week (9am to 9pm).

Plus, additional independent study of 930 hours total

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