School of Art & Design
Visual Merchandising Design

B.S. Visual Merchandising Design

The bachelor of science and minor in visual merchandising design at HPU was developed in response to the reported industry need for graduates who are left and right-brain thinkers, who can be both business savvy and highly creative and who know how to apply the power of design to stimulate a consumer response. The visual merchandiser develops store and fixture layouts, designs window displays, creates eye-catching vignettes and artistically conveys a targeted message to the customer. Visual merchandising is a profession that occurs in retail stores, design showrooms, trade shows and other emerging venues.

Focused Curriculum

The visual merchandising design major at High Point University was developed in response to a reported industry need for graduates who are left and right-brain thinkers, who can be both business savvy and highly creative and who know how to apply the power of design to stimulate a consumer response. The core curriculum will challenge and inspire students, and partially includes:

  • Design Communication I: Visual Ideation
  • Studio I: Interior Form and Space
  • Materials and Textiles
  • Furnishing/Product Merchandising
  • Consumer Behavior
  • Branding, Licensing and Ownership
  • Visual Merchandising Studio I and II
  • Merchandising Planning Control
  • Lighting, Staging and Exhibit Design
  • Marketing Communications

The VMD Program is part of the Knabusch-Shoemaker School of Home Furnishings and Design and housed in Norton Hall, which contains classroom spaces, faculty offices, studios, two computer-assisted design (CAD) labs, library/resource spaces, and a gallery to exhibit student work. A Technology Lab that includes a Laser Cutter, CNC Router, and 3-D Printer was added in Fall of 2013.

Comprehensive Outcome

In recognition of the needs of the industry, HPU’s Core Competencies, and our regional accrediting body, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, the faculty has identified a single, comprehensive outcome.

Graduates of the Bachelor of Science in Visual Merchandising Design program possess the skills and knowledge necessary to successfully meet the job requirements for entry-level positions in visual merchandising.

The faculty has identified 7 programmatic goals essential for students to achieve the aforementioned outcome. They will demonstrate the ability to:

  1. Define problems as they relate to the field of Visual Merchandising.
  2. Gather and analyze relevant information, evaluate issues, and set priorities.
  3. Explore and generate creative solutions via a systematic and coordinated design process that integrates functional and aesthetic concerns.
  4. Produce design solutions that consider selling strategies, and business standards and practice.
  5. Justify and defend design solutions as they relate to relevant criteria derived from the problem/program (e.g., demographics, target market, product logistics, consumer needs).
  6. Convey (written, graphic, oral) intent in a professional manner as appropriate to the audience.
  7. Utilize life-skills to enhance productivity, flexibility, adaptability and collegiality (presentation, leadership, time management, commitment, life-long learners, curious mind).

Criteria for Admission and Retention

Any student accepted to High Point University may enter the Visual Merchandising Design program. A portfolio or separate admission process is not required. In order to progress in the program, students must:

  • earn a grade of ‘C’ or higher in all major specific courses.

In order to graduate with a B.S. in Visual Merchandising Design, students must have an overall GPA of 2.0.

All studio courses require the acquisition of specific materials and supplies. Students are expected to develop and maintain a reference library of texts, samples, and other necessary materials to complete course projects. It is strongly recommended that students retain their textbooks to serve as valuable references in higher level courses and during their professional lives. Many of the texts may be used as references for portions of the comprehensive exams.

Transfer students: Portfolio review by the faculty is required if you are seeking credit for any previously completed design courses.. Since course titles and contents vary from institution to institution, placement and acceptance of credit for High Point University courses are based on examination of student work to ensure that student knowledge, skill sets, and graphic communication abilities are commensurate with acceptable work in specific High Point University design courses. Based on the results of the portfolio review, students may be asked to take an entrance exam for final placement.

If you would like additional information or have questions about our program, please contact Diane Stenersen at or 336-888-6355.

What can I do with this major?

Many exciting careers are available to visual merchandising design graduates from High Point University. Our internship and travel opportunities often result in full-time employment for our graduates.

Opportunities for experiential learning

  • Students have unparalleled access and longstanding relationships with the High Point International Home Furnishings Market
  • Students have the opportunity to graduate with a design certificate from Lorenzo de’ Medici Institute
  • Students have access to top design leaders and industry professionals

Unparalleled access to the High Point Furniture Market

Located in one of the largest metropolitan areas in North Carolina, High Point University has direct ties with the community and many businesses in the surrounding area that offer internship opportunities in visual merchandising design. Students also have unparalleled access to the High Point Furniture Market, the premier furniture and design exhibition in the world, which is held twice a year during the fall and spring semesters. The High Point Furniture Market gives students a unique opportunity to connect, work and learn alongside leading industry professionals. High Point University’s connection with the High Point Furniture Market opens many internship and career opportunities to visual merchandising students.

Unique opportunities

  • The ability to matriculate business skills while being highly creative
  • Faculty focused on a one-on-one approach to develop each student’s artistic and expressive abilities
  • Large-format printers, including a 3-D printer
  • Fully equipped 2-D and 3-D studios
  • Access to a laser cutter that instantly cuts through materials such as wood, plastics and acrylics and etches designs into glass, aluminum and stainless steel


The High Point Admissions Office is Located in Wrenn Hall.

Tours are available 7 days a week. Please contact us to schedule your visit.
(800) 345-6993
(336) 841-9216
(336) 888-6382 (fax)

Flickr Photostream: School of Art & Design

Visual Merchandising Design at HPU