School of Art & Design
Visual Merchandising Design

B.S. Visual Merchandising Design

Program Overview

Welcome to the Visual Merchandising Design (VMD) Program at High Point University. The Bachelor of Science in Visual Merchandising Design prepares graduates to apply their passion for design in the business of visually attracting and motivating consumers to buy products such as fashion and furnishings. 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 design is a profession that occurs in retail stores, design showrooms, trade shows and other emerging venues.

A 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.

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.


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)

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