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Student Advising Guide

This page is designed to answer the most commonly asked questions about majoring in programs offered by the Textiles, Fashion Merchandising and Design (TMD) Department at URI. Prospective students can find general URI application information

Included here are the course requirements for the B.S. in Textiles, Fashion Merchandising and Design (TMD) and the B.S. in Textile Marketing (TM).  Note that these might change from year to year: your requirements are the ones that are in place when you enter the University.

There is also advice about professional electives and free electives, and information about International Study (including our joint programs with Italian and French) and Internships  You might not find all the answers you need here. Use it in conjunction with regular visits to your advisor. A good working relationship with an advisor can be one of the most positive aspects of academic life at URI. If you wish to change your advisor, for whatever reason, you can ask in the TMD office (Quinn 303). 

You can find additional information elsewhere on these web pages, from the University Bulletin (catalog) and other publications of your department, college, and university. Together, these written sources, your advisor, and other offices of the University can help you:

  • understand the requirements of your major,
  • find opportunities that can help make your undergraduate experience most rewarding
  • better your career preparation.

 There are two undergraduate majors in the department.

  • The TMD major offers flexibility in planning a program to suit your interests within the broad areas that form the textile and apparel supply chain. You may choose options in Fashion Merchandising, Apparel Studies, or Textile Science.
  • The TM major is offered jointly with the College of Business. It is a highly structured program designed to prepare students for careers in marketing textile products.

For the major course requirements, see B.S. in Textiles, Fashion Merchandising and Design (TMD) and B.S. in Textile Marketing (TM).There you will find links to the curriculum worksheets.

 Advisors, UC, and Graduation

When you begin your college career at URI, you are advised at University College in Roosevelt Hall. Your academic records are kept at UC until you transfer to the degree-granting college (the College of Human Science and Services).  For advice while you are in UC, make an appointment with one of the faculty members from the TMD Department (Drs. Welters, Gagnon, and Ordoñez) who advise part-time at UC.  You can do this electronically through e-campus

TMD majors transfer to the College of Human Science and Services with a 2.0 QPA, after completing 24 credits, TMD 103, CHM 103/105 and the University math requirement. University College communicates with students about timely progress towards graduation, and letters strongly encouraging movement are sent to the degree college if students have not transferred out of UC by the middle of your junior year. It is important that you complete your math requirement by the end of your sophomore year.

For the TM program, freshmen who complete minimum of 27 credits with an overall grade point average of 3.0 or higher and who complete CSC101 and MTH 131 (or their equivalents BUS110 and 111) with a 'B' or higher will be admitted to the College of Human Science and Services at the end of the freshman year. Students who have a minimum of 42 credits, a grade point average of 2.40 or higher, and who have successfully (with an average of 2.40 or higher) completed CSC101, MTH131, STA308 (or their equivalents BUS110, 111, 210), BUS201 and ECN201 after the first semester of the sophomore year will be admitted to the College of Human Science and Services. Students not meeting these requirements may be eligible to transfer from TM to TMD .

Students who are not admitted to URI as TMD majors can transfer into the program as space allows with a 2.0 QPA, after completing 24 credits and the University math requirement, and with a grade of C or better in TMD 103 and CHM103

Students who transfer out of UC, or from another major will be assigned an advisor in the TMD Department. If you don't know who your advisor is, speak with Nina Mathewson, TMD secretary (Quinn Hall 303; #4-4574) or check the Advising bulletin board in the hallway on the third floor of Quinn. Your academic records will be forwarded to your advisor's office, so make appointments directly with your advisor. e-campus appointments are used for UC advising: not all advisors in the major do this, and you may need to call or email for an appointment.  If for some reason you would prefer a different advisor, it can probably be arranged: check with Nina Mathewson, TMD secretary.

Advisors help you figure out the degree requirements for your major, and how to make timely progress towards graduation. Advisors also help you maximize your experience at URI by guiding you in your choice of electives, informing you of special opportunities, and directing you toward specific careers. Plan early to take advantage of all that URI can offer you. A good rule of thumb is to see your advisor twice a semester. Keep in mind that, despite all good intentions, a requirement is sometimes overlooked. In such situations, ask your advisor about filing a petition. Be forewarned that the petition may not be granted. Ultimately, you are responsible for meeting the requirements of your degree program.

Faculty expect students to be professional. Professionalism means attending class regularly, handing in assignments on time, and keeping appointments. If you cannot keep an appointment, call in advance to cancel. Professionalism in the classroom influences faculty recommendations for internships and jobs. Your actions as a student represent the Department and the University both on-and off-campus. Honesty is an integral part of professionalism. It is considered plagiarism to represent the work of others as your own. In an internship, professionalism includes being prompt, courteous, alert, responsible, and showing a sense of initiative.

If you have a complaint about a course talk to the faculty member first. If you cannot reach an understanding, see the Department Chairperson. If the problem still is not resolved, see a representative in the Dean's Office (University College or Human Science and Services, depending on which you are in).

In your senior year, you must file an "Intent to Graduate" form with the Assistant Dean of the College. The form must be accompanied by a curriculum guide signed by your advisor. File the form by:

October 15 for May graduation
March 15th for August graduation
April 15th for December graduation

Commencement ceremonies are held once per year, in May. 

The TMD department is active in helping students find careers.   The department office receives many calls inquiring about qualified applicants for jobs in the textile and apparel field.  Companies visit the campus specifically to recruit our majors.  

If you are still looking after you graduate, stay in touch with the department: we often get calls from companies looking to recruit.  You can do this via Sakai for a short time after graduation.  Dr. Hannel also maintains a facebook page for TMD alums where job opportunities are posted.  Keep the department informed about your career, and stay in touch even after you graduate and are looking for your second job.

Courses and Electives

One of the advantages of the TMD curriculum is the number of free electives available. They allow students

  • the flexibility to tailor the degree to suit a career plan,
  • time to study away from URI,
  • to graduate on time, even if transferring from another college or major.
  • the chance to explore areas of intellectual curiosity.

Free electives allow students to take extra courses in TMD. If you want to focus on a particular area within textiles, take an internship (TMD 461/2) get additional textile-related courses by studying abroad, or through national student exchange (see below), or take the following textile electives (but, as always, check with your advisor):

Fashion merchandising

TMD 332, 424, 432, 442, 452

Interior design:

TMD 226, 426, 440

Textile science:

TMD 113, 403, 413

Apparel studies:

TMD 222, 325, 327, 335, 427

Historic studies:

TMD 240, 440, 441

TMD majors must take professional electives. Professional electives are 18 credits outside the TMD Department which help a student professionally. To understand the purpose of these professional electives, imagine yourself in a job interview the day after graduation. What would you like to tell a prospective employer about the courses you took outside your major? Answers like "art," "marketing," and "management" spring to mind, but the words "I have a minor in Spanish/Statistics/Journalism" sound good, too. Any 18 credits (at least 9 credits from the same department) that you can justify to your advisor as advantageous to a career in the field of Textiles, Fashion Merchandising and Design will fulfill your professional electives requirement.

If all 18 credits are taken in the same department, a "minor" may be earned. A minor requires the signature on a "Minor Field of Study" form of the chairperson of the department in which the minor is being completed. Traditionally, many students have opted for classes in the College of Business, particularly Marketing, Management, etc. Some complete the general business minor. Occasionally the Business College has a large number of majors who are given priority for the business courses they need to complete their programs of study. At those times it can be difficult for TMD majors to put together a reasonable set of courses that work for professional electives. Here are some alternative suggestions.

ECONOMICS

If students did well in ECN 201 and 202, they might continue with 300-level courses.

ECN 306 Introduction to Economic Research Methods (spreadsheets included)
ECN 310 Economics of Sports
ECN 328 Intermediate Economic Theory: Pricing and Distribution
ECN 338 International Economics
ECN 368 Labor Economics
ECN 386 Economics of Race, Gender, and Class

HUMAN DEVELOPMENT AND FAMILY STUDIES

HDF 225 Consumer in the Economy

HDF 200 Life Span Development I
HDF 201 Life Span Development II
HDF 205 Family Financial Issues Across the Life Span
HDF 418 Personal Finance
HDF 424 Personal Finance Applications
HDF 426 Retirement Planning
HDF 451 Debt Management
HDF 428 Consumer Protection (irregularly taught)

FRENCH

FRN 101 and 102 count for general education. These cannot count for a minor. Instead, take any 18 credits in FRN except 391, 392, and 393. Minoring in French is encouraged, as URI is developing an agreement with the Universite de la Mode in Lyon, France where qualified students may study abroad.

ITALIAN

ITL 101 and 102 count for general education. These cannot count for a minor. Instead, take any 18 credits in ITL except 391, 392, and 395. Minoring in Italian is encouraged. Many students study in Florence. Others spend the summer at URI’s program in Calabria.

JOURNALISM

To quote from the URI catalog: “Students who choose journalism as a minor can focus on public relations or media issues, print or broadcasting. For students majoring in other fields, the department offers courses that provide a forum on the role of mass media in society.”  Currently, Journalism is a popular major; consequently, students may have trouble getting into 200 and 300 level courses.

JOR 110 Introduction to the Mass Media
JOR 220 Media Writing
JOR 311 Media Criticism in America
JOR 321 Magazine Article and Feature Writing
JOR 341 Editing for Publication

SOCIOLOGY

SOC 204 Social Psychology
SOC 212 Families in Society
SOC 214 Urban Sociology
SOC 240 Race and Ethnicity
SOC 242 Sex and Gender
SOC 320 Organizations
SOC 322 The Arts and Social Order
SOC 336 Social Inequality
SOC 350 Work and Family Life
SOC 408 Individual Life and Social Order
SOC 438 Aging in Society

PSYCHOLOGY

PSY 335 Psychology of Social Behavior
PSY 385 Perception
PSY 480 Psychology of Women

THEATRE

THE 100 Introduction to Theatre
THE 250 Costume Laboratory
THE 350 Makeup (1 cr.)
THE 351 Principles and Theories of Theatrical Costuming I
THE 352 Principles and Theories of Theatrical Costuming II
THE 355 Stage Costume Design
THE 451 Stage Costume Technology
TMD 455 Advanced Costuming

ART HISTORY

To earn a minor in Art History, take any 6 ARH courses. A suggested list includes:

ARH 120 Introduction to Art
ARH 251 Introduction to Art History: Ancient Medieval
ARH 252 Introduction to Art History: Renaissance-Modern
ARH 284 Introductory Topics in Architectural History
ARH 363 Modern Art: Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries
ARH 364 American Art
ARH 380 Topics in Art and Architectural History

ART

ART 101 or 207 are required for the major. Take additional art courses to fulfill professional electives or to earn a minor.

ART 103 Three-Dimensional Studio
ART 203 Color
ART 204 Digital Art and Design
ART 208 Drawing II
ART 213 Photography
ART 231 Printmaking
ART 300 Art Gallery Internship
A mix of ARH and ART courses work for a minor in Art.

The courses listed above should provide a good background for the majority of TMD majors who are interested in Apparel Studies and Fashion Merchandising.


If you are interested in Textile Science you should talk to Dr. Bide who can recommend courses in Physics, Chemistry, and Engineering that would be relevant.


Useful courses for those interested in Interior Design include Landscape Architecture courses LAR 201, 202, Floral Art (PLS 233) WRT 227 (Business Communications), Persuasion: The Rhetoric of Influence (COM 210), Basic Graphics (EGR 102) and  HDF 440 (Environmental Context of Aging) 

Special Academic Opportunities

There are many special academic opportunities available to students at URI and to students in TMD. You are encouraged to take advantage of as many of these opportunities as possible, to enrich your undergraduate years and increase your career possibilities upon graduation.


Honors projects: The Honors Program offers academically qualified students opportunities to broaden their intellectual development and to strengthen their preparation in major fields of study. Honors courses on the 100 and 200 level treat general topics and usually count for General Education credit. Courses on the 300 and 400 level are more specialized and may be used to fill requirements of the major.


Special problems courses: Occasionally a student approaches a faculty member with an idea for a focused independent study. For example, a student proposing to work out certain problems in fashion design not covered in any of the Department's formal classes may work with the apparel design instructor via a "special problems" course. TMD 361 and 362 are "Special Problems" course codes. You should be self-disciplined to complete the work by the deadlines agreed upon with the instructor. To register for a "Special Problems" obtain an override from the instructor after you have discussed the scope and requirements of the individualized course. A maximum of six credits of TMD 361/362 is allowed.


Research with a faculty member: Most faculty members in TMD have ongoing projects related to their research interests. Occasionally some of the research could be conducted with the assistance of a TMD junior or senior. Academic credit is available through the "Special Problems" courses. In addition, URI offers modest funding for undergraduate student research projects. A request for proposals appears in the fall semester. See the professor with whom you wish to work.


Spring seminar: Every spring the TMD Department offers a seminar on Wednesday afternoons focusing on a current topic in the textile/apparel industry. Guest speakers from business and industry address the topic from a particular perspective. Past seminars have focused on "changing demographics", "the future of fashion", "globalization", "innovation", and "the art and science of fashion".  Every TMD major must take this course at least once. It may be repeated.


Study Tour: During the break between Fall and Spring Semesters the Department often offers a Study Tour to London and Paris (TMD 342).  The trip is announced early in the Fall semester. 


500-level courses: seniors with a 3.0 QPA may enroll for 500-level courses. These courses are intended for graduate students, but motivated and prepared undergraduates are welcome. Classes are generally small. Expect to be challenged by the expectations of your instructor and fellow students.


Study Away: You may also want to consider the National Student Exchange which offers the opportunity to study at other colleges and universities in the U.S. (which includes Puerto Rico, and Canada). Some of these schools, including the University of Hawaii, have excellent textile departments. See your advisor about study at a specialized textile or fashion institute as a visiting student. International opportunities give TMD students invaluable experience in another country.


Internships are possible in a variety of organizations ranging from textile manufacturers to retailers of fashion products. Students gain experience in internships that prepare them for their profession in an increasingly competitive world. 

Student Organizations: Of particular interest to TMD students are three organizations. The American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists (AATCC) has a student chapter at URI; students interested in fashion may join the Fashion Merchandising Society; and there is a chapter of Omicron Nu, a national honor society, at URI.

  • AATCC Student Chapter. The American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists has around 4000 members worldwide, including several hundred student members who belong to chapters at universities and colleges. You can visit the AATCC's web site for more information. Student membership costs $25. Student members receive 12 electronic issues a year of the AATCC Review.  The Rhode Island Senior Section sponsors the attendance of students at its own meetings, and additionally awards $3000 in scholarships to textile students in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. Students also attend the annual international conference of Textile Chemists held at various locations around the U.S. with funds raised at the AATCC's annual spring outing.
  • Fashion Merchandising Society. The Fashion Merchandising Society is a student-run organization open to any student interested in the fashion industry. FMS provides opportunities to become familiar with the fashion industry through various extracurricular events including guest speakers, career workshops, and a trip to New York City's garment district. FMS also produces an annual spring fashion show which gives students the chance to gain valuable "hands-on" experience.
  • Kappa Omicron Nu. Alpha Mu is the URI chapter of Kappa Omicron Nu, a nationally recognized honor society open to qualified juniors, seniors, graduate students, and professionals from disciplines historically associated with Home Economics. At URI these disciplines include TMD; Human Development and Family Studies; and Food Science and Nutrition. The Society recognizes and promotes scholarship, research, leadership, and professional practice. Activities provide opportunities for close student and faculty interaction. Initiation is held once a year during the spring semester.