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College of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management

Degree Programs

Retailing, M.R.

The Master of Retailing (M.R.) is a 36-credit hour degree program with both a thesis- and non-thesis option. It is a unique blend of practical and theory-based coursework, which will provide you with the tools for success in a variety of career advancement such as management positions, careers with multi-national companies or further graduate education.

Thesis and Non-Thesis Options

Students electing the academic, thesis option must complete 24 credit hours of required courses, including 6 credit hours of thesis preparation (RETL 799) and at least 12 hours of elective course work. Students must pass a comprehensive written examination upon completion of all course work and also prepare and successfully defend a thesis.

Students choosing to enroll in the professional, non-thesis option must complete the 24 credit hours of required courses and at least 12 credit hours of elective course work, pass a comprehensive written examination upon completion of all course work. In addition, students must complete a work experience requirement (HRSM 795 Field Project) that includes participation in management decision-making in a retail environment.

What Makes Us Unique

The world of retail offers a satisfying combination of business savvy and creativity. Your coursework will include retail strategy, international retailing, category management and research methods. With the support of faculty who are engaged in high-quality research, you will receive the benefit of instructors with firsthand industry expertise to help you apply new knowledge to real world problems. We invite you to challenge yourself with an experience that will enhance your academic knowledge and professional skills, giving you a competitive advantage in your future career.

All applicants for the master's program must apply through The Graduate School. For more detailed information about the specific degree requirements, please visit the academic bulletin.

Admission Requirements

Admission requirements conform to the general regulations of The Graduate School and regional and national accreditation standards. 

Applicants must submit the following to The Graduate School online.

  • Application form with non-fundable application fee
  • One official transcript from each post-secondary institution attended showing their complete academic record
 (mailed to The Graduate School)
  • A one to two page Statement of Career Objectives that specifically addresses how the department's Master’s curriculum will help the applicant achieve these objectives
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Records of immunization
  • Reports of examination scores on the GRE or GMAT.* (An applicant whose native language is not English is required to submit scores on TOEFL or IELTS.)

*Applicants may request GRE/GMAT requirement be waived under certain conditions (see GRE/GMAT Waiver Information below).

For tuition and fee information, please visit the Bursar's Office.

Application Deadlines:

Applications and all supporting documentation must be received on or before the deadlines listed below.

Application Deadlines for U.S. Students

Spring semester: November 15
Summer semester: May 1
Fall semester: July 1

Application Deadlines for International Students

Spring semester: October 15
Summer semester: April 1
Fall semester: June 1

Financial Aid:

Graduate assistantships are offered selectively to qualified applications. Receipts of an assistantship receive a stipend and health insurance benefits. Out-of-state students awarded a graduate assistantship will receive in-state student tuition rates. Students awarded a graduate assistantship will assist with research, teaching, and/or other departmental tasks for 10-20 hours per week.

Application deadline for consideration of a Graduate assistantship is May 1. However, we will begin filling assistantship positions beginning March 1 for students who have been accepted into the program, so it is in your best interest to apply early for both graduate school and an assistantship. There is an item on the online application form on which applicants can indicate their desire to be considered for an assistantship. To apply for an assistantship, please indicate yes on this item.
For information about scholarships and other forms of financial assistance, please visit the Office of Financial Aid or call 803-777-8134.

Admissions Information:

Applicants for admission to the Master of Retailing program will be evaluated using a combination of academic and professional factors. Successful applicants generally score at least 500 (verbal and quantitative combined) on the GMAT or at least 300 (verbal and quantitative combined) on the GRE. These scores, however, do not guarantee admission. GMAT/GRE scores more than five years old will not be accepted under any circumstances. The code for submitting GRE scores is 5818 and for GMAT scores is JV2.

Admission decisions may also take into consideration other criteria, such as professional experience in the retailing industry, involvement in professional and/or student organizations and strength of recommendations from professional and academic sources.

GRE/GMAT Waiver Information

Policy to Request GRE/GMAT Requirement Be Waived

We understand every student is unique and students with different background can bring various experiences and perspectives to our classrooms. Although our admissions criteria include GRE or GMAT score, the Department of Retailing at the University of South Carolina also values other important factors than the standardized test scores in determining a student's potential to succeed in our Master's program. A student may petition for a GRE/GMAT requirement waiver when he or she meets at least ONE of the following criteria:

  • Four or more years of professional (managerial) experience in a retailing or service-oriented organization.
  • A completed baccalaureate degree from The University of South Carolina, or from an accredited* institution, with a cumulative GPA of 3.40/4.00.
  • A completed Master's degree, with a 3.0 (or better) GPA from the University of South Carolina, or from an accredited* institution.

*To check if your school is accredited, visit

International applicants are required to submit with their application a certified transcript indicating the nature and scope of their academic training. An applicant whose native language is not English is required to submit a minimum TOEFL score of 570 (paper test PBT), 230 (computer test CBT), or 88 (Internet test iBT) on the TOEFL or 6.5 on the IELTS.

Prior to enrollment in the Master of Retailing program, international students whose native language is not English are required to take an English diagnostic test administered by the English Program for Internationals. Students with deficiencies are provided opportunities for further study in reading, writing and speaking English.

Students wishing to enter the Master of Retailing program should have completed courses in the areas of computer applications in business, statistics, merchandising, marketing, and management principles. In particular, students are required to have taken an introductory level retailing or fashion merchandising principles course and a retail buying course at the undergraduate level.

Certain prerequisites may be waived for students who have demonstrated a high degree of competence in a related area.

Students may transfer up to 12 hours of course credit. In all cases a course in retail buying will be required. 

Bachelor's/Master's Degrees Accelerated Program

The Master of Retailing follows the University policy for admission of a student to an accelerated program. Under this plan, students reduce the time necessary to earn both degrees by applying up to 12 hours of graduate credit to each of the undergraduate and graduate program requirements. Students accepted into this program must have at least 90 hours of undergraduate credit, a minimum overall GPA of 3.40, and at least 3.40 in the course work taken in their major field of study.

Students applying to this program must submit to The Graduate School a completed "Application for Admission to a Combined Bachelor's/Master's Education Plan" with endorsements.

A student must submit a "Senior Privilege Course Work Authorization" whenever the student enrolls in one or more of these courses. 

Participation in the accelerated program does not require nor does it guarantee acceptance into The Graduate School or into a specific program of study. Students wishing to continue toward the master's degree at USC must apply formally to The Graduate School by submitting the appropriate form and required supporting documents.

For more information contact:

Deborah J. C. Brosdahl, Ph.D.
Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies
Phone: 803-777-6249
Office: Carolina Coliseum, Room 4010-C

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