Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Textiles and Clothing

First Advisor

Mary Lynn Damhorst


The purpose of this study was to explore the perceptions and attitudes of textile and apparel industry human resource representatives toward what they consider marketable skills possessed by textiles and apparel Master's graduates. Overall, this study explored the willingness of textile and apparel business and industry employers to hire Master's graduates, and the types of skills, coursework, and experience needed and wanted in employees with a Master's degree;Data were collected with a mail survey of human resource representatives from 100 textile and apparel manufacturers, store retailers, and catalog retailers with an annual organizational revenue of over 25 million;Results indicated that the possession of a Master's degree was not considered valuable by most employers in the textile and apparel industry. However, if a Master's graduate possessed the resources of previous work experience, high interpersonal skills, and high intellectual skills and had an emphasis in marketing or production management, the overall value to some textile and apparel employers increased. Textile and apparel Master's graduates were rated relatively high in intellectual abilities, but in comparison, lower on interpersonal skills and knowledge gained from work experience. Contrasted against the qualifications that human resources personnel weighted most strongly when making hiring decisions, textiles and apparel Master's graduates are only perceived to be well qualified in one of three important areas. Textiles and apparel Master's graduates are perceived as possessing more design and merchandising knowledge; however, employers indicated that business-related knowledge was more desireable for their employees to have;Results indicate that Master's programs in textiles and apparel should be evaluated to determine if they are providing effective education for students wanting to go into industry. For applied programs, curricular requirements should incorporate possible work experience credit or internship credit to ensure that Master's students are obtaining some previous work experience. Emphasis in designing curricula to develop interpersonal skills of Master's graduates should also be addressed. Advisors of Master's students in applied textiles and apparel programs should counsel students on program emphasis, work experience, and the types of knowledge, skills, and abilities most valued in employees by textile and apparel employers.



Digital Repository @ Iowa State University,

Copyright Owner

Deborah Jane Colton Meyer



Proquest ID


File Format


File Size

166 pages