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College of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management

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Master of Retail Innovation

Earn your master’s degree in the business of retail from the University of South Carolina. The new Master of Retail Innovation graduate degree program prepares graduates to advance their careers and lead the retail industry.

Our Master of Retail Innovation graduate degree provides advanced knowledge in three core areas: strategic leadership, emerging retail technologies, and data analytics. Our specialized curriculum includes a solid foundation in business management and in-depth analysis of the industry's driving forces, including retail disruption, strategic management, consumer experience in the age of social media, environmental and social governance (ESG) and more.

Master's Degree Highlights

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  • 3 program tracks: Choose the track to best meet your educational and career objectives.
  • 30~33 credit hours: Earn your master’s in one year.
  • Flexible format: Both face-to-face and online delivery options.
  • GRE/GMAT waiver for qualified applicants.
  • Strategic leadership: Develop skills in strategic thinking and leadership essential for driving success in retail and service-oriented industries.
  • Emerging retail technologies: Gain insights and experience with the latest retail technologies.
  • Retail analytics: Learn how to harness the power of data analytics to understand consumer behavior and make informed business decisions.
  • Executive advisory board: Program support from C-suite leaders in the retailing and fashion industry.

The Master of Retail Innovation graduate degree includes impactful courses in leadership, finance, retail law related to entrepreneurship and e-commerce, retail logistics, research and statistical methods, category management, and social media and data analytics.

Choose Your Track

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The Master of Retail Innovation curriculum consists of 30~33 semester hours. Choose from professional, professional with directed study, and thesis (research) tracks.

Professional (non-thesis) Track — 30 Hours

The professional track consists of 30 credit hours of required courses and a comprehensive written exam.

Professional (non-thesis) with Directed Study Track — 30~33 Hours

The professional track with directed study consists of 27 credit hours of required courses, a comprehensive written exam and a directed study work experience. The work experience requirement (three~six credit hours of RETL 798) must include participation in management decision-making in the retail and service-oriented industries.

Note: The directed study must be declared by the student by the end of first semester and approved by the graduate director/department chair.

Thesis Track — 33 Hours

The thesis track includes 27 credit hours of required courses and six thesis credit hours (RETL 799). Students must successfully defend their thesis at the end of the program.

To view specific course requirements for each track, please visit the Academic Bulletin.

Application Deadlines

  • Fall semester: July 15
  • Spring semester: October 15

Students enrolling for the fall semester can choose the professional, professional with directed study, or thesis tracks. Spring semester enrollees can only choose the professional track.

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Admission Requirements

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All applicants for the Master of Retail Innovation program must apply through the Graduate School. Prospective students should complete the main application form and pay the $50 application fee online. In addition, applicants must send all supporting material directly to the Graduate School.

Applications will be evaluated using a combination of academic and professional factors. We recommend gathering the required supporting documents and contact information for those who will be writing letters of recommendation prior to beginning the application process. The following supporting material is required with the application:

  • A current resume.
  • A one- to two-page personal statement of career objectives and how you expect the Master of Retail Innovation program will help you accomplish them.
  • At least two letters of recommendation with at least one from someone who can comment on your ability to succeed in graduate studies. The Graduate School requires all letters of recommendation be submitted through the online portal. Upon submission of your application, the online system will contact your recommenders via email with instructions for submitting their recommendation. The Graduate School does not accept recommendations sent directly from applicants.
  • One official transcript from each college or university attended (undergraduate and, if applicable, graduate). Successful applicants generally have a GPA of 3.0 or above (on a 4.0 scale). While you are required to submit official transcripts, we encourage you to upload unofficial transcripts to the online application. These unofficial transcripts significantly assist the department in evaluating your application and may allow for a quicker admission decision.
  • Official Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) or Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores. Successful applicants generally score at least 500 on the GMAT or at least 300 on the GRE. GMAT/GRE scores more than five years old will not be accepted under any circumstances. The codes for submitting scores are JV2 (GMAT) and 5818 (GRE).
    • We understand every student is unique and students with different backgrounds can bring various experiences and perspectives to our classrooms. Although our admissions criteria include a GRE or GMAT score, we also value other important factors in determining your potential to succeed in our program. You may petition for a GRE/GMAT requirement waiver when you meet 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.
    • Eligible applicants fill out the GRE/GMAT Waiver Request form and submit the complete form as an additional supporting document in the online application process. 

Financial Aid

The Department of Retailing may offer financial aid to degree-seeking students. To apply for financial aid, simply indicate "yes" when asked if you desire to be considered for financial aid during the online application process. Visit the Office of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships to learn more about other potential aid sources.

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