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Textile Sciences and Engineering

Program Description

Just the Facts

Textile Sciences and Engineering. A program that prepares individuals to apply mathematical and scientific principles to the design, development and operational evaluation of systems to test and manufacture fibers and fiber products, both synthetic and natural; to develop new and improved fibers, textiles and their uses; and to the analysis of related engineering problems such as structural factors, molecular synthesis, chemical manufacturing, weaves, strength and stress, useful life, dyes, and applications to composite systems.

This program is available in these options:

  • Bachelor's degree
  • Graduate Certificate
  • Master's degree
  • Doctoral degree

High School Courses

See the high school courses recommended for programs in this career cluster:

See the high school courses recommended for programs in this pathway:

Related Careers

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Additional Information

Textile science and engineering programs are a good choice for students with an aptitude in math and science and an interest in fabric and textiles.

"Textiles is an exciting, fast-moving and very technical field," says Gary Moore, a professor at the Institute of Textile Technology in Virginia. "The opportunities for rapid advancement, especially for technically-minded yet well-rounded individuals, are rather incredible. It's actually a pretty well-kept secret."

Textile technology, says Moore, generally includes a core of traditional textile courses -- knitting, weaving, dyeing, finishing and fabric structure -- along with classes in information systems, accounting, apparel production and commercial printing techniques.

Walter Thomas is chair of the apparel and textile engineering technology department at Southern Polytechnic State University in Virginia. He says high school students can prepare for this major by taking college prep courses, including math, chemistry and physics.

Nancy Kerr teaches textile science. "You must have good writing skills and math skills. Don't neglect chemistry even if you think you'll never use it," she says. "I can't stress too much the importance of math, English and science skills."

Kerr says students in the textile science major take courses in English, economics, chemistry, sociology, psychology, communications, human ecology, program planning, implementation and evaluation.

Textile courses include textile science, textile dyes and color science, quality assurance for textiles and clothing, textiles and apparel in the global environment, surface design of textiles and computer-aided design.

There are different textile specializations, so check out a few programs and choose one that fits your interests. Three of the more common ones include textile science (also called textile chemistry), textile engineering and textile technology.

Auburn University's program offers specializations within all three fields. William Walsh is head of textile engineering there. He says students in textile engineering take general engineering courses and a series of courses in the engineering aspects of textile manufacturing and the mechanics of textile materials.

Textile chemistry students, meanwhile, learn the basics of textile manufacturing and the chemistry of dyeing and finishing. Students in the textile technology and management stream take basic textile manufacturing courses and a large number of business and management courses in the university's business program.

Expect to go beyond general classroom work. Students are required to do senior research projects, Walsh says, and almost all do internships.

Along with tuition, there are other costs students should know about. These include lab fees and books.


Occupational Outlook Handbook
For more information related to this field of study, see: Engineers

Institute of Textile Technology
List of programs in textile science, engineering and technology

Textile Fabric Resource Guide
Cloth samples, fiber types and more


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