Fashion Design - BA (Hons)

UCAS Code:
W230
Attendance:
Full Time (3 years), Sandwich (4 years)
Starting:
September 2016, September 2017
Campus:

Reflecting contemporary practice in the fashion industry, the course helps you to acquire a thoroughly professional, enquiring attitude. It gives you the space, skills and encouragement to develop your individuality and creative confidence in this demanding field.

What's covered in the course?

The course equips you with the necessary knowledge, skills and attributes to succeed in a wide range of careers related to fashion.

In your first year, introduction to a number of fashion topics helps you to develop a good foundation of fashion knowledge and skills in both design and technical areas.

Your second year helps to build advanced fashion skills and knowledge, and strengthens your personal and professional development in relation to your own career goals, through a choice of options, business planning and a four-week work placement. Opportunities to take part in the international Erasmus exchange programme exists during this year.

You will have the chance to follow our four-year sandwich option, which provides the opportunity for a one-year internship in industry.

In the final year, you have the chance to specialise in Fashion Design, Fashion Communication, Garment Technology, Design for Performance, or Fashion Accessories. The Fashion Design pathway is for imaginative, motivated and committed students who wish to work within the fashion industry.

The course blends individual creativity and commercial realism, and you will be able to apply your skills and knowledge of the professional design process from concept to product.

The tutors came to know me well over my study years. I had a fantastic support base which meant I was able to find my style and work to the best of my abilities, pushing myself in the last year of my degree. Thomasin Gautier-Ollerenshaw

Why Choose Us?

  • You can choose from an extensive choice of pathways: Fashion Design; Fashion Design with Garment Technology; Fashion Design with Design for Performance; Fashion Design with Fashion Communication and Fashion Design with Fashion Accessories.
  • We have excellent links with regional and international fashion brands Burberry, Next, Paul Smith and Ted Baker give the course colour and contemporary relevance.
  • You can enjoy a vast archive of fashion publications dating back to the 1930s.
  • You have the opportunity to work with the Gerber pattern-cutting and design system, widely used in the global fashion industry.
  • You will have the chance to showcase your final-year work to industry leaders looking for new talent, at events such as Graduate Fashion Week in London.
Applying for a September 2016 full time course?

Already got your results?

Simply fill in our quick form and our admissions team will contact you within 2 working days about a possible place.

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Still waiting for your results?

We can offer help if you’re worried or want to explore other options. We’ll also let you know of course vacancies once you get your results.

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This course is open to International students

School of Fashion and Textiles

Discover the School of Fashion and Textiles

Visit our School site for more student work and extra information.

Visit the School website

Where our students go

Our students have gone on to work with companies such as:

  • Abercrombie and Fitch
  • Fashion Flying
  • Giles Deacon

And in jobs such as:

  • Trainee Designer
  • Assistant Fashion Designer
  • Freelance Fashion Desinger

Entry Requirements

We accept a range of qualifications, the most popular of which are detailed below.

UK students
Essential

In addition to qualifications, applicants will also need a good portfolio.

Typical Offers
UK Qualification Requirements 2016/17
GCE A Level/ AS Level BBC at A-Level or 280 UCAS tariff points from A/AS Level with a minimum of 2 A-Levels
Access to Higher Education Diploma Pass overall with 60 credits, 45 at Level 3 and 15 at Level 2. Must be in a relevant subject pathway
BTEC National Diploma (12-units not including early years) D*D* or combined with other level 3 qualifications to achieve a minimum total of 280 UCAS points
BTEC Extended Diploma (18-units not including early years) DMM - 280 UCAS points
BTEC Subsidiary Diploma/ National Award (6-units not including early years) D* or combined with other level 3 qualifications to achieve a minimum total of 280 UCAS points
BTEC Diploma in Foundation Studies in Art and Design Distinction
International Baccalaureate Diploma 32 points overall
Irish Leaving Certificate 280 UCAS points - Higher Levels
Scottish Higher/ Advanced Higher 280 UCAS points
Welsh Baccalaureate (core plus options) 120 tariff points combined with other level 3 qualifications to achieve a minimum total of 280 UCAS points
Other qualifications
If you have a qualification that is not listed in the table please refer to our full entry requirements on UCAS.

Further guidance on tariff points can be found on the UCAS website.
EU/International students
Essential
EU/Non-EU (International) Qualifications Requirements 2016/17
IELTS 6.0 overall with 5.5 minimum in all bands
International Baccalaureate Diploma (or equivalent, including internationally accredited Foundation courses). 28 points overall
Country-specific entry requirements and qualifications.

 

International students who cannot meet the direct entry requirements can begin their degree studies at Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC).

The UCAS tariff is changing

If you're considering applying for this course to start in September 2017 onwards, it's important to know that the UCAS tariff system is changing.

UCAS tariff points – the points system most universities use to compare different qualifications – will be introducing a new system on how points are calculated.

More about the new tariff

From A/AS Level with a minimum of 2 A Levels

Unconditional Offers

Unconditional Offers

If you are a full-time undergraduate applicant for the 2015/16 year, and show particular potential, we may be able to make you an unconditional offer if you make us first choice and satisfy certain criteria.

To be considered you must hold, or be predicted to achieve:

300 tariff points or above from three A levels (equivalent to grades BBB or above)
or
be predicted DDM profile at BTEC level

You will also be required to attend an interview.

Learn more about unconditional offers >>

Stressed about exams?

Stressed about exams?
We’ve got your back.

We’ve created a range of advice from experts and our students, including next steps if your exams don't go that well.

Get exam help

UK or EU students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
BA (Hons) Sep 2016 FT 3 years £9,000 per year Apply via UCAS
SW 4 years £9,000 per year Apply via UCAS
Sep 2017 FT 3 years £9,250 per year Apply via UCAS
SW 4 years £9,250 per year Apply via UCAS

International Students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
BA (Hons) Sep 2016 FT 3 years £12,000 per year
Sep 2017 FT 3 years £12,000 per year

If you're unable to use the online form for any reason, you can complete our PDF application form instead.

The University reserves the right to increase fees broadly in line with increases in inflation, or to reflect changes in government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament.

Additional costs

Our courses include activities such as performance, exhibitions, field trips and production of works or artefacts which may require you to purchase specific equipment, instruments, books, materials, hire of venues and accommodation, or other items. Many of these activities are essential and compulsory parts of your learning experience.

The link below gives you an estimate of the possible costs associated with key activities on specific courses. Please bear in mind that these are only estimates of costs based on past student experience and feedback. The actual costs could vary considerably (either greater or lower than these estimates) depending on your choices as you progress through the course.

All our students are provided with 100 free pages of printing each year to a maximum total value of £15.

Find additional costs for your course

Guidance for UK/EU students

UCAS

UK and EU students applying for most undergraduate degree courses in the UK will need to apply through UCAS.

The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) is a UK organisation responsible for managing applications to university and college.

Applying through UCAS
 Register with UCAS
 Login to UCAS
 Complete your details
 Select your course
 Write a personal statement
 Get a reference
 Pay your application fee
 Send UCAS your application

Non-EU (International) students

There are three ways to apply:

1) Direct to the University

You will need to complete our International Application Form and submit it together with scan copies of your original academic transcripts and certificates.

2) Through a country representative

Our in-country representatives can help you make your application and apply for a visa. They can also offer advice on travel, living in the UK and studying abroad.

3) Through UCAS

If you are applying for an undergraduate degree or a Higher National Diploma (HND), you can apply through the UK’s Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS).

You can request a printed form from your school or nearest British Council office. You will be charged for applying through UCAS. Birmingham City University’s UCAS code is B25 BCITY.

Your personal statement

Your personal statement is a highly important part of your application. It gives you a crucial opportunity to say why you’re applying and why the institution should accept you.

Here are the key areas you’ll need to address:

Course choice

Why does this course appeal? What areas are of particular interest?

Career plans

If you have a specific career in mind, say how your chosen course will help you pursue this goal.

Work experience

Mention any work that is relevant to your subject, highlighting the skills and experience gained.

School or college experience

Highlight skills gained at school/college, eg summer schools or mentoring activities.

Non-accredited skills or achievement

eg Duke of Edinburgh Award, Young Enterprise scheme.

You should also mention your future plans – if you’re planning to take a year out, don't forget to give your reasons. Talk about any subjects you’re studying that don’t have a formal assessment and any sponsorships or placements you’ve applied for. And don't be scared to add in details about your social, sports or leisure interests.

Get more information on writing personal statements.

This course is not available part-time

Got any questions?

Search our Frequently Asked Questions for a range of information about our courses and studying here.

Loans and Grants

Financial Support

We offer further information on possible undergraduate financial support. This includes the type of loans, grants and scholarships available both from the government and from Birmingham City University.

Year one

In year one, you are introduced to a broad range of fashion studies theory and technical skills, building a sound base for further study in years two and three.

Modules include:
Fashion Practice and Theory
45 credits

Pattern cutting and sewing skills: Tuition of basic pattern cutting and sewing skills students will be taught the basic principles through workshop sessions. Pattern cutting demonstrations are also available via Moodle. Continued use of ipods in the workroom to facilitate students working at their own pace. Fabric knowledge embedded.

Design skills: Drawing development, CAD; live fashion drawing, Design, Fashion Illustration, fashion flats, styling and photo shoots.

Theory: Historical, current, contextual studies in fashion and related art and design. Including sustainability and green issues. This module adds breadth to the student awareness and understanding in relation to their own work.

Design and Making project: that brings together skills and embeds that knowledge through practical problem solving, design realisation project.

Fashion Materials and Form
30 credits

This module is a conceptual design and making project that incorporates experimentation with a range of fabrics, with a final outcome as a styled photo shoot.

Fashion Design Practice
30 credits

This is a design and make project that incorporates trend and predictions research and fabric sourcing as part of the design process.

Personal Development
15 credits

Careers Research and self analysis.

Portfolio development drawing on previous project work, concentrating of presentation skills.

Year two

Modules include:
Fashion Business and Entrepreneurship
15 credits

This module provides an understanding of the Fashion Industry and entrepreneurship, it involved both individual and team work.

 
Portfolio Presentation
 
Work Experience placement or External/Collaborative self-directed project
15 credits
Advanced Skills relating to third-year pathways
30 credits

This module seeks to provide the opportunity for advanced skills building prior to embarking on year three pathways.

Placement Year (optional)

This module is partially completed during the year placement with a reflective journal, final assessment takes place in year three when you return to complete the final year of your four year degree. The placement project replaces the dissertation for sandwich year students.

 
Reflective Journal
 
Placement Project

Year three

Modules include:
 
Research and Creative Development
 
Graduate Portfolio
 
Dissertation
30 credits
Major Project
60 credits

The major project is a self-initiated brief with negotiated outcomes appropriate to the pathway. The rationale for the major project will form part of the final assessment.

This pathway is ideal if you intend to pursue a creative career in fashion design, styling, illustration, trend and predictions, promotions or fashion journalism.

If you choose the Fashion Design pathway you have the option of producing the following for your major project:

  • Final collection of garments plus associated portfolio work
  • Portfolio-based final outcome relevant to your individual career aspirations, which typically might include research and trends, illustration, photography, journals etc

Teaching breakdown

valuelabelcolor
25 Time in lectures, seminars and similar MidnightBlue
71 Time in independent study RoyalBlue
4 Time on placement LightSkyBlue

Assessment breakdown

Student stories

Rebecca Short

Fashion design graduate Rebecca Short had the surprise of a lifetime when one of her experimental outfits was worn by pop icon Lady Gaga in front of a worldwide audience.

Cleo McColgan

Cleo McColgan gained a prestigious graduate position with world-famous fashion label Abercrombie and Fitch after graduating. She was one of a handful of elite graduates recruited by the company each year, alongside fellow graduate Phoebe Stonehill. They both took up their new roles at Abercrombie’s Head Office in Ohio in February 2014.

View more examples of student work...

Study and work abroad

If you are interested in undertaking part of your studies abroad, the Erasmus scheme may be of interest to you. It allows higher education students to study for part of their degree in another European country.

It is open to undergraduates in their second year (or above) and offers a unique opportunity to enhance your CV and experience new cultures. If you study with us you will have access to an Erasmus co-ordinator, who can provide information about which institutions we have links with.

Find out more

Student stories Betty Jackson CBE

Internationally Renowned Fashion Designer

Betty Jackson is an internationally renowned fashion designer who is well known for developing bold and imaginative textile prints and translating them onto clothing.

Betty first launched her own collection in 1981. She introduced the Betty Jackson for Men collection in 1986, and opened her flagship shop in London's Brompton Road five years later.

In 2008, she was asked by the Lord Chief Justice for help with modernising the gowns of the civil judiciary, and she also designed costumes for the characters Eddy and Patsy in the 1990s hit TV comedy 'Absolutely Fabulous'.

Placements

Your development is enhanced by work placements either in the UK or overseas, giving you a real taste of your future career and an opportunity to make those all important industry contacts.

You are encouraged to enter competitions, undertake live projects and participate in fashion shows to gain a wide professional experience. Inspiration can also be found during the international study trips which are on offer every year, in the past these have included the fashion capitals of Paris, Milan and New York.

Throughout the course you will be supported by our experienced teaching staff, as well as specialist visiting tutors who are practitioners in the industry, giving you an excellent learning experience in a wide range of fashion specialisms.

OpportUNIty

OpportUNIty Student Ambassador

OpportUNIty: Student Jobs on Campus ensures that our students are given a first opportunity to fill many part-time temporary positions within the University. This allows you to work while you study with us, fitting the job around your course commitments. By taking part in the scheme, you will gain valuable experiences and employability skills, enhancing your prospects in the job market.

It will also allow you to become more involved in University life by delivering, leading and supporting many aspects of the learning experience, from administration to research and mentoring roles.

Firewalking

BCU Graduate+

Through our courses we give you the skills and experience needed to get a head start when applying for jobs. But we offer something extra too – Graduate+.

Our unique programme gives you the chance to develop valuable skills outside of the more formal classroom learning. We award points for Graduate+ activities (including firewalking!) and these can be put towards a final Graduate+ award.

More about Graduate+

Graduate jobs

Graduates pursue careers in fashion design, menswear, children’s wear, sportswear and other niche markets, garment technology, styling, visual merchandising, buying, PR, costume design and event management.

International Students

Birmingham City University is a vibrant and multicultural university in the heart of a modern and diverse city. We welcome many international students every year – there are currently students from more than 80 countries among our student community.

The University is conveniently placed, with Birmingham International Airport nearby and first-rate transport connections to London and the rest of the UK.

Our international pages contain a wealth of information for international students who are considering applying to study here, including:

Studying in the UK is better

Overseas students studying in the UK are happier and have a better learning experience compared to those studying in other countries.

The International Undergraduate Students: The UK's Competitive Advantage report asked 365,754 international students studying outside their home country to give their feedback on what it's like to study in this country. And the UK scored top in every aspect.

So if you're looking at studying with us, you'll be making a good choice.

Overall measures: ranked positions
UK
Australia
Canada
NZ
US
Undergraduate 2014 2014 2014 2013 2014
Recommendation 1 4 3 5 2
Overall satisfaction 1 4 3 5 2
Arrival overall 1 2 4 5 3
Learning overall 1 4 3 5 2
Living overall 1 2 5 3 4
Support overall 1 4 5 3 2

Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC)

International students who have a serious interest in studying with us but who perhaps cannot meet the direct entry requirements, academic or English, or who have been out of education for some time, can enter Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC) and begin their degree studies.

BCUIC

BCUIC is part of the global Navitas Group, an internationally recognised education provider, and the partnership allows students to access the University’s facilities and services and move seamlessly through to achieving a Bachelor’s degree from Birmingham City University.

Learn more about BCUIC

Popular home countries

Our students come from around the world but our fashion design course is most popular with international students from:  

Our Facilities

We are constantly investing in our estate and are currently in the process of spending £260 million on new learning facilities.

The Parkside Building is part of our new multi-million pound City Centre Campus development in the heart of Birmingham's Eastside development.

Home to the Birmingham School of Architecture and Design, School of Fashion and Textiles, and School of Visual Communication, the five-floor site is packed with fashion design workshops, studios and social 'collision spaces.'

The campus also provides extensive workshop space, and the very latest in industry-standard equipment reflecting the broad range of study opportunities on offer.

You will have access to Vicon 3D, an external tracking motion capture facility, and Gypsy, an exoskeleton-based motion capture system to extend the many possibilities for production of 3D animation and films.

There's also a comprehensive range of tools and machinery in the wood and metal workshops.

You can use the latest in high-tech digital print, plus a range of other facilities including:

  • Editing and animation suites with unique equipment
  • Digital Visualisation Hub
  • Traditional print
  • Photographic studio and darkroom
  • High power laser cutters and rapid prototyping systems
  • Theatre
  • Fashion workshops
  • Computerised looms and printers
  • Art shop
  • Library
  • Café

We are committed to showcasing the best student concepts and collections in exhibitions and on catwalks that include London Fashion Week, London Free Range, New Designers and Birmingham Made Me.

Our staff

All of our staff come from an industry background and bring a wealth of skills, knowledge and experience.

All of this gives you access to the latest thinking, creativity and professional networks.

Fashion

We have a diverse team of lecturers, all from an industry background. Our team have a wealth of skills, knowledge and experience.

Expertise includes buying, merchandising, design, marketing, trend forecasting, PR, event management and business. We have a real world focus, which prepares students for a career in the fashion industry.

See full list of our staff

UK prospective students:

UK enquiry form

+44 (0)121 331 5595

EU / International prospective students:

International enquiry form

+44 (0)121 331 5389

Already applied?

Email the applications team

+44 (0)121 331 6295