Costume Design and Practice - BA (Hons)
September 2021 — UCAS code W2W4
Our BA Hons Costume Design and Practice degree course will prepare you as a designer practitioner within a breadth of performance genres. Develop a range of career-specific skills within costume design and practice in a city culturally rich with dance, theatre and the creative arts. You will develop a range of skills applicable to a career within costume design and practice....
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Clearing hotline opens Tuesday 10 August
Studying with us in 2021/22
It is possible that the 2021/22 academic year may be affected by the ongoing disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. Information about the arrangements the University has put in place for the 2021/22 academic year in response to Covid-19 and the emerging variants can be found here.
Should the impact of Covid-19 continue in subsequent years of your course, any additional and/or alternative arrangements put in place by the University in response will be in accordance with the latest government public health advice, pandemic-related/health and safety legislation, and the terms and conditions of the student contract.
Please note: the entry requirements listed below are relevant for main cycle applications and may not be applicable during Clearing.
Our BA Hons Costume Design and Practice degree course will prepare you as a designer practitioner within a breadth of performance genres.
Develop a range of career-specific skills within costume design and practice in a city culturally rich with dance, theatre and the creative arts. You will develop a range of skills applicable to a career within costume design and practice. Birmingham is a city culturally rich with dance, theatre and the creative arts, and collaboration with many of these creative partners is encouraged and embedded within course content. Staff delivering the course are both practitioners and researchers who continue to contribute to their discipline.
What's covered in this course?
You will gain experience in custom pattern cutting, design and illustration, bespoke fitting and costume construction techniques, developing you into an active and engaged contributor to costume.
Previously, students have collaborated on live projects with Birmingham Royal Ballet, DanceXchange, Area 51, Sparklewren and Birmingham Repertory Theatre.
Staff have worked as costume practitioners within national and international companies, including the Royal Shakespeare Company and Google+, as well as the Stephen Joseph Theatre with Alan Ayckbourne.
Staff are engaged in research and practice within their discipline, and with costume as an emerging research area there are opportunities for undergraduates to contribute to this vibrant discipline.
While studying with us, you will gain access to an archive of historical dress bequeathed by the arts and crafts artist Kate Elizabeth Bunce, which will inspire and develop your knowledge of the history of dress through the use of primary resources.
There is an optional placement year between years 2 and 3, providing an opportunity for internship in industry. You will be supported with the application process with CV workshops, portfolio building and careers tutorials, and the assessed outcomes of your experience will be submitted on return to the University.
The course will be sited at Parkside Campus (City Centre) and have rooms that are resourced with industry-specific machinery for all aspects of garment production, as well as photography studios to capture final outcomes.
BA (Hons) Costume Design and Practice, BA (Hons) Fashion Design and BA (Hons) Garment Technology have a shared first year of study.
The BA Hons in Costume Design and Practice nurtures and encourages students to develop their creativity within the context of costume design and practice alongside experienced industry professionals and researchers. Louise Chapman, Lecturer
Why Choose Us?
- Staff are experienced costume practitioners that contribute and develop content within the course with passion and enthusiasm.
- We have a history of costume design going back to the early twentieth century.
- We have established links to international, national and regional theatre companies, including Birmingham Repertory Theatre and Birmingham Royal Ballet.
- We have an internationally significant archive of historical dress to study and use within your practice.
We accept a range of qualifications, the most popular of which are detailed below.
112 UCAS tariff points from A/AS Level with a minimum of 2 A Levels.
In addition to qualification applicants will also need a good portfolio.
|LEVEL 2 QUALIFICATIONS|
|Irish Leaving Certificate (Ordinary Level)||See level 3 entry under Irish Leaving Certificate for full details|
|Scottish National 5||
|IELTS||Minimum overall score of 6.0, with no less than 5.5 in each band.|
|Plus one of the following Level 3 (and above) Qualifications|
|A Level and Advanced VCE||
|AS and AS VCE||Considered with a maximum of 3 other Level 3 qualifications (AS Levels must be in different subject to A-Levels) to obtain 112 pts|
|Access to HE Diploma||
|Foundation Studies (Art and Design, and Art, Design & Media)||
|IBO Certificate in Higher Level||
|International Baccalaureate Diploma||
|Irish Leaving Certificate (Highers)||Pass the Irish Leaving Certificate with a minimum of 112 tariff points, achieved in five Higher level subjects. This must include English Language and Maths taken at either Ordinary Level (minimum grade O1-O4 (or A-C/A1-C3)) or Higher level minimum grade H1/H7 (or A-D / A1-D3 up to and including 2016.|
|OCR Cambridge Technical Extended Diploma||DMM|
|Scottish Advanced Higher||
|UAL Extended Diploma in Art & Design||Merit overall|
|UAL Extended Diploma in Creative Media Production & Technology||Merit overall|
|UAL Extended Diploma in Performing and Production Arts||Merit overall|
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.
Extra information for EU/International students
In addition to qualifications, applicants will also need a good digital portfolio.
Please see your country page for further details on the equivalent qualifications we accept.
In addition to the academic entry requirements listed above, international and EU students will also require the qualifications detailed in this table.
|EU/Non-EU (International) Qualifications||Requirements|
Minimum overall score of 6.0, with no less than 5.5 in each band.
If you do not meet the required IELTS score, you may be eligible for one of our pre-sessional English courses. Please note that you must have a Secure English Language Test (SELT) to study on the pre-sessional English course. More information.
|International Baccalaureate Diploma (or equivalent, including internationally accredited Foundation courses).|
International students who cannot meet the direct entry requirements can begin their degree studies at Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC).
Applications from mature students (21+) with alternative qualifications and/or considerable work experience will be considered on their merits.
Fees & How to Apply
- UK students
- International students
Award: BA (Hons)
Starting: Sep 2021
- Full Time
- 3 years
- £13,200 per year
£150 free credit (home/EU students only)
For 2021 entry, all new home/EU undergraduate students will receive £150 worth of free credit to spend in a host of ways, on books and a range of learning materials.
Access to computer equipment
You will require use of a laptop, and most students do prefer to have their own. However, you can borrow a laptop from the university or use one of our shared computer rooms.
You will receive £5 print credit in each year of your course, available after enrolment.
All essential field trips and associated travel costs will be included in your course fees.
Access to Microsoft Office 365
Every student at the University can download a free copy of Microsoft Office 365 to use whilst at university and for 18 months after graduation.
You will be able to download SPSS and Nvivo to your home computer to support with your studies and research.
Subscriptions to key journals and websites are available through our library.
Free access to Rosetta Stone
All students can sign up to the online learning language platform for free through the Graduate+ scheme.
Free Adobe Creative Cloud licence
Students studying on this course can request a free licence to install the entire suite of applications on up to two personal devices.
Project materials (mandatory)
This course includes project work that requires you to develop and produce a portfolio or collection. You'll be expected to provide the materials for use in your individual major projects; costs will vary depending on the materials selected, but are likely to be in the region of £50 - £100 if you choose to print your work.
Specialist equipment (mandatory)
This course requires the purchase of specialist equipment, including a laptop and a basic sewing machine (variable costs).
Excess printing (optional)
Once you have spent your £5 credit, additional printing on campus costs from 5p per sheet.
Placement expenses (optional)
If you choose to undertake a placement, you'll need to budget for accommodation and any travel costs you may incur whilst living or working away from home.
Field trips (optional)
This course includes the option of additional trips that may enhance your experience, at extra cost.
Accommodation and living costs
The cost of accommodation and other living costs are not included within your course fees. More information on the cost of accommodation can be found in our accommodation pages.
Places available to start in September 2021
If you'd like to start this course full-time this September, you can apply through Clearing.
You will be required to submit a portfolio to complete your application.
A digital portfolio can be submitted via your applicant portal, and we ask that this is submitted within four weeks of making your application. Please see our portfolio guidance page for tips on putting your portfolio together.
Applicants from selected locations in the West Midlands may also be offered an opportunity to present a portfolio in person. If this option is available to you, you will receive an email with further details once you have submitted your application.
UK / EU students are required to submit a personal statement as part of their application for this course.*
The personal statement 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:
Why does this course appeal? What areas are of particular interest?
If you have a specific career in mind, say how your chosen course will help you pursue this goal.
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.
*Non-EU students are not required to submit a personal statement when applying for this course.
Course in Depth
In your first year 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.
You will learn design skills such as CAD, live fashion drawing, fashion illustration, fashion flats, styling and photoshoots. Alongside this, you will gain theoretical skills, such as contextual studies in fashion and related art and design.
You will also gain the skills that you need to solve practical problems and create presentations.
BA (Hons) Fashion Design, BA (Hons) Costume Design and Practice and BA (Hons) Garment Technology have a shared first year of study.
In order to complete this course you must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 120 credits):
This module aims to provide you with the essential skills and knowledge as a holistic learning experience that will form the building blocks for the course and underpin further study. We use this module to ‘create a bridge’ between your prior study and the start of the course by introducing you to the basic visual research, design and technical knowledge needed to professionally construct a garment of your own design. We employ small workshop groups to induct you into studio practice and the appropriate and safe usage of industry standard sewing and garment construction machines.
This module aims to provide you with the underpinning skills to enhance the visual articulation of your design processes and output. A broad exploration of 2 & 3 dimensional, and multimedia, techniques will be undertaken; fostering appropriate, innovative, and individual approaches to be developed and applied to future design tasks throughout the course.
Creative Direction aims to help you develop your skills for your chosen exit award, Garment Technology, Costume Design and Practice or Fashion Design. The module provides you with a technical option and a design option to enable you to develop a cohesive portfolio of work to support the securing of potential work placements or internships within your chosen discipline.
The module will introduce you to the broader context of fashion through a series of contextual lectures covering the theoretical context of fashion and its wider industries. These will allow you to frame your own aspirations develop your knowledge of your chosen industry, be that fashion, costume, or garment technology. The module will also introduce you to writing techniques, a range of respective research methods and resources in the planning of your research proposal. You will also analyse your strengths and weaknesses to allow you to identify a range of career opportunities.
In your second year, you will develop more advanced research, design development, presentation and technical skills, with a view to gaining work experience that will enhance your skills and employability upon graduation.
In order to complete this course you must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 100 credits):
This module is an opportunity to develop your creative and technical exploration skills aligned with your chosen exit route. Building on the enquiring skills and ability gained at level 4 to progress your ideas and professional practice, in readiness for your final year of study.
This module aims to build on your knowledge of academic writing. You will be encouraged to discuss, argue and critically analyse the lectures, this will be further supported with research, academic writing, referencing and essay structure sessions.
This module aims to expand the knowledge and skills required to progress your particular career aspirations Providing an opportunity for you to focus on a specified brief that will prepare you for your final year. Advanced practice should evidence your capacity to work at a professional level within your selected discipline, whilst being supported by both the academic and technical teams.
In order to complete this course you must successfully complete at least 20 credits from the following list of OPTIONAL modules.
The purpose of this module is to enable you to develop professional attributes and subject skills through experience in the work place, and to critically reflect upon your learning in that context. You will normally be expected to arrange your own placement, with support from academic staff and ADM Careers+.
The module is an opportunity to learn and critically reflect on the skills of collaboration by enabling you to create an interdisciplinary project with students from complementary disciplines, or with academic staff. Collaboration is a vital employability skill within the Creative Industries and this module allows you to develop these skills, making use of University facilities and with the support of academic staff. Within this module framework, several kinds of collaborative opportunities are available. For example, with the approval of your supervisor, you can determine a project based on your own interests; your supervisor may set you a predetermined project to enable you to work with other students in a way that is appropriate to your subject area; or there may be opportunities for you to collaborate with staff on research projects. In all cases, you must apply your subject skills to an interdisciplinary project which will be agreed in advance with your supervisor.
Core modules are guaranteed to run. Optional modules will vary from year to year and the published list is indicative only.
During your final year of study you will focus on your own individual area of practise. You will collaborate within industry on a live brief to produce costume designs, and final outcomes for your chosen performance genre. Developing skills specific to costume industry through these live collaborations within a supportive, nurturing environment.
In order to complete this course you must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 120 credits):
This module you will research, establish and consolidate your ideas into an individual piece of investigative work. The project will focus and cultivate your ability to explore the application of a theoretical point within several contexts including, historical, ethical and business. This allows you to develop a greater understanding of critical thinking and analysis relating to your specialism.
The purpose of the module is to enable you to undertake a sustained, in-depth and theoretically informed research project exploring an area that is of personal interest to you. It is important that we can support you appropriately, so you will be guided towards choosing a research topic which is relevant to your discipline and in which your lecturers have expertise. The outcome may take the form of a written dissertation or a practice-based portfolio.
The Major Project encourages you to be innovative and experimental, and to push at the boundaries, create work which demonstrates an awareness of professional standards relevant to your discipline; to self-evaluate and critically reflect on your work.
The Independent Practice project is the culmination of your studies, during the course you will have identified and developed your own personal goals. This project provides an opportunity for you to create a portfolio of work that will demonstrate your skills and potential to employers or clients.
This course is ideal if you wish to work within costume design, performance design and costume practice. The theatre industry is often populated by freelance designers and practitioners. Previous graduates and current students have worked with Welsh National Opera, Royal Shakespeare Company, Angels Costumes, Costumes With Character and Circomedia.
Within the first year, you will be introduced to the fundamental skills needed to work within the creative apparel industries. You will be exposed to pattern cutting, research methodologies, fashion and dress theory, CAD technologies and garment construction. In the latter part of the first year you will be working on modules that are costume-specific, developing skills in readiness for your second year.
During your second year, you will develop these skills to a more focused and advanced level, before applying for work experience within your chosen sector of the industry, with the option of a sandwich year between the second and third years of study.
In your final year you will design and produce a collection of garments in collaboration with external partners, and you will be developing a costume-specific pathway portfolio of work with a focus on the performance genre that you hope to specialise in.
Our graduates typically go on to professional roles in fashion design, womenswear, menswear, children’s wear, sportswear, garment technology, styling, trend forecasting, graphic design, visual merchandising, buying, PR, costume making, and event management.
The course will prepare you as a designer practitioner within a breadth of performance genres, and you will develop a range of skills applicable to a career within costume design and practice.
Graduates from our course progress into roles within many theatre companies, however the majority of graduates are freelance and therefore go from project to project, often developing working relationships with other industry professionals.
You’ll find Birmingham City University alumni working in Angels Costumes, Costumes with Character, Pitlochery Festival Theatre and ‘The Paradise’ (BBC TV series).
A requirement of the optional sandwich year within our course is to gain valuable experience to enhance employability within our students. Our students can be found gaining experience in may major companies including Birmingham Royal Ballet.
Links to industry
Throughout our course we actively encourage collaboration sponsored and live projects with the performance industries. We have worked with Birmingham Repertory Theatre and Birmingham Royal Ballet. Collaborations underpin our delivery and add value to the curriculum within the course, with practice encouraged within live projects throughout.
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.
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:
The UK remains one of the world's leading study destinations
The UK remains one of the world's leading study destinations for international students.
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Facilities and Staff
You’ll be based in our School of Fashion and Textiles, within The Parkside Building. The Parkside Building is part of our new multi-million pound City Centre Campus development in the heart of Birmingham's Eastside development.
Programme Director: Fashion Undergraduate Programmes Senior Lecturer
Sheila Griffiths is a Senior Lecturer with the School of Fashion and Textiles where she teaches pattern cutting to undergraduate students on all three levels of the BA (Hons) Fashion Design programme.
Sheila is also the faculty lead academic for technology enhanced learning and teaching, a role in which she promotes the use of e-Learning and technology in her faculty.More about Sheila
Senior Lecturer and Course Leader on BA Hons Costume Design and Practice
As Course Director of BA (Hons) Costume Design and Practice with over 15 years’ experience as a costumier, Louise is a passionate and informed communicator on my subject.
With the knowledge and industry experience to inspire and enhance student learning, she previously developed the Design for Performance pathway with current undergraduates being featured in Vogue Italia, (2015) and having been shortlisted for the Aesthetica Film prize (2015).More about Louise