Foundation › Costume Design and Practice with a Foundation Year - BA (Hons)
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A person attaching an accessory to a costume being worn
A person stood within the costume design workshop
A dress with a floral headpiece being showcased
A person working on a costume
A blue dress with a crown being showcased

Costume Design and Practice with a Foundation Year - BA (Hons)

Currently viewing course to start in 2022/23 Entry. Switch to 2023/24 Entry

Develop a range of career-specific skills within costume design and practice in a city culturally rich with dance, theatre and the creative arts.  Our BA Hons Costume Design and Practice degree course will prepare you as a designer practitioner within a breadth of performance genres. You will develop a range of skills applicable to a career within costume design and practice....

  • Level Foundation
  • Study mode Full Time
  • Location City Centre
  • School School of Fashion and Textiles
  • Faculty Faculty of Arts, Design and Media

Overview

Develop a range of career-specific skills within costume design and practice in a city culturally rich with dance, theatre and the creative arts. 

Our BA Hons Costume Design and Practice degree course will prepare you as a designer practitioner within a breadth of performance genres. 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.

About foundation courses

The foundation course is an exciting step towards your chosen degree. It provides an opportunity to develop skills to equip you on your professional journey into the creative industries.

The programme encompasses elements of fashion design, fashion business and textile design degree routes. It provides a platform for you to share with and learn from others, while developing visual communication skills and processes. It will help you in building confidence and independence ready for the next stage of your degree.

We aim to excite, engage and challenge you, pushing you to develop into a capable student with a great fashion and textiles aesthetic as well as an enthusiasm to learn.

This four-year programme has been specifically designed to allow you to undertake additional level three study, to ensure you are successful on your chosen degree programme.

After successful completion of your foundation year, you will have the flexibility to switch (should you wish to change direction) onto a number of related undergraduate degree programmes within the School of Fashion and Textiles.

This course is open to International students.

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.

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.

Studying with us during the Covid-19 pandemic

The University has put in place measures in response to Covid-19 to allow us to safely deliver our courses. Should the impact of the pandemic continue in future years, any additional or alternative arrangements put in place by the University will be in accordance with the latest government public health advice, health and safety legislation, and the terms and conditions of the student contract.

Open Days

Join us for an on-campus Open Day where you'll be able to explore our campus and facilities in person. You'll be able to hear more about your chosen subject area in our course talks.

Next Open Day: Saturday 25 June

Book now

Entry Requirements

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

UK students
Essential

80 UCAS tariff points.

At the point of entry, students will need Maths and English Language GCSEs grade 4 (C) or above.

LEVEL 2 QUALIFICATIONS
GCSE
  • GCSE English Language at grade C/4 or above
  • GCSE Maths at grade C/4 or above
  • Must have been achieved at the point of enrolment

Irish Leaving Certificate (Ordinary Level)

See level 3 entry under Irish Leaving Certificate for full details
Scottish National 5
  • English Language at grade C or above
  • Maths at grade C or above
  • Must have been achieved at the point of enrolment

IELTS

6.0 overall with no less than 5.5 in each band.
Plus one of the following Level 3 (and above) Qualifications
A Level and Advanced VCE
  • CDD / 80 UCAS points
  • A maximum of 4 subjects are considered. These can be other A/S Levels (as long in a different subject) A-Levels or Level 3 equivalents.

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 80 pts

Access to HE Diploma

  • Pass with 60 credits overall. At least 45 credits at Level 3.
  • Arts, Media and Publishing subjects preferred but other subjects also considered.
  • Pearson BTEC National Extended Diploma (2016 – present)
  • Pearson BTEC Extended Diploma (QCF) (2010 - 2016)
  • BTEC Level 3 National Diploma (2002 – 2010)
MMP

Foundation Studies (Art and Design, and Art, Design & Media)

  • Pass
  • Considered with a maximum of 3 other Level 3 qualifications to obtain 80 pts

IBO Certificate in Higher Level

  • Students who do not complete the IB Diploma will be considered on the basis of their IB Certificates if they obtain a total of 11 points or above from two Higher Level Subjects
  • Considered with other acceptable level 3 qualifications to meet 80 UCAS Tariff Points
  • For students who do not already hold a GCSE in English Language at Grade C/4 or above Standard Level English Language (not literature) English A - Grade 4 or above or English B - Grade 5 from the IB Diploma will be accepted
  • For students who do not already hold a GCSE in Mathematics at Grade C/4 or above Standard Level Maths, grade 5 or above from the IB Diploma will be accepted

International Baccalaureate Diploma

  • Obtain a minimum of 24 points overall
  • For students who do not already hold a GCSE in English Language at Grade C/4 or above Standard Level English Language (not literature) English A - Grade 4 or above or English B - Grade 5 from the IB Diploma will be accepted
  • For students who do not already hold a GCSE in Mathematics at Grade C/4 or above Standard Level Maths, grade 5 or above from the IB Diploma will be accepted

Irish Leaving Certificate (Highers)

Pass the Irish Leaving Certificate with a minimum of 80 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

MMP

Scottish Advanced Higher

  • Achieve a minimum of 80 tariff points achieved in either three Advanced Highers or from a combination of two Advanced Highers plus two Highers.
  • Where three Advanced Highers have been taken achieve a minimum of grades DDD
  • Where a combination of Highers and Advanced Highers have been taken you must achieve (grades of DD in two Advanced Highers plus grades of DD in two Highers).

T-Levels

Pass overall (C or above on the core)

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
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.
Extra information for EU/International students
Essential
EU/Non-EU (International) Qualifications Requirements
IELTS

6.0 overall 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.

Mature Applicants

Applications from mature students (21+) with alternative qualifications and/or considerable work experience will be considered on their merits.

Fees & How to Apply

Please select your student status to view fees and apply
  • UK Student
  • International Student

UK students

Annual and modular tuition fees shown are applicable to the first year of study. The University reserves the right to increase fees for subsequent years of study in line with increases in inflation (capped at 5%) or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament. View fees for continuing students.

Award: BA (Hons)

Starting: Sep 2022

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees

International students

Annual and modular tuition fees shown are applicable to the first year of study. The University reserves the right to increase fees for subsequent years of study in line with increases in inflation (capped at 5%) or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament. View fees for continuing students.

Award: BA (Hons)

Starting: Sep 2022

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Full Time
  • 4 years
  • £13,500 in 2022/23

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

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.

Printing

You will receive £5 print credit in each year of your course, available after enrolment.

Field trips

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.

Key software

You will be able to download SPSS and Nvivo to your home computer to support with your studies and research.

Key subscriptions

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.

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 £10 - £50 for your foundation year.

Specialist equipment (mandatory)

This course requires the purchase of specialist equipment, including Pattern Master, fabric scissors and sewing equipment which is likely to be in the region of £30 - £50 for your foundation year.

Excess printing (optional)

Once you have spent your £5 credit, additional printing on campus costs from 5p per sheet.

Books (optional)

All module key texts will be in the University library, but in limited numbers. You may choose to purchase a copy.

Field trips (optional)

This course includes the option of additional trips that may enhance your experience, at extra cost.

Subscriptions (optional)

You may wish to purchase subscriptions to additional journals and websites.

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.

Guidance for UK students

UCAS

UK 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

Portfolio Guidance

You are not required to submit a portfolio for this course.

Course in Depth

Foundation year

In your Foundation Year, you will gain a grounding in a variety of skills from each of our degree pathways, including blog writing, textile techniques, branding, creating garments and more. You will be able to explore the Fashion and Textiles workshops and CAD suites to pursue your individual interests.

In order to complete this course you must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 120 credits):

Year one

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):

Year two

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):

In order to complete this course you must successfully complete at least 20 credits from the following list of OPTIONAL modules.

Core modules are guaranteed to run. Optional modules will vary from year to year and the published list is indicative only.

Year three

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):

Download course specification

Download now

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.

Employability

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.


Graduate jobs

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).

Placements

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

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.

International

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:

Facilities & Staff

Parkside and Curzon Buildings

Our Facilities

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.

Our staff

Louise Martin

Foundation Year Course Director

Louise’s Masters in textile design established the foundation for her design journey. From this platform, Louise started to build a career as an interior designer, regional design manager, stylist, and as a lecturer in fashion and textiles. Louise now has over 10 years' teaching experience as a lecturer. As a designer maker, Louise...

More about Louise

Natalie Martin

Lecturer in Foundation Fashion and Textiles

After graduating with BA (Hons) Fashion Design from BCU Natalie has worked with brands such as Joseph Turvey and Hades Knitwear as a freelance designer, production assistant and illustrator as well as working on show production for presentations at London Fashion Week Mens. Working hands-on with small, luxury brands has enabled her to gain a...

More about Natalie

Natalie Martin

Lecturer in Foundation Fashion and Textiles

After graduating with BA (Hons) Fashion Design from BCU Natalie has worked with brands such as Joseph Turvey and Hades Knitwear as a freelance designer, production assistant and illustrator as well as working on show production for presentations at London Fashion Week Mens. Working hands-on with small, luxury brands has enabled her to gain a...

More about Natalie