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Fashion Business and Promotion - BA (Hons)

Our BA (Hons) Fashion Business and Promotion degree course enables you to explore a range of roles within the fashion industry, beyond the making and production of clothing....

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. Any arrangements put in place by the University for the 2021/22 academic year 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.

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

Course overview

Our BA (Hons) Fashion Business and Promotion degree course enables you to explore a range of roles within the fashion industry, beyond the making and production of clothing.

Guided and supported by a knowledgeable, industry-experienced staff team, you will gain an education across the different fashion sectors and develop skills in order to undertake a number of industry roles, including Buying, Marketing and PR, Trends forecasting and Event Management.

This course is open to International students.

What's covered in this course?

You will learn how fashion roles work together, as well as commercial and consumer and  competitive awareness. 

You will work on a live project, as well as industry focused briefs across the first two years and  benefit from regular industry guest speakers. 

Throughout the course, we will develop your business knowledge and language, preparing you for delivering presentations, teamwork, writing reports and build skills in creating both paper and digital visual work with the aid of CAD packages. 

In your final year, you will work on projects that support your independent interests and develop your self-promotion skills ready for industry. There will also be the chance to showcase your final-year work to industry leaders, at events such as Graduate Fashion Week in London.

I can truly say this course prepares you to be 100 per cent industry-ready. You will learn in a challenging, informative and inspiring way, giving you true industry insight and skills across a number of subjects. From trends forecasting to event management this course helps you understand the wider fashion picture. You will leave this course as a confident professional.
Sophie Johnson, graduate

Why Choose Us?

  • The course helps you become as versatile and dynamic as the industry itself.
  • Unlike other courses, we cover a variety of fashion business modules to ensure you gain a broad perspective of the fashion industry.
  • The course provides creative and visual fluency, equipping you with the toolkit to operate in the competitive, international fashion market place.
  • Our academic staff all have industry experience, teaching and researching their specialist subjects, ranging from trend forecasting to branding and international retailing.
  • Integrated work placements provide you with the essential experience needed to get ahead in their sector.

Entry Requirements

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

Essential Requirements

112 UCAS tariff points from A/AS Level with a minimum of 2 A Levels.

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 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
  • BBC / 112 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 112 pts
Access to HE Diploma
  • Pass with 60 credits overall. At least 45 credits at Level 3.
  • BA (Hons) Textile Design, BA (Hons) Fashion Design, BA (Hons) Garment Technology, BA (Hons) Costume Design and Practice - Arts, Media and Publishing subjects preferred but other subjects also considered
  • BA (Hons) Fashion Branding and Communication & BA (Hons) Fashion Business and Promotion - Arts, Media, Publishing, Retail, Commercial Enterprise & Business subjects subjects preferred but other subjects also considered.
  • BSc (Hons) Gemmology and Jewellery Studies - Arts, Media and Science 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)
DMM
Foundation Studies (Art and Design, and Art, Design & Media)
  • Distinction
  • Considered with a maximum of 3 other Level 3 qualifications to obtain 112 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 14 points or above from three Higher Level Subjects
  • Considered with other acceptable level 3 qualifications to meet 112 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 28 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 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
  • Achieve a minimum of 112 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 CCD
  • Where a combination of Highers and Advanced Highers have been taken you must achieve (grades of CD in two Advanced Highers plus grades of CC in two Highers).
T-Levels Merit overall
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.

Additional information for EU/International students
Essential

In addition to qualifications, International applicants will also need a good digital portfolio. EU applicants will not be required to submit a portfolio as part of their application.

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
IELTS

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).

 

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).

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

  • International students

Award: BA (Hons)

Starting: Sep 2021

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees

Award: BA (Hons)

Starting: Sep 2021

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Full Time
  • 3 years
  • £13,200 per year

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.

£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.

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.

LinkedIn Learning

Free access to LinkedIn Learning, which offers over 5,000 in-depth and bite-sized courses.

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 (variable cost).

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.

Guidance for UK students

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

International students

There are three ways to apply:

1) Direct to the University

You will need to complete our International Application Form and Equal Opportunities Form, and submit them 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.

Portfolio Guidance

If you are an International student and your application is progressed, you will be asked to submit a portfolio of your creative work. Your portfolio is your opportunity to show us examples of your work and creative interests to support your application.

Please see our international portfolio guidance page for guidance on how to create and submit your portfolio. 

Please note that if you are a UK/ EU student you will not be required to submit a portfolio.

Personal statement

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:

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.

*Non-EU students are not required to submit a personal statement when applying for this course.

Course in Depth

Year one

The course is module-based and delivered one at a time – you will be taught in a classroom and lecture hall-style rooms to help you engage in lectures topics, discussions and class activities to support the module.

You will receive workshops in Visual Communication across pages such as InDesign and Illustrator.

All modules will be supported with weekly tutorials in groups or individually, of which you are expected to come prepared with work to show and questions.

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

Fashion Business Context will introduce you to an understanding the fashion industry, sectors and topical issues. This module considers the global picture of fashion and discusses the important issues which have defined or are defining this area. Whether it is social, political, economic, environmental or technological factors effecting the industry and consumers. You will be researching a sector and producing a visually creative piece of work that evidences your findings.

Trend Forecasting is the process of translating information across historical, cultural, social, technological, political factors into a visual direction for the future. This project is about understanding the process of trend forecasting, by identifying key drivers and their impacts and the consumer tribes. Student will develop a visual aesthetic to reflect the trend, which you will then apply to a chosen sector/client of the fashion industry.

This module will introduce you to the buying and merchandising principles, and the roles and responsibilities of a buyer and merchandiser, in relation to the fashion industry. You will understand how the buyers and merchandisers work together, within different retail formats.

The visual merchandising project explores the current shift within retail environments to that of curated spaces, and acknowledges the new creators who are shaping the future of retail design. As retailers look to deepen engagement with customers, this module defines and promotes the understanding of visual communication and retail design as a key factor in the evolution of bricks and mortar. The module will introduce you to the challenges and exciting developments within the retail sector with particular focus on innovative visual communication methods and visual merchandising strategies.

Year two

The course is module-based and delivered one at a time – you will be taught in a classroom and lecture hall-style rooms to help you engage in lectures topics, discussions and class activities to support the module.

You will receive workshops in Visual Communication across pages such as InDesign and Illustrator.

All modules will be supported with weekly tutorials in groups or individually, of which you are expected to come prepared with work to show and questions.

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

This module will advance students skills in the world of PR and Marketing. Students will learn about techniques on persuasion, sales, segmentation and communication across market sectors. Utilising theories and innovative thinking students will develop and execute a Marketing and PR strategy.

This module is designed to understand the nature of internationalisation and to critically evaluate strategies applied to the business sector. The module will enable students to address a variety of key issues in international retailing.

The purpose of this module is to enable you to undertake an in-depth project exploring the event industry. This module looks at different types of events, and explores key factors affecting their planning, it enables you to understand how funding and sponsorship work, and the importance of maintaining a healthy budget. You will explore and understand how to plan and organise a team, and find key suppliers and participants to make the event happen.

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+.

Year three

The course is module-based and delivered one at a time – you will be taught in a classroom and lecture hall-style rooms to help you engage in lectures topics, discussions and class activities to support the module.

You will receive workshops in Visual Communication across pages such as InDesign and Illustrator.

All modules will be supported with weekly tutorials in groups or individually, of which you are expected to come prepared with work to show and questions.

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

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 Independent Final Project is an opportunity to focus on a specific area related to future career aspirations, and develop a piece of work that reflects this. It could include creating a magazine or digital publication, developing a branding concept, a brand extension opportunity or a communication strategy. This will be grounded in extensive research both primary and secondary, with industry insight, innovation and justification.

The aim of this module is to critically reflect on good practice and experience and prepare you for the progression into industry and relevant opportunities. Self-branding and Self-promotion are key in preparing to enter the creative industries. Portfolio preparation, interview prep, online branding and applications all offer a need to present yourself appropriately, confidently and succinctly.

The first two years of the course allow you to explore the multi-faceted disciplines that are integral to the way that the fashion business operates.

The third year then allows you to refine your expertise through negotiated projects and tailor your work to become an expert in your chosen field.

Guest speakers have included buyers from George and River Island, social media and PR experts from Missguided, marketing and PR industry managers and fashion bloggers.

You'll gain commercial awareness through a series of live industry projects, industrial placements and opportunities for competitions. 

Projects

We have previously linked with Selfridges in Birmingham to help understand the scale of visual merchandising in a department store. Students applied trends and key drivers to new concepts and presented their ideas to the store manager.

Buying and Merchandising module, worked with Whistles to focus students on their core consumer. They gained an insight into how to profile the consumer and interpret the fashion trends into a range. This was supported with Illustrator workshops and Whistles’ head office buyers.

You will also gain experience of Event Management, working in teams to generate a live event in support of a charity. Previous events have included comedy nights, roller discos, open mic nights and more. You will work with venues and retailers to get a real feel of how to manage, market and deliver an event.

You will engage in discussions and debates  and you will look at issues  surrounding fashion business, and offer solutions for the next generation.


Student Work

Emily Lehmann, Year 3 student

Final-year student Emily Lehmann worked on a project for ASOS, bringing online media to the high street with a new app that used geotagging. The app sent news feeds that direct the consumer to an open space. Once there, the shopper is then rewarded with discounts and content.

Final-year student Emily Lehmann worked on a project for ASOS, bringing online media to the high street with a new app that used geotagging. The app sent news feeds that direct the consumer to an open space. Once there, the shopper is then rewarded with discounts and content.

Georgia Griffiths, Year 3 student

Georgia whistles image

Georgia Griffiths created a buying range plan for Whistles, offering a consumer-focused collection with ways to wear, and in-store layout.

Employability

Enhancing your employability skills

Employability and being ready for the world of work is very important to us and the course offers a range of modules that will develop relevant industry skills.

Our aims are to:

  • To produce industry-ready graduates, who can creatively contribute to fashion and its related industries in local, UK or global markets.
  • To provide opportunities for you to explore, practice and challenge the inter-relationships between the commercial environment, creative thinking and technical practice.
  • To employ a range of teaching and learning methods, in which you are able to synthesis theories, concepts and fashion practice within local, national and global market places.
  • To develop student confidence and professionalism through fluency in verbal communication, as well as coherent written and visual presentation skills.
  • To stimulate commercial awareness and activity through project management, live and team projects, industrial liaison and visits, industrial placement and competition at all levels.
  • To instil cooperation, competition and an entrepreneurial approach in all student achievements.

Placements

As is the nature of the industry, our students often get the chance to work in many inspiring and glamorous places. If that’s not a great excuse for a shopping trip, we don’t know what is!

Placements have previously seen students undertake a range of roles, working with leading brands like Topshop, Selfridges, Missguided, River Island and Next, taking on roles in blogging, social media, PR and buying.


Links to industry

We have great links with the visual merchandising team at Birmingham’s Selfridges branch, as well as Claire’s Head Office.


Graduate jobs

Many of our students go on to become buyers or PR assistants, finding opportunities with brands such as Next, Office, Paul Smith, Store 21, Karen Millen and Asos. 

Sophie Stronell landed her dream job in 2015 working in PR in Michael Kors in London.

Lizzie Sumners is working for Warehouse as a buyer’s admin assistant and was spotted in Drapers soon after graduation already schmoozing at an industry event. 

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 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:

Our international students

Our School is particularly popular with students from China and Malaysia.

Our International Office in Shanghai was established in 2007 and we work hard to develop strong working relationships between both countries.

Facilities and 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

Alison Rapsey

Course Director - BA (Hons) Fashion Business and Promotion

Alison has over 11 years of teaching experience joining Birmingham City University as a lecturer in Fashion Retail Management in 2006. Following her years of dedication to the department, in 2012 she became Course Director for BA(Hons) Fashion Business and Promotion.

Alison began her work in the fashion industry by working for Arcadia, across Dorothy Perkins and Burton stores in management roles and went on to the role of Ladieswear Manager in a newly opened Emporio Armani in 2000.

More about Alison

Sophie Johnson

Lecturer - PR and Marketing

Sophie has been lecturing at BCU for nearly 7 years. As well as being a BCU alumni after graduating in 2011 from the Fashion Retail Management course, she has continued her academic developing by undertaking a Masters Degree in Public Relations in the BCU School of Media. Sophie has just begun her PhD study at the Leeds Business School, researching the impact of multiple layers of crisis in fashion retail and how public relations can co-create value in times of brand damage.

More about Sophie