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Fashion Business and Promotion with a Foundation Year - BA (Hons)

  • UCAS Code: 1007
  • Level: Foundation
  • Starting: September 2020
  • Study mode: Full Time (4 years)
  • Location: City Centre

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

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.

What's covered in the course?

This course will develop you through a variety of business and creative modules, teaching you skills in buying, merchandising, marketing, visual merchandising, PR, and buying and merchandising.

You’ll learn how fashion roles work together, as well as commercial and planning skills, competitive awareness and the ability to think outside the box, all of which are essential in this global industry.

You’ll be exposed to trends forecasting, buying, marketing, and events and industry placements, ensuring you graduate ready for employment.

You will work on a live event management project, as well as industry-led briefs across the first two years, supported by brands such as Whistles, Selfridges, Claire’s and River Island. You’ll benefit from regular industry visits, listen to guest speakers from leading fashion brands and have the chance to visit London, Paris, Florence and New York.

Throughout the course, you’ll be taught by staff with experience of brands like Topshop, Lyle and Scott, Emporio Armani and more, ensuring your learning is supported by contemporary knowledge, practice and contacts. We’ll develop your business knowledge and language, preparing you for delivering presentations, teamwork, writing reports, creating visual mood boards and using online resources. You’ll also explore new skills in packages such as InDesign, Photoshop and Illustrator.

In your final year, you will work on a series of projects that will develop your skills ready for industry. There will be the chance to showcase your 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?

  • Students are satisfied with this course! We scored 91 per cent for overall satisfaction in the National Student Survey 2017.
  • 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.

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This course is open to International students

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Discover the School of Fashion and Textiles

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

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Where our students go

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

And in jobs such as:

  • PR Assistant
  • Buyers Admin Assistant
  • Trainee Merchandiser


What our students say

We're very proud of the diverse, exciting student population we have on the Foundation Year in the School of Fashion and Textiles. Every year, we welcome many students from across the UK and beyond, so who better to tell you their experience?

Why choose a Foundation Year?

Entry Requirements

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

UK students

80 UCAS tariff points.

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

Typical Offers
UK Qualification Requirements
A level  CDD. Minimum of 2 A Levels required although Other 6-unit qualifications can be considered in lieu of one A-level subjects. Applicants with 2 A Level qualifications or equivalent can combine with AS levels to achieve required points.

Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma

MMP. Subjects exclude - early years.
Access to HE Diploma 60 credits overall. Minimum of 45 credits at level 3. In a relevant pathway.

Scottish Advanced


International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme

Obtain a total of 10 points or above from three higher level subjects. Students who do not complete the IB Diploma will be considered on the basis of their IB Certificate. Students must have grade 5 in Maths (Standard Level) and English Group A – Grade 4 or above or English Group B and Ab initio – grade 5. A combination of GCSEs, A-levels and IB certificates will be considered on a case by case basis

OCR Cambridge Technical Certificate

Must be offered along with either A-levels,AS-levels or BTEC Subsidiary Diploma/BTEC 90 credit diploma/ OCR Cambridge Technical Introductory Diploma qualification/Foundation Diploma in Art and Design/ UAL extended diploma to achieve a minimum of 80 tariff points.

Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Diploma

DM. Will be considered in combination with either A-level, AS-levels or BTEC Subsidiary Diploma/BTEC 90 credit diploma/ OCR Cambridge Technical Introductory Diploma qualification/Foundation Diploma in Art and Design/ UAL extended diploma to achieve a minimum of 80 tariff points.

Scottish Advanced Higher

80 points, minimum DDD from 3 advanced higher level passes.
Must include English Language at Standard Grade
Maximum of three Advanced Highers can be considered together.
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
EU/Non-EU (International) Qualifications Requirements

Minimum overall score of 6.0, with 6.0 in writing and no less than 5.5 in the remaining three skills.

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.

  • UK/EU students
  • International students

Award: BA (Hons)

Starting: Sep 2020

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees

Award: BA (Hons)

Starting: Sep 2020

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Full Time
  • 4 years
  • £12,800 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. The University reserves the right to increase fees in line with inflation based on the Retail Prices Index or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament up to a maximum of five per cent.

Guidance for UK/EU students


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

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.

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 your course. 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.

View additional costs for this course

Foundation year

Your study will involve reading and analysis, discussion and debate, and practical activities which allow you to test and implement your skills and knowledge. In addition to attending classes you will be required to complete preparation and follow-up tasks and activities to support your learning.

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

Fashion and Textile Skills and Processes
40 credits

Fashion and Textiles are two very large and interrelated global industries, they encompass many different job roles. The two disciplines also support a variety of related approaches and activities ranging from business to art practices.

This module will provide an overview of processes and skills that are essential to fashion and textiles and also give you the opportunity to develop the skillset and knowledge that interests you. You will be allowed to develop personal approaches that can incorporate one or a mixture of making, business analysis or communications.

Trends Research
20 credits

This module will focus on techniques and strategies for identifying and researching trends, documenting them and how trend analysis can be used in professional practice. In response to seminar discussions and workshops you will experiment with layout and physical compositions to produce a visual interpretation of your findings. You will analyse past, present and future trends using a variety of primary and secondary sources. You will evidence ongoing reflective practice which includes written and visual analysis.

20 credits

This module will allow you to develop an understanding of how the world and lifestyles are changing and how fashion and textiles respond to these changes. Through lectures and workshops, you will be introduced to a range of themes, discussion topics and techniques for future gazing and predicting social and industrial changes, and the development of subcultures and innovations as a result of this and the impact back on to society.

Signature Project
40 credits

This module you will allow you to plan, develop and deliver a project that draws on your own, personal creative strategies to facilitate the realisation of ideas appropriate for progression on your BA course.

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
20 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
40 credits

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.

Buying and Merchandising
40 credits

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.

Visual Merchandising
20 credits

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):

Marketing and Public Relations
40 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.

International Retailing
20 credits

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.

Event Management
40 credits

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.

Work Placement
20 credits

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):

Major Project
40 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.

Independent Final Project
60 credits

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.

20 credits

The aim of this module is to critically reflect on good practice and experience and prepare you for the progression into industry and recruitment opportunities.

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. 


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.

Overseas Opportunities

In your second year, you have the opportunity to take some study in another country – we currently have links with Milan Polytechnic in Italy and KEA Design in Copenhagen.

Ciara Neale GFW

GFW19 New Media Award Winner

BCU's Ciara Neale picked up the award in a competitive field. Ciara commented “I’m especially proud of the fact that I can be part of this new generation of talents. I am absolutely thrilled for the award and I cannot wait for every opportunity that will come next.”

Read more

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.


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.


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.

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. 


Charnice Blaize

BA (Hons) Fashion Business and Promotion graduate

Charnice won the ASOS Future Talent Award after having her work submitted to Graduate Fashion Week. This opportunity led to her being offered a permanent position at ASOS where she now works full time as a Cultural Marketing Coordinator, scouting new and emerging talents to work with on various ASOS projects and campaigns.

As well as her position at ASOS, Charnice also runs her own business, Blaized UK, and works as a freelance stylist and a vlogger.

Charnice’s top tips for new 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.

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 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 a variety of backgrounds, and we have a cohort of students from countries like China, Malaysia, Taiwan, Thailand, Lithuania and Poland. Our fashion business and promotion course is most popular with international students from:  





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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.


All of our staff have come from industry backgrounds. Sophie Johnson is an ex-student from the course who went on to set up her own PR company, promoting products for the likes of Katy Perry and Little Mix.

Amy Johns worked across a range of roles with a number of prestigious brands, including Burberry, Lyle and Scott, and Fortnum and Mason.

Julia South has worked across the business community, as well as the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce.

Alison Rapsey profile- 2017

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.

Read Alison's full profile

Sophie Johnson

Sophie Johnson

Lecturer - PR and Marketing

Sophie graduated in 2011 from Birmingham City University on the former BA (Hons) Fashion Retail Management course.

She began her career working for the fast fashion brand In Love With Fashion, managing their online promotions, including social media, digital marketing, influencer marketing and website management. Sophie then began to manage the PR for the brand, dealing with fashion publications and journalists, stylists and celebrities.

After a short while she set-up her own company offering digital and public relations services to fast fashion online brands. MAD PR was born in August 2011 and began competing with top PR and boutique agencies offering a new style of Digital PR not many companies were offering at the time. Eventually MAD PR grew, working with big names such as Claire’s Accessories, In Love With Fashion, TFNC, Merc and Ziba. MAD PR also branched into celebrity placement and dressing services, event management and celebrity PR management.

Career highlights include dressing Katy Perry in a client’s product, working with X Factor, TOWIE, Made In Chelsea and other reality TV programmes plus charity football match Celebrities V Arsenal managed by England Football Player Jermain Defoe, and appearing on ‘The Work Experience’ on E4.

Read Sophie's full profile


Dr Nazlı Alimen

Lecturer in Fashion Business and Promotion

Dr. Nazlı Alimen is a Lecturer in Fashion Business and Promotion. She obtained her Ph.D. from London College of Fashion, University of the Arts London. Dr. Alimen developed and delivered lectures, seminars and workshops in Cultural Studies and Marketing at London College of Fashion, Helsinki University and Aalto University. She is the author of Faith and Fashion in Turkey: Consumption, Politics and Islamic Identities (I.B.Tauris, 2018). Dr. Alimen has also published in a variety of journals as well as writing a chapter for The Routledge International Handbook of Veils and Veiling Practices. Her research interests include fashion marketing, visual and material cultures, particularly fashion and dress, and consumer culture.

Read Nazlı's full profile


Annette Clarke

Lecturer in BA (Hons) Fashion Business and Promotion

Graduating from De Montfort University with BA(Hons) Fashion & Textiles, the early phase of Annette's career was as a Designer for Christian Dior Lingerie, Paris. Moving into fashion buying she developed extensive buying experience at a senior executive level, managing multi-channel product strategy and product development across a wide range of retail sectors including department and chain stores, supermarket, independents and start-ups. Annette has travelled and worked internationally, sourcing all over the world.

Read Annette's full profile