Fashion Design - BA (Hons)

Currently viewing course to start in 2024/25 Entry.

Our BA (Hons) Fashion Design degree course will equip you with the necessary knowledge and skills to succeed in the fashion industry and have the chance to take part in exciting work placements, with companies such as Paul Smith, Ted Baker, Christopher Kane, Reiss, H&M and Adidas....

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

This course is:

Open to International Students

Overview

BCU really stood out to me when I first visited an Open Day. So I got to explore the studio spaces, have a tour around and get to see all the facilities that I could use. And I really like the appeal that the studio spaces were professional and open, and in an environment where I could mix with other creatives as well. It was also really refreshing to know that I could have a career in such a subject and they would help me achieve that.

One of my biggest highlights so far has definitely been my first module where I was able to make my own garment from scratch. This was the first time I was able to transform one of my own designs into a final garment. It felt amazing seeing this modelled on a friend. In my free time, I'm also a lover of second-hand shopping, which has led me to explore second hand and vintage shopping scene in Birmingham. Buying second-hand is really important to me, not only to find really unique pieces for my own wardrobe, but also consider sustainability when shopping.

The Parkside Grow Garden is a great addition to the studio spaces so students can grow plants and flowers to use in natural dyeing processes, which is another sustainable addition. I've definitely grown as a person while being at BCU, and I feel I'm becoming more comfortable as an individual, which I only hope grows as I continue throughout my time here. Fashion has always been my interest since I was young, and it was considered a sort of taboo in my country, but I still have the interest, I still have the curiosity to explore.

As an international student, I came from Nepal to UK and it was a new chapter in my life. When I came to Birmingham, it was sort of alien society to me. But the longer I was here, I've made UK friends, I've made some international friends as well. What I've enjoyed the most about the multitude so far is the wide range of the research areas that we have, the analytic parts of the industry, how things work, and then a deeper dive into what it means working as a team in the fashion industry.

Outside of studying, I've really enjoyed the change of lifestyle. Exploring Birmingham City, Digbeth and the exhibitions that we had. We also went to London for exhibitions and fashion shows. So it was quite exciting coming to BCU and coming to the UK. I think I'm rediscovering my creativity. I found myself just working and not really spending time on myself so I decided to pick up a hobby. I picked up knitting just on a whim and it kind of opened the floodgates for me. So I just did a Google search for textile courses that offered a foundation year and BCU popped up. I was super impressed with all of the facilities and the hands on time.

I cannot talk enough about how enthusiastic and supportive the tutors are. They are always willing to help. They have a depth of knowledge. I got to develop my skills and find my niche within the textile world, and I've made loads of friends and connections with students from all of the creative courses.

Our BA (Hons) Fashion Design degree course will equip you with the necessary knowledge and skills to succeed in the fashion industry and have the chance to take part in exciting work placements, with companies such as Paul Smith, Ted Baker, Christopher Kane, Reiss, H&M and Adidas.

As well as womenswear and menswear designers, the BA (Hons) Fashion Design can also allow you to find employment as the following: accessories designer, art director, activewear designer, brand manager, buyer, content creator, curator, childrenswear designer, costume designer, 3D designer, denim designer, display designer, fabric buyer/developer, factory sourcing, graders/pattern cutter, influencer/talent management, interiors for retail, jewellery designer, knitwear technician, lingerie/intimates designer, merchandiser and digital designer.

You will learn to work with different design systems alongside staff who have valuable industry experience with a range of recognised brands. Each year, a selection of our final-year students showcase their final year work to industry leaders at events such as Graduate Fashion Week and New Designers in London.

Professional Placement Year

This course offers an optional professional placement year. This allows you to spend a whole year with an employer, following successful completion of your second year, and is a great way to find out more about your chosen career. Some students even return to the same employers after completing their studies.

If you choose to pursue a placement year, you will need to find a suitable placement to complement your chosen area of study. You will be able to draw on the University’s extensive network of local, regional, and national employers, and the support of our Careers teams. If you are able to secure a placement, you can request to be transferred to the placement version of the course.

Please note that fees are payable during your placement year, equivalent to 20% of the total full-time course fee for that year.

This course is open to International students.

What's covered in this course?

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

Your first year will introduce you to a number of fashion topics, helping you to develop a good foundation of fashion knowledge and skills, in both design and technical areas.

Your second year helps to strengthen your personal and professional development in relation to your own career goals. You will also have the opportunity to study abroad during this year.

An optional placement year takes place between years 2 and 3, providing an opportunity for an internship in industry. 

Your final year, gives you the opportunity to specialise in women’s or menswear.  You will focus on your own individual area of practice and produce garments that reflect your personal direction as a creative fashion design graduate. 

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

My time at BCU has been amazing. My favourite part of my uni experience was my Final Major Project which I got to express myself and network with lots of people and industry. The university has supported me through my degree and I wouldn’t have been able to get my degree and achieve my best without them.

Rachel Hunt-Pearce

Jack Slater

Jack proved himself wrong by coming to university, having struggled academically growing up. Now, his costume designs have been worn at the Birmingham 2022 Festival, where he showcased his proud Brummie heritage for the world to see.   

Read in full

Why Choose Us?

  • You will have opportunities to take part in exciting social events and competitions with industry giants and leading retail businesses such as Freetrain and Harvey Nichols, which will help you secure professional experience and gain important commercial awareness.
  • We have excellent links with regional and international brands such as Burberry, John Lewis, SuperDry and Rab, which give the course colour and contemporary relevance.
  • You can enjoy a vast archive of fashion publications dating back to the 1930s and develop digital skills within Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop and Clo 3D, essential industry tools within the global fashion industry.
  • You will have the chance to showcase your final year work to industry leaders looking for talent at national and regional events.
  • We provide excellent international opportunities such as our students being able to attend New York Fashion Week and collaborating with global brands like Turtlehorn.

Open Days

Join us for an on-campus Open Day where you'll be able to meet us in person, hear from our trailblazing academics and explore our innovative £340m facilities.

Next Open Day: 23 March 2024

Book Now

Entry Requirements

These entry requirements apply for entry in 2024/25.

All required qualifications/grades must have been achieved and evidenced at the earliest opportunity after accepting an offer to help confirm admission and allow for on-time enrolment. This can also include other requirements, like a fee status form and relevant documents. Applicants can track their application and outstanding information requests through their BCU mySRS account.

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.

Please note: If you qualify for our BCU Accelerate scheme, you could receive an offer that is two grades below our normal entry requirements. Find out more about BCU Accelerate.

In addition to qualification applicants will also need a good portfolio.

Level 2 qualifications
GCSE GCSE English Language or English Literature and GCSE Maths at grade C/4 or above. If you do not have these or are not undertaking them, we accept other Level 2 equivalents, or we may ask you to pass BCU's GCSE equivalency tests.
Irish Leaving Certificate (Ordinary Level) See level 3 entry requirements under Irish Leaving Certificate for full details.
Scottish National 5 English Language or English Literature and Maths at grade C or above. If you do not have these or are not undertaking them, we accept other Level 2 equivalents, or we may ask you to pass BCU's GCSE equivalency tests.
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 and BA (Hons) Fashion Design - Arts, Media and Publishing subjects preferred but other subjects also considered
  • BA (Hons) Fashion Branding and Communication and BA (Hons) Fashion Business and Promotion - Arts, Media, Publishing, Retail, Commercial Enterprise & Business 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 Higher/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 or above in Craft and Design
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

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
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.

International Baccalaureate Diploma (or equivalent, including internationally accredited Foundation courses).

Country-specific entry requirements and qualifications.

International Students

Entry requirements here

 

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

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 2024

  • 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 2024

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Full Time
  • 3 years
  • £16,085 in 2024/25

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.

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.

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

  1. Register with UCAS
  2. Login to UCAS and complete your details
  3. Select your course and write a personal statement
  4. Get a reference
  5. Pay your application fee and submit your application

Guidance for 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 receive an offer to study this course, you will be required to submit a portfolio. We ask that this is submitted within four weeks of receiving your offer.

Please see our portfolio guidance page for tips on putting your portfolio together.

Portfolio guidance

If you receive an offer to study this course, you will be required to submit a portfolio. We ask that this is submitted within four weeks of receiving your offer.

Please see our portfolio guidance page for tips on putting your portfolio together.

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.

Worried about Personal Statements?

If you've got no idea where to start or just want to check you're on the right track, we’ve got expert advice and real examples from our students to help you nail your personal statement. You can even download our ultimate personal statement guide for free.

Get personal statement advice

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

Course in Depth

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.

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

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 intend to pursue a creative career in fashion design and related industries. Our previous graduates work within companies including H&M, Victoria Beckham, Marks & Spencer and Erdem, as well as many other international brands.

Within the first year you will be introduced to the fundamental skills needed to work within the fashion industry including fashion theory, commercial and conceptual design, trend research and garment development.

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 professional placement year between the second and third years of study.

In your final year, you will design and produce a collection of garments plus associated portfolio work for your major project, with a focus on either the menswear or womenswear market sectors.

On successful completion, you will graduate with a portfolio-based final outcome relevant to your individual career aspirations.

Download our lookbook to see examples of student work

Employability

The course is ideal if you intend to pursue a creative career in fashion design and related industries. Throughout the degree, you will develop the fundamental skills needed to work within the fashion industry, equipping you with the necessary knowledge, skills and attributes to succeed in your creative practice.

You will have the opportunity to apply for work experience in your chosen sector of the industry during your second year, with the option of a professional placement year between the second and third years of study. On successful completion, you will graduate with a portfolio-based final outcome relevant to your individual career aspirations.


Graduate jobs

Graduates from our course progress to gain jobs within many of the major high end and high street companies, both within the UK and overseas. You’ll find Birmingham City University alumni working in Adidas, Marks & Spencer, Erdem and Victoria Beckham.

As well as womenswear and menswear designers, the BA (Hons) Fashion Design can also allow you to find employment as the following: accessories designer, art director, academics and teachers, activewear designer, brand managers, buyer, content creator, curator, childrenswear designers, costume designer, 3D designer, denim designer, digital operations, data analyst/insights, display designer, e-comms developer, fabric buyer/developer, factory sourcing, graders (pattern), homeware designer, influencer/talent management, interiors for retail, jewellery designer, knitwear technician, lingerie/intimates designer, merchandiser and digital designer.

Destinations:
  • Paul Smith
  • Reiss
  • Ted Baker
  • WGSN
  • J.Lindeberg
  • H&M
  • Adidas
  • The V&A
  • Gym Shark
  • MA Central Saint Martins
  • MA Royal College of Art
  • MA London College of Fashion


Placements

This course offers an optional professional placement year. This allows you to spend a whole year with an employer, between the second and third year of your degree, and is a great way to find out more about your chosen career. Our students have previously secured placements with major fashion brands including H&M, Next, Amanda Wakeley, Mary Katrantzou and Iris Van Herpen.


Links to industry

The College of Fashion and Textiles works with local, national and international businesses to enhance student learning through placements, workshops, live briefs and guest lectures from industry professionals.

Working in industry

Throughout our course we actively encourage collaboration sponsored and live projects with the fashion industry. We have worked with Paul Smith, Burberry, George and Rab. These collaborations underpin our delivery and add value to the curriculum within the course. Industry links include: 

  • The British Fashion Council
  • The National Trust
  • Harvey Nichols
  • The Commonwealth Games
  • River Island
  • Superdry
  • The Couture Company
  • London Royal Ballet
  • Carrier Goods
  • Gym Shark
  • Hades Knitwear
  • Katie Jones

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 article photo

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

Sabine Lettmann

Senior Lecturer

Sabine started teaching fashion design in 2015. Since then, she teaches diverse fashion design related subjects with an emphasis on sustainability across different fashion programmes in Germany, Denmark and the UK including BA and MA level. She also shares her work through workshops and guest lectures and has been invited to contribute to fashion...

More about Sabine

Sian Riley

Lecturer in Fashion Design and Level 4 Co-ordinator

Sian studied her Bachelor’s degree in Fashion Design Technology: Womenswear from the London College of Fashion, before completing her Master’s degree in Fashion Design and a PGCE in Post-Compulsory Education at Birmingham City University.

More about Sian

Michelle Wetherell

Lecturer in Fashion Design

Michelle is a Fashion Design Lecturer and Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (HEA) with 6 years lecturing experience. Prior to lecturing she worked as a fashion designer for branded and high-street companies for over 6 years. Michelle has an MA in Fashion from Central Saint Martins, a first-class BA (Hons) in Fashion Design and a PGCert in...

More about Michelle

Dean Fallon

Lecturer in Fashion Design

Dean is a full-time Fashion Design Lecturer at BCU and Teaching Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (HEA), with lecturing experience since 2012. Furthermore, Dean’s career outside of teaching spans over a decade, from design roles for High St suppliers and independent labels, to Creative Director of an independent streetwear brand.

More about Dean

Elizabeth Burton

Fashion Design Lecturer

Elizabeth graduated with a First Class BA Honours degree from De Montfort University in Fashion and Contour Design. Her final major project focused on combining sportswear and swimwear in a collection of garments aimed at a girl travelling all over the world on her “Sabbatical.”

More about Elizabeth