Fashion Design - MA
Our practical postgraduate fashion design course is an ideal choice if you are passionate about developing a career in Fashion Design. You’ll develop all the skills and knowledge needed to strengthen your personal creativity and style by taking a professional approach to fashion design....
Studying with us in 2021/22
It is possible that the 2021/22 academic year may be affected by the ongoing disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. Information about the arrangements the University has put in place for the 2021/22 academic year in response to Covid-19 and the emerging variants can be found here.
Should the impact of Covid-19 continue in subsequent years of your course, any additional and/or alternative arrangements put in place by the University in response will be in accordance with the latest government public health advice, pandemic-related/health and safety legislation, and the terms and conditions of the student contract.
Our practical postgraduate fashion design course is an ideal choice if you are passionate about developing a career in Fashion Design.
You’ll develop all the skills and knowledge needed to strengthen your personal creativity and style by taking a professional approach to fashion design.
You will plan your career and benefit from a series of topical lectures which explore major issues linked to the world of fashion design, followed by talks from leading industry practitioners. Many of our graduates go on to start up their own, or even develop existing family businesses.
What's covered in this course?
Your learning will be focused on studio and workshop practice, featuring personal programmes of study and joint lectures and seminars.
You’ll also enjoy specialist interpretations of art, craft and design supported by our highly experienced course team.
Based at our city centre Parkside campus, you will have access to a wide range of conventional and CAD facilities available including digital print, digital Jaquard and a Gerber fashion CAD suite, as well as the opportunity to collaborate with a faculty full of creative students.
Your learning environment will encourage you to become an adaptable, flexible and knowledgeable graduate, equipped to pursue a career in the fashion industry.
Why Choose Us?
- Discuss and analyse the professional, commercial and cultural dimensions of fashion design in modern society
- Study with a globally respected provider of education in fashion and textiles.
- Access a wide range of facilities, including digital print and a Gerber fashion CAD suite. There are also specialist facilities available in glass and ceramics
- Network and collaborate with other fashion students, our wider postgraduate community and beyond
- Enjoy a vast archive of fashion publications dating back to the 1930s.
Either a good Honours Degree in a relevant subject or equivalent qualifications and experience.
A digital portfolio is a required as part of your application. This should evidence competency in those skills relevant to the area of practice you would like to focus on for your MA study, for example fashion design and garment construction.
Fees & How to Apply
- UK students
- International students
Starting: Sep 2021
- Full Time
- 1 year
- £7,700 per year
Starting: Sep 2021
- Full Time
- 1 year
- £13,200 per year
Access to computer equipment
You will require use of a laptop, and most students do prefer to have their own. However, you can borrow a laptop from the university or use one of our shared computer rooms.
You will receive £5 print credit in each year of your course, available after enrolment.
All essential field trips and associated travel costs will be included in your course fees.
Access to Microsoft Office 365
Every student at the University can download a free copy of Microsoft Office 365 to use whilst at university and for 18 months after graduation.
You will be able to download SPSS and Nvivo to your home computer to support with your studies and research.
Subscriptions to key journals and websites are available through our library.
Free access to Rosetta Stone
All students can sign up to the online learning language platform for free through the Graduate+ scheme.
Free Adobe Creative Cloud licence
Students studying on this course can request a free licence to install the entire suite of applications on up to two personal devices.
Project materials (mandatory)
This course includes project work that requires you to develop and produce a portfolio or collection. You'll be expected to provide the materials for use in your individual major projects; costs will vary depending on the materials selected, but are likely to be in the region of £50 - £100 if you choose to print your work.
Specialist equipment (mandatory)
This course requires the purchase of specialist equipment, including a laptop (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.
Competition fees (optional)
If you choose to particiapte in some external design competitions you may need to cover submission fees.
External event expenses (optional)
If you choose to exhibit or participate in an external event, you may need to budget for exhibition, accommodation and travel costs.
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.
Students are required to submit a personal statement as part of their application for this course.
Your postgraduate personal statement is going to shine a light on your personal experience, academic success, personal skills and any other factors that will support your application for further study.
Here are the key areas you’ll need to address:
Your passion and motivations
Studying a postgraduate course usually means you want to specialise in something. So what’s driving you?
Why this course?
Show that you’ve researched the course offering. What is it about this particular course that appeals to you? Is it the lecturers? The modules? Etc.
What makes you a good postgraduate candidate?
Tutors want to know that you can handle postgraduate study, so show them how your undergraduate experiences or work life has equipped you for a more advanced level of study. Key areas to address are research and group work but this can vary depending on your chosen course.
Relevant academic or work experience
Add anything relevant that relates back to your chosen course and shows how your skills will contribute towards your learning. What extra-curricular activities have you taken part in? What awards have you won? What employment or voluntary experience do you have that has helped you develop transferable skills? How do these specifically relate to the course you are applying for?
You should also mention your future plans and how a postgraduate qualification fits in. Try to look beyond your postgraduate study – do you plan to jump straight into a specific career or follow your studies with a research degree? Lastly, use plain, professional English and, where possible, utilise the language of your chosen industry.
Get more information on writing personal statements.
Course in Depth
In order to complete this course you must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 140 credits):
The main portfolio module at the PgCert stage focuses on the relationship between the creator and their work, including their ability to express issues and strategies, design content, deal with technical issues and manage a personal project.
This PG Cert module aims to broaden your understanding and knowledge appropriate to the subjects and practices in the course. The purpose of this module is to gain a deeper understanding of your Programme of Study and how it relates to the wider context within the world of fashion and textiles. This is supported by a range of tutorials, seminars, lectures and progress reviews.
The aim of this PG Dip module is to encourage you to engage in the strategic planning and project management of work activities and studies relating to your Programme of Study, personal development and career objectives.
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 practical outcome with accompanying reflective, critical and contextual material. The main consideration when choosing your topic is that it must be relevant to your programme and you should consider the relevance of this topic to your future academic or professional development.
In order to complete this course you must successfully complete at least 40 credits from the following indicative list of OPTIONAL modules.
This PG Dip module encourages you to be proactive in the pursuit of gaining knowledge or seeking out professional views and opinions within your chosen discipline.
The purpose of this PG Dip module is to build on your knowledge and experience from Portfolio 1, while introducing professionalism and employability into your work. This module aims to promote your creativity, aesthetic sensibility and an in-depth knowledge of a personally selected area of specialisation.
Core modules are guaranteed to run. Optional modules will vary from year to year and the published list is indicative only.
The course focuses on your ability to develop a personal creative style, design methods and a professional approach to fashion design. Throughout the course you are encouraged to undertake relevant career planning and research. A series of topical lectures are provided exploring major theories and debates related to the world of fashion. These are followed by talks from industry practitioners.
Your learning will be based around studio and workshop practice, with personal programmes of study and joint lecture and seminar programmes. Art, craft and design interpretations of the disciplines are all supported and our highly experienced course team recognise the importance of having a personal and distinctive approach to your work and study. There are also ample opportunities to collaborate, exchange ideas and broaden your perspective.
You’ll also benefit from our close connections with manufacturers, and get to experiment with a wide range of materials to create new and innovative products.
Situated within the School of Fashion and Textiles, there is a wide range of conventional and CAD facilities available including digital print, digital Jaquard and a Gerber fashion CAD suite. There are also specialist facilities available in 3D prototyping, glass and ceramics.
To support your learning you are encouraged to develop links appropriate to your studies, these have previously included DuPont, Emap, Celine, and Nicole Farhi.
Your programme will include a mixture of practical projects and written work. You will develop a portfolio of work that showcases your abilities and ideas and is executed and managed in a professional manner.
At each stage you will also write reports that encourage you to develop a critical and contextual framework within which to understand your practice and future career choices.
You are assessed using a mixture of tutorial reviews, project work submissions and oral exams.
You will be given opportunities to work alongside your peers in the wider Postgraduate Fashion and Textile community in order to create a fashion show. This annual ‘Vision for the Future’ fashion show is used as a fundraiser for charity. It is a collaborative project that relies entirely on student initiative within the course and beyond, and promotes peer tutoring and mentoring.
In addition to our focus upon you as fashion designer, there are also opportunities for you to network with the professional world, and engage in external activities such as collaborating on projects that enhance the student experience and provide ‘real life’ experience.
Postgraduate Fashion Finale Raises Money for Charity
Students from MA Fashion Design, MA Fashion Management, MA Fashion Promotion and MA Fashion Styling collaborated to organise an end of year MA Fashion Show for charity.
21 MA Fashion Design students showcased their collections, while MA Fashion Management, MA Fashion Promotion and MA Fashion Styling students took key roles in organising the spectacular event, fuelled by student man power and talent, against the challenge of no event budget.
The fashion show is key in giving students an experience of creative production on a live project which they can take away as a show reel as part of their portfolio. Supporting Cancer Research UK, the show raised £430 for charity.
Enhancing employability skills
Our programme is designed to ensure that upon graduating, you are:
- A better and more confident designer
- A reflective practitioner who has learnt how to keep developing as a designer
- An independent thinker and researcher able to initiate your own creative projects individually and/or collaboratively
- Able to conceptualise and discuss the nature of your work both orally and in writing
- Critically aware of the context of your creative practice relative to the marketplace and the wider culture
The successful completion of the course will deepen your practical and theoretical insights and techniques, giving you the confidence to build your own professional career as a designer. You will also develop your critical skills such that you can form, evaluate and communicate complex concepts that reflect your individuality and independent thought.
You will develop your creativity, your aesthetic sensibility and an in-depth knowledge of a personally chosen area of specialisation, which will equip you with the necessary skills to gain meaningful employment.
The course regularly invites alumni back to share their experiences since graduating. This will help you to clarify and deepen your understanding of the professional context of your practical work and your own professional ambitions.
Live collaborations, internships and work experience can form part of your projects and studies, and you’ll benefit from the networking opportunities this provides on an individual basis.
You are encouraged, particularly during the PgDip and MA stages of the course, to seek external experiences and feedback from professionals and companies active in fashion design.
Often students can arrange placements to begin immediately after they have finished the course. You are able to identify companies or places for work experience through the Research Strategy module. The course team will also help you apply for, or prepare for, placements and work experiences.
OpportUNIty: Student Jobs on Campus ensures that our students are given a first opportunity to fill many part-time temporary positions within the University. This allows you to work while you study with us, fitting the job around your course commitments. By taking part in the scheme, you will gain valuable experiences and employability skills, enhancing your prospects in the job market.
It will also allow you to become more involved in University life by delivering, leading and supporting many aspects of the learning experience, from administration to research and mentoring roles.
Birmingham City University is a vibrant and multicultural university in the heart of a modern and diverse city. We welcome many international students every year – there are currently students from more than 80 countries among our student community.
The University is conveniently placed, with Birmingham International Airport nearby and first-rate transport connections to London and the rest of the UK.
Our international pages contain a wealth of information for international students who are considering applying to study here, including:
Our international students
Our course welcomes students from across the world. We have an excellent reputation globally, as well as over 20 years’ experience teaching international students.
Many of our Fashion Design students choose to develop projects directly linked to their home countries and conduct field research around the world.
We are proud of our extensive international graduate community, which has a particular focus in Asia.
Graduate stories: Mei-Sheng Sun (Taiwan)
“One of the best things about BCU is that there are perfect facilities for me to process my creative ideas. We have different kinds of embroidery machines, looms, photo shooting studios, a laser-cut workshop and even a 3D printer. I also got a great internship experience at a global design company in London and which was arranged by the career team at the university.”
Facilities and Staff
You’ll be based in our School of Fashion and Textiles, within The Parkside Building. The Parkside Building is part of our new multi-million pound City Centre Campus development in the heart of Birmingham's Eastside development.
Jasbir is Deputy Director of Postgraduate Programmes in Fashion and Textiles and has extensive experience in commercial textile design and magazine production. Her work is published internationally and she has specific research interests in South Asian fashion.More about Jasbir
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