Textile Design with a Foundation Year - BA (Hons)
Our BA (Hons) Textile Design degree course gives you the opportunity to experience broad textile specialist skills combined with design and industry awareness....
Studying with us in 2021/22 and 2022/23
The University has put in place measures in response to Covid-19 to allow us to safely deliver our courses. Information about the arrangements for the 2021/22 academic year can be found here.
Should the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic continue in the 2022/23 academic year or 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 BA (Hons) Textile Design degree course gives you the opportunity to experience broad textile specialist skills combined with design and industry awareness. You will be guided and encouraged by an experienced teaching team engaged in textiles practice, helping you to explore your ambitions and skills, testing career aspirations in five focused teaching pathways, which will prepare you for graduation and beyond.
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.
Studying with us will provide you with the skills, insights and experiences required to succeed in a broad scope of professional textile related roles. By the end of your degree you will have a clear vision of where you fit in the industry and a tailored professional portfolio to take with you.
Our brand new hub for the arts in the thriving Eastside of the city has been purpose-built to stimulate creative minds within an open-access, contemporary studio environment. You will become a part of our lively and close-knit student community and be guided by an experienced and passionate team of staff who value the importance of getting to know you as an individual.
What's covered in this course?
The programme reflects the diversity of contemporary textile practice. We pride ourselves not only on the quality of our graduates, but also the diversity of their work. We want you to be you!
Find your direction
With creativity at the heart of learning, you will develop core design and technical skills while gaining vital professional and industry awareness. The course is brimming with choice points to help you focus your experience as you clarify your personal interests.
You will be introduced to wide-ranging textile processes within the core technical areas of print, weave, knit and embroidery and embrace both digital technologies and traditional craft skills. The exciting potential of cross-disciplinary practice is supported and encouraged, giving you the option to either specialise or combine disciplines to take forward as your means of expression.
Career-focused teaching is designed to support you in identifying professional aspirations from the breadth of opportunity within textile design, and help you to further tailor your learning and portfolio towards them.
Having developed a distinctive and career-focused portfolio through the course, our unique Next Step module at the end of the final year bridges the gap between study and industry, allowing you time to put relevant strategies in place to help you achieve your ambitions with the support of the university network.
Throughout the course we've learnt a variety of skills both creative and transferable. To open our minds and really 'think outside the box' is at the heart of our design work. Through our placements we undertook on the course, we have become more prepared and experienced and ready to adapt to working life and to reach the highest level of professionalism we wouldn't have achieved otherwise.
Holly Lloyd Williams
Why Choose Us?
- Our graduates have taken up employment across the globe, working with leading companies such as Alexander McQueen, Liberty, Paperchase, Osborne & Little, John Lewis and many more.
- Work alongside award-winning academics and practitioners, who have exhibited at leading design shows and will share their extensive experience to help you achieve your ambitions.
- Belong in our creative community working with highly experienced academics and practitioners - award winners and exhibitors at leading design shows – who share their experiences to help you learn and achieve your ambitions.
- Not only follow trends, but help to shape them as live briefs put you in touch with leaders in the field.
- Benefit from our industry networks enabling you to work on exciting ‘extra-curricular’ projects, enabling you to grow your CV from your first year.
- Study support, tutorial access and technical training exists throughout the modules, ready for you to access it when you need it.
- The combination of workshop practice, exploring digital technology and traditional craft skills enables you to develop a personal and professionally relevant portfolio.
- Textile Design: Fibre Art with a Foundation Year - BA (Hons)
- Textile Design: Retail, Business and Marketing with a Foundation Year - BA (Hons)
- Textile Design: Embroidery with a Foundation Year - BA (Hons)
- Textile Design: Knit and Weave with a Foundation Year - BA (Hons)
- Textile Design: Print and Surface Design with a Foundation Year - BA (Hons)
We accept a range of qualifications, the most popular of which are detailed below.
80 UCAS tariff points.
At the point of entry, students will need Maths and English Language GCSEs grade 4 (C) or above.
|LEVEL 2 QUALIFICATIONS|
Irish Leaving Certificate (Ordinary Level)
|See level 3 entry under Irish Leaving Certificate for full details|
|Scottish National 5||
|6.0 overall with no less than 5.5 in each band.|
|Plus one of the following Level 3 (and above) Qualifications|
|A Level and Advanced VCE||
AS and AS VCE
|Considered with a maximum of 3 other Level 3 qualifications (AS Levels must be in different subject to A-Levels) to obtain 80 pts|
Access to HE Diploma
Foundation Studies (Art and Design, and Art, Design & Media)
IBO Certificate in Higher Level
International Baccalaureate Diploma
Irish Leaving Certificate (Highers)
|Pass the Irish Leaving Certificate with a minimum of 80 tariff points, achieved in five Higher level subjects. This must include English Language and Maths taken at either Ordinary Level (minimum grade O1-O4 (or A-C/A1-C3)) or Higher level minimum grade H1/H7 (or A-D / A1-D3 up to and including 2016|
OCR Cambridge Technical Extended Diploma
Scottish Advanced Higher
|Pass overall (C or above on the core)|
UAL Extended Diploma in Art & Design
UAL Extended Diploma in Creative Media Production & Technology
UAL Extended Diploma in Performing and Production Arts
|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|
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.
Applications from mature students (21+) with alternative qualifications and/or considerable work experience will be considered on their merits.
Fees & How to Apply
- UK students
- International students
Award: BA (Hons)
Starting: Sep 2022
- Full Time
- 4 years
- £9,250 per year
- Apply via UCAS
Award: BA (Hons)
Starting: Sep 2022
- Full Time
- 4 years
- £13,500 per year
- Register interest
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.
Basic materials for testing
We will provide some basic threads/yarns/printing materials for initial testing and experimentation.
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 is likely to be around £15 per module.
Media consumable items (mandatory)
This course requires the use of consumables, including a sketchbook for practical modules. You will also need to continue to add to your resource of art equipment when necessary.
Specialist equipment (mandatory)
This course requires the purchase of specialist equipment, including basic sewing equipment, scissors and drawing media (wet and dry).
Excess printing (optional)
Once you have spent your £5 credit, additional printing on campus costs from 5p per sheet.
All module key texts will be in the University library, but in limited numbers. You may choose to purchase a copy.
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 budet 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.
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
You are not required to submit a portfolio for this course.
Course in Depth
In your Foundation Year, you will gain a grounding in a variety of skills from each of our degree pathways, including blog writing, textile techniques, branding, creating garments and more. You will be able to explore the Fashion and Textiles workshops and CAD suites to pursue your individual interests.
In order to complete this course you must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 120 credits):
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.
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.
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.
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.
Guided and encouraged by an experienced teaching team, engaged in current research or practice, and through workshop experiences supported by e-learning, you investigate key areas of constructed textiles, embroidery, printed textiles and surface design before following your own specialist route in the first year of the course.
In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 120 credits):
This introduces students to the initial stages of the design process, focusing on the importance of original image generation, drawing and self-expression. Students will explore diverse approaches to generating visual information and apply this to begin to build design compositions.
This module introduces students to four core design processes: print, weave, knit and embroidery, through extended workshop technical delivery and personal creative expression through making. There will be a strong focus on materiality and fabric properties, which will be related and applied to a specific context.
In this module, you will experience a client focused design journey, building experience of working with colour and extending your technical knowledge. Colour will be explored through research, drawing, material investigation and technical development. There will be an emphasis on CAD and digital technologies in the development of a targeted, co-ordinated collection and visualisation of ideas in relation to a specified context, simulating a commercial design project.
This module provides an introduction to historical and cultural contexts with international influences for students undertaking level 4 of the BA (Hons) Textile Design degree in order to provide a foundation of design knowledge and understanding, to support studio practice.
In your second year, you explore trends and predictions in fashion and interior design, see the realities of the working world through a live project and a professional experience module, engage with business principles and have the option of an international study visit.
In order to complete this course you must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 100 credits):
This module provides a professional and cultural context for students undertaking level 5 of the BA (Hons.) Textile Design course. The lecture programme and participatory workshops / seminars encourage you to think broadly and critically about contemporary social and professional issues in relation to the place of textiles within international society, preparing you to consider key agendas in relation to your own career path interests.
This module has been designed to test and explore potential career pathways within the textile industry. It builds on the theoretical understanding gained in the Textiles in Contemporary Context module, through a practical design experience.
This module provides the opportunity to develop important interpersonal skills alongside career pathway knowledge and understanding. The module will include working collaboratively and independently on writing and practically undertaking design briefs that relates to one of the career focused teaching pathways. You will apply knowledge gained about the chosen sector such as product / client / routes to market / costings / marketing & promotion, in developing and communicating a viable industry facing project.
In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete at least 20 credits from the following list of OPTIONAL modules:
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+.
This module provides an opportunity for you to apply your knowledge and skills to an external, professional brief. The brief will be set by an external client/agency, in consultation with your supervisor, and it could be a ‘real life’ problem to be solved, or a simulation. It is an opportunity for you to engage in a professional manner with an aspect of your subject area, which contributes to the development of employability skills within the supportive infrastructure of the University. Where appropriate, the project may involve interdisciplinary collaboration with students from other courses. In this way, it reflects the collaborative, flexible nature of employment within the Creative Industries.
The module is an opportunity to learn and critically reflect on the skills of collaboration by enabling you to create an interdisciplinary project with students from complementary disciplines, or with academic staff. Collaboration is a vital employability skill within the Creative Industries and this module allows you to develop these skills, making use of University facilities and with the support of academic staff. Within this module framework, several kinds of collaborative opportunities are available. For example, with the approval of your supervisor, you can determine a project based on your own interests; your supervisor may set you a predetermined project to enable you to work with other students in a way that is appropriate to your subject area; or there may be opportunities for you to collaborate with staff on research projects. In all cases, you must apply your subject skills to an interdisciplinary project which will be agreed in advance with your supervisor.
Core modules are guaranteed to run. Optional modules will vary from year to year and the published list is indicative only.
Your final year gives you the opportunity to hone your portfolio and experience to suit your career ambitions through focused projects.
In order to complete this course you 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.
This module enables you to reflect and synthesise previous projects in order to establish a creative direction and career-focused concept / brief to drive personal research and development of the Professional Project. As a creative practitioner, it is an important skill to be able to evaluate successes and evolve ideas from one project to another.
The module builds and demonstrates a personal focus of study as a culmination of the knowledge, understanding and career aspirations of the individual in relation to textile design contexts. Practical and theoretical study combine to explore design concepts answering a personal brief with a professional focus. The direction the project takes will be in relation to your experiences of career-focused teaching and immediate professional plans on graduation.
This module supports the process of exhibiting / promoting the final project, with a reflective and evaluative emphasis aiming to initiate a viable and continued creative journey. It has been designed to help bridge the gap from academia into industry, and offers support with developing personal promotion, branding and marketing material and building a digital presence. This is also an opportunity to engage in supporting theoretical research to confirm the viability of a proposal/direction, and confirm future goals and career aspirations.
In your first year you will investigate drawing and idea generation preparing you to explore design challenges throughout the course. You will be introduced to our workshops to learn and sample in key areas of woven and knitted textiles, embroidery, printed textiles and surface design, exploring experimental textiles and colour techniques.
A contextual lecture / seminar programme provides you with knowledge of historic textiles and supports your own research and critical thinking skills.
In your second year, you explore textiles in relation to international industry and the broad career opportunities open to you as you learn to design in relation to the five career-focused teaching pathways:
- Styling and Trend Forecasting
- Contemporary Culture and Craft
- Surface Pattern and Technologies
- Bespoke Fashion Textiles
- Retail and Promotion
You will study market and client awareness, trends in both fashion and interior design sectors, commercial considerations with industry-facing projects as well as business principles, ethics and sustainability issues. You can choose to undertake a work placement or Collaborative Practice module, working alongside creative students from across the Faculty. We also have an optional international study visit.
In the third year you continue with the design journey in relation to your chosen career pathway, creating a professional portfolio of design work and engaging in personal contextual research. In depth academic research and practical modules enable you to test and resolve creative briefs in relation to your professional ambitions.
Our unique Next Step module prepares you and your graduate profile to bridge the gap between study and industry, whether as a designer maker, a trend Consultant, visual merchandiser, studio designer or in another relevant role.
Find your direction. Learn a range of textile skills, including print, then specialise in your second year.
The learning environment
The learning environment includes a wide range of learning and teaching methods, an experienced teaching team engaged in current research/practice, and studio/workshop experiences supported by e-learning. There is access to both digital technology and traditional textile craft workshops. Equipment includes a Mimaki digital printer, jacquard loom, computerised AVL studio looms, digital embroidery machines and laser cutting equipment, in addition to traditional facilities including print tables, transfer press, knitting machines, looms and rug tufting guns.
Supportive tuition in specialist and combined groups throughout the course fosters the interchange of ideas. The diverse experience of the academic staff reflects the course ethos – all are practising designers/visual artists, many working internationally.
The course actively fosters links with organisations (including museums and galleries) and industry, providing a continuously updated contemporary educational experience.
Practical drawing sessions help to get design projects underway in a friendly and supportive environment, building your skills and confidence by sharing and learning as part of a peer group.
We help to prepare you for the real world by running design projects as if in a commercial studio. With role-play sessions, reviews and critiques, you get the opportunities to test your professional networking skills, ready to take to your perfect job.
Working alongside friends to learn and understand the subject of textiles in relation to the wider industry you will participate in seminars to discuss contemporary design issues, such as ethical fashion, global trends and international manufacturing, while working out what makes you tick.
Foundation student project
Students on the Fashion and Textiles Foundation took part in The Signature Project where they used personal creative strategies to show off a range of skills and showcase their personal design style in preparation for the next step of their chosen degree.
Enhancing your employability
Our BA (Hons) Textile Design degree is designed to ensure you have the skills, vision and creativity to appeal to a range of employers.
With strong understanding and skills in traditional and digital design, you will become adept at a number of textile processes, including print, embroidery, weave and knit. You’ll also gain a clear vision of where you fit in the industry in order to build a strong personal and professional portfolio, using promotional and marketing skills you’ll be prepared to take to future job roles.
Since graduating I have interned with Next menswear in the Print and Graphics Department. My internship with them came after my work was recognised at the 2018 New Designers exhibition, a hub for textile graduates to exhibit their work and make valuable contacts within the industry. The design department at Next contacted me directly after the exhibition and offered me the place.
My current role is designer maker and company director of my company, Kate Hollowood Design. I work for myself and am currently the only employee, meaning I am responsible for everything involved in running a creative business; from making accounts to following up leads and attending trade shows as well as admin, pricing, quotes, diary bookings, product development and marketing…. the list goes on!
I was lucky to have a part time job in the fashion industry during my final year at university. It wasn’t easy to juggle work and study commitments at the same time but I was dedicated to building my career as soon as I could.
The trainee position at Outfit Fashion helped me to understand the company’s structure and the different roles I could have in the industry, but most importantly I learnt about applying the principles of buying/merchandising and design that I had been learning throughout the course. Once I graduated the position became a full time role and I was able to develop my skills within this field even further.
Assistant Editor - Stylus
Watch the video below to find out how Chloe's time on our BA (Hons) Textile Design course helped her discover her dream career.
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 is perfectly suited to students from around the world as we approach textiles from an international viewpoint. Students share experiences and learn from each other, and the teaching focuses, where possible, on the international design industry, from trends to manufacturing contexts, preparing graduates for jobs in the global market. Graduates from the course have worked overseas including USA, Saudi Arabia, France, Laos, Sweden and Finland.
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.
Foundation Year Course Director
Louise’s Masters in textile design established the foundation for her design journey. From this platform, Louise started to build a career as an interior designer, regional design manager, stylist, and as a lecturer in fashion and textiles. Louise now has over 10 years' teaching experience as a lecturer.
As a designer maker, Louise has developed her own business, growing her knowledge within this creative sector, continually learning new techniques, technical know-how and client facing skills in order to develop the final products ready for market.
Louise still actively works as an interior design consultant where she is able to use her extensive experience and creativity to interpret clients’ needs into inspiring schemes that meet their specification and budget. Ongoing research supported with regular visits to design shows ensures she is always aware of current fashions and trends.More about Louise
Lecturer in Foundation Fashion and Textiles
After graduating with BA (Hons) Fashion Design from BCU Natalie has worked with brands such as Joseph Turvey and Hades Knitwear as a freelance designer, production assistant and illustrator as well as working on show production for presentations at London Fashion Week Mens. Working hands-on with small, luxury brands has enabled her to gain a holistic view of the industry with experience in CAD, design, fashion illustration, styling and fashion show production.
In 2016 she began working at Birmingham City University as a Visiting Tutor on BA (Hons) Fashion Design, BA (Hons) Fashion Design with Communication and Foundation Fashion and Textiles. In 2018 she became a full time lecturer on Foundation Fashion and Textiles course.More about Natalie