Fashion Design with a Foundation Year - BA (Hons)

Currently viewing course to start in 2024/25 Entry. Switch to 2025/26 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 Foundation
  • 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

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.

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, fashion branding and textile design degree routes. You will be taught in mixed groups alongside students from other Fashion & Textiles pathways providing 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.

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 apply to take part in an international exchange programme, spending a semester at a partner university.

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.

I'm so glad that I did the foundation course here because it is a great stepping stone before the degree level and I think I came into my first year feeling much more confident than I ever would have done if it wasn't for the foundation year. It definitely prepared me for beginning my degree course.

Lucy Ettinger, Foundation Year

I didn’t have any experience in fashion so the foundation course allowed me to gain as much experience as I could before going on to the degree. I liked using the machinery and the print room and getting used to sketchbook work that prepared me ready for the degree.

Abbie Wells, Foundation Year

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.
  • The foundation year will enable you to explore all of the different degree pathways to help you choose the right course ready for the step up to degree.
  • On the foundation course you will be part of a community, building your knowledge of the equipment and facilities available, getting to know staff and your fellow students through social events and our end of year exhibition.
  • 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.

Open Days

Join us for an on-campus Open Day where you'll be able to learn about this course in detail, chat to students, explore our campus and tour accommodation. In the week before the event, we’ll post you an event programme to plan your day and find your way.

Next Open Day: 29 June 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.

Essential requirements

80 UCAS tariff points

If you have a qualification that is not listed, please contact us.

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
  • 4 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 £10 - £50 for your foundation year.

Specialist equipment (mandatory)

This course requires the purchase of specialist equipment, including Pattern Master, fabric scissors and sewing equipment which is likely to be in the region of £30 - £50 for your foundation year.

Excess printing (optional)

Once you have spent your £5 credit, additional printing on campus costs from 5p per sheet.

Books (optional)

All module key texts will be in the University library, but in limited numbers. You may choose to purchase a copy.

Field trips (optional)

This course includes the option of additional trips that may enhance your experience, at extra cost.

Subscriptions (optional)

You may wish to purchase subscriptions to additional journals and websites.

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

You are not required to submit a portfolio for this course.

Course in Depth

Foundation year

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):

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.

Year three

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

Download course specification

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The Foundation year encourages experimentation and play whilst exploring a breadth of skills to help you with your step up to your degree.

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 sandwich 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.

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 sandwich 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.

Placements

A requirement of the optional sandwich year within our course is to gain valuable experience to enhance employability within our students. Our students can be found gaining experience in may 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.

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.

Working in industry

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

Louise Martin

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.

More about Louise

Natalie Martin

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...

More about Natalie