Our BA Hons Costume Design and Practice course will prepare you as a designer practitioner within a breadth of performance genres. You will develop a range of skills applicable to a career within costume design and practice. Birmingham is a city culturally rich with dance, theatre and the creative arts, and collaboration with many of these creative partners is encouraged and embedded within course content. Staff delivering the course are both practitioners and researchers who continue to contribute to their discipline.
On the BA Hons Costume Design and Practice course, you will develop career-specific skills to enable you to develop in to an active and engaged contributor to costume. Within the course, you will gain experience in bespoke pattern cutting, design and illustration skills specific to costume, alongside developing bespoke fitting skills.
Previously, students have collaborated on live projects with Birmingham Royal Ballet, DanceXchange, Area 51, Sparklewren and Birmingham Repertory Theatre.
Staff have worked as costume practitioners within national and international companies, including the Royal Shakespeare Company and Google+, as well as the Stephen Joseph Theatre with Alan Ayckbourne.
Staff are engaged in research and practice within their discipline, and with costume as an emerging research area there are opportunities for undergraduates to contribute to this vibrant discipline.
While studying with Birmingham City University, you will gain access to an archive of historical dress bequeathed by the arts and crafts artist Kate Elizabeth Bunce, which will inspire and develop your knowledge of the history of dress through the use of primary resources.
The course will be sited at Parkside Campus (City Centre) and have rooms that are resourced with industry-specific machinery for all aspects of garment production, as well as photography studios to capture final outcomes.
‘The BA Hons in Costume Design and Practice nurtures and encourages students to develop their creativity within the context of costume design and practice alongside experienced industry professionals and researchers." Louise E P Chapman, Lecturer BA Hons Costume Design and Practice
* Please note this course has changed name for 2017/18. The KIS data below relates to the previous course title.
Visit our School site for more student work and extra information.
Our students have gone on to work with companies such as:
The content of this course has been refreshed and updated to make sure you graduate with the skills employers need in an ever-changing job market.
Our quality control experts are currently reviewing the content and we anticipate receiving formal approval shortly.
We accept a range of qualifications, the most popular of which are detailed below.
In addition to qualifications, applicants will also need a good portfolio.
|UK Qualification||Requirements 2017/18|
|GCE A Level/ AS Level||BBC at A-Level or 112 UCAS tariff points from A/AS Level with a minimum of 2 A-Levels|
|Access to Higher Education Diploma||Pass overall with 60 credits, 45 at Level 3 and 15 at Level 2. Must be in a relevant subject pathway|
|BTEC National Diploma (12-units not including early years)||D*D* or combined with other level 3 qualifications to achieve a minimum total of 112 UCAS points|
|BTEC Extended Diploma (18-units not including early years)||DMM - 112 UCAS points|
|BTEC Subsidiary Diploma/ National Award (6-units not including early years)||D* or combined with other level 3 qualifications to achieve a minimum total of 112 UCAS points|
|BTEC Diploma in Foundation Studies in Art and Design||Distinction|
|International Baccalaureate Diploma||14 points overall|
|Irish Leaving Certificate||112 UCAS points - Higher Levels|
|Scottish Higher/ Advanced Higher||112 UCAS points|
|Welsh Baccalaureate (core plus options)||Grade Pass plus grades CC at A-Level (or equivalent qualifications) combined with other level 3 qualifications to achieve a minimum total of 112 UCAS points|
|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.
|EU/Non-EU (International) Qualifications||Requirements 2017/18|
|IELTS||6.0 overall with 5.5 minimum in all bands|
|International Baccalaureate Diploma (or equivalent, including internationally accredited Foundation courses).||14 points overall
Country-specific entry requirements and qualifications.
International students who cannot meet the direct entry requirements can begin their degree studies at Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC).
If you're considering applying for this course to start in September 2017 onwards, it's important to know that the UCAS tariff system is changing.
UCAS tariff points – the points system most universities use to compare different qualifications – will be introducing a new system on how points are calculated.
From A/AS Level with a minimum of 2 A Levels
|BA (Hons)||Sep 2017||FT||3 years||£9,250 per year||Apply via UCAS|
|BA (Hons)||Sep 2017||SW||4 years||£9,250 per year (excluding sandwich year)||Apply via UCAS|
|BA (Hons)||Sep 2017||FT||3 years||£12,000 per year|
The University reserves the right to increase fees broadly in line with increases in inflation, or to reflect changes in government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament.
UK and EU students applying for most undergraduate degree courses in the UK will need to apply through UCAS.
The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) is a UK organisation responsible for managing applications to university and college.
There are three ways to apply:
You will need to complete our International Application Form and submit it together with scan copies of your original academic transcripts and certificates.
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.
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.
Include relevant work related to the subject area of fashion and/or costume design, but also show us who you are as a creative practitioner. Show ideas generation, experimentation and development, and include a cross-section of ideas to evidence your creative interests.
Show examples of drawings; these should include costume sketches, life-drawings and observational drawings. You can also include textiles, print ideas photographs, three-dimensional work, garments and anything else relevant to the area of creative practice.
Try to show one full project from start to finish with the preparatory drawings included. Annotations are helpful as they show how you research and reflect on the development of your work.
Include one to three final pieces that you are able to talk about. This might include garments or accessories.
Include sketchbooks. This will give us an understanding of how you think (through your annotations) and allow us to see the development of your drawing (If the portfolio is digital, photograph or scan some of the best pages).
Don’t feel you have to include ‘everything’ -your interview will last approximately 15-minutes, you will have time to talk through your work but we also want to find out a little about you too.
It is valuable that within the portfolio that there is evidence of engagement with costume and performance and that you can demonstrate your passion and enthusiasm for the subject.
Your personal statement is a highly important part of your application. It 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:
Why does this course appeal? What areas are of particular interest?
If you have a specific career in mind, say how your chosen course will help you pursue this goal.
Mention any work that is relevant to your subject, highlighting the skills and experience gained.
Highlight skills gained at school/college, eg summer schools or mentoring activities.
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.
Get more information on writing personal statements.
Our courses include activities such as performance, exhibitions, field trips and production of works or artefacts which may require you to purchase specific equipment, instruments, books, materials, hire of venues and accommodation, or other items. Many of these activities are essential and compulsory parts of your learning experience.
The link below gives you an estimate of the possible costs associated with key activities on specific courses. Please bear in mind that these are only estimates of costs based on past student experience and feedback. The actual costs could vary considerably (either greater or lower than these estimates) depending on your choices as you progress through the course.
All our students are provided with 100 free pages of printing each year to a maximum total value of £15.
Whether you’ve not started yet, or just making final tweaks, we’ve got advice from students and experts on how to nail your personal statement by 15 January. You can download a free checklist too!
We offer further information on possible undergraduate financial support. This includes the type of loans, grants and scholarships available both from the government and from Birmingham City University.
In year one, you are introduced to a broad range of fashion and costume studies theory and technical skills, building a sound base for further study in years two and three, where you will specialise in costume design.
Design, Development and Construction
Drawing development, CAD, live figure drawing, design, illustration skills, styling and photo shoots.
Context, Theory and Practice
Historical, current and contextual studies in costume and dress, as well as related art and design subjects.
Drawing on previous project work and the concentrating on presentation skills.
Bringing together skills and embedding knowledge through practical problem solving and design realisation.
In year two, 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.
This module provides an understanding of the Fashion Industry and entrepreneurship, it involves both individual and team work.
This can include working across discipline within the University in architecture or jewellery, or alternatively an external collaboration.
This module will prepare you for your final year in costume design and practice.
This module is partially completed during the year placement with a reflective journal, final assessment takes place in year three when you return to complete the final year of your four-year degree. The placement project replaces the dissertation for sandwich year students.
During your final year of study you will focus on your own individual area of practise. You will collaborate within industry on a live brief to produce costume designs, and final outcomes for your chosen performance genre. Developing skills specific to costume industry through these live collaborations within a supportive, nurturing environment.
The dissertation is closely linked to and supports the Major Project.
This module can also be a Placement project which relates to the sandwich year placement for the four-year sandwich option.
Final Major Project
The Major project is a self-initiated brief with negotiated outcomes appropriate to the pathway
The rationale for the Major project will form part of the final assessment.
Costume Design and Practice Portfolio
This course is ideal if you wish to work within costume design, performance design and costume practice. The theatre industry is often populated by freelance designers and practitioners. Previous graduates and current students have worked with Welsh National Opera, Royal Shakespeare Company, Angels Costumes, Costumes With Character and Circomedia.
Within the first year, you will be introduced to the fundamental skills needed to work within the creative apparel industries. You will be exposed to pattern cutting, research methodologies, fashion and dress theory, CAD technologies and garment construction. In the latter part of the first year you will be working on modules that are costume-specific, developing skills in readiness for your second year.
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 in collaboration with external partners, and you will be developing a costume-specific pathway portfolio of work with a focus on the performance genre that you hope to specialise in.
|26||Time in lectures, seminars and similar||MidnightBlue|
|70||Time in independent study||RoyalBlue|
|4||Time on placement||LightSkyBlue|
Our course currently benefits from its active Erasmus Exchange partnerships with the following institutions:
Inspiration can also be found during the international study trips which are on offer every year. These have previously included the fashion capitals of Paris, Milan and New York. We also run several visits to London each year to take in new exhibitions.
"Overall, I am satisfied with the quality of the course."
81%Birmingham City University
80%University of Birmingham
Our graduates typically go on to professional roles in fashion design, womenswear, menswear, children’s wear, sportswear, garment technology, styling, trend forecasting, graphic design, visual merchandising, buying, PR, costume making, and event management.
One of our outstanding graduates is Betty Jackson CBE, an internationally-renowned fashion designer who is well known for developing bold and imaginative textile prints and translating them into clothing.
Betty first launched her own collection in 1981. She introduced the Betty Jackson for Men collection in 1986, and opened her flagship shop in London’s Brompton Road five years later.
Betty received a CBE for services to the fashion industry and is famous for her innovative, yet eminently wearable designs.
Her achievements were further evidenced in 2000 by her commission to design Marks & Spencer’s ‘Autograph’ collection and, more recently, by her Betty Jackson Black range for Debenhams.
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 companies including Birmingham Royal Ballet.
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.
Throughout our course we actively encourage collaboration sponsored and live projects with the performance industries. We have worked with Birmingham Repertory Theatre and Birmingham Royal Ballet. Collaborations underpin our delivery and add value to the curriculum within the course, with practice encouraged within live projects throughout.
Through our courses we give you the skills and experience needed to get a head start when applying for jobs. But we offer something extra too – Graduate+.
Our unique programme gives you the chance to develop valuable skills outside of the more formal classroom learning. We award points for Graduate+ activities (including firewalking!) and these can be put towards a final Graduate+ award.
Graduates from our course progress into roles within many theatre companies, however the majority of graduates are freelance and therefore go from project to project, often developing working relationships with other industry professionals.
You’ll find Birmingham City University alumni working in Angels Costumes, Costumes with Character, Pitlochery Festival Theatre and ‘The Paradise’ (BBC TV series).
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:
Overseas students studying in the UK are happier and have a better learning experience compared to those studying in other countries.
The International Undergraduate Students: The UK's Competitive Advantage report asked 365,754 international students studying outside their home country to give their feedback on what it's like to study in this country. And the UK scored top in every aspect.
So if you're looking at studying with us, you'll be making a good choice.
Overall measures: ranked positions
International students who have a serious interest in studying with us but who perhaps cannot meet the direct entry requirements, academic or English, or who have been out of education for some time, can enter Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC) and begin their degree studies.
BCUIC is part of the global Navitas Group, an internationally recognised education provider, and the partnership allows students to access the University’s facilities and services and move seamlessly through to achieving a Bachelor’s degree from Birmingham City University.
Our students come from around the world but our fashion design course is most popular with international students from:
We are constantly investing in our estate and are currently in the process of spending £260 million on new learning facilities.
The Parkside Building is part of our new multi-million pound City Centre Campus development in the heart of Birmingham's Eastside development.
Home to the Birmingham School of Architecture and Design, School of Fashion and Textiles, and School of Visual Communication, the five-floor site is packed with fashion design workshops, studios and social 'collision spaces.'
The campus also provides extensive workshop space, and the very latest in industry-standard equipment reflecting the broad range of study opportunities on offer.
You will have access to Vicon 3D, an external tracking motion capture facility, and Gypsy, an exoskeleton-based motion capture system to extend the many possibilities for production of 3D animation and films.
There's also a comprehensive range of tools and machinery in the wood and metal workshops.
You can use the latest in high-tech digital print, plus a range of other facilities including:
We are committed to showcasing the best student concepts and collections in exhibitions and on catwalks that include London Fashion Week, London Free Range, New Designers and Birmingham Made Me.
Our staff team have industry experience within computer-aided design, pattern cutting, fashion and dress history, and design, and have worked alongside many internationally-recognised brands.
You will learn to work with the Adobe creative suite, widely used in the industry alongside supportive staff who are well placed to inspire and shape your future careers.
As pathway leader on the design for performance pathway with over 15 years’ experience as a costumier, Louise is a passionate and informed communicator on my subject.
With the knowledge and industry experience to inspire and enhance student learning, she has developed the Design for Performance pathway with current undergraduates being featured in Vogue Italia, (2015) and having been shortlisted for the Aesthetica Film prize (2015).