Fashion Business and Promotion - BA (Hons)

UCAS Code:
Full Time (3 years), Sandwich (4 years)
September 2017

Please choose how and when you would like to attend the course...

See the UCAS website for help and guidance with your application.

Our BA (Hons) Fashion Business and Promotion course enables you to explore a range of roles within the fashion industry, far beyond the making and production of clothing.

You’ll receive the business skills, professional practice and knowledge you need to succeed in a competitive, but highly rewarding, industry.

Guided and supported by a knowledgeable, industry-experienced staff team, you’ll gain an education in fashion awareness, creativity and business skills

You’ll graduate with commercial business acumen and the fashion knowledge needed to undertake a number of roles, including visual merchandising, international retailing and marketing.

What's covered in the course?

This course will develop you through a variety of business and creative modules, teaching you skills in buying, merchandising, marketing, visual merchandising, PR, and buying and merchandising.

You’ll learn how fashion roles work together, as well as commercial and planning skills, competitive awareness and the ability to think outside the box, all of which are essential in this global industry.

You’ll be exposed to trends forecasting, buying, marketing, and events and industry placements, ensuring you graduate ready for employment.

You will work on a live event management project, as well as industry-led briefs across the first two years, supported by brands such as Whistles, Selfridges, Claire’s and River Island. You’ll benefit from regular industry visits, listen to guest speakers from leading fashion brands and have the chance to visit London, Paris, Florence and New York.

Throughout the course, you’ll be taught by staff with experience of brands like Topshop, Lyle and Scott, Emporio Armani and more, ensuring your learning is supported by contemporary knowledge, practice and contacts. We’ll develop your business knowledge and language, preparing you for delivering presentations, teamwork, writing reports, creating visual mood boards and using online resources. You’ll also explore new skills in packages such as InDesign, Photoshop and Illustrator.

In your final year, you will work on a series of projects that will develop your skills ready for industry. In the June, you will have the opportunity to showcase work at London’s Graduate Fashion Week, which brings nationwide fashion courses together and offers valuable networking links with the fashion industry.

"I can truly say this course prepares you to be 100 per cent industry-ready. You will learn in a challenging, informative and inspiring way, giving you true industry insight and skills across a number of subjects. From trends forecasting to event management this course helps you understand the wider fashion picture. You will leave this course as a confident professional." Sophie Johnson, graduate

Why Choose Us?

  • The course helps you become as versatile and dynamic as the industry itself.
  • Unlike other courses, we cover a variety of fashion business modules to ensure you gain a broad perspective of the fashion industry.
  • The course provides creative and visual fluency, equipping you with the toolkit to operate in the competitive, international fashion market place.
  • Our academic staff all have industry experience, teaching and researching their specialist subjects, ranging from trend forecasting to international retailing.
  • Integrated work placements provide you with the essential experience needed to get ahead in their sector.
Student ambassador helps Open Day visitor

Open Day - 19 November 2016

Our next University-wide Open Day will take place on Saturday 19 November 2016. Come along to find out more about our courses and see our facilities.

Register now

This course is open to International students

School of Fashion and Textiles

Discover the School of Fashion and Textiles

Visit our School site for more student work and extra information.

Visit the School website

Where our students go

Our students have gone on to work with companies such as:

And in jobs such as:

  • PR Assistant
  • Buyers Admin Assistant
  • Trainee Merchandiser

There’s only One Direction for Team Audacious

Stars attend charity gala

Take seven students tasked with organising their own live event, throw in One Direction and what do you get? A star-studded charity gala worthy of a First.

Second year students on our course formed the student events company ‘Audacious’- as part of the event management module. 

Find out more

Entry Requirements

We accept a range of qualifications, the most popular of which are detailed below.

UK students

In addition to qualifications, applicants will also need a good portfolio.

Typical Offers
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 280 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
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.
EU/International students
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).

The UCAS tariff is changing

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.

More about the new tariff

From A/AS Level with a minimum of 2 A Levels

UK or EU students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
BA (Hons) Sep 2017 FT 3 years £9,250 per year Apply via UCAS
SW 4 years TBC Apply via UCAS

International Students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
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.

Guidance for UK/EU students


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.

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

Non-EU (International) students

There are three ways to apply:

1) Direct to the University

You will need to complete our International Application Form and submit it 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 are asked to attend an interview, you will be asked to bring a portfolio. This is simply a range of work from a variety of subject areas to demonstrate your skills. Bring a selection of work, but keep it current.

Examples of work you could bring include:

  • Creative work examples: This may take the form of photography, fashion garments, drawings, paintings, textiles folders, mood boards or a media project.
  • Written work examples: Projects such as essays or case studies, reports, presentations, business strategies or research.
  • Work experience evidence: We are interested in your past experiences – this could be demonstrated through, photographs of visual merchandising and/or dressing.

If you don't have any creative work, you may wish to consider the following:

  • Create a mood board / visual collection of images together to show of your passion in fashion. This could be showing the latest trends, favourite designers or trends in magazines. Demonstrate your interest and awareness of current affairs
  • Tell us where you look for information, inspiration, and topical news.

More portfolio guidance

Additional Costs

You will be able to access printing and materials at minimal costs through our workshops and may need to purchase your own small tools. There are additional costs for national and international field trips, if you participate in these. Overseas trips are optional but any UK based trips are mandatory – around £20 twice a year.

Your personal statement

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:

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.

Get more information on writing personal statements.

This course is not available part-time

Got any questions?

Search our Frequently Asked Questions for a range of information about our courses and studying here.

Loans and Grants

Financial Support

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.

Year one

The course is module-based and delivered one at a time – you will be taught in a classroom and lecture hall-style rooms to help you engage in lectures topics, discussions and class activities to support the module.

You will receive workshops in Visual Communication across pages such as InDesign, Illustrator and SketchUp.

All modules will be supported with weekly tutorials in groups or individually, of which you are expected to come prepared with work to show and questions.

Modules include:
Fashion Business Context

This module sets the scene for the year and the industry.

Trend Forecasting

Forecasting new trends in fashion, design and colour for the future. Additionally, you will learn to use InDesign.

Buying and Merchandising

Developing a range for a chosen retailer, considering critical paths, sourcing, key trends and the consumer.

Visual Merchandising

Developing new concepts for retail spaces considering new trends and key drivers, the consumer, brand identity and product range.

Year two

The course is module-based and delivered one at a time – you will be taught in a classroom and lecture hall-style rooms to help you engage in lectures topics, discussions and class activities to support the module.

You will receive workshops in Visual Communication across pages such as InDesign, Illustrator and SketchUp.

All modules will be supported with weekly tutorials in groups or individually, of which you are expected to come prepared with work to show and questions.

Modules include:
Marketing and PR

Developing ideas on new strategies for promotion for a chosen retailer.

Industry Placement and Self Promotion

With three weeks or 15 days of work experience for a company in a role of your choice.

Event Management

A live group project to raise money for charity working in teams, supporting a main event with additional fundraising and industry networking.

International Retailing

Looking at global retailing and expansion of a brand to the UK or into a new overseas marketplace.

Year three

The course is module-based and delivered one at a time – you will be taught in a classroom and lecture hall-style rooms to help you engage in lectures topics, discussions and class activities to support the module.

You will receive workshops in Visual Communication across pages such as InDesign, Illustrator and SketchUp.

All modules will be supported with weekly tutorials in groups or individually, of which you are expected to come prepared with work to show and questions.

Modules include:

A choice of industry led briefs focusing on different career paths.


Researching a subject area of your choice, identifying how it is moving forward and the new opportunities that could be available.

Final Major Project

Developing a concept with creative, financial and commercial outcomes.

Self-Promotion and the Future

An exit package of material focusing on a career path.

The first two years of the course allow you to explore the multi-faceted disciplines that are integral to the way that the fashion business operates.

The third year then allows you to refine your expertise through negotiated projects and tailor your work to become an expert in your chosen field.

Guest speakers have included buyers from George and River Island, social media and PR experts from Missguided, marketing and PR industry managers and fashion bloggers.

You'll gain commercial awareness through a series of live industry projects, industrial placements and opportunities for competitions. 

Teaching breakdown

25 Time in lectures, seminars and similar MidnightBlue
72 Time in independent study RoyalBlue
3 Time on placement LightSkyBlue

Assessment breakdown


We have previously linked with Selfridges in Birmingham to help understand the scale of visual merchandising in a department store. Students applied trends and key drivers to new concepts, and developed skills in SketchUp to present their ideas to the store manager.

Buying and Merchandising module, worked with Whistles to focus students on their core consumer. They gained an insight into how to profile the consumer and interpret the fashion trends into a range. This was supported with Illustrator workshops and Whistles’ head office buyers.

You will also gain experience of Event Management, working in teams to generate a live event in support of a charity. Previous events have included comedy nights, roller discos, open mic nights and more. You will work with venues and retailers to get a real feel of how to manage, market and deliver an event.

You will engage in discussions and debates  and you will look at issues  surrounding fashion business, and offer solutions for the next generation.

Student Work

Emily Lehmann, Year 3 student

Final-year student Emily Lehmann worked on a project for ASOS, bringing online media to the high street with a new app that used geotagging. The app sent news feeds that direct the consumer to an open space. Once there, the shopper is then rewarded with discounts and content.

Final-year student Emily Lehmann worked on a project for ASOS, bringing online media to the high street with a new app that used geotagging. The app sent news feeds that direct the consumer to an open space. Once there, the shopper is then rewarded with discounts and content.

Georgia Griffiths, Year 3 student

Georgia whistles image

Georgia Griffiths created a buying range plan for Whistles, offering a consumer-focused collection with ways to wear, and in-store layout.

View more examples of student work...

Overseas Opportunities

In your second year, you have the opportunity to take some study in another country – we currently have links with Milan Polytechnic in Italy and Ryerson University in Canada. 

Further Study

Birmingham City University has a range of courses at MA level, ensuring you can progress and enhance your skills. A new range of modules are currently being signed off for a 2017 start.

Trips and visits

During your first year, as part of the Buying and Merchandising module, you have the option to take a trip to Paris in February, coinciding with the Premiere Vision even. The trip is approximately £370.

You will also have the opportunity to visit relevant exhibitions in London during your first term, which will cost £20.

Other trips offered at Levels 5 and 6 have included New York (£750) and Florence (£380), but we are always looking for new locations every year.

Enhancing your employability skills

Employability and being ready for the world of work is very important to us and the course offers a range of modules that will develop relevant industry skills.

Our aims are to:

  • To produce industry-ready graduates, who can creatively contribute to fashion and its related industries in local, UK or global markets.
  • To provide opportunities for you to explore, practice and challenge the inter-relationships between the commercial environment, creative thinking and technical practice.
  • To employ a range of teaching and learning methods, in which you are able to synthesis theories, concepts and fashion practice within local, national and global market places.
  • To develop student confidence and professionalism through fluency in verbal communication, as well as coherent written and visual presentation skills.
  • To stimulate commercial awareness and activity through project management, live and team projects, industrial liaison and visits, industrial placement and competition at all levels.
  • To instil cooperation, competition and an entrepreneurial approach in all student achievements.


As is the nature of the industry, our students often get the chance to work in many inspiring and glamorous places. If that’s not a great excuse for a shopping trip, we don’t know what is!

Placements have previously seen students undertake a range of roles, working with leading brands like Topshop, Selfridges, Missguided, River Island and Next, taking on roles in blogging, social media, PR and buying.


OpportUNIty Student Ambassador

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.

Links to industry

We have great links with the visual merchandising team at Birmingham’s Selfridges branch, as well as Claire’s Head Office.


BCU Graduate+

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.

More about Graduate+

Graduate jobs

Many of our students go on to become buyers or PR assistants, finding opportunities with brands such as Next, Office, Paul Smith, Store 21, Karen Millen and Asos. 

Sophie Stronell landed her dream job in 2015 working in PR in Michael Kors in London.

Lizzie Sumners is working for Warehouse as a buyer’s admin assistant and was spotted in Drapers soon after graduation already schmoozing at an industry event. 

Working with SelfridgesShaping retail design at Selfridges

Our students had the chance to 'take over' Selfridges Birmingham for a term to learn about retail design.

They worked with the creative and management team at the iconic Birmingham store to complete the Visual Merchandising and Retail Design module, and pitched their work to the General Manager before the project went on display.

Read more about the project

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 School is particularly popular with students from China and Malaysia.

Our International Office in Shanghai was established in 2007 and we work hard to develop strong working relationships between both countries.

Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC)

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.

Learn more about BCUIC

Popular home countries

Our students come from a variety of backgrounds, and we have a cohort of students from countries like China, Malaysia, Taiwan, Thailand, Lithuania and Poland. Our fashion business and promotion course is most popular with international students from:  





USA Flag


Our Facilities

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:

  • Editing and animation suites with unique equipment
  • Digital Visualisation Hub
  • Traditional print
  • Photographic studio and darkroom
  • High power laser cutters and rapid prototyping systems
  • Theatre
  • Fashion workshops
  • Computerised looms and printers
  • Art shop
  • Library
  • Café

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.


All of our staff have come from industry backgrounds. Sophie Johnson is an ex-student from the course who went on to set up her own PR company, promoting products for the likes of Katy Perry and Little Mix.

Amy Johns worked across a range of roles with a number of prestigious brands, including Burberry, Lyle and Scott, and Fortnum and Mason.

Julia South has worked across the business community, as well as the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce.

Alison Rapsey

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.

UK prospective students:

UK enquiry form

+44 (0)121 331 5595

EU / International prospective students:

International enquiry form

+44 (0)121 331 5389

Already applied?

Email the applications team

+44 (0)121 331 6295