Fashion Design with a Foundation Year - BA (Hons) *

UCAS Code:
W23C
Attendance:
Full Time (4 years)
Starting:
September 2019
Campus:

Be equipped 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 Ted Baker, Mary Katrantzou, Paul Smith, Topshop and River Island.

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

This four year programme has been specifically designed to allow students who do not initially meet the entry requirements for a three year degree, to undertake additional level 3 study designed to ensure they are successful on their 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.

Why study a degree with a foundation year?

Foundation years are a great option if you have the talent, ambition and potential to thrive at Birmingham City University, but do not meet the entry requirements for your preferred course. It’s ideal if:

  • You want the flexibility of a year’s study on a more general course to find out the best degree choice for you.
  • You have changed your mind about your career since you chose your A-levels or BTECs and need to improve your skills in a different subject area.
  • You would like extra time and support to help you build your knowledge, skills and confidence before starting a full degree.

What's covered in the 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 take part in the international Erasmus exchange programme, spending a semester at an international institution.

An optional placement year takes place between years 2 and 3, providing an opportunity for an internship in industry. 

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.

BA (Hons) Fashion Design, BA (Hons) Costume Design and Practice and BA (Hons) Garment Technology have a shared first year of study.

"The tutors came to know me well over my study years. I had a fantastic support base which meant I was able to find my style and work to the best of my abilities, pushing myself in the last year of my degree." Thomasin Gautier-Ollerenshaw

Why Choose Us?

  • We have excellent links with regional and international brands such as Burberry, John Lewis, Adidas, Karen Millen 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 also develop skills within Abobe Photoshop and Illustrator computer aided design (CAD), essential tools within the global fashion industry.
  • You will have the chance to showcase your final-year work to industry leaders looking for new talent at events such as Graduate Fashion Week in London.

Students outside Millennium Point

Open Days

Our next Open Day for this course will take place on Saturday 30 June 2018. Book your place to see our facilities and speak to our staff and students.

Book your place

This course is not 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

School of Fashion and Textiles Blog

Our blog is the online home for our community of aspirational, innovative and creative individuals. It’s for sharing our experiences and visionary ideas with each other, the industry and the world.

Read our blog

Where our students go

Our students have gone on to work in jobs such as:

  • Clothing designers
  • Textile designers
  • Buyers and procurement officers

Subject to approval

This course is in the final stages of design and is due to be reviewed and approved to meet our quality standards.

Entry Requirements

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

UK students
Essential

80 UCAS tariff points.

Typical Offers
UK Qualification Requirements 2018/19
A level  CDD. Minimum of 2 A Levels required although Other 6-unit qualifications can be considered in lieu of one A-level subjects. Applicants with 2 A Level qualifications or equivalent can combine with AS levels to achieve required points.

Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma

MMP. Subjects exclude - early years.
Access to HE Diploma 60 credits overall. Minimum of 45 credits at level 3. In a relevant pathway.

Scottish Advanced

DDD

International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme

Obtain a total of 10 points or above from three higher level subjects. Students who do not complete the IB Diploma will be considered on the basis of their IB Certificate. Students must have grade 5 in Maths (Standard Level) and English Group A – Grade 4 or above or English Group B and Ab initio – grade 5. A combination of GCSEs, A-levels and IB certificates will be considered on a case by case basis

OCR Cambridge Technical Certificate

Must be offered along with either A-levels,AS-levels or BTEC Subsidiary Diploma/BTEC 90 credit diploma/ OCR Cambridge Technical Introductory Diploma qualification/Foundation Diploma in Art and Design/ UAL extended diploma to achieve a minimum of 80 tariff points.

Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Diploma

DM. Will be considered in combination with either A-level, AS-levels or BTEC Subsidiary Diploma/BTEC 90 credit diploma/ OCR Cambridge Technical Introductory Diploma qualification/Foundation Diploma in Art and Design/ UAL extended diploma to achieve a minimum of 80 tariff points.

Scottish Advanced Higher

80 points, minimum DDD from 3 advanced higher level passes.
Must include English Language at Standard Grade
Maximum of three Advanced Highers can be considered together.
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.

UK or EU students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
BA (Hons) Sep 2019 FT 4 years TBC Apply via UCAS

International Students

Sorry, this course is not available to international students.

Fees for 2019/20 will be published as soon as possible. The University reserves the right to increase fees in line with inflation based on the Retail Prices Index or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament up to a maximum of five per cent.

Guidance for UK/EU students

UCAS

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. You can apply until 30 June.

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

Portfolio Guidance

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

Additional costs

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 your course. 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.

View additional costs for this course

Additional costs

The additional costs listed at the bottom of the page are to be used for indicative purposes only and are based on the additional costs for the 2018/19 academic year. The additional costs for 2019/20 will be published as soon as possible.

Foundation year

During your foundation year you will be taught in small classes where active participation is part of the teaching methodology. Your study will involve reading and analysis, discussion and debate, and practical activities which allow you to test and implement your skills and knowledge. In addition to attending classes you will be required to complete preparation and follow-up tasks and activities to support your learning.

Fashion and Textile Skills and Processes
40 credits

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.

You will work from an overarching brief throughout the module and will be encouraged to explore design and/or concept development and documentation strategies that integrate with your developing practice.

Trends Research
20 credits

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 compilations of information to produce a visual and annotated summary in the form of a Lookbook and/or other media that evidences carefully considered research and documentation techniques.

With guided learning, you will be building achievable competencies that enable the transfer of information between seminar discussion, practical work, research and documentation.

You will analyse past, present and future trends using a variety of primary and secondary sources – street observation, shop reports, lifestyle reports, design and creative sector reports, industry and social statistics and other indicators.

Lifestyle
20 credits

During this module you will meet a variety of experts to open your understanding of how the world is 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.

Signature Project
40 credits

For this module you will plan a project or a set of interrelated projects that draw on your own, personal creative strategies to facilitate the realisation of ideas appropriate for progression on your BA course.

To identify the focus for your project you must research ‘inspirations’ from the past and present. Reflect on your previous modules to support the vision for your project.

Ideas and development must be evidenced on a blog or other social media, which will be reviewed throughout the module. You will be expected to access appropriate workshops or learning resources across BCU as necessary.

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.

BA (Hons) Fashion Design, BA (Hons) Costume Design and Practice and BA (Hons) Garment Technology have a shared first year of study.

Design development and realisation
40 credits

Fundamental practical skills and idea development.

Individual aesthetic
20 credits

Drawing, presentation and layout (hand/CAD). Development of creative hand-writing styles.

Creative direction
40 credits

Selection of two project briefs from a suite of options aligned to specific exit routes.

Context and theory
20 credits

Industry awareness/career planning.

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.

Placement Year (optional)

  • 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. 
Creative realisation
40 credits

Creative and technical exploration skills such as creative cutting techniques and fabric and print application.

Critical studies
20 credits

Academic research and writing skills.

(Option 1) Work placement
20 credits

Work experience/live project.

(Option 2) Collaborative practice 2
20 credits

Interdisciplinary project collaboration.

Advanced practice
40 credits

Development of advanced skills such as design research and ideas development and advanced construction methods.

Year three

During your final year of study, you will focus on your own individual area of practice and produce garments that reflect your personal direction as a creative fashion design graduate.

Modules include:
Independent project research
20 credits

Establish and consolidate ideas for independent project, such as creative and conceptual design research, including the development of ideas for garment detail, fabric and finish.

 
Independent practice
60 credits
Major Project
40 credits

Dissertation

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.

Download our lookbook to see examples of student work

Teaching breakdown

valuelabelcolor
26 Time in lectures, seminars and similar MidnightBlue
70 Time in independent study RoyalBlue
4 Time on placement LightSkyBlue

Assessment breakdown

Student stories

Rebecca Short

Fashion design graduate Rebecca Short had the surprise of a lifetime when one of her experimental outfits was worn by pop icon Lady Gaga in front of a worldwide audience.

Cleo McColgan

Cleo McColgan gained a prestigious graduate position with world-famous fashion label Abercrombie and Fitch after graduating. She was one of a handful of elite graduates recruited by the company each year, alongside fellow graduate Phoebe Stonehill. They both took up their new roles at Abercrombie’s Head Office in Ohio in February 2014.

View more examples of student work...

Our BA (Hons) Fashion Design course currently benefits from its active Erasmus Exchange partnerships with the following institutions:

Student stories Betty Jackson CBE

Internationally Renowned Fashion Designer

Betty Jackson is an internationally renowned fashion designer who is well known for developing bold and imaginative textile prints and translating them onto 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.

In 2008, she was asked by the Lord Chief Justice for help with modernising the gowns of the civil judiciary, and she also designed costumes for the characters Eddy and Patsy in the 1990s hit TV comedy 'Absolutely Fabulous'.

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

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.

OpportUNIty

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.

Student stories - Holly Jayne Smith

BA (Hons) Fashion Design graduate

Holly Jayne Smith, secured the British Council International Residency Award for her bold and colourful creations.

Holly’s striking collection included high hats and bold prints, patterned with monochrome stripes, and was featured on the catwalk at Graduate Fashion Week 2014.

As part of Holly’s prize, she travelled to Casablanca and spent time with winners of the Moroccan Talent Award to produce a collection, inspired by her time in the country.

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.

Parkside and Curzon Buildings

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.

External Parkside Building and Water Feature
Parkside building from Curzon building
Parkside Interior
Fashion Studio Image CRM March 2017
Fashion Studio WS sewing busy
Fashion Studio WS 1
dress stands 1
Fashion Studio Dress Stands 1
ADM_FAS_Pattern Cutting Extra
Costume Design and Practice Room Pattern Cutting MS 1
TECHNICIAN_Extra
Garment Tech IDigit board 2
Garment Tech IDigit board 1
Garment Tech IDigit software 1
Garment Tech Gerber 1
Garment Tech Gerber software 1
Garment Tech Plotter 1

Our staff

Our staff team have industry experience within computer aided design, pattern cutting, fashion 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.

See full list of our staff

UK prospective students:

UK enquiry form

+44 (0)121 331 6295

EU / International prospective students:

International enquiry form

+44 (0)121 331 5389

Already applied?

Contact the admissions team

+44 (0)121 331 6295