Design for Theatre & Screen BA (Hons)

UCA Rochester - 2020, 2021

Length of study:

Three years full-time


UCA Rochester

Entry requirements:

112 UCAS tariff points

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Course entry options:

September 2020

September 2021

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UCAS institution code:


UCAS code:


Course overview

In an industry where designers and makers are called upon to be all-rounders who can work with a wide range of professionals, you’ll learn how to create dynamic environments, costumes and props on our BA (Hons) Design for Theatre and Screen course.

Throughout your degree you will explore, with increasing responsibility, your own artistic direction as you drive projects from design to practical realisation. You’ll be supported by experienced senior lecturers, visiting lecturers, specialist tutors and qualified technicians as you learn all the essential design, making and technical skills you need for your career.

These include designing and making for theatre spaces, designing and making for screen-based productions, technical drawing, costume, set and prop making. 

Our dedicated workshop spaces on our Rochester campus offer you a fantastic range of the latest facilities, including equipment for costume making, metal work, woodwork, laser cutting, 3D printing, casting and carving.

In year two, we offer a range of opportunities to put what you have learned into practice via work placements and collaborative projects. Previous placements and collaborations have included working in specialist prop making, costume and scenic workshops, working at West End and regional theatres, creating sets for television at Maidstone TV Studios, and model-making for stop-motion animation at the National Film and Television School. Our aim is for you to arrive in the professional workplace environment with the key skills, relevant knowledge and confidence you’ll need. 

Your studies will culminate with an in-depth focus on developing your creative interest and design identity, on delivering industry standards in 2D and 3D work, on refining key-skills within the workshops, and on promoting yourself effectively through your website.

Throughout the course you will receive an in-depth understanding of the history and theory of theatre and film arts, underpinned by art and design history, which will prepare you to engage effectively with professionals after graduation.     

Please note: this course has changed it's name for 2020 entry and has previously been named BA (Hons) Theatre Design.

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Course details

  • Year one

    Your first year offers tutor-led instruction to the role and responsibility of the designer. Projects include text analysis, introduction to designing a scale model for a theatre or screen-based performance, and establishing industry standard processes for designing. The emphasis is on establishing a secure foundation upon which future projects will rely, as well as an opportunity to develop a distinctive visual design language through costume and set design. Alongside this, students learn key skills in costume and prop making, including hand sewing and machine sewing, woodwork, metalwork, digital manipulation and technical drawing, amongst other skills.

    Visual Narrative One
    This unit challenges students to create individual responses to a given text through ‘anticipating a performance’, by way of set and costume design. You will be introduced to how knowledge and research supports creative thinking and design development, through a combination of text analysis, contextual research, discussion, observation, storyboard, 2D and 3D speculative enquiry.

    Visual Narrative Two
    Designing for theatre or screen is a collaborative professional discipline: designers work with directors and makers to deliver dramatic impact, whether for theatre or screen. This unit introduces team-working and a range of approaches, methods and techniques where creative manipulation promotes dramatic storytelling, and develops important skills involved in creating a visual language for screen or stage, including:

    • Developing atmospheric environments
    • Theatre and stage craft
    • Manipulating material and form to support a narrative
    • Dramatic impact through the five elements of design.

    You'll be give a practical induction into the workshop environments for the course, providing you with the opportunity to develop a ‘toolbox’ of skills needed for the design and fabrication of set models, costume, application of craft skills. Using traditional and contemporary techniques in a workshop-based environment, the unit establishes students’ skills and ability to identify appropriate methods for the creation of a range of bespoke scenic elements. You are provided with working knowledge of processes, materials and techniques which are regarded as industry standard. The unit engages students in understanding the position of the designer-maker as a practitioner in the performance industry. The unit also introduces you to digital skill applications.

    Cultural Contexts 1
    You'll be introduced to the histories, theories and practices that inform contemporary performance and production design. It explores the ways in which art history, contemporary art, cultural studies and the wider world influences designers. The unit provides you with the tools for research, analysis and interpretation to make informed readings of scenographic and filmic spaces. It examines the ways in which stories can be told through images, objects and spaces, and the ways in which audiences receive and interact with this information.

  • Year two

    Year two offers tutor-led insight alongside an emphasis on student-led responsibility when designing.  Second-year project work includes embracing current socio-political issues, and establishing in-depth processes for designing and making in response to a contemporary theatre or screen-based text. Projects are structured to replicate industry practice in working to deadline, and you’ll get your first taste of industry through work experience and professional collaborations. Year two also includes work experience and professional collaborations, supporting insight to industry working practices, networking and key skill development for your employability.

    Visual Narrative Three
    Through reference to a contemporary theatre or screen-based text, this unit deepens the process of analysis and research, in support of a design for a theatre or film piece which speaks of contemporary socio-political contexts. Through a pre-production design process, and its likely consequence from page to stage, the unit gives the opportunity to develop dynamic designs relating to the visual languages in current design practices for theatre and screen.

    Cultural Contexts 2
    You'll develop your understanding of the critical and theoretical ideas that emerged in the 20th century within the context of modernity. We'll seek to engage you in criticism and theory via research, seminars, lectures, tutorials and self-determined analytical studies. Through the examination of current critical perspectives on contemporary art, design, film and performance, the unit will prepare you to contextualise your own design practice. 

    Visual Narrative Four
    Through in-depth approaches to working with specialist making practice, this unit promotes development of individual identity. This unit aims to simulate a professional commission, in which the student as designer-maker develops a specific yet wide-ranging skill-set with the aim to deliver a design within a functional and practical format.

    Professional and Collaborative Practice
    Working with practitioners in the performance design profession can give exciting and valuable experience in areas of industry practice that help prepare students for life after graduation. This unit promotes the opportunity to engage with a range of work experiences and collaborations within the creative industries of theatre making, television production, filmmaking, workshop production and alternate forms of performance. The unit offers opportunities to experience industry working practices, networking and key skill development to enhance your employability.

    Study Abroad (optional)
    This optional unit will allow you to spend a period of time in an overseas educational institution.

  • Year three

    The final year of the course consolidates the various elements of study across two years. It is characterised by independent learning and the ability to fully bring together project experiences, knowledge and skill, with the aim to realise a body of work identifying personal interests.  You'll undertake self-directed design, make proposals, prototypes and practical outputs. This will form the basis of your exhibition at the Graduation Show at the end of the year.

    Visual Narrative Five
    You'll undertake a design project within the context of a given text/narrative, with the objective of synthesising knowledge, understanding and practice acquired throughout the first two years of the course.

    Visual Narrative Six
    As a development from the previous module, you'll create a substantial body of work, which may take a variety of forms; yet with the basis of it is to promote design cohesion and practical making strengths as found within industry practice.

    Practice in Context
    The purpose of this unit is for you to identify and develop research that is contextually meaningful to your studio practice, and articulate arguments around areas of practice which inform their development as designers. This will include a presentation and a written critical reflection.


  • Study abroad

    This course offers the opportunity to study abroad for part of your second year. To find out more about studying abroad as part of your course please see the Study Abroad section:

  • Fees and additional course costs

    Tuition fees
    The course fees per year for 2020 entry are:

    • UK and EU students - £9,250 
    • International students - £16,250 (standard fee)
    • International students - £15,600 (full early payment fee)

    Additional course costs
    In addition to the tuition fees please see the additional course costs for 2020 entry.

    Further information
    Find out more about our course fees and any financial support you may be entitled to:

    These fees are correct for the stated academic year only. Costs may increase each year during a student’s period of continued registration on course in line with inflation (subject to any maximum regulated tuition fee limit). Any adjustment for continuing students will be at or below the RPI-X forecast rate.


This course has large studio spaces for set building, costume and propmaking; extensive studios for large-scale prop making and set building. The campus has well-equipped 3D workshops, providing both hand and mechanical processes and high technology, from ceramic, wood and metal workshops to laser cutting and rapid prototyping.

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Course connections

On this course, you'll be exposed to a world of opportunities

  • Industry links

    We’re committed to fully preparing you for a successful career in addition to supporting you with the preparation of your portfolio, CV and professional profile, we encourage you to undertake work placements. Our well-established industry connections include:

    • BBC
    • ITV
    • Propshop
    • Hothouse
    • Pinewood Studios
    • Evolution
    • The Royal Opera House
    • The National Theatre.
  • Careers

    Graduate career destinations for this course include:

    • Manufacturing
    • Self-employment
    • Buying
    • Gallery work
    • Designing
    • Marketing
    • Retailing
    • Production
    • Teaching.
  • Further study

    You may also like to consider further study at postgraduate level.


Apply now

UK/EU applications

Apply for full-time study - starting September 2020:

Apply for part-time study - starting September 2020:

Apply for full-time study - starting February 2021:

Apply for full-time study - starting September 2021:

Apply for part-time study - starting September 2021:

International applications

If you are applying for more than one course in the UK please apply via UCAS, to apply direct to UCA please use the links below:

Apply for full-time study - Year 1 - starting September 2020:

Apply for full-time study - Year 2 - starting September 2020:

Apply for full-time study - starting September 2020:

Apply for full-time study - starting February 2021:

Apply for full-time study - starting September 2021:

Apply for full-time study - starting January 2020:

Apply for this course and other courses in the UK - full-time study - starting September 2021:

Due to visa requirements, this course is not available to students that require a Tier 4 (General) visa

If you have another category of visa please contact us: to find out if you are eligible to study.

If you're interested in joining Year 3 of this course, please contact our Admissions Team on +44 (0) 1252 892 960 or

When to apply:

We are still accepting applications for 2020 entry - get your application in now.
If applying directly to us, you can apply throughout the year but we recommend you apply as early as possible so you have time to arrange accommodation and visas.

For more information visit our how to apply pages

Entry requirements

UK entry requirements

Along with your portfolio, the standard entry requirements* for this course are:

One of the following:

  • 112 new UCAS tariff points, see accepted qualifications
  • Pass at Foundation Diploma in Art & Design (Level 3 or 4)
  • Distinction, Merit, Merit at BTEC Extended Diploma
  • Merit at UAL Extended Diploma
  • 112 new UCAS tariff points from an accredited Access to Higher Education Diploma in appropriate subject
  • 27-30 total points in the International Baccalaureate Diploma with at least 15 IB points at Higher level, see more information about IB entry requirements.

And four GCSE passes at grade A*-C and/or grade 4-9 including English (or Functional Skills English/Key Skills Communication Level 2).

Other relevant and equivalent Level 3 UK and international qualifications are considered on an individual basis, and we encourage students from diverse educational backgrounds to apply.

*We occasionally make offers which are lower than the standard entry criteria, to students who have faced difficulties that have affected their performance and who were expected to achieve higher results. We consider the strength of our applicants’ portfolios, as well as their grades - in these cases, a strong portfolio is especially important.

International entry requirements

To view the equivalent entry requirements for your country please select it in the list below.

Pick Your Country

Non-UK equivalent qualifications

English language requirements

Don't meet the international entry requirements or English language requirements?

You may be able to enter the course through the following entry courses:

Pre-sessional English courses in the UK or China

UCA International Foundation courses

The UCA International College

Your portfolio

For this course we will require you to attend an Applicant Day and bring your portfolio for assessment. Your portfolio should show strong visual evidence of a range of relevant skills, is logically organised, and showcases your ability to develop a project or idea. Your portfolio should also ideally include creative project work from your school or college courses, and/or projects you’ve initiated yourself or in the workplace. In both cases, please enclose evidence of your creative processes, as well as materials that demonstrate your 3D creativity, if possible. Evidence of your broader academic skills, including essay writing, should also be included. Further information on how to compile a portfolio and the specific requirements for examples of work to be included will be provided on the Applicant Portal after you apply.

More portfolio advice

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