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Runqin Li, BA (Hons) Fashion Design

BA (Hons) Fashion Design

Fashion Design BA (Hons)

Epsom 3 years full-time, 4 years full-time

Course overview

Are you looking to become a fashion designer? Learn the advanced knowledge and skills you’ll need, and gain a clear style identity, on our BA (Hons) Fashion course at UCA.

With access to the latest technology, including a suite for computerised pattern development, you'll master all the skills you need to come up with creative fashion visions and bring them to life.

We pride ourselves on having no specific house style, so you’ll have the freedom to establish your own design identity, supported by a community of like-minded peers and a team of professional staff with a wealth of industry experience.

As part of the course, you’ll tackle briefs from brands such as Reiss, Warehouse and Tommy Hilfiger and be given the chance to show off your work at high-profile international events. You’ll also enter your work in competitions; previous students have achieved success at Graduate Fashion Week, and in many other national and international fashion design contests.

You have the option to complete a Professional Practice Year as part of this course. This will give you the opportunity to develop your professional, academic and personal potential, equipping you to be confident and engaged in creative workplaces. Employers widely recognise these qualities, and a significant proportion of placement students are offered graduate-level jobs or go onto postgraduate study. 

Our standard three year undergraduate degree for those who meet the entry requirements for higher education.

UCAS Code for 3 year/standard: W233

A four year degree programme, including a foundation year (shared with other courses in the School of Fashion & Textiles) to help develop your creativity before you embark on year one of a degree.

UCAS Code for course with Integrated Foundation Year: W23F

A four year course, specifically designed to provide international students with the English language and creative skills before they embark on year one of a degree.

UCAS Code for course with Integrated International Foundation Year: W23H

A four year programme, which sees you spend an entire year gaining valuable industry experience prior to your final year of study.

UCAS Code for course with Professional Practice: W238

A five year course, including a foundation year (shared with other courses in the School of Fashion & Textiles) to help develop your creativity before you embark on year one of a degree, and a year on a professional placement gaining valuable industry experience prior to your final year of study.

UCAS Code for course with Integrated Foundation Year and Professional Practice Year: W23G

A five year course, including an international foundation year concentrating on English language and core creative skills before you embark on year one of a degree, and a year on a professional placement gaining valuable industry experience prior to your final year of study.

UCAS Code for course with Integrated International Foundation Year and Professional Practice Year: W23J

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Course details

Course Details

The content of the course may be subject to change. Curriculum content is provided as a guide.

UCA’s Integrated Foundation Year is designed to give you the skills you’ll need to start your degree in the best possible way – with confidence, solid knowledge of creative practice, study skills and more.

You’ll explore a range of creative techniques and develop your portfolio, with your chosen subject in mind. We’ll work with you throughout the year to ensure you’re on the right track and give you the tools to achieve your highest potential on your degree.

Find out more about the Integrated Foundation Year

For our students coming from a non-UK educational background, UCA has an Integrated International Foundation Year to bring students from around the world to one hub of creativity.

This year of preparatory study is designed to give you the skills you’ll need to start your degree in the best possible way – with confidence, solid knowledge of creative practice, study skills and the English speaking and writing skills you’ll need to succeed.

You’ll explore a range of creative techniques and develop your portfolio, with your chosen subject in mind. We’ll work with you throughout the year to ensure you’re on the right track and give you the tools to achieve your highest potential on your degree.

Find out more about the Integrated International Foundation Year

Guest Speakers’ Series
You’ll join students across the School of Fashion & Textiles for our Industry Guest Speakers’ Series – you’ll hear from people with diverse backgrounds, skills and career paths representing the diversity of our student community, to inspire you to kick-start your thinking about your own career journey.

Method
You’ll learn the skills and knowledge that form the foundation for the development of creative and effective design practice. A thorough understanding of all the components that contribute towards the fashion design process is essential to the fashion designer and at the heart of this unit, will be the emphasis on the research and design process to fuel 3D outcomes.

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion - Creative Identities
You’ll develop your awareness and understanding of equality, diversity and inclusion, and promote progressive values and attitudes in creative practice. You’ll learn how our social identities (such as, gender, race/ethnicity, class, disability, sexual orientation, and religion) contribute to the inclusion and/or exclusion of individuals in creative spaces.

Make
The importance realisation plays in the design process is explored in this unit with a focus on the designer market, allowing you to start exploring and developing your awareness of high-end fashion. You’ll explore in-depth, the work and techniques of a specific designer within the established global creative hierarchy, and build a creative technical portfolio through your examination of designer techniques and methods as well as your own technical experimentation and exploration. Methods of bias cutting and draping on the stand will be introduced to support this.

Hackathon
In your first Opportunity Week, you’ll work with others on a high-intensity project. You’ll use a new piece of software or equipment to familiarise yourself with the technology that is becoming ubiquitous in the industry. For instance, you may be asked to design a website, an Instagram filter, an avatar, a virtual garment or digital prints.

Industry
Your knowledge and understanding of fashion will be expanded by exploring the industry in detail from a specific market level. In order to create a successful design product for a particular market, it is important to thoroughly understand it. This unit will run in tandem with the Market Unit to provide a deeper understanding of product development for a particular customer base.

Market
In-depth competitor and brand analysis is a key role of the designer in order to assess and understand the market they are designing for in order to help them identify a successful approach to creating design packages appropriate to a particular market. In this unit you’ll understand more about this through a written and visual report.

Business of Fashion
You’ll be introduced to the fundamental principles of fashion business and practices through a global lens. You’ll learn about how the macro environment affects the fashion industry sector and consumer groups and how it operates, introducing you to the various market levels and sectors, as well as industry structure, supply chain, distribution, marketing and commercialisation of products and services to end-users.

ATOM Activities
ATOM activities are small pieces of individual learning that facilitate interdisciplinary exposure across UCA, and offer a flexible, impactful learning experience. They expand your creative horizon by accessing learning topics that would not otherwise be scheduled on your course specific timetable.

PLE Digital Outcomes
The PLE Digital Outcome is a purposefully edited, self-directed record of your constructive, level 4 engagement with and presence on, digital media platforms across the year.

Career Week
You’ll start the second year with an intensive, interactive career preparation week. It prepares you for your work placement, through preparing your CV and cover letters, developing personal branding on professional social networks, networking and interview preparation.

Tailoring
This unit focuses on equipping you with an in-depth knowledge of tailoring through the exploration of time-honoured craft techniques and their application to contemporary design practice. You’ll learn specialist techniques practiced in the high-end designer market and produce an innovative tailored product, testing the theory behind technical principles.

Reflective Practitioner
You’ll have the opportunity to explore global perspectives and influences on creative practice, drawing upon interactions with varied identities, cultures, politics, and histories. You’ll reflect on the development of their own creative influences, perspectives, practices, and sense of belonging as developing creative professionals in global and contemporary spaces.

Elective - Branding
In an industry based on visual communication, it is important to create your own visual communication style to set you apart from the crowd both as a graduate and prospective employee or independent brand/ freelancer. It is also important to explore and utilise the channels of communication available to you, particularly social media, in order to promote yourself/ brand either to sell your work or develop successful career networks.

Elective - Business Start-up
You’ll identify, develop and present a design, product, service or mini collection using your previous unit outcomes as a starting point for your start-up idea/ proof of concept. You will be required to research market trends, consider a more global perspective, and explore cultural, ethical and sustainable considerations. You will then explore how you could develop/refine and market your idea as a commercial product or “bestseller”.

Elective - Indigo
The focus of this unit is to enable students to immerse themselves in practice-based making by reusing and transforming materials and products. Working under a sustainable framework, you’ll be encouraged to creatively explore Indigo dyeing to develop ideas and concepts that have the potential to impact the sustainable marketplace, and influence positive social or environmental change.

Dragon's Den
Have you ever watched Dragon’s Den on the BBC? Have you ever dreamed of being one of the contestants? Have you got a business idea? Now is your chance to become the next big fashion and textiles entrepreneur. You’ll work in multi-disciplinary teams to prepare a short business plan, a prototype and pitch their ideas to a panel of industry judges.

Collaboration
The fashion industry is changing and current global debates around sustainability, fair trade and fashion’s impact on climate change will underpin teaching practice. You’ll be encouraged to explore these topics within your own work, resulting in a final body of work that communicates each team’s exploration of ethical, sustainable and innovative fashion design.

Identity
You’ll be encouraged to take a more experimental and individual approach to design development, challenging perceived notions of fashion and presenting fresh perspectives on design concepts. Your final design outcomes should be presented as a portfolio design package demonstrating a coherent yet personalised design statement.

Placement
You’ll have the opportunity to undertake one of two options on this unit – a four-week minimum self-initiated work placement that’s relevant to your potential career direction or complete an industry case study which gives you the opportunity to study an aspect of the industry, that you identify as an area of interest, through the method of case study research. For both, you will record, critically analyse and evaluate your findings through a learning journal and present them in your learning journal and a professionally structured Placement or Case Study Report.

ATOM Activities and PLE Digital Outcome
These units are an extension of the Year 1 ATOM Activities and PLE Digital Outcome.

 

If you opt to complete a professional practice year, this will take place in year three. You will undertake a placement within the creative industries to further develop your skills and CV.

While on your Professional Practice Year, you will be required to pay a reduced tuition fee for that year. This fee will be determined using government funding regulations. Based on current regulations, we expect this to be a maximum of 20% of the tuition fee rate that you are charged for your second year of study. You will also incur additional travel and accommodation costs during this year. The University will provide you with further advice and guidance about this as you approach your Professional Practice Year.

Please note: If you are an international applicant, you will need to enrol onto the course ‘with Professional Practice Year’. It will not be possible to transfer onto the Professional Practice Year after enrolment

Project Pitch
Your final year begins with a project pitch week. This is your opportunity to share ideas that you will have developed over the summer about your degree project, receive feedback and finetune it before you start actively working on it as part of your last year at university.

Portfolio & Career
The Portfolio & Career unit consolidates all the design communication, presentation and professional skills learned throughout the course. The vehicle for you to showcase your design expertise and career aspirations is the final Portfolio. You will be encouraged to develop an individual approach to the development of your portfolio both to demonstrate your strengths and to allow you to focus it toward your career direction.

Pre-Collection
You’ll concentrate on market analysis, concept research and development and the design and toiling process in preparation for your final collection in this unit. As well as market and concept research, you’ll need to undertake an in-depth exploration and experimentation with silhouette, textiles, cutting, colour, design, detail, and finish are required to achieve innovative design solutions.

Graduate Career Fair
The Graduate Career Fair takes place during the first week of your second term to help your job search as you prepare for life after graduation. Companies that are actively hiring in your sector will be present to give you information about them, the kind of candidates they are looking for and their hiring process.

Collection & Portfolio
The Collection & Portfolio unit focuses on producing an innovative, resolved and accomplished design collection and an accompanying professional portfolio. For the Collection, you are required to review, evaluate, and apply the research, design and development work conducted in the Pre-Collection unit to achieve a resolved design package. For the Portfolio, you are required to review the design projects and the approach taken in term 1 to create a focused and innovative final portfolio presentation that encapsulates your individual design aesthetic

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:

Tuition fees - 2023 entry

UK students:

  • Integrated Foundation Year - £9,250
  • BA course - £9,250

EU students:

  • Integrated International Foundation Year - £9,250 (see fee discount information)
  • BA course - £9,250 (see fee discount information)

International students:

  • Integrated International Foundation Year - £16,950
  • BA course - £16,950

If you opt to study the Professional Practice Year, for 2023 you will be required to pay a reduced tuition fee of £1,850 (UK students) and £3,390 (International students). You will also incur additional travel and accommodation costs during your Professional Practice year. The University will provide you with further advice and guidance about this.

Additional course costs
In addition to the tuition fees there may be other costs for your course. The things that you are likely to need to budget for to get the most out of a creative arts education will include books, printing costs, occasional or optional study trips and/or project materials. These costs will vary according to the nature of your project work and the individual choices that you make. Please see the Additional Course Costs section of your Course Information for details of the costs you may incur.

Further information
For more detailed information about our course fees and any financial support you may be entitled to please see our fees and finance pages.

The fees listed here 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.

Industry placement
offer

Preparing graduates for successful careers underpins everything we do, and all students on this course may be offered support to identify and prepare for an industry placement according to their individual needs. We’ll draw on our wide range of contacts within the creative industries to help provide you with opportunities that align with your interests and future career aspirations.

Facilities

At UCA Epsom there are design, pattern and production studios. There is also specialist sewing areas with technical assistance. There are also campus screen printing facilities and photographic studios with professional quality lighting rigs.

Fashion sewing workshop, UCA Epsom

Fashion studios, UCA Epsom

Fashion store, UCA Epsom

Photography studios, UCA Epsom

Career opportunities

Career opportunities

Our Fashion Design degree enjoys an international reputation. We've forged strong connections with many high-profile brands, including:

  • Alexander McQueen
  • Jenny Packham
  • Jonathan Saunders
  • Reiss
  • Roksanda Ilinic
  • Roland Mouret

UCA’s Fashion Design degree enjoys an international reputation, and our graduates have progressed into a variety of rewarding careers – from design and illustration to pattern cutting and garment technology, and with leading fashion companies all over the world. These include:

  • Comme Des Garçons
  • Balenciaga
  • Lanvin
  • Givenchy
  • Max Mara
  • Pucci
  • Burberry
  • Stella McCartney
  • Reiss
  • Jigsaw
  • River Island
  • Karen Millen.

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

Explore our Gradshow

Visit our 2022 grad show site to see the incredible work created by our graduating students

Visit the 2022 Gradshow
Valentina Desideri
Valentina Desideri

"UCA provided me with the knowledge and skills to successfully enter the fashion industry as a confident designer, eager to learn and challenge myself."

Entry requirements

Entry requirements

BA (Hons) course
BA (Hons) course with Professional Practice Year

The standard entry requirements* for these courses 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 / BTEC National 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 9-4/A*-C 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.  


BA (Hons) course with Integrated Foundation Year
BA (Hons) course with Integrated Foundation Year and Professional Practice Year

The standard entry requirements for these courses are one of the following:

  • 64 new UCAS tariff points, see accepted qualifications
  • Pass at Foundation Diploma in Art & Design (Level 3 or 4)
  • Merit, Pass, Pass at BTEC Extended Diploma / BTEC National Extended Diploma
  • Pass at UAL Extended Diploma
  • 64 new UCAS tariff points from an accredited Access to Higher Education Diploma in appropriate subject
  • 24 points from the International Baccalaureate, see more information about IB entry requirements.

And four GCSE passes at grade 9-4/A*-C 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.

Check the equivalent qualifications for your country and the English language requirements:


  • Non-UK equivalent qualifications
  • English language requirements
  • BA (Hons) course with Integrated International Foundation Year
    BA (Hons) course with Integrated International Foundation Year and Professional Practice Year
    For these courses you need to have completed 12 years of schooling (with good grades) and show strong evidence of your ability to successfully complete the programme and progress onto your chosen degree.

    Don't meet the international entry requirements or English language requirements?
    You may be able to enter the course through the following entry pathways:

    BA (Hons) course
    BA (Hons) course with Professional Practice Year

    For these courses, we’ll need to see your portfolio for review. We’ll invite you to attend an Applicant Day so you can have your portfolio review in person, meet the course team and learn more about your course. If you would prefer to upload a portfolio digitally, there is also the option to submit it online via your UCA Applicant Portal. Further information will be provided once you have applied. 


    BA (Hons) course with Integrated Foundation Year
    BA (Hons) course with Integrated Foundation Year and Professional Practice Year

    These courses don't require a portfolio. If you receive an offer, you’ll be invited to attend an Applicant Day where you can meet the course team and learn more about the course.


    BA (Hons) course with Integrated International Foundation Year
    BA (Hons) course with Integrated International Foundation Year and Professional Practice Year

    These courses don't require a portfolio. If you receive an offer, you’ll be invited to attend an Applicant Day where you can meet the course team and learn more about the course. 


    More portfolio advice

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    Please use the following fields to help select the right application link for you:
    • UCAS Institution

      C93

    • UCAS Code for 3 year/standard

      W233

    • UCAS Code for course with Professional Practice

      W238

    • UCAS Code for course with Integrated Foundation Year

      W23F

    • UCAS Code for course with Integrated International Foundation Year

      W23H

    • UCAS Code for course with Integrated Foundation Year and Professional Practice Year

      W23G

    • UCAS Code for course with Integrated International Foundation Year and Professional Practice Year

      W23J

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