Skip to main content

Costume Design

BA (Hons)

School - School of Arts & Media

Subject area - Art and Design

UCAS Code:

Start Date(s): September


Three years full-time


UK - £9,250 per year

International - £14,820 per year

In Brief:

  • Live projects, work placements and strong industry engagement will give you a real understanding and first-hand experience of costume design within the context of  Performing Arts, TV and Film industries in the region, making you well placed to succeed in your chosen field.
  • You will use our new £55 million purpose-built  Arts and Media building which includes extensive design studios, specialist workshops, a 350 seat theatre, rehearsal space, TV performance and recording studios
  • You will be taught by specialist staff and industry professionals, gaining insight, contacts and direct experience of Costume Design
  • Overseas study available
  • Work/industrial placement opportunity
  • International students can apply

Course Summary

This programme will prepare you to enter the costume industry as designers and makers across a wide range of professional environments including live theatre, film, television, festivals, dance & light entertainment and performance.  In addition, it will equip you with skills necessary to work in the areas of costume & wardrobe supervision, costume crafts, music video design and styling, and museums and heritage events.  

BA (Hons) Costume Design is built on strong industry links and you will have the opportunity to work on industry-led briefs and collaborate with students from a range of our other programmes in performance, film production, television, music, and design. The programme also includes a 40 credit work placement module at level 5.

Salford University has a very hands-on approach to Design. Through a series of practical project-led modules, you will gain a sound understanding of the costume design and production processes and have the opportunity to apply your creativity to a range of situations. You will learn how to analyse and interpret scripts, generate concepts and present your ideas to industry standard.

You will develop strong technical and craft skills in workshop practice, including construction techniques, pattern cutting and textile manipulation. This will be supported by a solid understanding of costume history.

Course Details

BA (Hons) Costume Design aims to introduce you to the process of costume design for film, theatre and performance and is very much about developing both creative and practical skills. A combination of lively studio-based design modules will enable you to shape your studies around particular areas of interest within the field of costume design, for example; design, making or wardrobe supervision.

The course has strong links with the costume design industry and is taught by specialist tutors who have established careers in the field. This course also invites key figures and specialist professionals to deliver guest lectures and contribute to teaching and learning.  A mix of both cultural and industry location visits are embedded within the course which supports our practice-based learning approach.

Located in the heart of one of the world’s major centers for TV, Film Production, Theatre, Music, Performance and Festivals, the programme offers significant opportunities to work with local, regional, national and International organisations.

All students will be given the opportunity to undertake a period of international study in the second year and can apply for funding to support their studies whilst abroad.
Work placements and industry sponsored projects form a key part of the course allowing you to experience the cutting edge of set and scenic design practice.

Watch our video        

An insight into the design programmes taught within the School of Arts and Media.

Course Structure

The first year is designed to give you the practical skills and knowledge you need to succeed on the programme and which underpin both design and production. An exciting series of projects will be used to introduce you to the many processes involved with costume design, including analysis of scripts and narrative arcs, developing initial ideas and how to communicate them, visual presentation techniques, construction skills and establishing an understanding of the jobs roles and industry requirements related to the field of costume.

During the second year you will work more closely with industry through modules that offer live projects and work placement opportunities. This means that, in addition to developing your practical skills and understanding, you are also gaining valuable first hand industry experience and making contact with costume and wardrobe industry professionals.

The final year starts with a 20 credit project module which is designed to get you up-to-speed swiftly, before embarking on a major design project. Within the Research Methods for Costume Design module you will be able to develop a personal design brief which forms the basis of your final Major Project module. This allows you to produce a detailed, industry-standard project which reflects your strengths, interests and career ambitions, forming a key element of your portfolio when you graduate from the University of Salford.  

A strand of critical and contextual studies modules run throughout the programme and will explore the history and cultural significance of costume, as well as the various debates that have built up around the design practice and industry. At the same time, the programme as a whole will equip you with a range of entrepreneurial skills, team working and leadership skills as well as the commercial awareness needed by industry.

Year 1

This module introduces you to the fundamental principles of design and builds your awareness of the vocabulary used within the costume design industry. A design project will allow you to develop your understanding of form, space, colour and materials, in short; what makes a costume successful.      
This module aims to introduce you to the skills and techniques relating to costume making and technology, including traditional pattern cutting, draping, garment construction and costume crafts.      
This module is designed to introduce you to the framework and working methodologies which costume designers employ when generating concepts for a script. You will gain a valuable understanding of current industry practice as you develop your design from an initial idea through to reality.      
This module encourages you to explore, consider and reflect on a range of perspectives in the wider field of creative practice, particularly in the context of your own practice.  By introducing key debates in visual culture, this module aims to increase your visual and critical awareness and        demonstrate ways in which varied frameworks can inform professional practice in costume design.      
Developing your understanding of professional practice is a core theme which runs throughout the programme. This module encourages you to start aligning your skills with the identified requirements of the Costume design industry and includes an emphasis on communication including traditional and digital        skills.      
Positioned at the end of the first year this module provides holistic view of Costume Design process and gives you an understanding  the key roles within the costume design, making and wardrobe supervision process. Working in teams students will work on a simulated live experience or brief        to establish and execute wardrobe needs for both rehearsal and performance of a specific live performance, music performance or event.      

Year 2  

Designing costumes for Film and TV  brings with it a different set of technical and visual requirements to those of designing for the stage. You will learn about the issues and priorities and be able to adapt accordingly for any problems that might arise while filming. The module will explore        these requirements through a practical design project.      
Expanding upon the skills acquired in the first year, this module aims to explore the theatre design considerations when designing and constructing costumes for theatre. Working from a design brief, emphasis will be placed on visualising the script, set and lighting as well as collaborating with a production        team, director and the actors.      
Building upon the professional practice skills introduced in the first year, this module looks at business, employability and enterprise issues, encouraging you to reflect upon your own work and ongoing development. This module is also used to identify and pursue placement opportunities for the final        module of the year.      
In this module you will have the opportunity to undertake a period work placement, which enables you to demonstrate and develop your skills while gaining a thorough understanding of working procedures in a professional context.      
Further developing your visual and critical awareness of the varied contexts of costume design, this module will enhance your understanding of how cultural, commercial and/or historical issues influence current practice. In addition, you will develop an informed view of the disciplines, the relationships        between these disciplines and the wider relationships that can be made to other forms of visual, creative and cultural expression.      

Year 3  

This module requires you to design and make a costume for a specific individual artist/performer within the music, dance or festival arena. Site specific opportunities will also be available. You will be encouraged to develop concepts which effectively communicate and portray key characteristics of        the overall theme or message .  It will provide you with as close to an industry experience as possible and will encourage you to reflect upon your current skillset, helping you to recognise your strengths and areas of interest, with a view to developing your major project and future career        options.      
The main purpose of this module is for you to undertake the research and develop a Design Brief for your major project. You will be required to interpret and breakdown a script, build character analysis, research different approaches and concepts, undertake historical and cultural research and explore        visual representation.      
This module supports you in your final year whilst also encouraging you to consider your career options and define your personal objectives. You will take the first critical steps in pursuing your career aspirations by producing a self-directed portfolio of work, which demonstrates your skills, knowledge        and understanding via the use of appropriate professional methods and techniques.      
Building upon the work you produced in the previous Research Methods the final self-directed project acts as a conclusion to the course. As such, it enables you to continue in the development of a personalised programme of study, supporting and enhancing your career aspirations. The module also provides        a platform for you to initiate engagement with industry over an extended period, providing valuable experience for your potential career direction.      
The emphasis of this module is on independent research, exploration and investigation.  This module provides you with the opportunity to pursue a detailed study of relevant creative, cultural & contextual issues in a subject area that is of particular interest to you.  You can choose from one of the four following project options:1.Dissertation 2.Original visual work with critical text 3.Presentation with extended essay 4.Business report

Please note that it may not be possible to deliver the full list of options every year as this will depend on factors such as how many students choose a particular option. Exact modules may also vary in order to keep content current. When accepting your offer of a place to study on this programme, you should be aware that not all optional modules will be running each year. Your tutor will be able to advise you as to the available options on or before the start of the programme. Whilst the University tries to ensure that you are able to undertake your preferred options, it cannot guarantee this.

Entry Requirements

Qualification Entry requirements
You must fulfil our GCSE entry requirements as well as one of the requirements listed below.
English and Maths GCSE grade C
GCE A level 112 - 128 points including an A2 in an art and design or a design and technology subject at grade C
BTEC National Diploma DMM - DDM
International Baccalaureate 31-32 points including an Art & Design subject

We positively welcome applications from students who may not meet the stated entry criteria but who can demonstrate their ability to successfully pursue a programme of study in higher education. Students who do not have the traditional entry requirements may be able to apply through the Salford Alternative Entry Scheme

Support in preparing for the written assessment is available from the University.

English Language Requirements

International applicants will be required to show a proficiency in English. An IELTS score of 6.0 (with no element below 5.5) is proof of this.

If you need to improve your written and spoken English, you might be interested in ourEnglish language courses.

Applicant profile

Students entering the course come from a variety of backgrounds; A Level, BTEC Diploma, or an Art and Design Foundation year. The important thing is that you have studied Art and Design and have built a portfolio of work.

The UCAS application should indicate, as well as the required academic qualifications, an awareness of design, in the context of Film and Television through your personal applicant statement. This may be evidenced by referencing examples of particularly ‘good’ or ‘bad’ examples of set design. You should look to support your views and opinions in a reasoned and objective way.

Above all at Salford, we want you to be enthusiastic and interested in art, design, film, TV, theatre and the creative industries in general.

All suitable applicants to the course are invited for interview where you will be expected to present a portfolio of Art and Design work.

As with all design courses, good visual communication skills are required. This can include drawing in its broadest sense, from observational drawing through sketch development, to presentation drawings and technical drawing. We are particularly interested in how you generate your design ideas and then develop them towards a final piece; your design process. It is helpful if you can show your ability to understand 3D form and scale within your portfolio, this might include models, artefacts or structures.

If you are called for interview will send you further guidance well in advance.

Fees and Funding


Fees 2019-20

Type of Study Fee
Full-time £9,250 per year
Full-time International £14,820 per year

Fees 2018-19

Type of Study Fee
Full-time £9,250 per year
Part-time Your annual fee will be calculated pro rata to the full-time fee according to the number of credits you are studying.
Full-time International £14,400 per year

Additional costs from £200 (show in final year), £50 (UK optional trip), international optional trips individually costed.


The course is taught by a variety of teaching and learning methods, however at Salford, the design project forms the basis for the majority of activities on the course. Most modules include lectures, practical workshops or skills sessions, one-to-one tutorials, group seminars and design studio practice.

You will work on a variety of design projects in a way that reflects the range of opportunities and challenges in Film and TV Design. In addition to studio projects, computing skills are developed throughout the course to develop skills in 2D, 3D and multimedia computer applications. Theory modules are delivered through a series of formal lectures and seminar discussion groups that again reflect contemporary design issues and, where possible, align to studio practice modules.


Dependant on the modules that you choose, you will be assessed through:

Design Projects (70%-90%), Presentations (5% - 15%), Dissertation (5% - 15%)


The programme will prepare you as professional costume designers and makers, either working for larger organisations or on a freelance/consultancy basis. In addition, the course will provide students with the skills necessary to work in the areas of TV and film production, theatre and performance, including dance, circus and light entertainment.   Possible careers include: costume design, costume & wardrobe supervision, costume crafts, music video design and styling, and museums and heritage events.  

The nature of the costume design industry means that self-employment is increasingly the norm, as such students will be equipped with relevant entrepreneurial skills and will be adequately prepared to seek out, secure and undertake work on a freelance basis. In addition, all graduates will have developed the appropriate academic skills to undertake post graduate study.

Salford has a well-established range of Art & Design and Media courses, all of which can boast an outstanding graduate employment record, both in the local design community and recently further afield.

Through the strong industry links and carefully designed visiting lecturer programme, the course will provide students with an opportunity to build a professional network while the final project will constitute a calling card when seeking employment.

Alumni from related programmes are now working in premier design organisations such as BDP, Judge Gill, Stephenson Bell, Leach Rhodes Walker, Sheppart Robson, the Co-Op, MBLC, as well as further afield in Hong Kong and Australia.

Students also move into graduate routes such as teacher training and post graduate studies.

Links with Industry

This new programme has been developed with industry in response to the increasing local, national and international demand for graduates in costume design for film, TV, theatre and festivals. It builds upon the established success and reputation of courses in Film and TV Set Design, Fashion and Performance and the strong regional industry partnerships that have been developed over many years.

A Key feature of the course is the location of the University of Salford, which offers you the opportunity to seek employment with local and national companies, to undertake periods of placements / work experience and benefit from visiting specialist lecturers and professionals. In addition the course will include visits to companies to engage and meet with professional costume excerpters. The North West has an established and rapidly expanding Film, Theatre and TV production industry as evidenced by the investment in MediaCity, the relocation of the BBC to Salford and major international investments in new Film Studios.

The course is supported by the following companies and individuals:

  • Jack Thompson (Technical Director for Manchester International Festival)
  • Daniella Pearman (Head of costume for ITV’s Coronation Street)
  • Alex Saffer (Assistant Wardrobe Supervisor for ITV’s Coronation Street)
  • Amy Stokeld (Freelance wardrobe supervisor)
  • John Krausa (Freelance costume designer in film and television)
  • James Maciver (Freelance costume designer and maker for light entertainment and theatre)
  • Rebecca Hodgson (Head of Drama Lime Pictures)
  • Emma Dibb (Production Designer)

Further Study

The University has a range of post graduate programmes which graduates may find appropriate. These include:

  • MA Media Production: Animation, Children’s TV Production, TV Drama, TV Documentary, Post –production for Film and TV
  • MA Contemporary Performance Practice


Located in the heart of one of the world’s major centers for TV, Film production, Theatre, Music, Performance and Festivals, the programme will also benefit from being situated in the heart of one of the world’s major centers for the creative industries with a rich history of textile design and production.  

Based in Salford University’s purpose built New Adelphi Building, this £55 million investment includes: design studios, specialist construction workshops, TV Performance Studios, industry-standard digital facilities, photography studios and a 350 seat theatre.

The 350-seat theatre at the New Adelphi, with its three floors of tiered seating, is the largest of our 10 performing spaces. It is adjacent to a large outdoor amphitheater for outdoor music and theatre performances, and has a large backstage area and green room, with showers and changing facilities. The smaller black box studio theatre is a flexible space perfect for smaller, performances.

Not the course you're looking for?

If this course isn't for you then please retry our course finder below.


Visit our A-Z list of courses.

A-Z courses