Undergraduate BA (Hons)

Costume Design

Salford School of Arts, Media and Creative Technology




Three year

Next enrolment

September 2020


In a nutshell

This course 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 and light entertainment and performance. In addition, it will equip you with skills necessary to work in the areas of costume and 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 courses in performance, film production, television, music, and design. The course also includes a 40 credit work placement module in the second year.

The University of Salford 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 use our new £55 million purpose-built New Adelphi building which includes extensive design studios, specialist workshops, a 350 seat theatre, rehearsal space, TV performance and recording studios

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.

You will: 
  • Develop skills necessary to work in the areas of costume and wardrobe supervision, music video design and styling, and museums and heritage events 

  • Learn how to analyse and interpret scripts, generate concepts and present your ideas to industry standard 

  • Be given a solid understanding of costume history 

Find out more by signing up to our upcoming Open Day, or if you have any general questions please contact course enquiries

You can also find helpful FAQs, learn more about student life at Salford or explore all our Art and Design courses. Continue reading to understand more about this BA (Hons) Costume Design course.


options available


students accepted

This is for you if...


You are enthusiastic and interested in art, design, film, TV and theatre


You are intrigued by the process of designing for production


You have studied art and design and have built up a portfolio of work

Course details

All about the course

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.

A strand of critical and contextual studies modules run throughout the course 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, your learning on the course 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 one

Design Principles

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.

Production Skills and Processes for Costume

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.

Costume Design for Script

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.

Exploring Creative Contexts: Costume Design

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.

Establishing Professional Practice: 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.

Design Communication and Realisation

Positioned at the end of the first year this module provides holistic view of the costume design process and gives you an understanding the key roles within the costume design, making and wardrobe supervision process. Working in teams, you 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 two

Costume Design for Film and TV Production

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.

Costume Design for Theatre

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

Developing Professional Practice for Costume Design

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.

Design in Practice

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.

Responding to Creative Contexts: Costume Design

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 three

Costume for Live Performance

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.

Research Methods for Costume Design

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.

Applied Professional Practice for Costume Design

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.

Negotiated Major Project

Building upon the work you produced in the Research Methods for Costume Design module, 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.

Independent Research Project

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 and 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, or 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.

What Will I be Doing?


Design Projects




The course is taught by a variety of teaching and learning methods. However, at the University of Salford, the design project forms the basis for the majority of activities on the course. Most modules include:

  • Lectures
  • Practical workshops
  • Skills sessions
  • One-to-one tutorials,
  • Group seminars
  • 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.



All our Art and Design courses are delivered by the Salford School of Arts, Media and Creative Technology.    

Our School and University have strong and long-lasting relationships with local and national industry.    

Once you graduate with us, you’ll join a thriving alumni community in Greater Manchester and beyond. 


Located in the heart of one of the world’s major centres for TV, film production, theatre, music, performance and festivals, the course also benefits 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 our 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 ten 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.

Employment and stats

What about after uni?

This course 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 and 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 you 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 you with an opportunity to build a professional network while the final project will constitute a calling card when seeking employment.


A taste of what you could become

A costume designer

A wardrobe supervisor

A fashion designer

And more...

Career Links

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)

What you need to know


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. The important thing is that you have studied art and design and have built a portfolio of work.If you are called for interview we will send you further guidance well in advance.

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

Please note: The entry criteria below are related to entry onto this course in the 2020/2021 academic year. If you’re interested in a future intake year, please check the course entry on UCAS.

Standard entry requirements

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.


English Language at grade C/level 4 or above (or equivalent). Maths at grade C/4 or above (or equivalent) is preferred but not essential.

You must fulfil our GCSE entry requirements as well as one of the requirements listed below

UCAS Tariff Points

112-128 points to include specific subjects: Art & Design or Design & Technology

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 in a relevant subject

Access to HE

112-128 points to include specific Art & Design or Design & Technology 

Scottish Highers

112 - 128 points to include specific subjects: Art & Design or Design & Technology

Irish Leaving Certificate

112 - 128 points to include Art & Design or Design & Technology 

International Baccalaureate

31-32 points including Art & Design/ Design & Technology 

European Baccalaureate

Pass in Diploma with at least 73% to include specific subjects Art & Design or Design & Technology 

Foundation Diploma in Art and Design

Distinction = 112 UCAS points - if you have a Pass (80 points) or Merit (96 points), you must have additional qualifications to a total of 112 points.

Alternative entry requirements

Salford Alternative Entry Scheme (SAES)

We welcome applications from students who may not meet the stated entry criteria but who can demonstrate their ability to pursue the course successfully. Once we have received your application we will assess it and recommend it for SAES if you are an eligible candidate.

There are two different routes through the Salford Alternative Entry Scheme and applicants will be directed to the one appropriate for their course. Assessment will either be through a review of prior learning or through a formal test.

How much?

Type of study Year Fees
Full-time home 2020/21 £9,250per year
Full-time international 2020/21 £15,240per year
Full-time home 2021/22 £9,250per year
Full-time international 2021/22 £15600per year
Additional costs

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

You should also consider further costs which may include books, stationery, printing, binding and general subsistence on trips and visits.

Scholarships for international students

If you are a high-achieving international student, you may be eligible for one of our scholarships.
We have a range of scholarships available for students applying for courses in 2020-2021 and 2021-2022. Our Global Gold Excellence Scholarship is worth £3,500 and our Global Silver Excellence Scholarship is worth £3,000 - both are available for students studying in our 2021/22 intakes.

We also offer the Salford International Excellence Scholarship which offers up to £5,000 discount on tuition fees. As this is a prestigious award we have a limited number of these scholarships available.

See the full range of our International Scholarships.

Apply now

All set? Let's apply

Enrolment dates

September 2020

UCAS information

Course ID W450

Institution S03