Theatre Arts Degrees
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Costume Design Degree for Performance & Film

ostume design degree teacher at Northbrook collegeCraft Your Vision: Excel in Costume Design for Performance & Film at Northbrook College. This specialist course focuses on costume design and construction for the many contexts of the performance and entertainment industry.

Our degree course develops skills in design through character exploration and illustration techniques.


Course Overview

  • Location: Northbrook College, Worthing, West Sussex, England
  • UCAS code: W451
  • Duration: 3 years full-time
  • Application deadline: 15 July 2024
  • Start date: September 2024
  • Fees: £16,500

Entry requirements

2 A-Levels and 3 GCSEs in other subjects grade 9-4 or A-C (or equivalent)
1 A-Level, a Foundation course and 3 GCSEs in other subjects grade 9-4 or A-C (or equivalent)

A portfolio of work or audition is also needed to demonstrate ability in the specialist area.

Contact us to get an assessment of your qualifications for equivalency in the UK education system.

English language requirements

IELTS certificate or equivalent with an overall score of 6.0, 6.0 in the writing element and 5.5 in all other sub-elements.

The assessment of your application will include a review of your grades, interview, portfolio/audition and any experience.

Course Information

Prepare to be challenged, to experiment fearlessly, and to innovate without restraint. We'll equip you with the skills you need to conquer both independent projects and a variety of real-world productions, internal and external.

theatre costume design

Course Content

Course Content

You will hone a wide range of technical skills, such as flat pattern cutting and cutting on the stand (underpinned by a history of costume sessions), corsetry, tailoring, millinery, design for dance (stretch), fabric dyeing, printing, manipulation and breaking down, and costume props.

You will learn from experienced professionals with current industry knowledge who will support you in discovering and maximising the best opportunities for you.

Regular workshops and showcase productions enable you to develop your skills to professional standards, preparing you for employment or postgraduate study.

Teaching Method

Teaching Method

We use a variety of teaching methods, including: 

  • practical and creative studio-based workshops
  • discussions
  • lectures/seminars
  • tutorials
  • small group study
  • self-directed study
  • study trips

Key Features

Key Features

  • The course includes design, construction and supervision skills.
  • Expand your professional network with work experience across theatre, TV, film and events.
  • Cross-course collaboration with actors, directors, makeup artists and set designers.
  • Excellent industry links and high-profile work experience opportunities.

Course Structure

Year One

Year One

The first year of the BA (Hons) in Costume Design will equip you with the practical skills and knowledge to bring costumes to life. You'll learn about costume design as a profession, including safety protocols, research techniques, and how costumes can shape a character. The program also emphasizes critical thinking, with a unit dedicated to developing your design vocabulary and analytical skills.

You'll gain hands-on experience through historical costume construction techniques, learning how to create garments from specific periods. By year's end, you'll design costumes for a complete play, incorporating innovative embellishments and collaborating with hair and makeup artists. The year also includes a live project where you'll work with students from other disciplines on events, fostering your teamwork and professional skills. Finally, you'll delve into immersive design, creating a costume and mask for a unique performance or installation.

  • Unit 1: Character Creation
  • Unit 2: Ideas in Context
  • Unit 3: Farthingales and Fontanges
  • Unit 4: All The World’s a Stage
  • Unit 5: Live Project 1
  • Unit 6: Rococo to Regency

Year Two

Year Two

The second year dives deeper into technical skills, costume embellishment, and helps you develop your professional identity as a designer.

Throughout the year, you'll refine your technical abilities by learning precision tailoring techniques used for Victorian costumes and jacket construction. You'll also explore fabric manipulation techniques like screen printing, painting, and breaking down fabrics, with a specific focus on working with stretch materials.

Developing your design skills is another key aspect. You'll delve into embellishment design and application, culminating in creating a well-fitting stretch bodysuit that incorporates these techniques.

The year isn't just about technical skills. You'll gain valuable professional experience by collaborating on a live event, demonstrating professionalism and teamwork. Additionally, through reflection exercises and discussions, you'll explore your role as a designer within the industry.

To prepare you for future opportunities, the year culminates with a work placement experience. You'll secure a placement, and reflect on it alongside other relevant experiences to build your professional identity and portfolio. This experience will be a springboard for your final year of study.

Overall, the second year equips you with the technical skills, design knowledge, and professional understanding to excel in costume design and prepare for your future in the industry.

  • Unit 7: Mr DeMille
  • Unit 8: Surface Texture and Detail
  • Unit 9: Live Project 2
  • Unit 10: Contextual Research
  • Unit 11: Industry Focus

Year Three

Year Three

Year 3 equips you for the industry by honing your professional skills alongside creative exploration. In a collaborative unit, you'll work with colleagues from disciplines like Production Design and Hair & Make-up, putting your design concept into action and learning how different aspects work together. You'll build a professional portfolio throughout the year, culminating in a final presentation showcasing your work and career aspirations. Industry readiness is emphasized through workshops, talks by visiting professionals and alumni, all designed to help you develop your unique artistic voice and navigate potential career paths. The program concludes with a final project where you propose, develop, and execute a project that highlights your strengths and interests within the costume design field.

  • Unit 12: The Whole Picture
  • Unit 13: Professional Practice
  • Unit 14: Dissertation
  • Unit 15: Final Major Project
  • Unit 16: Collaborative Practices