Theatre Arts Degrees
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BA (Hons) Degree in Prop Making & Special Effects

UAL degree in prop making at Northbook Colelge for international studentsCreate the Magic: Specialise in Prop Making and Special Effects with a UAL BA (Hons) Degree at Northbrook College. This creative course focuses on designing and manufacturing props for the theatre, TV, film, display, and entertainment industries.


Course Overview

  • Location: Northbrook College, Worthing, West Sussex, England
  • UCAS code: W490
  • 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 compare overseas qualifications to 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

Dive into prop-making for film, TV, and more! Learn industry-standard skills to bring your creations to life.

prop making degree

Course Content

Course Content

This course focuses on creating props for film, TV, theatre, and entertainment industries. It covers various creative techniques, including wood and metal work, sculpting, moulding, decorative finishes, CAD, laser cutting, 3D printing, and soft props. The goal is to develop a broad set of creative skills to support your path as a prop maker. Additionally, the course emphasizes employment readiness through client-led projects, work experience, and portfolio development.

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

  • Excellent industry connections that will allow you to build your professional network.
  • Dedicated studio space for prop making.
  • Machine tools, plaster room, laser cutting and 3D printing.
  • Work collaboratively on real-life briefs.
  • High-profile industry links include the National Theatre, Elstree Film Studios, Universal Creations, English National Ballet, Bower Wood, Royal Shakespeare Company and many more.
  • Graduates are now working on major films, TV series, adverts, West End shows and magazine shoots.

Course Structure

Year One

Year One

The first year of the BA Prop Making and Special Effects program lays a strong foundation for your future in this exciting field. Starting with safety and basic skills workshops, you'll become familiar with the college's facilities and develop safe working practices in metalwork, woodworking, and mould making. Next, you'll explore the broader concepts and context of the prop making and special effects industry, gaining an understanding of its operations and influences. Developing your sculpting skills is a core focus, working with various materials to bring your ideas to life. This is complemented by learning techniques for creating moulds and casts using materials like plaster, silicone, and fibreglass. The program then dives into prop design and project planning, equipping you with the skills to take a project from initial concept all the way to completion. To solidify your learning, a practical application unit allows you to put your skills to the test on real-world projects. Working alongside second-year students on internal and external commissions, you'll gain valuable experience in collaboration, communication, and problem-solving. Finally, the year finishes with an exploration of the specialist area of model making. Here, you'll delve into technical drawing, computer-aided design (CAD), 3D printing, and other relevant skills and techniques used to create models for various applications.

  • Unit 1: Introductions and Inductions
  • Unit 2: Ideas in Context: Performance and Everyday Life
  • Unit 3 Sculpture
  • Unit 4: Prop Making
  • Unit 5: Live Project 1
  • Unit 6: Model Making

Year Two

Year Two

Year 2 of the BA Prop Making and Special Effects is designed to refine your technical skills, deepen your understanding of the industry, and prepare you for professional practice. You'll develop your technical abilities through an individual project that combines diverse techniques like puppetry design, foam crafting, and mechanical processes. There's also a dedicated unit that explores how to incorporate sustainable practices into prop making.

Industry awareness is fostered through teamwork. You'll collaborate with fellow students to design and produce props for a variety of clients, gaining valuable experience in project management by leading a team of junior students. Additionally, a dedicated unit allows you to delve deeper into a specific area of prop making or special effects that spark your passion.

The professional practice aspect of year 2 equips you for a successful career in prop making. You'll build a portfolio, craft a compelling CV, and establish a digital presence to showcase your talents. The course also provides opportunities to gain industry insights through talks and a work placement experience that could even take you abroad.

  • Unit 7: Soft Props and Mechanics
  • Unit 8: Sustainable Practices in Prop Making & SFX
  • Unit 9: Live Project 2
  • Unit 10: Ideas in Context: Theatre and Performance Ideologies
  • Unit 11: Work Experience

Year Three

Year Three

In the third year, the focus shifts towards preparing you for a thriving career in the industry. You'll develop a strong foundation in professional practice through a combination of business and self-promotion modules. These modules will equip you with the skills to find work, negotiate designs and budgets, and adhere to strict deadlines – all while building your professional network, portfolio, and confidence.

Furthermore, you'll delve into the world of entrepreneurship, exploring ways to develop your unique career path, potentially leading to self-employment. This involves brainstorming new employment opportunities, fostering innovation, and crafting a strong personal brand. To complement the practical aspects, a dedicated unit allows you to explore prop-making from an academic standpoint. This culminates in a research project and a dissertation, providing a deeper theoretical understanding of the field.

Finally, the year is capped off with the highly anticipated Final Major Project. This is your chance to create a showstopping piece that embodies your strengths and skills as a prop maker, specifically tailored for the arts and entertainment industry. The year culminates in a series of exhibitions held in Worthing and London, providing the perfect platform to showcase your work and impress potential employers and industry professionals. By the program's end, you'll be well-equipped with both the practical and theoretical knowledge to launch a successful and fulfilling career in the exciting world of prop making and special effects.

  • Unit 12: Locating Opportunities for Work
  • Unit 13: Professional Development
  • Unit 14: Dissertation
  • Unit 15: Independent Make

Some of our recent alumni careers Three of our alumni are listed in the credits on Star Wars The Last Jedi (Alex McKenzie, Guy Watson and Cecelia Smith)

Alumnus Kyle Whittington has worked on films, theatre and TV, including Justice League, Transformers 5, Red Dwarf and the English National Opera. He also guests at comic book and anime conventions across Europe, giving talks about prop making and costuming.

Alumna Harriet Lansdown has worked as a set designer on shows including Starlight Express, Cats, Les Miserables and Miss Saigon, as well as the art department on TV's Red Dwarf.