Costume for Performance & Film | BA (Hons) degree

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UCAS code: W451 Course Type: Degree and university-level Campus: West Durrington Campus Start Date: September 2023 Duration: 3 Years

Why this course?

Costume design

This specialist course focuses on costume design and construction for the entertainment industry. You'll develop skills in design through character exploration and illustration techniques. Making techniques taught include period pattern cutting on the flat and on the stand (underpinned by history of costume sessions), design for dance (stretch), tailoring and millinery.

Key features

  • Course includes design, construction and supervision skills 
  • Opportunities to work on live and filmed performance 
  • Excellent industry links and high-profile work placement opportunities
  • Outstanding workshop facilities and equipment, with most materials supplied
  • High contact time with staff
  • Cross-course collaboration with actors, directors, make-up artists, set designers
Validated by University of the Arts London (UAL)

This programme is validated by University of the Arts London (UAL). UAL are a leading education provider in the creative arts, ranked second in the world for art and design (QS World University Rankings by Subject 2022). They oversee the standards and quality of our curriculum, which enriches your overall learning experience.

See the full list of our creative arts degrees

  • alumni Views Sophie Merry Freelance costume designer on West End productions

    "My time at the MET was fundamental to progressing in my career. I can't thank the tutors enough for their dedication and unfaltering encouragement. I can't imagine having done this any other way."

  • alumni Views Jordan Edwards Costume maker (The Crown, Fantastic Beasts, Emma, The Lion King...)

    "My experience at the MET was of deeply passionate and generous tutors who are the best - and the best professional contacts!"

  • alumni Views Naomi Overton Dresser and Workroom Assistant (Phantom of the Opera, Mamma Mia 2, English National Opera...)

    "The amazing tutors at the MET have enabled me to get to where I am today. The course has given me the skills, the support and inspiration to pursue my career."

  • alumni Views Grace Drake Costume maker (The Lion King, Peaky Blinders, His Dark Materials, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child...)

    "The tutors take time to get to know you and where your best skills and interests lie. They are wonderful teachers who still work in the industry, meaning that their skills and knowledge are relevent and up-to-date."

  • alumni Views Jack Oliver Hopkins Costume Tailor (Aladdin, Downton Abbey, Maleficent 2, Artemis Fowl...)

    "The massively inspiring and knowledgable tutors are working professionals in their fields. The chance to use such a wide range of facilities on the course gave me the freedom to experiment and explore different mediums. I left with both a huge knowledge and portfolio (and some great friends)."

Course requirements

Each application will be assessed individually, including a review of your grades, interview, portfolio/audition and any experience.

Typical entry requirements are below but offers may vary:

  • a relevant A-Level or Level 3 Extended Diploma

In exceptional circumstances, if you do not meet our entry requirements, your application may still be considered if you demonstrate additional strengths and alternative evidence. This might, for example, be demonstrated by:

  • related academic or work experience
  • the quality of the personal statement
Portfolio and interview

You will also be required to provide a portfolio and interview for this course. Your portfolio should include examples of design artwork as well as finished garments or samples of needlework.

Entry guide

Entry guide for more information about the range of qualifications we accept (including English language requirements for international students).

This is a full-time course that supplies high contact time with staff, most materials, and outstanding workshop facilities and equipment, to enable you to hone your skills to an industry standard. All staff members teaching on the course have current industry experience.

We are equally interested in developing both your design and practical skills. We run workshops in a wide and diverse range of specialisms from pattern cutting through to tailoring, millinery and costume prop-making. Fabric manipulation, printing, dying and breaking down, as well as costume supervision, are all areas we teach and encourage students to develop skills in. 

History of Costume sessions provide a solid foundation from which to experiment and innovate.  

We are highly collaborative in our approach and work closely with other departments, including hair and make-up, props, set design, performers and technical departments. There are opportunities to do live projects, a balance of shows in our fully equipped theatre space and outside commissions. The range of performers we work with is diverse, from dance through musical theatre to highly experimental devised work. We believe strongly in industry links, work experience and ensuring future employability.  



Stretch costume for dance

Year 1 (Level 4)

At Level 4 you will design for a Shakespeare play (with collaboration opportunities with hair and make-up and set) and in addition attend a series of history of costume and style classes supported by historic pattern cutting classes on the stand.

You will cut and construct an Elizabethan costume from one of your designs with fabric choices and fabric manipulation techniques being key. This is an opportunity to use our excellent print room facilities and learn relevant textile techniques, such as screen printing, laser cutting, and dye and breaking down for character.

Managing and multi-tasking on live projects will allow you to explore inter-discipline practice and applying existing skills within a wider context. You will initially assist Level 5 students to learn all about production and backstage processes and etiquette and then move on to design and lead in smaller scale productions.

There will be filmed opportunities as part of this in addition to site specific ventures that will include related prop-making skills such as mask making. null

Year 2 (Level 5)

At Level 5, you will be developing your pattern cutting, making and design skills further, starting with accurately cutting and constructing a Victorian ladies' corset, bustle/crinoline, petticoat, skirt and bodice out of calico. Precision will be key.

In design sessions, you will be exploring how your calico costume can be added to afterwards through inventive and textural approaches to embroidery and patchwork/applied fabric manipulation. There will be specialist skills training in millinery, tailoring and working in stretch, which will then be applied to project work.

Specialist job roles on a major musical will be allocated depending on your own individual career aspirations. You will be supported in finding and securing work placement and developing your CV and portfolio accordingly.

There is the opportunity in negotiation with tutors to undertake a unit of study within a related discipline such as hair and make-up.


Year 3 (Level 6)

At Level 6, in addition to completing a dissertation, you will undertake project work that further extends skills in relation to future career aspirations. We will focus on building your portfolio accordingly and towards your final degree show.

There will be opportunities to apply this to live and collaborative performance where appropriate.

Video tour of our campus

See students from different courses using the facilities at our creative arts specialist campus

(5-minute video)

Contact time and study hours

A full-time student can expect to have around 2 days of timetabled teaching contact per week. You will have approximately 40 hours of timetabled teaching contact for each 20 credit module. This is supported by independent self-guided study.

Teaching and assessment methods

We use a variety of teaching methods, including:

  • practical workshops
  • discussions
  • groupwork
  • tutorials
  • self-directed study

Assessment methods vary between units but could include:

  • project work
  • portfolios
  • written assignments

Potential careers

  • Costume designer for film, theatre, events
  • Costume maker, milliner, tailor
  • Costume supervisor
  • Dyeing, printing and breaking down specialist

Our alumni work on high-profile shows and films

Click here to hear from some of our past students who are now working in industry >

Tuition fees, student loans and bursaries

Additional costs for this course

Most materials are supplied.

New students will receive a kit list of personal tools and materials costing a maximum of £200.

Open events

Visit us at an open event!

Learn more about our degree-level programmes, speak to our expert staff and take a tour of our state-of-the-art facilities.

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Fees and financial support

There are different options to cover the cost of your course, including government loans and bursaries (eligibility criteria applies).

See more details

How is this course delivered?

We have made some changes to the way our courses are taught to keep everyone safe. We will ensure that our students remain connected and involved with their course and college life.

During this academic year, students have a blend of college-based and digitally-enabled remote learning that provides lots of opportunities to interact and engage with lecturers, support teams and other students.

We will continue to respond to Government advice as we plan our curriculum delivery and will regularly update our current students and applicants in respect of course changes and opportunities.

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