MA Textile Design

MA Textile Design at Chelsea College of Arts explores creative approaches to sustainable textiles and surface design.


Course Leader

Lorna Bircham

Course Location

Chelsea College of Arts, John Islip Street


Study LevelPostgraduate
Study ModeFull time
Course Length1 year
Home/EU Fee

£8,250 per year (2016/17).

Course fees may be paid in instalments.

Use UAL’s fees and funding calculator as a guide to how much your studies may cost.

International Fee

£17,230 per year (2016/17).

Course fees may be paid in instalments.

Use UAL’s fees and funding calculator as a guide to how much your studies may cost.

Start DateOctober 2017
Autumn Term DatesMonday 9 October - Friday 22 December 2017
Spring Term DatesMonday 8 January - Friday 23 March 2018
Summer Term DatesMonday 9 April - Friday 14 September 2018
Application DeadlineHome / EU - Monday 31 July 2017.
International - No deadline, but students are advised to apply as early as possible.

Content and structure

Content: what students can expect

  • A studio-based, practice-led course. View our textiles workshops image gallery
  • Opportunities for developing and collaborating on pioneering work within the textile industry
  • Study to be underpinned by a supportive theoretical framework, as well as instruction in professional contemporary practice
  • Focus and debate about environmental issues as well as the designer’s role in acting responsibly to these
  • To participate in and develop skills through individual and group tutorials, workshops, online resources and postgraduate talks designed to introduce students to a range of visiting artists, designers and other practitioners


  • Unit 1: Exploring and understanding research-led practice
  • Unit 2: Contextualising research-led practice
  • Unit 3: Realisation of research-led practice

Studio practice involves evolving and developing a personal programme of studio work and related research. Theoretical Studies provides a framework for students to develop a critical research paper, enabling them to locate their ideas and practice in relation to contemporary debate on cultural and theoretical issues.

Throughout the course students participate in individual and group tutorials, developing their skills through Personal Professional Development workshops and on-line resources while the postgraduate talks are organised that introduce them to a range of visiting artists and practitioners.

Work experience and opportunities

Textile Environment Design (TED) is a unique research unit based at Chelsea that investigates the role designers play in the field of sustainable design. It is a resource students, researchers and designers can benefit from and contribute to. Recent students have used TED's extensive library of contacts to establish a unique and sustainable craft design project based in Thailand.


Lorna Bircham - Course Leader

Lorna Bircham is an active member of Chelsea's TED (Textile Environment Design) research group. She has been involved in several research projects, including an exploration of Tencel fibres exhibited at the Science Museum, and weave product development in Assam, India.


  • Sophie Gorton
  • Katherine Carey May
  • Jane Murrow
  • Sarah Risley

Visiting Staff


MA Textile Design graduates have gone on to careers as textiles practitioners and designer-makers either working with, or establishing their own, major and independent fashion labels.

Recent graduates have gone on to designing prints for Ralph Lauren in New York, working on sustainable craft design projects in India as well as in-house designer for Heritage Cashmere.

Other course alumni have gone on to freelance design work, interior product design or other industry related careers, while some go on to undertake further research.


  • Katie Jones Irving - Senior Print Designer, Abercrombie & Fitch
  • Print, Tuft and Fold - Zoe Beck (Print), Claire Alderdice (Tuft) and Kim Bassett (Fold)
  • Ichiro Suzuki - Menswear Designer

Entry requirements

  • BA (Hons) degree or equivalent academic qualifications
  • Study proposal
  • Portfolio of work
  • Alternative qualifications and experience will also be taken into consideration
  • IELTS level 6.5 or above if English isn’t their first language, with at least 5.5 in reading, writing, listening and speaking (please check our English Language requirements)


Use UAL’s scholarship search to find out what funding may be available to you.

Postgraduate loans of up to £10,000 are now available for eligible UK and EU students. A full list of eligibility criteria and information on applying can be found on the postgraduate loans webpage.

How to apply

Online application for 2017 entry will open in November 2016.

Home / EU deadline is Monday 31 July 2017.

There is no deadline for international applications, but students are advised to apply as early as possible.

You can apply for this course using our online application form. Before you apply, we recommend you take some time to read the following details about the application process, including guidance on the extra information we will ask you to provide.

The application form can be saved as you fill it out, so you don’t need to complete it all at once. You will also have the chance to review all the information and make any necessary amendments before you submit the application form.

We will send you emails as you progress through the application process, so do check your inbox (and junk folder, just in case). These emails will contain important information about your application, and links to the online forms you should use to submit the extra information required.

Required information for all postgraduate course applications

You will need to enter the following information in the online application form:

  • Personal details (including full name; date of birth; nationality; permanent address and English language level)
  • Current and/or previous education and qualification details
  • Employment history
  • Referee details (this course requires two references).

Before you can submit the form, you’ll also need to agree to the terms and conditions for how we process your data – these are explained in the form.

Please note, if you’re an international applicant we will need to contact you separately to ask for copies of certain documents (for example, English language qualification/certificate and copies of any previous UK study visas).

Extra information required for applications to this course

Once you have submitted the form, you will receive a confirmation email that includes links to where you should submit the extra information we require for the selection process:

Study proposal

The study proposal is a statement of approximately 1,000 words describing your current practice. You should include links to referenced text or images where appropriate. It should also describe how you will develop a self-directed programme of work and related research whilst at Chelsea College of Arts.

When writing your proposal you are not expected to have complete answers to all your questions.

However, you should be able to:

  • Examine your knowledge and experience in relation to your proposed project
  • Identify questions and areas that you do not know about
  • Demonstrate how you intend to tackle these questions and areas

How to structure a study proposal

Each of the following sections should be approximately 250 words.


  • Briefly describe your work
  • Outline recent developments
  • Identify those aspects you would like to take further at MA level


Describe specific areas, issues and critical ideas that are central to your area of interest.


  • How will you go about researching your area of interest?  
  • Are there particular methods you will use? For example - drawing, model making, photography etc.


Are there resources or equipment that you need to access in order for you to successfully engage in your research?


Please note, you can submit text and as many website links as you need to, but the portfolio form does not allow you to upload files.

Enquire about this course

If you haven’t found the information you’re looking for or want to ask us a question about this course, please fill out our enquiry form.

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