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Undergraduate

BA (Hons) Costume for Theatre and Screen

Actresses wearing Interview with a Vampire costumes by BA Costume for Theatre and Screen students.
Interview with a Vampire costumes by BA Costume for Theatre and Screen students. Photography by Wild Fox.
BA (Hons) Costume for Theatre and Screen, Wimbledon College of Arts, UAL
College
Wimbledon College of Arts
UCAS code
W453
Start date
September 2024
Course length
3 years

BA Costume for Theatre and Screen at Wimbledon College of Arts introduces you to professional costume for theatre, film, television and live performance. The course offers 2 specialist disciplines; costume design and costume interpretation.

Apply to start in September 2024 

This course has places available.

If you don’t need a student visa to study in the UK, complete our self-apply form. You'll find this in the "Apply now" section of this course page - click on the "Start your application" button to find the form.

If you do need a student visa to study in the UK, you must apply through UCAS.

To find out more, read our Guide to applying for a course starting this September through Clearing.

For a full list of UAL courses open for 2024/25 entry, visit the Courses with places available page.

Course overview

The view that costume is a broad, developing and ever-changing industry informs this course. As a student on BA Costume for Theatre and Screen, you will:

  • gain an understanding of the essential elements of costume. 
  • build confidence in both traditional and new approaches to costume design and realisation.
  • explore new and emerging media and digital presentation techniques.  

Live projects will ensure you gain valuable industry experience throughout your study. The course has worked with The National Gallery, Victoria and Albert Museum and Windsor Castle.   

What to expect  

  • An introduction to a range of skills and technical areas: These include text and character analysis, drawing, pattern cutting, draping, corsetry, textile manipulation, garment construction, multimedia fabrication, research and developing a visual language.
  • Studio and performance-based live projects: These might be costume design for historical or contemporary texts and opera. They could also be for site-specific productions, dance, film or theatre. 
  • Understanding different approaches: Create costume from cultural, historical, contemporary and conceptual views. 
  • Practical and creative learning: Develop creative and sustainable approaches to problem-solving during garment construction.
  • Exploration: Investigate colour and texture through mixed media experimentation for 2D design and textile work. 
  • Learning from experts: Receive teaching from industry professionals.
  • Creative research: Build your knowledge through a programme that includes subject debates and current discussion within the creative industries.
  • Access to Wimbledon's shared workshops: View the Wimbledon facilities

The first year will be a challenging and exciting exploration of the subject area of costume. You’ll have an introduction to research methods, design strategies, and to conceptual and creative problem solving. 

You’ll make your costume specialism choice by the end of your first year. You will choose either Design or Interpretation. The 2 disciplines of Costume Design and Costume Interpretation are very different. 

Costume Design 

Costume Design deals with visual storytelling, developing the character and the realisation of your ideas in 2D or 3D. 

  • You should have an interest in people, history and geography. This will allow you to create worlds and environments from which to build your design concepts. 
  • You will use a range of sources, including text, images and music to analyse and create characters. 
  • You will focus on drawing and communicating ideas in 2D using traditional and digital techniques. 
  • You will develop 3D production skills to a high level using creative cut and both traditional and experimental construction methods. 
  • You may go on to make contemporary work. It might use techniques such as moulding, casting, textile experimentation, metal and leatherwork. 

Costume Interpretation 

Costume Interpretation is the process of making costumes from a visual reference or from designer’s ideas  developing technical skills to a very high level.

  • It requires imagination, sensitivity, an understanding of context, and excellent interpersonal skills. 
  • We use historical and traditional construction processes and skills. This provides the foundation for contemporary approaches to costume realisation. 
  • You will have the opportunity to learn specialist traditional skills. These include corsetry and stay-making, tailoring and tutu construction.
  • You may go on to make contemporary work. It might use techniques such as moulding, casting, textile experimentation, metal and leatherwork.  

Work experience and opportunities

Wimbledon College of Arts benefits from its London location and industry links. You will have the chance to take on professional work placements during your studies. 

Former students have worked for many well-known institutions. These include The Royal Opera House, National Theatre, The Globe Theatre, Sadler’s Wells Theatre and Hampton Court Palace.

In TV and film, students have worked in Pinewood and Shepperton Studios and also on many Netflix productions. These include famous series such as  Game of Thrones, Harlots, Dr Doolittle and The Crown.  Other students have worked with respected freelance designers, stylists and film directors. 

You will be able to take part in the College’s international exchange scheme. This enables you to study abroad for a term in the second year of your degree.

Mode of study

BA Costume for Theatre and Screen is offered in full-time mode. It is divided into 3 stages over 3 academic years. Each stage consists of 30 teaching weeks. You will be expected to commit an average of 40 hours per week to your course, including teaching hours and independent study. 

Course units

Year 1 

Unit 1: Introduction to Costume for Theatre and Screen

This unit is an introduction to your course, the College and the University. 

Unit 2: Designing and making

This unit explores the practical and theoretical methods for contemporary and sustainable costume design. Through a series of projects, you’ll learn different pattern-cutting approaches and experiment with dye and print methods. Lectures on costume theory will introduce a contextual understanding of dress and its impact on society.

Unit 3: Exploring ideas 

This unit will develop your understanding of key technical processes, concepts and critical approaches to costume design. Projects will support a clear design or interpretation focus to allow you to begin to explore your specialist choice. Verbal and written presentations will help you clearly articulate your design ideas and processes.

Unit 4: Who are you? Establishing practice

In this unit you will work collaboratively in groups to develop, design and produce a fully realised wearable costume. You’ll work with a set text and broadly explore time, place and context in relation to your costume design. Tutorials and technical workshops will support your practical learning. You’ll showcase your outcome during a performance for an invited audience. 

Year 2

Unit 5: Collaborative and collective practices 

You’ll be introduced to different ways in which collaborative working can help you to focus and enhance your own creative strengths. You’ll have the chance to work with fellow students and creative communities.  

Unit 6: Practice as laboratory

This unit will build upon the knowledge and skills that you established in your first year. You’ll work on a challenging project within your chosen costume specialism, experimenting with advanced skills and working methods. You’ll also continue to develop your reflective journal. This will help you establish your professional practice.

Unit 7: Where in the world? Part 1 

In this unit, you’ll focus on a studio project specific to your specialism. You’ll research broader concepts and themes such body, gender, movement and audience. Using this knowledge, you’ll design and construct your first fully wearable costume. You’ll also apply for work placements that will be undertaken in unit 8.

Unit 8: Where in the world? Part 2 

This unit has 2 components: a self-directed project and a work placement. The project gives you the opportunity to select what and how you want to learn. The placement will give you insight into the diverse career opportunities available in costume.

Year 3

Unit 9: Professional futures

This unit aims to address the 3Es: employability, enterprise and entrepreneurship. You'll reflect on your learning and skills across the entirety of your study. You’ll have an opportunity to showcase your outcomes and intentions. You'll consider your next steps as you enter industry or continue with your education. 

Unit 10: Finding your voice - Research portfolio

Your final year project will be self-directed and involve 3 extended pieces of work to submit within a research portfolio which is a visual and reflective project that demonstrates your research voice within your practical work.

Unit 11: Show your work: independent practice 

This final unit enables you bring together all the ideas and learning from the course. You’ll continue your self-directed programme of practice and related research. You’ll also prepare your portfolio to help you enter the costume industry. To finish your course, you’ll present your best work at the College show.

Optional Diploma between Years 2 and 3

Between Years 2 and 3 of the course you’ll also have the opportunity to undertake one of the following additional UAL qualifications:

Diploma in Professional Studies (DPS)

This optional diploma can be taken between years 2 and 3. With support from your tutors, you’ll undertake an industry placement for a minimum of 100 days/20 weeks. As well as developing industry skills, you’ll gain an additional qualification upon successful completion.

Diploma in Creative Computing

Between years 2 and 3, you can undertake the year-long Diploma in Creative Computing. This will develop your skills in creative computing alongside your degree. After successfully completing the diploma and your undergraduate course, you’ll graduate with an enhanced degree: BA (Hons) Costume for Theatre and Screen (with Creative Computing).

Diploma in Apple Development

This optional diploma can be taken between years’ 2 and 3. Over the extra year you’ll become an Apple developer, undertaking a learning programme which includes content from Apple’s official 'Develop in Swift' curriculum. After successfully completing the diploma and your undergraduate degree, you’ll graduate with an enhanced degree: BA (Hons) Costume for Theatre and Screen (with Apple Development).

Learning and teaching methods

  • Creating workbooks and sketchbooks
  • Collaboration
  • Group and individual tutorials
  • Feedback - written and oral
  • Independent study
  • Lectures, talks and seminars
  • Presentations
  • Project work
  • Self-evaluation
  • Technical demonstrations, workshops and exercises 

BA Costume for Theatre and Screen

Open day recording

Tailoring Lecturer Josh Dobrik gives an overview of BA Costume for Theatre and Screen at Wimbledon College of Arts.

Student work

Explore work by our recent students on the UAL Showcase

Film

National Gallery project

Staff

  • Natalia Stewart - Course Leader
  • Joshua Dobrik
  • Rebecca Hurst
  • Giulia Pecorari
  • Kathleen McKee

Technical Staff

  • Caroline Akselson
  • Jess Chan
  • Anna Maria Genuise
  • Lizzy King
  • Lara Mantell
  • Eileen Newton
  • Hester Woodward

Associate Lecturers

  • Nicholine Bailey
  • Susan Bishop
  • Vin Burnham
  • Amy Hare
  • Tim Heywood
  • Naomi Isaacs
  • Daniel Kinne
  • Stephanie Selmayr
  • Juliana Sissons
  • Gabriella Slade
  • Thea Stallwood
  • Lee Smikle
  • Mark Wallis

Fees and funding

Home fee

£9,250 per year

This fee is correct for entry in autumn 2024 and is subject to change for entry in autumn 2025.

Tuition fees may increase in future years for new and continuing students.

Home fees are currently charged to UK nationals and UK residents who meet the rules. However, the rules are complex. Find out more about our tuition fees and determining your fee status.

International fee

£28,570 per year

This fee is correct for entry in autumn 2024 and is subject to change for entry in autumn 2025.

Tuition fees for international students may increase by up to 5% in each future year of your course.

Students from countries outside of the UK will generally be charged international fees. The rules are complex so read more about tuition fees and determining your fee status.

Scholarship search

Entry requirements

The standard minimum entry requirements for this course are one or a combination of the following qualifications:

  • Pass at Foundation Diploma in Art and Design (Level 3 or 4)
  • 2 A Levels at grade C or above
  • Merit, Pass, Pass (MPP) at BTEC Extended Diploma
  • Pass at UAL Extended Diploma
  • Access to Higher Education Diploma
  • Or equivalent EU/International qualifications, such as International Baccalaureate Diploma at 24 points minimum
  • And 3 GCSE passes at grade 4 or above (grade A*-C)

Entry to this course will also be determined by the quality of your application, looking primarily at your portfolio of work, personal statement, and reference.

APEL - Accreditation of Prior (Experiential) Learning

Applicants who do not meet these course entry requirements may still be considered in exceptional cases. The course team will consider each application that demonstrates additional strengths and alternative evidence. This might, for example, be demonstrated by:

  • Related academic or work experience
  • The quality of the personal statement
  • A strong academic or other professional reference
  • A combination of these factors

Each application will be considered on its own merit but we cannot guarantee an offer in each case.

English language requirements

All classes are taught in English. If English isn't your first language you must provide evidence at enrolment of the following:

Selection criteria

We look for:

  • An interest, commitment and motivation for studying the subject.
  • An ability to work imaginatively and creatively in 2D and 3D visual media, materials and processes
  • An ability to create and develop new ideas
  • A desire to learn and an ability to investigate and develop ideas independently
  • An ability to communicate your ideas visually, verbally and in writing
  • Potential for creative problem solving
  • An ability to self-direct and evaluate your own work
  • An ability to engage with the idea of character in the context of a dramatic situation
  • Visual awareness and an understanding of the creative process
  • An awareness of costume within a diverse and global context
  • Motivation for working in costume and costume related industries 

Apply now

Places available 2024/25 

This course has places available for 2024/25 entry.

If you don’t need a student visa to study in the UK, complete our self-apply form by clicking the 'start your application' button to make an application to UAL.

Please note that the guidance below relates to the main UCAS application process. To find out how to apply for a course starting in September 2024, read our Guide to applying through Clearing.

Applications for 2025/26 entry will open in Autumn 2024.

Apply now

Places available 2024/25 

This course has places available for 2024/25 entry.

Please note that the guidance below relates to the main UCAS application process. To find out how to apply for a course starting in September 2024, read our Guide to applying through Clearing.

Applications for 2025/26 entry will open in Autumn 2024.

Apply to UAL

International students can apply to this course through UCAS with the following codes:

University code:

U65

UCAS code:

W453

Start your application
or

Apply with a UAL Representative

Based across the world, our local UAL representatives can support you with your application from your home country. Check to see if there is a representative available in your country currently.

Find your representative

How to apply

Follow this step-by-step guide to apply for this course

Step 1: Initial application

You will need to submit an initial application including your personal statement.

Personal statement advice

Your personal statement should be maximum 4,000 characters and cover the following:

  • Why have you chosen this course? What excites you about the subject?
  • How does your previous or current study relate to the course?
  • Have you got any work experience that might help you?
  • Have any life experiences influenced your decision to apply for this course?
  • What skills do you have that make you perfect for this course?
  • What plans and ambitions do you have for your future career?

Visit the UCAS advice page and our personal statement advice page for more support.

Step 2: Digital portfolio

We will review your initial application. If you have met the standard entry requirements, we will ask you to submit a digital portfolio.

You’ll need to submit this via PebblePad, our online portfolio tool.

Digital portfolio advice

Your portfolio should consist of recent work that reflects your creative strengths.

It should:

  • be maximum 30 pages showing a range of work and examples of costume design, costumes or fashion garments
  • include experimental work that demonstrates your creative processes and ability to develop ideas and solve problems
  • include visual work that uses form, structure, colour, texture and space
  • demonstrate your interest in contemporary and historical clothing.

For more support, see our Portfolio advice and PebblePad advice.

Step 3: Interview

You may be invited to an interview following our review of your application. All interviews are held online and last 15 to 20 minutes.

For top tips, see our Interview advice.

You also need to know

Communicating with you

Once you have submitted your initial application, we will email you with your login details for our Applicant portal.

Requests for supplementary documents like qualifications and English language tests will be made through the applicant portal. You can also use it to ask questions regarding your application. Visit our After you apply page for more information.

Visas and immigration history check

All non-UK nationals must complete an immigration history check. Your application may be considered by our course teams before this check takes place. This means that we may request your portfolio and/or video task before we identify any issues arising from your immigration history check. Sometimes your history may mean that we are not able to continue considering your application. Visit our Immigration and visas advice page for more information.

External student transfer policy

UAL accepts transfers from other institutions on a case-by-case basis. Read our Student transfer policy for more information.

Alternative offers

If your application is really strong, but we believe your strengths and skillset are better suited to a different course, we may make you an alternative offer. This means you will be offered a place on a different course or at a different UAL College.

Deferring your place

You must apply in the year that you intend to start your course. If you are made an offer and your circumstances change, you can submit a deferral request to defer your place by 1 academic year. You must have met your conditions by 31 August 2024. If you need an English language test in order to meet the entry requirements, the test must be valid on the deferred start date of your course. If not, you will need to reapply. Requests are granted on a first-come, first-served basis.

Contextual Admissions

This course is part of the Contextual Admissions scheme.

This scheme helps us better understand your personal circumstances so that we can assess your application fairly and in context. This ensures that your individual merit and creative potential can shine through, no matter what opportunities and experiences you have received.

Careers

Our graduates have gone on to a range of careers within theatre, film and television. Some have found work as costume makers, designers, wardrobe supervisors and assistants, while others choose to carry on their studies at postgraduate level.

Alumni

Costume Design

  • Tasha Bailey, Olivia Cooper, Saffron Cullane, Charlotte Sewell, Sammie Sheldon - Costume Supervisors
  • Sean Barratt - Freelance milliner
  • Trisha Biggar - Costume Designer
  • Georgina Chapman - Director and designer, Marchesa. Company designs red carpet dresses
  • Matthew Chapman - Production Manager, Rainbow Productions Ltd. Company designed the 2012 Olympic mascots
  • Phoebe de Gaye - Costume Designer, ‘Musketeers’
  • Amanda Hall - Workroom Manager, Royal Opera House
  • Kenny Ho - Fashion designer and stylist
  • Ellan Parry - Freelance Theatre Designer and previous winner of the Jocelyn Herbert Award and a Linbury Prize finalist
  • Martina Trottman - Works for Secret Cinema

Costume Interpretation

  • Linda Cooley - Wig specialist, Shepperton Wig Company
  • Lara Flecker and Keira Miller - Costume Mounting Specialists in the Textile Conservation Department of the V&A museum
  • Naomi Isaacs - Costume Interpreter. Commissions include the West End production of Wicked, Matthew Bournes’s dance productions and Anna Boleyna for the Metropolitan Opera, New York
  • Caroline McCall - Costume Emmy Award Winner for Downton Abbey, 2011
  • Rachael Pashley - Freelance tailor
  • Jane Petrie - Costume Supervisor for Bel Ami, Costume Assistant on Elizabeth: The Golden Age and Costume Designer on the Suffragette
  • Mark Wallis - Co founder, Past Pleasures - costume for Historic Royal Palaces

Find out how careers and employability helps our students and graduates start their careers.