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MA Textile Design

Start date
October 2019
Course length
1 year (full time)

Course summary

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

A key feature of the course at Chelsea is the focus on the debate around environmental issues and the designer's role and responsibility in relation to these. We will encourage you to look at the selecting of raw materials, the impact of production and the product life cycle.

Course Leader Lorna Bircham talks about MA Textile Design at Chelsea.

Student work

MA Textile Design Stories


Life At Chelsea: Michaela Smith – MA Textile Design

As part of our Life At Chelsea series we caught up with MA Textile Design student Michaela Smith, to see how her learning experience at Chelsea has shaped her practice.  “During my MA at Chelsea I have […]

Course details

This course is subject to re-validation. Re-validation is a process that makes sure students get a high quality academic experience. During re-validation there maybe be some changes to course content and structure. Please contact us if you have any questions about this course.

What you 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
  • Instruction in professional contemporary practice
  • Focus and debate on environmental issues. This will include looking at the designer’s role in acting responsibly to these
  • To develop through individual and group tutorials, workshops and online resources
  • Talks designed to introduce you to a range of visiting artists, designers and other practitioners
  • To have access to Chelsea's shared workshops. These include ceramics, casting, laser cutting, photography, an audio-visual editing suite, metal and woodwork. View the Chelsea facilities

Course units

  • 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.

Learning and teaching methods

  • Exhibition tutorials
  • General theory forum lectures
  • Independent research
  • Individual and group tutorials
  • Research methodology workshops
  • Technical support and courses

Assessments methods

  • Essays, reports and dissertation
  • Final show examination
  • Peer assessment
  • Student self-evaluation
  • Tutorials and mid-year interim reviews


  • Lorna Bircham - Course Leader
  • Bridget Harvey
  • Sophie Gorton
  • Katherine May
  • Jane Murrow
  • Chetna Prajapati

How to apply

Opportunities for all

We are committed to making university education an achievable option for a wider range of people and to supporting all of our students in achieving their potential both during and after their courses.

We welcome applications from people with disabilities. If you have a disability (e.g. mobility difficulties, sensory impairments, medical or mental health conditions or Asperger’s syndrome) we strongly encourage you to contact us on or +44 (0)20 7514 6156 so that we can plan the right support for you. All enquiries are treated confidentially. To find out more, visit our Disability & Dyslexia webpages.

Entry requirements

  • BA (Hons) degree or equivalent academic qualifications
  • Alternative qualifications and experience will also be taken into consideration
  • Personal statement
  • Portfolio of work

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:

Personal statement

This should be about 500 words long and include:

  • Your reasons for choosing the course
  • Your current creative practice and how this will help with your future plans
  • If you do not have any formal academic qualifications please describe your relevant education and experience

Portfolio advice

Portfolios should show the following:

  • A range of work and technical skills, which represent the complete design development process, from concept to final outcome
  • Examples of professional and or industry experience if appropriate
  • A concise portfolio which demonstrates a selective approach
  • An understanding of material qualities, which may be the basis of the research question

At interview and portfolio review

We look for:

  • The necessary textile specific skills to enable you to work independently on a research project
  • The ability to creatively formulate design development concepts and to clearly organise and present ideas
  • Evidence of engagement with the critical debate surrounding contemporary textile design practice and issues relating to sustainability

Fees & Funding

Home / EU fee

£9,500 (2018/19 fees). 2019/20 fees to be confirmed.

International fee

£19,350 (2018/19 fees). 2019/20 fees to be confirmed.

Course fees may be paid in instalments.

Additional costs

In addition to tuition fees you are very likely to incur additional costs such as travel expenses and the cost of materials. Please read the information on our additional costs page.

Equivalent or Lower Qualification (ELQ) fee - Home / EU students whose chosen course is at a level equivalent to, or lower than, a qualification that they already hold, will be charged the fees shown above, plus an additional £1,100 ELQ fee. Students in receipt of Disabled Students' Allowances (DSAs) are exempt from ELQ fees and will pay the original fee, regardless of the highest qualification held.


Find out about the accommodation options available and how much they will cost.

Scholarships and awards

Use our search tool to find out more about the scholarships and awards available to students.

Scholarship search

Careers and alumni

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.

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, Claire Alderdice and Kim Bassett
  • Ichiro Suzuki - Menswear Designer

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

View college guides



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