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Nottingham Trent University

Costume Design and Making

UCAS Code: W451

Bachelor of Arts (with Honours) - BA (Hons)

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About this course

Course option


Full-time | 2019


Theatrical wardrobe design

This specialist design for performance degree focuses equally on developing both your costume design and costume making skills. You’ll learn how to translate your creative ideas into professional costumes for theatre, film and television, dance, opera and other performance areas.

You’ll become a versatile designer / maker as a result of developing skills in areas such as corsetry, pattern cutting, tailoring, millinery, costume props, puppetry, fabric knowledge, and print and dye. You’ll also explore visual research, character analysis, contemporary design development and innovative 2D to 3D realisation. Your learning will be enhanced by national or international study trips to exhibitions, events or performances.

In Year Three you’ll showcase your work at our Degree Show in Nottingham, with the opportunity to be selected to exhibit at a national show or industry event.

The course is accredited by The Textile Institute at Associateship level, reassuring employers that our students graduate with a high standard of professional skills as well as their degree.


Assessment is 100% through coursework. You will receive feedback throughout each module and will be awarded a grade.


Employability is excellent for this course, with 90% of our graduates in employment or further study within six months of graduating (DLHE survey 2016/17).

Recent graduates are working as freelance costume designers, trainee costume designers, and wardrobe assistants for a range of theatre, film and television productions. These have included Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, The Book of Mormon, and The Winter’s Tale at the Garrick Theatre, London.


[Year One] • Costume Design and Making: Introductions (100 credit points)
Complete costume design projects that will include analytical research, concept and design development, and costume drawing. Explore the use of text and narrative in relation to the design of costume for performance.

You’ll be introduced to the wider context of the world of costume, covering themes including costume and theatre history, film, and production analysis. Learn the practical skills you need to master the cut, fit and construction of costumes, including period bodices. Other construction projects may focus on millinery and accessories.

• Visual Communication 1 (20 credit points)
Develop your ability to communicate your design ideas through a range of 2D drawing and image-making workshops. Projects will help you to develop your personal visual language, enabling you to communicate your ideas through your designs. You’ll also be introduced to digital tools and technologies, that will help you to start building your personal digital portfolio. [Year Two] • Costume Design and Making: Explorations (100 credit points)
Engage in a wider and more sophisticated range of advanced costume design techniques and construction skills to advance your work and understanding of the subject area. Focus on professional design practice, using contemporary or classical source materials in a variety of performance methods. Have the opportunity to undertake work experience.

• Visual Communication 2 (20 credit points)
Continue to develop your skills and knowledge in 2D drawing and image-making techniques, using both physical and digital media. Through a variety of visual exercises you’ll develop your ability to analyse information, and to compare alternative methods and techniques in the visual communication and presentation of your costume design ideas. Create your own website, and build and refine your personal digital portfolio. [Final year] • Costume Design and Making: Exposition (120 credit points)
This year-long module is your Costume Design and Making Major Project. You’ll negotiate a design and making project brief, informed by research and professional context and you’ll be encouraged to focus on options that support your career aspirations. You’ll evidence research skills, developing a complete design portfolio, and show progression from 2D to 3D through the realisation of character. You may have the opportunity to incorporate live/industry projects and / or competitions.

Your major project will be exhibited as part of the University’s Degree Show. You will also develop your writing skills, allowing you to develop and express in-depth practical and theoretical knowledge.

The Uni

Course location:

City Campus


School of Art and Design

TEF rating:

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What students say

We've crunched the numbers to see if overall student satisfaction here is high, medium or low compared to students studying this subject(s) at other universities.

Theatrical wardrobe design

How do students rate their degree experience?

The stats below relate to the general subject area/s at this university, not this specific course. We show this where there isn’t enough data about the course, or where this is the most detailed info available to us.


Teaching and learning

Staff make the subject interesting
Staff are good at explaining things
Ideas and concepts are explored in-depth
Opportunities to apply what I've learned

Assessment and feedback

Feedback on work has been timely
Feedback on work has been helpful
Staff are contactable when needed
Good advice available when making study choices

Resources and organisation

Library resources
IT resources
Course specific equipment and facilities
Course is well organised and has run smoothly

Student voice

Staff value students' opinions

Who studies this subject and how do they get on?

UK students
International students
Male students
Female students
2:1 or above
Drop out rate

Most popular A-Levels studied (and grade achieved)


After graduation

The stats in this section relate to the general subject area/s at this university – not this specific course. We show this where there isn't enough data about the course, or where this is the most detailed info available to us.


What are graduates doing after six months?

This is what graduates told us they were doing (and earning), shortly after completing their course. We've crunched the numbers to show you if these immediate prospects are high, medium or low, compared to those studying this subject/s at other universities.

Average annual salary
Employed or in further education
Employed in a role where degree was essential or beneficial

Top job areas of graduates

Design occupations
Artistic, literary and media occupations
Customer service occupations
What do graduate employment figures really tell you?

Drama is a very popular degree subject — in 2015, over 5,000 degrees were awarded to UK graduates. With so many graduates around, jobs in acting are very sought-after and often gained through personal contacts, or through your careers service so be prepared to practise your people skills and to make full use of your university facilities. But there are lots of roles in the arts for drama graduates, in direction, production, audio-visual, set and clothing design and PR. The skills taught by drama courses can be useful elsewhere — a lot of the economy can use people who can perform and present in front of others, and so drama graduates can be found in teaching, management, advertising, project and events organisation and community work. Be aware that freelancing and self-employment is common, as are what is termed 'portfolio careers' — having several part-time jobs or commissions at once — one in ten drama graduates last year had more than one job on the go at once after six months. And starting salaries are not the best - but nevertheless the large majority of drama graduates going into acting still felt that it was just the job for them regardless of pay.

What about your long term prospects?

Looking further ahead, below is a rough guide for what graduates went on to earn.

Theatrical wardrobe design

The graph shows median earnings of graduates who achieved a degree in this subject area one, three and five years after graduating from here.







Note: this data only looks at employees (and not those who are self-employed or also studying) and covers a broad sample of graduates and the various paths they've taken, which might not always be a direct result of their degree.

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This information comes from the National Student Survey, an annual student survey of final-year students. You can use this to see how satisfied students studying this subject area at this university, are (not the individual course).

We calculate a mean rating of all responses to indicate whether this is high, medium or low compared to the same subject area at other universities.

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This information is from the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA).

You can use this to get an idea of who you might share a lecture with and how they progressed in this subject, here. It's also worth comparing typical A-level subjects and grades students achieved with the current course entry requirements; similarities or differences here could indicate how flexible (or not) a university might be.

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Post-six month graduation stats:

This is from the Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education Survey, based on responses from graduates who studied the same subject area here.

It offers a snapshot of what grads went on to do six months later, what they were earning on average, and whether they felt their degree helped them obtain a 'graduate role'. We calculate a mean rating to indicate if this is high, medium or low compared to other universities.

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Graduate field commentary:

The Higher Education Careers Services Unit have provided some further context for all graduates in this subject area, including details that numbers alone might not show

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The Longitudinal Educational Outcomes dataset combines HRMC earnings data with student records from the Higher Education Statistics Agency.

While there are lots of factors at play when it comes to your future earnings, use this as a rough timeline of what graduates in this subject area were earning on average one, three and five years later. Can you see a steady increase in salary, or did grads need some experience under their belt before seeing a nice bump up in their pay packet?

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