Undergraduate study - 2018 entry

BA Performance Costume

UCAS code: W451

Duration: 4 years

Delivery: Full-time

School: Edinburgh College of Art

College: Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences

Study abroad

Introducing BA Performance Costume

Our unique programme teaches costume making and design. Our curriculum includes life drawing, textiles, millinery, set design, model making and puppetry. You will be encouraged to be an innovative, individual and adaptable designer and maker. Our programme is highly respected by the industry, demonstrated by our impressive graduate employment rates.

Performance costume designers' ideas can respond to the written and spoken word, music, movement, location or historic period through concept, colour, cut and texture. You will learn to become skilled at producing accurate recreations of costume as well as expressing imaginative flair. Performance costume crosses a range of art forms including theatre, dance, opera, television, film, performance art, music video and installation.

We encourage innovative and individual creative responses while balancing a strong craft and technical expertise. We have many links with the film and stage industry providing invaluable work experience for students while you study.

Integrated with the practical studio work, contextual and theoretical studies provide a sound understanding of the holistic nature of contemporary costume design.


Due to ongoing curriculum development, we are making changes to our Performance Costume programme. We are yet to confirm these changes, however we expect this programme will follow a similar structure to our other Design programmes.

We will update information as soon as detail is available.

Year 1

You will be introduced to the theoretical and practical aspects of the subject through a series of design projects for performance costume.

You will be introduced to basic pattern cutting, sewing and construction skills, life drawing, millinery and puppetry.

You will take an integral role in the organisation of an end-of-year costume showcase where you will gain valuable professional practice skills.

Year 2

You will be set a range of design projects covering a variety of performance costume design challenges. A greater understanding of the design process is developed through practical tutorials in pattern cutting and sewing, and you will be introduced to set design and model making and a variety of skills workshops.

Life drawing and computer skills are integrated into the programme. You will learn to produce a design book, as a means of editing and showcasing your design work.

In the collaboration weeks you will work with students from other design school disciplines. Your practical costume work will be shown at the end-of-year costume show.

Year 3

You will work on a variety of project briefs with external connections. Work experience is an invaluable part of our course.

In Year 3 it is possible to undertake work placements or internships, subject to our approval. You will design for two projects, making design books for both. Your pattern cutting skills will also be extended through the study of historical pattern cutting.

You will produce two costumes; one of which will be historically inspired and these will be shown at the end-of-year costume show.

Year 4

You will select your own concepts and projects to design for in your final year of study. You will develop confidence in research methods and expression of ideas through your ability to contextualise your theoretical and practical work.

Practice and research are consolidated and refined through the production of a final body of design and costume work.

You will exhibit your design books and costumes at the end-of-year Degree Show and you may have the opportunity to showcase your final costumes in the prestigious end-of-year costume show.

Programme structure

Find out more about the compulsory and optional courses in this degree programme.

We publish the latest available information for this programme. Please note that this may be for a previous academic year.

Programme structure (2017/18)

Our facilities

Design students benefit from studio-based learning at our Lauriston Place campus, along with the exhibitions and events associated with a vibrant art college. Option courses are usually taught outside the School across the wider university campus. You will also have access to the University's extensive libraries and computer facilities.

The University is investing in the ECA estate and facilities to further develop our flexible, stimulating, supportive and sustainable learning and research environment for students and staff.

Further information is available on the ECA website.

Facilities and resources at ECA


There are abundant work experience opportunities throughout the course for students studying performance costume with stage and screen companies. In Year 3 you will have the opportunity to undertake an internship.

Study abroad

Study abroad is optional in Year 3.

How will I learn?

The majority of design teaching and learning is through involvement in a range of experiential projects situated in a studio environment. Conceptual, material and technical issues are explored through seminars, workshops, lectures, tutorials and critiques.

Research, critical thinking and study of the visual, intellectual, social and professional contexts that shape creative design practice are regarded as essential to your development. This often involves participation in exhibitions, competitions, collaborations and live industry projects.

How will I be assessed?

Formative assessment is continuous throughout the year, aiming to give you meaningful feedback and to encourage experimentation in the studio and beyond. Formative assessment for compulsory courses is through a mix of verbal and written modes such as portfolio, presentations and essays.

There is a mid-session review, usually at the mid-point of any given course you study. Summative assessment at the end of all the courses you take is informed by your academic and creative progress and performance throughout.

Programme details

Find out more about this programme's aims, what you will learn, how you will be assessed and what skills and knowledge you will develop.

We publish the latest available information for this programme. Please note that this may be for a previous academic year.

Programme details (2017/18)

There are many career opportunities for our graduates including costume designers, costume makers, costume assistants, costume supervisors for the screen and stage industry.

The professional skills and abilities developed on the programme prepare our graduates for a rewarding career path in the creative industries in which many of our alumni are now successful practitioners including Anna Robbins, costume designer for Downton Abbey, Bletchley Circle and Halcyon.

Typical offer

The typical offer is likely to be:

  • SQA Highers: ABBB.
  • A Levels: ABB.
  • IB: 34 points (grades 655 at HL).

Minimum entry requirements

  • SQA Highers: ABBB by end of S5 or ABBBB/AABB from S4-S6, with a minimum of BBB achieved in one year of S4-S6. National 5: English at Grade C.
  • A Levels: ABB. GCSEs: English at Grade C or 4.
  • IB: Award of Diploma with 34 points overall and grades 655 in HL subjects. SL: English at 5.

Additional requirements


Applicants will be asked to submit a digital mini-portfolio to provide evidence of artistic aptitude and potential, this will form an important part of the selection process. Applicants applying to enter Year 2 of our programmes, who pass the first stage of selection, will be invited to bring a full portfolio to an Applicant Day. (Revised 08/03/2017 to provide more accurate information.)

How to submit your mini-portfolio

Important dates

  • Early November 2017: Mini-portfolio submissions site opens
  • 15 January 2018: UCAS deadline for Home/EU applicants
  • 3Mini-portfolio submission deadline to be confirmed
  • 30 June 2018: Final deadline for UCAS applications from applicants from outside the EU. (Revised 08/03/2017 to provide more accurate information.)

BTEC/UAL Diplomas

Pearson BTEC and University of the Arts London Diplomas in Art and Design are accepted for entry on their own and in combination with other qualifications. Further information on accepted combinations and required grades will be made available here shortly, or please contact the Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences Admissions Office.

(Revised 30/03/2017)

Find out more about entry requirements

International students

We welcome applications from students studying a wide range of international qualifications.

Entry requirements by country

International Foundation Programme

If you are an international student and your school qualifications are not accepted for direct entry to the University you may be eligible for admission to this degree programme through our International Foundation Programme.

International Foundation Programme

Entry to the second year is available. Successful completion of a Foundation Diploma (at Merit Grade), a relevant HND or equivalent is required. Applicants will normally be expected to have undertaken these qualifications in addition to having met the minimum entry requirements (Highers, A Levels, IB etc). In some of our less competitive programmes it may be possible to consider applicants presenting ABC (or equivalent) or above at A-level. These grades must have been achieved in a single first sitting.

You must provide evidence that your written and spoken English is at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies.

English language tests

If English is not your first language, you must have one of the following qualifications as evidence of your spoken and written English:

  • IELTS Academic module overall 6.5 with 5.5 in each component
  • TOEFL-iBT 92 or above with 20 in each section
  • Cambridge English: Advanced or Proficiency overall 176 with 162 in each component
  • Pearson Test of English (Academic): Total 61 with at least 51 in each "Communicative Skills" section
  • Trinity ISE: ISE II with a distinction in all four components

About English language requirements


For SQA and GCSE students, unless a higher level is specified in the stated entry requirements, a pass is required in English at the following grades or higher:

  • SQA National 5 Grade C
  • SQA Standard Grade 3
  • SQA Intermediate 1 Grade A
  • SQA Intermediate 2 Grade C
  • GCSE Grade C or 4
  • IB Standard Level Grade 5

Key Information Sets (KIS) are part of a government initiative to enhance the information that higher education institutions provide about their degree programmes.

KIS are available for most undergraduate programmes and are intended to make it easier for you to find information about the programmes you are interested in studying. It is one of many sources of information available that will enable you to make an informed decision on what and where to study.

You can also use this website to find more information on our programmes and the learning environment you will experience at the University of Edinburgh.

Please note that some programmes do not have data available and will not display a KIS.

Tuition Fees

Tuition fees for BA Performance Costume

Additional Costs

There are likely to be additional costs for materials.

In addition, some programmes offer study trips and individual field-based projects. You will usually be required to cover accommodation, subsistence and travel costs.

In performance costume there is a provision for pattern cutting paper. You will need your own calico for toiles which can be bought from us. Pattern cutting textbooks, drafting materials and basic sewing materials are also available for purchase. For the costume makes, you will need to source and purchase fabrics either from the stock held by us or from external specialist suppliers. You will also need to meet the costs of art and printing materials for your design work.

Your actual contribution will depend on the programme and courses you select and on the nature of each trip.


For more information on how much it will cost to study with us and the financial support available see our fees and funding information.

Fees and funding