UCAS code: W230
Duration: 4 years
School: Edinburgh College of Art
College: Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences
Introducing BA Fashion
Our dynamic and award-winning fashion programme puts emphasis on your personal creative freedom and design innovation.
We believe that the only way to create the fashion innovators of the future is to:
- promote your individual design identity
- develop and nurture your full creative potential
Upon graduation, we want to ensure that you have the best chance of employment and career development. We cultivate designers with a broad range of abilities. Our students are capable of being in all parts of the fashion design community and are:
Social responsibility is core to our programme's educational structure. Our students strive to create products that have a sustainable and meaningful place in the contemporary design world. To create intelligent design solutions, we develop students who are:
- emotionally considerate
- empathetic to consumer diversity, with knowledge of their needs
How you will learn
Our students gain a contextual and theoretical understanding of contemporary design through combining:
- practical studio work
- courses in Design and Screen Cultures
Year 1 offers you a dynamic and creative approach to design.
You will be introduced to the foundations of:
- fashion drawing and communication
- creative cutting
- research methods
- garment construction
In Design and Screen Cultures, you will address the key histories and theories of design.
You will be encouraged to develop key awareness of the discipline through both contemporary and historical analysis.
You will be able to take up to 40 credits of optional courses. These can be taken within ECA, or from the wider College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences.
Your choices will be subject to availability and discussion with your personal tutor and relevant course organisers.
This offers you the flexibility to construct a group of courses that reflects your interests and enhances your main study.
In Year 2, you will be introduced to our fashion diversity awareness initiative.
This will help you learn skills in:
- designing for celebrating
- understanding diverse consumer markets
You will also:
- design and produce garment work to showcase at the annual fashion shows
- take part in the renowned DesignBook project, introducing computer-based technical drawing and portfolio building
- take courses in Design and Screen Cultures
- choose an optional course from the wider College, subject to availability
Introductory methods of classic pattern-cutting and technical garment construction are taught comprehensively throughout the year. These provide fundamental skill sets required for study in Years 3 and 4.
This is a professional practice year with an external focus.
You will have a range of opportunities in industry, including:
- live projects
You will develop business awareness through a live collaborative project designing new brands with retail, marketing, costing and consumer awareness.
At this level, you will develop knowledge of:
- tailoring and outerwear
- accessory design
You will take a further Design and Screen Cultures course.
Opportunities to study abroad will help broaden your understanding of the discipline.
In Year 4, you will develop a:
- personal research plan
- six-outfit graduate collection that you may showcase at the annual ECA Fashion Shows and exhibit externally
At this level, creativity is combined with an understanding of the context for your design work.
You will be encouraged to develop innovative approaches to materials, design and garment construction methods.
You will also produce a:
- written dissertation
- DesignBook to serve as a professional portfolio for the industry and career development
Find out more about the compulsory and optional courses in this degree programme.
To give you an idea of what you will study on this programme, we publish the latest available information. However, please note this may not be for your year of entry, but for a different academic year.
You will be based at Edinburgh College of Art's Lauriston Place campus.
We offer excellent technical facilities, including:
- industrial sewing machines and irons
- pattern cutting workrooms
- knitwear and embroidery machinery
You will also be able to access:
- digital printing
- 3D printing
- laser cutting facilities
- a range of broader campus and University-wide resources
Take a virtual tour
You can take a closer look at Edinburgh College of Art and explore our facilities and campus on the University's Virtual Visit site.
Placements are not mandatory.
However, we do encourage you to take on paid work placements in the summer months between academic sessions.
You will also have the option of completing a placement in Semester 2 of Year 3.
You will have the opportunity to study abroad in Year 3.
How will I learn?
Most design teaching and learning is through involvement in a range of experiential courses situated in a studio environment.
Conceptual, material and technical issues are explored through:
We see research, critical thinking, and study of the visual, intellectual, social and professional contexts that shape creative design practice as essential to your development.
These elements are taught through Design and Screen Cultures courses. This also involves participation in:
- live industry projects
How will I be assessed?
We use formative assessment throughout your study. This helps give meaningful feedback and encourages experimentation in the studio and beyond.
Formative assessment for compulsory courses can include:
- essays against course learning outcomes
There is a mid-session review, usually at the mid-point of any course you study.
Summative assessment at the end of all courses is informed by your:
- academic progress
- creative progress
- performance throughout
Your course grades are calculated through this summative assessment plus a moderation process.
Our graduates work in various fashion sectors, including:
- buying and merchandising
- establishing own brands
- journalism and media
Graduates have also gone on to work in academia.
Standard entry requirement
The standard entry requirement is:
- SQA Highers: ABBB by end of S5 or AABB/ABBBB by end of S6. BBB must be achieved in one year of S4-S6.
- A Levels: ABB.
- IB: 34 points with 655 at HL.
Minimum entry requirement
The minimum entry requirement for widening access applicants is:
- SQA Highers: ABBB by end of S6. BBB must be achieved in one year of S4-S6.
- A Levels: ABB.
- IB: 34 points with 655 at HL.
The grades used to meet our entry requirements must include:
- SQA: Highers: no specific Higher subjects required. National 5s: English at C.
- A Levels: no specific A Level subjects required. GCSEs: English at C or 4.
- IB: HL: no specific subjects required. SL: English at 5.
Applicants will be asked to submit a digital portfolio to provide evidence of artistic aptitude and potential, this will form an important part of the selection process.
(Revised 21 September 2023 to add link to portfolio brief.)
- 1 December 2023: portfolio submission site opens.
- 31 January 2024: deadline for all applicants (including international applicants).
- 6 February 2024 at 12 pm (midday) GMT: mini-portfolio submission deadline.
(Revised 30 August 2023 to add portfolio guidance and important dates.)
Applicants studying Pearson BTEC Level 3 Nationals in Art and Design will be considered for entry with the following:
- Pearson BTEC Extended Diploma with DMM.
- Pearson BTEC Diploma with MM plus one A Level at A (or DM plus B at A Level).
- Pearson BTEC Extended Certificate / Subsidiary Diploma with D plus two A Levels at B (or M plus AB at A Level).
Applicants studying the University of the Arts London Level 3 Extended Diploma in Art and Design will be considered with Merit.
We welcome applications from students studying a wide range of international qualifications.
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.
We welcome applications from mature students and accept a range of qualifications.
Entry to the second year is available. Successful completion of a Foundation Diploma (at Merit grade), a relevant HND or equivalent is required. Applicants with a Foundation Diploma will normally be expected to have undertaken these qualifications in addition to having met the first year entry requirements (Highers, A Levels, IB, relevant HNC, etc). In some of our less competitive degrees it may be possible to consider applicants presenting ABC (or equivalent) or above at A Level. These must have been achieved in one set of exams, at first attempt.
A list of accepted HNDs, along with further information for adult returners, can be found on our adult returner page:
Regardless of your nationality or country of residence, you must demonstrate a level of English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies.
SQA, GCSE and IB
For SQA, GCSE and IB 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 at C
- GCSE at C or 4
- Level 2 Certificate at C
- IB Standard Level at 5 (English ab initio is not accepted for entry)
English language tests
We accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified:
- IELTS Academic: total 6.5 with at least 5.5 in each component.
- TOEFL-iBT (including Home Edition): total 92 with at least 20 in each component. We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
- C1 Advanced (CAE) / C2 Proficiency (CPE): total 176 with at least 162 in each component.
- Trinity ISE: ISE II with distinctions in all four components.
- PTE Academic: total 62 with at least 54 in each component.
(Revised 29 August 2023 to remove PTE Academic Online)
We also accept a wider range of international qualifications and tests.
English language qualifications must be no more than three and a half years old from the start date of the degree you are applying to study, unless you are using IELTS, PTE Academic, TOEFL or Trinity ISE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.
This information is part of a government initiative to enhance the material that higher education institutions provide about their degree programmes.
It is one of many sources of information which will enable you to make an informed decision on what and where to study.
Please note that some programmes do not have Discover Uni data available.
Years 1 to 3
In Years 1 to 3, we estimate an average cost of £150 to cover:
- basic prototyping materials
- final project materials
- printing for the Design Book
You may face other costs for materials relating to your ongoing projects. This can depend on the amount of fabric required per student. We try to keep these costs as low as possible, set by clear budgets.
For Graduate Collections in Year 4, your costs will depend on the costs of fabrics and additional processes.
We encourage our students to:
- budget carefully for their final year
- seek sponsorship for fabrics/finishings where possible to keep costs to a minimum
You may also get the chance to exhibit your work externally in Year 4 at Graduate Fashion Week. The average cost per student is £400, including a catwalk show and static exhibition display.
For more information on how much it will cost to study with us and the financial support available see our fees and funding information.
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