Undergraduate study - 2022 entry
Open to the world

BA Fashion

UCAS code: W230

Duration: 4 years

Delivery: Full-time

School: Edinburgh College of Art

College: Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences

Study abroad

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 while developing and nurturing your full creative potential.

We want to ensure that you have the best chance of employment and career development upon graduation. We believe in cultivating expressive, visionary and provocative designers with a broad range of abilities, addressing all sectors of the fashion design community.

Social responsibility

Social responsibility is core to our programme's educational structure.

This ensures that emotionally-considerate design, and empathetic knowledge of diverse consumers and their needs, is placed at the core of intelligent design solutions. Our students strive to create products that have a sustainable and meaningful place in the contemporary design world.

Integrated with the practical studio work, Design and Screen Cultures courses provide a contextual and theoretical understanding of the holistic nature of contemporary design.

Year 1

Year 1 offers you a dynamic and highly 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.

Option courses

You will be able to take up to 60 credits of option 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 suite of courses that reflects your interests and enhances your main study.

Year 2

This year 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 be showcased at the annual fashion shows.

Computer-based technical drawing and portfolio building is introduced through our renowned DesignBook project.

Again, alongside Design and Screen Cultures courses, you will be able to choose an option 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 at Year 3 and 4.

Year 3

This is an externally facing professional practice year.

You will have a range of opportunities for exchange, competitions and live projects with industry.

You will develop business awareness through a live collaborative project designing new brands with acute retail, marketing, costing and consumer awareness.

At this level, you will develop knowledge of:

  • materials
  • tailoring and outerwear
  • knitwear
  • accessory design.

You will take a further Design and Screen Cultures course. Opportunities to study abroad will help broaden your understanding of the discipline.

Year 4

In Year 4, you will develop:

  • a personal research plan
  • a six-outfit graduate collection that may be showcased at the annual ECA Fashion Shows and exhibited externally

At this level, creativity is married 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
  • a DesignBook to serve as a professional portfolio for the industry and career development

Programme structure

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.

Programme structure (2021/22)

Our facilities

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 and laser cutting facilities
  • a range of broader campus and University-wide resources


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 undertaking placement in Semester 2 of Year 3.

Study abroad

There are opportunities to study abroad in Year 3.

What are my options for going abroad?

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:

  • seminars
  • workshops
  • lectures
  • tutorials
  • critiques

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 exhibitions, competitions, collaborations and live industry projects.

How will I be assessed?

We use continuous 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:

  • portfolio
  • presentations
  • 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 courses is informed by your academic and creative progress and performance throughout. Your course grades are calculated through this summative assessment plus a moderation process.

Our graduates work in various fashion sectors, including:

  • design
  • styling
  • 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.

More information for widening access applicants

Required subjects

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.

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.

Portfolio guidance

Important dates

Dates for the opening of the mini-portfolio submission site, and deadlines for submission, will be posted in March 2021.

BTEC/UAL Diplomas

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.

Find out more about entry requirements

International applicants

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

Mature applicants

We welcome applications from mature students and accept a range of qualifications.

Mature applicant 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:

Adult returner applicants

(Revised 25/05/2021 to provide more accurate information and link to further details.)

You must demonstrate a level of English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies, regardless of your nationality or country of residence.


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
  • SQA Standard Grade at 3
  • SQA Intermediate 1 at A
  • SQA Intermediate 2 at C
  • GCSE/IGSCE at C or 4
  • Level 2 Certificate Grade 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 module overall 6.5 with 5.5 in each component.
  • TOEFL-iBT (including Special Home Edition) 92 or above with 20 in each section. We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
  • Cambridge English: Advanced or Proficiency overall 176 with 162 in each component.
  • Trinity ISE: ISE II with a distinction in all four components.

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, TOEFL, or Trinity ISE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.

English language requirements

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.

Tuition Fees

Tuition fees for BA Fashion

Additional costs

Years 1 to 3

The estimated cost of basic prototyping materials, final project materials, and printing for the Design Book averages at £150 in Years 1-3.

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.

Year 4

For Graduate Collections in Year 4, costs may be highly variable. A lot depends 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. This costs £400 per student on average, for 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.

Fees and funding