Undergraduate study - 2020 entry

Degree Programme Specification 2018/2019

B.A. Honours in Fashion

To give you an idea of what to expect from this programme, we publish the latest available information. This information is created when new programmes are established and is only updated periodically as programmes are formally reviewed. It is therefore only accurate on the date of last revision.
Awarding institution: University of Edinburgh
Teaching institution: University of Edinburgh
Programme accredited by:
Final award: BA (Honours)
Programme title: Fashion
UCAS code: W230
Relevant QAA subject benchmarking group(s):
Postholder with overall responsibility for QA: Stuart Bennett (Acting Principal)
Date of production/revision: 1 Nov’16

External summary

Contemporary Fashion Design can often be seen as a reactionary movement to the social and economic climes of our modern age. The fashion industry has multiplied vastly over the last twenty years, consisting of designers with far-reaching and diverse styles, serving many markets and cultures. As a result of this expansion, the need for individuality is paramount to making a mark within the industry. At Edinburgh College of Art we have developed a unique and cutting-edge fashion course with a strong emphasis on personal creative freedom and design innovation that ensures our students have the best chance of employment and career development upon graduation. We believe that the only way to create the fashion innovators of the future is to promote the students individuality by cultivating expressive and conceptual design abilities. The course enables students to become independent thinkers with an advanced knowledge of the industry by offering a coherent and balanced teaching experience, symbiotically integrating technical, artistic, and design based projects. Integrated with the practical studio work, contextual and theoretical studies provide a sound understanding of the holistic nature of contemporary fashion design.

Educational aims of programme

The main programme aims are:

  • To promote a commitment to excellence as the prevailing standard for each activity within Fashion;
  • To develop in students the ability to research and generate ideas relevant to the solution of Fashion problems through specialist subject provision;
  • To develop in students a strong visual vocabulary in order to externalise ideas;
  • To develop in students a spirit of initiative and adventure both in developing their own work and in serving their client(s)/audiences;
  • To develop in students the capacity for both independent and group enquiry and research at a level expected of first degree study;
  • To develop students’ ability to make informed value judgements by which to assess their work and the work of others;
  • To develop in students sufficient manual skills and technical knowledge to control production processes related to Fashion;
  • To develop in students the communications skills, both verbal and written, appropriate to their studio work;
  • To develop students’ understanding of the cultural, historical, commercial and professional contexts of Fashion;
  • To develop students’ understanding of the ethical and professional principles involved within Fashion.
  • To improve the exploration, curiosity, ambition, depth and breadth of creative practice in a systematic and insightful manner;
  • To encourage students to conceptualise and review their creative process and take incisive control over the direction of their practice;
  • To critically evaluate and employ contemporary debates regarding practice-based research, practice-led research and cognate creative methodologies;
  • To provide students with requisite knowledge and research skills to creatively contextualise their practice and imaginatively demonstrate its wider validity;
To continually meet the rapidly changing needs, expectations, aspirations and experiences of today’s graduate students by improving their professional attributes.

Programme outcomes: Knowledge and understanding

Students will be expected to demonstrate a knowledge of:

  • key theories, practices, contexts and debates in relation to Fashion.
  • a range of appropriate creative methods, techniques and approaches in response to Fashion project briefs.
  • contemporary creative practice and user/audience needs.
  • appropriate methodologies and strategies for the professional presentation, distribution and documentation of work
  • the use of a range of appropriate materials, methodologies and strategies in relation to individual Fashion practice.

Students will be expected to demonstrate an understanding of:

  • issues-based approaches to creative and intellectual endeavour
  • the appropriate use of materials and processes and their development through  transparent iterative methodologies
  • how practitioners personally conceptualise briefs.
  • the philosophical and professional context for the discipline
  • the role of the evaluation of original creative concepts in response to research findings through critical assessment.

Programme outcomes: Graduate attributes - Skills and abilities in research and enquiry

Graduates in Fashion will be expected to demonstrate a knowledge and understanding of:

  • a range of appropriate research methods.
  • the use of a variety of practical and theoretical approaches to demonstrate an investigation of set and personally initiated research themes
  • critical enquiry that leads to the visual, verbal and written communication of ideas in an analytical manner.
  • the role of critical analysis and reflective appraisal in the context of set research themes.
  • issues arising from research and its role in challenging established precepts and assumptions

Programme outcomes: Graduate attributes - Skills and abilities in personal and intellectual autonomy

Graduates in Fashion will be able to:

  • adopt a broad-ranging and flexible approach to study, identifying their own learning needs and pursuing activities designed to meet these needs in increasingly autonomous ways.
  • with minimal guidance,  manage their own learning using a wide range of resources appropriate to subject/profession,  seeking and making effective use of feedback.

Programme outcomes: Graduate attributes - Skills and abilities in communication

Graduates in Fashion will be able to:

  • communicate in a clear structured and concise way, in writing and orally, in formal academic and professional styles.
  • confidently communicate, present and demonstrate ideas, both formally and informally, in a variety of contexts at the threshold of professional practise.

Programme outcomes: Graduate attributes - Skills and abilities in personal effectiveness

Graduates in Fashion will be able to:

  • clearly demonstrate an ability to independently define and analyse self-initiated project proposals for specific design contexts.
  • confidently select and apply a range of facts, concepts and elements in a cohesive, independent manner to produce new solutions to both externally set, and self-initiated proposals.
  • confidently apply their own criteria and support independent judgements in a fully autonomous way.
  • be increasingly independent, confident and flexible in identifying and defining complex problems and in the application of methods appropriate to their solution, at the threshold of professional practice.

Programme outcomes: Technical/practical skills

The range of technical and practical skills which may be acquired in the programme, both analogue and digital, is potentially very wide. Students have considerable choice in how they build their technical and practical skill set which is developed over their period of study.

Graduates in Fashion will be able to:

  • clearly demonstrate confidence, independence and professionalism in the application of software/hardware to specific contexts.
  • clearly demonstrate appropriately personalised use and application of information retrieval and networked communications within specific contexts.

Programme structure and features

Programme structure

The programme follows a well-defined structure in which, in common with other programmes in the Design sector, only the results from the final year of study are used in calculating the degree award.

1st Year

Course ref

Course title

SCQF credits

SCQF level

DESI07041

Design Studio 1

40

7

DESI07031

Design Research 1

40

7

DESI07022

Design Collaboration 1

20

7

DESI07012

Design Context 1

20

7

 

120

 

Exit Award: Certificate of Higher Education (120 credits)

2nd Year

Course ref

Course title

SCQF credits

SCQF level

DESI08048

Design Studio 2

40

 8

DESI08039

Design Research 2

40

8

DESI08029

Design Collaboration 2

20

8

 

DESI08051

DESI08052

DESI08053

DESI08054

Design Context 2 (choose one from the following)

Visual Narratives

Design & Society

Modernism & After

Issues in Contemporary Cinema

20

20

20

20

                 8

                 8

                 8

                 8                

 

120

 

Exit Award: Diploma of Higher Education (240 credits)

3rd Year (Semester 1)

Course ref

Course title

SCQF credits

SCQF level

DESI09080

Design Externality 3 Major

40

9

DESI09026

Design Research & Context 3

20

9

 

OR

 

 

DESI09066

Design Externality 3 Minor

20

9

DESI09026

Design Research & Context 3

20

9

 

plus 20-credit elective

20

8 or 9

 

OR

 

 

DESI09062

Design Externality 3 (S1) Work-Based Placement

40

9

DESI09027

Research & Context 3 (Sem 1)

20

9

3rd Year (Semester 2)

DESI09067

Design Externality 3 Major

40

9

DESI09030

Design Research & Context 3

20

9

 

OR

 

 

DESI09044

Design Externality 3 Minor

20

9

DESI09030

Design Research & Context

20

9

 

plus 20-credit elective

20

8 or 9

 

OR

 

 

DESI09034

Design Externality 3 Work-Based Placement

40

9

DESI09031

Research & Context 3 (Sem 2)

20

9

 

120

 

Exit Award: Batchelor of Arts (360 credits)

4th Year

Course ref

Course title

SCQF credits

SCQF level

DESI10050

Design Studio 4

40

10

DESI10041

Design Research

40

10

DESI10035

Professional Design Practice

20

10

DESI10006

Design Context 4

20

10

 

 

120

 

Exit Award: Batchelor of Arts with Honours (480 credits)

Teaching and learning methods and strategies

The student journey in Fashion is characterised by sequential, experiential and iterative learning and pedagogically follows a constructivist model, subscribing to the view that: knowledge and understanding are not acquired passively but in an active manner through personal experience and experiential activities; and that learning is based on problem solving and/or an exploration of a particular line of enquiry and active engagement with ideas.

The third year is the main focus for student choice, where students are expected to propose a study plan comprising a portfolio of externally-facing activities which may typically include periods of exchange, internship, electives, live projects or competitions.

Teaching and learning workload

You will learn through a mixture of scheduled teaching and independent study. Some programmes also offer work placements.

At Edinburgh we use a range of teaching and learning methods including lectures, tutorials, practical laboratory sessions, technical workshops and studio critiques.

The typical workload for a student on this programme is outlined in the table below, however the actual time you spend on each type of activity will depend on what courses you choose to study.

The typical workload for a student on this programme for each year of study
Start yearTime in scheduled teaching (%)Time in independant study (%)Time on placement (%)
Year 132680
Year 228720
Year 321790
Year 418820

Assessment methods and strategies

For the majority of their studies students will not encounter prescriptive assessment where the absolute answers are known in advance of setting the assessed task. Assessment however is rigorous and robust and depends upon significant involvement of whole programme teams to ensure objectivity, accuracy, consistency and fairness to the students concerned.

Students receive regular formative feedback on their progress which is related directly to the published learning outcomes in their Course Descriptors and in their coursework material, such as project briefs and individual study plans;

The grading of student work is undertaken with close reference to the published learning outcomes and assessment criteria, for the Course Descriptor and for the particular piece(s) of work being assessed;

The method of assessment used is appropriate to the learning outcome(s) being assessed and the student’s performance for each individual learning outcome can be effectively examined and graded where a single method of assessment is used to examine more than one learning outcome;

Students are made fully aware of how they are being assessed and what is being assessed, against the published criteria.

Assessment method balance

You will be assessed through a variety of methods. These might include written or practical exams or coursework such as essays, projects, group work or presentations.

The typical assessment methods for a student on this programme are outlined below, however the balance between written exams, practical exams and coursework will vary depending on what courses you choose to study.

The typical assessment methods for a student on this programme for each year of study
Start yearAssessment by written exams (%)Assessment by practical exams (%)Assessment by coursework (%)
Year 100100
Year 200100
Year 300100
Year 400100

Career opportunities

Careers include designer for men’s or women’s wear, setting up your own label, in-house designer, freelance designer, stylist, illustrator, retail management and buying, journalism, colour and fabric prediction work, teaching. Employability is addressed through projects and professional practice exercises. We promote key links with the Scottish textiles industry to develop collaborative projects and have established links with National Museums Scotland and the National Galleries of Scotland. Students are also supported in finding work placements during their studies.

Other items

Student representatives make a significant contribution to Programme Committees. They are responsible for canvassing the views of their fellow students on agenda items and, most importantly, informing them of the content and outcome of Programme Committee Meetings. Students are advised to make use of EUSA help in training for their role as representatives and in Committee procedures.

Student representatives are appointed annually. Invitations for nominations, seconded by at least two other students, are posted in the studio at the beginning of each year. A secret ballot is held if more than the requisite number of nominations is received by the closing date.