Fashion Design BA (Hons)

Full-time undergraduate (3 years)




With a focus on either menswear or womenswear, develop your own fashion designs from Year 1, with ongoing support and feedback from our expert team and visiting lecturers. Graduate with a portfolio and final collection ready for industry.

Full description


Find out more about working with the creative industriesor our placements and work experience.

Our BA (Hons) Fashion Design will help you develop your own individual style as a fashion designer, with a portfolio ready to present to fashion houses. Or, if you’re a budding entrepreneur, you can explore the prospect of starting your own business, with modules that allow you to create your own business plan.

You will also develop skills and knowledge useful for many other roles in the fashion industry, including styling, buying, pattern cutting and trend forecasting.

Companies including French Connection, Alexander McQueen, Vivienne Westwood and Laura Ashley have recently offered internships and work opportunities to our students.

Modules & assessment

Year one, core modules

  • Introduction to Fashion Design 1 and 2
    These two modules will give you a creative and practical awareness of the design process and techniques applicable to fashion with both 2D and 3D interpretations. By undertaking a design and visual communication project, you'll be introduced to design elements and principles for 3D creation, design development and visual communication techniques (by hand). You'll also undertake a shape project, which will introduce you to fabric awareness, creative and traditional shape development on the mannequin, toile making and pattern cutting, as well as basic manufacture/construction techniques. Practical interactive lectures will allow you to explore contemporary and historical issues based on the research and design processes you undertake in the studio, while project briefs, workshops, seminars and crits will help you address practical applications, processes and outcomes, either individually or in small groups.
  • Introduction to Pattern Cutting
    This module will introduce you to pattern cutting and construction. You’ll learn the necessary techniques for manufacturing your designs, and the working knowledge of industry standard manufacturing processes. In workshops, you'll learn the fundamental pattern-cutting techniques using blocks, garment feature and seam sampling, and contemporary techniques. The seminars will allow you to discuss particular methods, challenging rules and focussing on technical detail. You'll be able to practise techniques in the resource area.
  • Digital Media 1
    This skills module will support your design communication and introduce you to a key set of digital communication tools used in industry. This work is undertaken by class exercises and through your drawing project where you will refine the previous work from your Spatial Drawing module. You will be assessed by portfolio.

Year one, optional modules

  • Contextual Studies
    This module will introduce you to valuable skills that you’ll use throughout the rest of your course. You'll cover how to research, analyse and write about art and design, and gain an overview of some of the major developments in art and design relevant to your specific course, considering issues of both industry practice and critical theory in relation to the social, cultural and intellectual climate of their times. The module may draw on examples from graphic design, interior design, fashion, industrial design, architecture, product design, media communications and fine art, but is taught with a particular emphasis on your own discipline. A constant question for us therefore concerns the possible definitions of 'design' itself. As well as this subject-specific content, the module also includes a series of workshops and exercises which will introduce you to the skills of library research, critical analysis of visual imagery, essay writing and academic referencing, providing a foundation for your later studies. For your assessment, you will demonstrate these skills by submitting an essay on a thematic subject.
  • Introduction to Surface Textiles
    This module will give you a general introduction to creating textiles and experimenting with surface pattern to create new pieces of fabric using different textile techniques. You'll investigate and explore basic textile techniques (e.g. felt-making, printing, dyeing techniques, batik and creative embroidery) to generate new ideas for fabrics. In your projects, you'll develop ideas from primary research, culminating in a piece(s) that could be worn or exhibited at the end of the semester. In workshops, you'll examine a series of textiles techniques that you can experiment with and develop design ideas through. The seminars will allow you to discuss techniques, question methods and challenge boundaries of exploration.
  • English for Study 1 & 2
    These two modules are only available for International Students, and are worth 15 credits each. You'll focus on the advanced writing and organisational skills necessary for essays and other written assignments, including planning, paragraphing, and developing an argument. Your studies will have a particular emphasis on the importance of good academic practice, especially accurate referencing and the use of bibliographies. You'll also practise extracting key points from a variety of spoken or written texts and writing summaries, and develop your discussion skills so as to contribute confidently to seminars and tutorials, as well as receiving guidance about independent learning using the wide range of resources available in our University Library and Language Centre.

Year two, core modules

  • Development in Fashion Design 1
    This module will develop the skills that you learned in Year 1, broadening their application within the fashion industry. Through analysis of the research, translation and design processes, you will address more complex and conceptual design ideas and problems, and consider more advanced creative, interpretative and practical 2D and 3D factors for fashion design and production. You'll focus on conceptual fashion design and styling factors, and be introduced to consumer and lifestyle profiling and market level awareness. You'll design a collection, produce one fully-manufactured outfit, and create a supporting portfolio using hand and digital media techniques. You'll also undertake draping, pattern cutting, and toiling, and experience textiles/fabric sourcing, appreciation, testing and application; industry standard manufacturing techniques; trend analysis; conceptual styling concepts and promotion; visual communication; and portfolio presentation. Challenging the boundaries of fashion design, introductory lectures will allow you to explore contemporary and historical issues, based on research undertaken in the studio. You'll also contextualise your studio process and outcomes, addressing a critical understanding of your design practice and the consumer.
  • Pattern Cutting and Construction 1
    On this module, you’ll develop advanced, industry-standard technical skills in pattern cutting, draping, construction and manufacturing for separates. According to application, you will develop and expand on seams, dart manipulation, sleeve adaptations, openings, silhouette, lining and fitting - with consideration for different fabrics. You will also develop an understanding of pattern grading, and be encouraged to develop confident and creative diagnostic pattern cutting and construction skills for separates. In seminars and workshops, you'll consider application, technical methods and approaches to design problems. You'll be formatively assessed towards the close of the semester in the form of a technical file, development toile and final fully-manufactured toile. You'll be summatively assessed through a portfolio of outcomes submitted at the end of the module.
  • Development in Fashion Design 2
    This module will develop the skills you learned in Semester 1, broadening their application within the fashion industry. You'll be introduced to brand and competitor analysis, and further practice market level analysis, as well as exploring how this will affect the design process. You'll undertake a project to design a collection for a specific market level and fashion brand, attending practical, interactive lectures that will cover market research, branding and marketing/promotion factors. You will also create a a portfolio that addresses styling, promotion, visual communication and presentation of work for a specific market and brand. Your be assessment will consist of your portfolio presentation and Personal Development Plan.
  • Pattern Cutting & Construction 2
    On this module you'll focus on developing more advanced, industry-standard and market-led technical skills through workshops and demonstrations. You'll learn industry-standard manufacturing processes and will be expected to keep a technical file of your notes, which will be examined. According to application, these techniques may include developing and expanding on seams, dart manipulation, sleeve adaptations, openings, styling, silhouette and fitting. You'll also develop an understanding of lining, grading, lay planning and fabric efficiency, as well as confident and creative diagnostic pattern cutting and construction skills. A series of seminars will allow you to discuss technical methods and approaches to design problems. You will be formatively assessed towards the close of the semester through a technical file, development toile and final fully-manufactured toile. The summative assessment will consist of your portfolio of outcomes.
  • Debates and Practices
    On this module, you'll explore the links between critical studies and practice, enriching your knowledge and developing your articulacy about your specialism, as well as drawing on wider perspectives in relation to your own work. You will focus particularly on debates about contemporary practice. Your studies will be seminar-based and, where appropriate and possible, held in the studio. In discussions, you'll engage with theory and history alongside your own developing ideas about contemporary production, with an open agenda that will respond to current events, work and interests.

Year two, optional modules

  • Printmaking: Materials, Processes and Ideas
    This module will give you a chance to expand your existing studio practice through the medium of print. You’ll be encouraged to use experimental and innovative print processes as part of a self-reflective strategy informed by practice and theory. You will take part in a student-led research project supported by tutorial supervision, which will develop your ability to analyse and evaluate studio research. You’ll also have access to workshop resources outside of specified taught hours during allocated 'open access' slots. Your progress on the module will be formatively assessed at specified points through individual tutorials and group critiques.
  • New Media Design - Graphic Design for Screen Based Applications
    You’ll explore the role of graphic design across new media and screen based contexts including web design and application interfaces, and to consider the implications and possibilities of new communications phenomena, social networks and viral marketing for the graphic designer. Workshops address the design of motion graphics and digital animation through Flash and After Effects software, and the development of web design skills introduced in the Introduction to Web Design module. Lectures and presentations identify both the creative opportunities and technical constraints of new media and motion graphics for broadcast and interactive applications. These include references from film and TV titling, web graphics and advertising, and consider the use of ambient, viral and guerrilla strategies. A series of individual and small group projects explore both the technical and conceptual issues involved in each of these aspects of practice, addressing the use of new media across a range of both practical and speculative contexts. These projects explore the emerging communication possibilities of new technologies, as well as providing detailed technical instruction on the presentation of the word and image on the screen. Individual and group tutorials throughout the module address the development of you practice and the progress of each project.
  • Surface Textiles
    This module will encourage you to experiment in-depth with surface textiles to create new contemporary surfaces. Projects may involve you looking at primary research into organic shapes from observational drawing at museums, collections, conceptual ideas developed from contextual arguments, or looking at trends and colours for the future seasons. You'll research and then develop a range of surface fabrics from original drawings based on a theme(s). In introductory lectures and presentations you will identify both the creative opportunities and technical constraints of textile techniques, while your practical work on the module will entail a variety of textile techniques, such as embellishment, appliqué, feltmaking, and dyeing. In seminars, you'll discuss techniques in relation to projects contributed to by group members. Your assessment will comprise a portfolio containing sketchbooks (including primary research), design development, surface texture experimentation and final piece(s) which can be an installation, a series of surface texture designs or garment(s).
  • Business for the Creative Arts
    This module will introduce you to the practical tools needed to set yourself up in business in the creative arts, as a company, a partnership or a freelancer. You'll explore a sector of the creative industries, identifying potential opportunities within it and producing a basic business plan. Your emphasis will be on self-reflection, innovative thinking and communication skills, while the subjects that you'll cover include: the creative industries; developing and analysing a business idea; types of business model; assessing your market; ideas behind marketing; basic accounts; tax and legal issues; and planning for start-up. You'll be asked to translate these into practice by applying them to your own ideas, which will then become part of your own business plan. The module will be delivered through lectures, seminars, student presentations, critiques and workshops. Your formative assessment will involve presentations, while the summative assessment will be based on your critical evaluation of employment opportunities in a sector of the creative industries and your portfolio of work, including a business plan or employment strategy and supporting documents.
  • Identities
    How do we define ourselves? How do we define others? How do images perpetuate stereotypes, and how do artists and film makers unpick these and explore alternatives? How fluid, open and multiple are our identities? These questions are at the root of this module. It’s an opportunity to explore identity-formation from psychoanalytic, sociological or philosophical perspectives. You may select the image of the artist or film maker as a topic, exploring notions of body image and role-play, as well as the connections between memory and history. Gender, sexuality, ethnicity, nationhood, class are all important aspects of identity that you will consider, while feminist theories and postcolonial studies are major contributions to debates about identities. How have artists and film makers explored these issues? This is an opportunity for you to decide on a focus of study that links into your own interests in the studio.

Year three, core modules

  • Specialised Practice in Fashion Design
    On this module you will explore a specialist direction within fashion design, developing both your practical and theoretical skills to produce a body of relevant work suitable for your preferred career direction. The body of work you produce may be used as preparatory work for the Major Project. Workshops and seminars on professional practice will prepare you for the world of work, giving you the chance to explore opportunities for employment and self-employment within fashion design. You'll solve challenging design problems using your enhanced awareness of contemporary design practice and specialist software resources and techniques. The briefs you tackle might include individually commissioned work, live projects, or national competitions. This project will help you focus on the practicalities of work, presentation and self-promotion within the design industry in preparation for employment, as well as your major project. Lectures, presentations, discourse and seminars will allow you to examine creative innovation and design solutions within current fashion design practice. Your assessment will comprise your project work, finished to an industry standard in a format appropriate to the requirements of the brief. You'll need to schedule your design work in a professional manner and meet designated deadlines. Formative assessment of your progress will take place at specified points and will include evaluation of the Personal Development Plan (PDP). Summative assessment of your specialised project will take place through an assessment of your portfolio presentation and PDP at the end of the module.
  • Major Project
    The individual Major Project will allow you to undertake a substantial piece of individual research, focused on a topic relevant to your specific course. Your topic will be assessed for suitability to ensure sufficient academic challenge and satisfactory supervision by an academic member of staff. The project will require you to identify/formulate problems and issues, conduct research, evaluate information, process data, and critically appraise and present your findings/creative work. You should arrange and attend regular meetings with your project supervisor, to ensure that your project is closely monitored and steered in the right direction.

Year three, optional modules

  • Research Project
    The Research Project will foster your independent study with the guidance of a tutor. You'll devise your own project that will reflect on/co-ordinate with/enhance your own studio work and interests, encouraging your self-reflexivity and critical distance. Seminars will give you a forum to learn from each other's research. You will also be supported by individual tutorials with a member of staff. The Research Project may include a variety of relevant topics, including reporting on your own work experience. You can illustrate it with photographs, drawings or video, discussing your approach with your assigned tutor. (30 credits)
  • Research Assignment
    The Research Assignment module will foster your independent study with the guidance of a Supervisor. You will negotiate a topic with your supervisor, and devise your own project to reflect on / co-ordinate with / enhance your studio work and interests, relying on your self-reflexivity and critical distance. Classes will provide a forum for all students to learn from each other's research, but you will also have opportunities for individual tutorials with a member of staff. Your Research Assignment may be illustrated with photographs, drawings, and video. You will be assessed by way of a 3000-word written assignment. (15 credits)
  • Working in the Creative Industries
    Gaining work experience enhances your employability, and work based learning offers you the chance to gain industry knowledge, skills, contacts and networking opportunities. This module gives you the opportunity to explore a working environment relevant to the industry you hope to build a career in. The module will encourage your self-managed learning, and aims to develop your personal organisation, team-working, and networking skills, thereby increasing your self-reliance and confidence. You can use the experience as a basis for directing and focussing your career plans, as well as inspiration for your final year projects. In association with your module tutor, you will identify, negotiate and agree with an employer (or employers) the terms of your placement, ensuring that the module learning outcomes can be achieved. You will also create a reflective report on your work experience, including: the application procedure you have conducted (CV, letter and portfolio); market and background information on the employer; your role(s) on the placement(s); an academic and vocational analysis; skills and experiences (opportunities, advantages, constraints, aptitudes and interests). You will also be asked to include a workplace diary that logs activity and supports an analysis of the learning achieved. On completion of the placement, the employer will be asked to complete a Student Feedback package. The work placement(s) may be carried out in a variety of settings depending upon your requirements, areas of interest and availability of opportunities. The minimum period of the placement will be 100 hours, and you can undertake more than one placement for the module.


For a full breakdown of module options and credits, please view the module structure (pdf).

You will show your progress towards your final portfolio with a combination of written and practical work, depending on the module, with regular feedback from our lecturers.

Where you'll study

Your department and faculty

Using our expertise and connections in Cambridge and beyond, we nurture creativity through experimentation and risk-taking to empower the makers and creators of the future.  At Cambridge School of Art, we combine the traditions of our past with the possibilities afforded by the latest technologies.

Our academics excel at both practice and theory, making a real impact in their chosen fields, whether they are curating exhibitions, designing book covers or photographing communities in Africa.  They are also regularly published in catalogues, books, journals and conference papers, their research classed as being of ‘international standing’, with some elements ‘world-leading’, in the most recent Research Excellence Framework.

Where can I study?

Lord Ashcroft Building on our Cambridge campus

Our campus is close to the centre of Cambridge, often described as the perfect student city.

Explore our Cambridge campus

Additional study information

You will have flexible, out-of-hours access to our sewing and finishing machines and surface textile facilities, but will also be able to request full training on our many other industry-standard facilities, such life drawing and sculpture workshops, photography labs, computer suites (complete with Photoshop Illustrator), and filmmaking equipment.

Fees & funding

Course fees

UK & EU students starting 2018/19 or 2019/20 (per year)


International students, 2018/19 (per year)


International students starting 2019/20 (per year)


Fee information

For more information about tuition fees, including the UK Government's commitment to EU students, please see our UK/EU funding pages

Additional costs

Estimated cost of materials across the three years is £1,900.

Optional field trip £300.

How do I pay my fees?

Tuition fee loan

You can take out a tuition fee loan, which you won’t need to start repaying until after your graduate. Or alternatively, there's the option to pay your fees upfront.

Loans and fee payments


We offer a fantastic range of ARU scholarships, which provide extra financial support while you’re at university. Some of these cover all or part of your tuition fees.

Explore ARU scholarships

International students

You must pay your fees upfront, in full or in instalments. We will also ask you for a deposit or sponsorship letter. Details will be in your offer letter.

Paying your fees

Funding for UK & EU students

Most new undergraduate students can apply for government funding to support their studies and university life. This includes Tuition Fee Loans and Maintenance Loans. There are additional grants available for specific groups of students, such as those with disabilities or dependants.

We also offer a fantastic range of ARU scholarships, which provide extra financial support while you’re at university. Find out more about eligibility and how to apply.

Funding for international students

We offer a number of scholarships, as well as an early payment discount. Explore your options:

Entry requirements

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Interview and portfolio

You will be required to attend an interview of around 20 minutes, during which you will evidence your discussion with a portfolio or, if you are resident outside of the UK, an e-portfolio.

For more information on how to prepare and submit your portfolio please visit our portfolios and interviews page, or go straight to the detailed guidance for BA (Hons) Fashion Design portfolios.

Important additional notes

Our published entry requirements are a guide only and our decision will be based on your overall suitability for the course as well as whether you meet the minimum entry requirements. Other equivalent qualifications may be accepted for entry to this course, please email for further information.

We don't accept AS level qualifications on their own for entry to our undergraduate degree courses. However for some degree courses a small number of tariff points from AS levels are accepted as long as they're combined with tariff points from A levels or other equivalent level 3 qualifications in other subjects.

International students

We welcome applications from international and EU students, and accept a range of international qualifications.

English language requirements

If English is not your first language, you'll need to make sure you meet our English language requirements for undergraduate courses.

Improving your English language skills

If you don't meet our English language requirements, we offer a range of courses which could help you achieve the level required for entry onto a degree course.

We also provide our own English Language Proficiency Test (ELPT) in the UK and overseas. To find out if we are planning to hold an ELPT in your country, contact our country managers.

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Get more information

UK & EU applicants

01245 68 68 68

Enquire online

International applicants

+44 1245 68 68 68

Enquire online