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Model on runway

BA (Hons) Fashion

This dynamic course gives you the skills needed for a career in the fast-moving world of 21st-century fashion.

Fashion course information

Our graduating Fashion students scooped seven awards at Graduate Fashion Week 2018 – including the Graduate Fashion Week Gold Award.

Our course responds quickly to changing demands and opportunities and we have a reputation for producing ‘industry-ready’ graduates.

The journey from design to shop window or fashion catwalk is fascinating. You’ll discover the complexities of buying, selling and promotion – and the need to be entrepreneurial. A major strength of this course is its position within a specialist arts, design and media institution with the potential for you to study alongside other creative and cultural disciplines.

During the course you will build an appropriate portfolio of skills, which supports the development of individual practice, and informs your decision regarding the selection of a specialist named award.

You may choose to complete your degree in one of the following named awards:

  • BA (Hons) Fashion (Design)
  • BA (Hons) Fashion (Design Technology)
  • BA (Hons) Fashion (Menswear)
  • BA (Hons) Fashion (Product Design)

Course duration

3-years (full-time)

UCAS course code


UCAS institution code


Level 4 (first year)

In your first year, you’ll study four skill-based units delivered as iterations in the first and second terms. These units draw on a range of expertise, as part of an instructional yet intellectually challenging student journey.

Theory is embedded across each of the units, offering you the opportunity to critically reflect on the study of fashion from the start of your learning.

These four units do not directly relate to your later specialisms but define through investigation and experience the range of possible practices and areas of study you may want to engage with as specialism during your time on the course.

Level 4 concludes with an individual design project where you’ll begin to define strengths and specialist choices. This runs concurrently with the ‘Professional Practice’ unit where you’ll be directed to produce an appropriate portfolio, both digital and hard copy, which is suitable for industry scrutiny.

You’ll undertake a two-week placement or have professional engagement with a brand or company and the portfolio will be significant in securing and supporting this process.

The Level 4 journey will not only shape your experience through learning new skills, but will identify your strengths, interests and areas of specialisms as well as introducing you to live industry practices, it will also ensure that you engage with a broad range of experiences, which will support specialist decisions in the future.

Level 5 (second year)

Level 5 will begin with the ‘Fashion Branding and Communication’ unit where you’ll engage with distinct and challenging research methodologies while at the same time preparing for a professional role in industry.

There will also be a range of optional units that run concurrently with ‘Fashion Branding and Communication’. You’ll select one of these optional units in order to support and help to define your possible specialism, however, the nature of your journey is organic and no firm decisions need to be made at this point.

You’ll also undertake the unit ‘Design Identity’ which is instrumental to the investigation of your unique character and individual design philosophy. You’ll be encouraged to question existing practices and look for new solutions, exploring diversity and emotionally considerate design as practice.

Concluding Level 5 is the ‘Design: Enterprise and Innovation’ unit that offers you the opportunity of UK or international work experience, or participation in a ‘Live Project’ with a high-end brand or design company.

You’ll be assisted in finding a placement and participating companies include Kenneth Cole – New York and Metal Pointus – Paris. We also offer an international student exchange.

This unit offers these options to give you flexibility of choice and experience. You may wish to prepare for the ‘real world’ of employment or have the opportunity to experience a different cultural and educational environment.

Level 6 (third year)

Level 6 is the most challenging year. This where you'll apply all previous knowledge and focus specifically on a specialist area of study related to the named awards. The ‘Fashion Product Development’ unit prepares you for the ‘Final Major Project‘.

In the ‘Research Project’ unit, you’ll either conduct investigation into a topic relevant to your practice and produce a dissertation, or develop a creative business proposal that supports your practice and further prepares you for a possible career.

In the ‘Final Major Project’ unit, you’ll focus on the development of a specialist body of work aligned to the named award whilst the ‘Design Futures’ unit prepares you further for a career in fashion by developing a professional portfolio, considering self as brand and further engagement with industry.

Ultimately, the final year requires you to define the final direction of your practice. It encourages you to be ambitious, innovative and to understand the content and context that will allow you to create a cohesive and professional portfolio of practice, in preparation for the challenges of employment or further study.

You’ll graduate with the knowledge, professional skills and creative agility necessary to further develop your specialist practices, in professional environments. You’ll also be equipped with the necessary skills, knowledge and differentiated modes of learning that will enable you to pursue postgraduate study or related forms of employment within the creative industries.

The course recognises that in order to remain alert to the ever-changing demands of a dynamic subject area, you’re required to be flexible, inclusive, proactive, reflexive and progressive practitioners, graduating from the course fully equipped to be confident professionals within your chosen field.

You’re actively encouraged to form collectives, start-up businesses, organise events, complete internships, enter competitions and work collaboratively. The course values and recognises the importance of creative networks established while studying.

All students are registered for the award of BA (Hons). However, exit awards are available if you leave the course early, having successfully completed one or two levels. If you successfully complete a level of the course, you'll automatically be entitled to progress to the next level.

For the award of a Certificate of Higher Education (CertHE), you must have achieved a minimum of 120 credits at Level 4. This qualification may be awarded if you leave the University following successful completion of the first year of your course.

For the award of a Diploma of Higher Education (DipHE), you must have achieved a minimum of 240 credits of which a minimum of 120 must be at Level 5. This qualification may be awarded if you leave the University following successful completion of the second year of your course.

For the award of a BA (Hons) you must have achieved a minimum of 360 credits of which a minimum of 240 must be at Level 5 or above, of which a minimum of 120 credits must be at Level 6. This qualification will be awarded upon successful completion of your course.

A BA without Honours may be awarded if you have achieved 300 credits, at least 180 of which are at Level 5 or above, and at least 60 of which are at Level 6.

Course team

Aston Baker Technician Demonstrator – Fashion and Textiles (Digital)
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Laura Walker Senior Lecturer – BA (Hons) Fashion Branding and Communication


How to apply

Once you've found the perfect Undergraduate course, you can apply to study via UCAS, including direct entry applications to second and third year.

When applying through UCAS, use the institution code A66. All of our courses take place on one site, so we don't have a campus code. We'll then use your completed UCAS form to make decisions about your application. You can find out more on entry requirements in our apply section.

When you apply to one of our courses, it's important that you help us get a good picture of both you and your work – so you'll need a great personal statement. We want to know more about why you're interested in the course, your key influences, and what you hope to do after your studies.

If you're invited for an interview, many of our courses will ask to see a portfolio of your work so we can get more insight into your ideas and abilities. To help you, we've created guidelines outlining what we expect from your portfolio for each course.

Portfolio requirements

We recognise that everyone has different skills, portfolios and experiences, so what we look for is potential through a broad range of work that expresses the scope of your creative experiences and shows evidence of enquiry and experimentation.

For courses that require a portfolio review or an audition, the Admissions team will be in touch with you and request a digital portfolio or audition.

We'll hold Offer Holder days in Spring and invite applicants to visit the campus and meet the course team, or if you're unable to visit us you'll be able to attend a virtual Offer Holder Day.

Previous sewing experience might be useful but is not necessary, as this will be taught during the first year. Examples of life or figurative drawings are welcome as well as a sketchbook documenting your ideas. We're looking for creativity and originality, something that will distinguish your work and reveal your personality.

Portfolio guidelines

It's important that you bring us work that enables us to assess both your intellectual and innovative creative ability.

Listed below are suggestions to help when you're collating your currency of work:

  • Drawing and artwork illustration which reflects use of differing mediums and use of colour
  • Research-based sketch/notebooks and annotated visual diaries
  • Samples of 3D product work, including garments, textiles, jewellery, millinery or sculptural pieces (if too large or awkward, a range of photographs illustrating these)
  • Written work, particularly fashion-related; a www. blog, published article
  • Digital work

We're particularly interested in seeing a favourite item or visual evidence – not necessarily fashion orientated – which has inspired you and which will enable us to discuss what represents your unique personality and identity.

Your portfolio is your opportunity to demonstrate and professionally present a diversity of creative skills and innovative work. We want to see evidence of creativity and originality, along with a commitment to studying fashion.

Universities interviewing for creative courses will expect to be presented with a portfolio to help them understand your ability and range of work. Your portfolio could be your golden ticket into receiving an offer so making sure it’s presentable, well-organised and accessible is essential.

It is critical that as a next generation designer, you become a pioneer in innovation and change, and explore new and better ways of working, push creative boundaries, and blend modern technology, with traditional craftsmanship, and ethical practice.

The future of the industry is about making conscious decisions and generating innovative fashion products that are sustainable and have a specific place in a current and contemporary market that consumers respect and aspire to own.

Iain Archer, Course Leader

Fees and funding

The fee that you pay the Arts University Bournemouth provides the necessary equipment and training for you to complete your course.

You may also choose to buy some items of personal equipment such as a laptop or tablet computer, but this is not required; desktop and laptop computers are available for you to use in common study areas, including a loan system in the Library.

Studios and resources

Our dedicated studios are equipped with a range of state-of-the-art industry-standard specialist machinery.

You’ll have access to Lectra Modaris and CLO 3D technology, three digital studios and three working studios, plus a dedicated sewing room. You’ll also use a seminar and theory room for lectures and tutorials.

Students at work in Fashion studios

Fashion Studios

Students will have access to 3 digital studios, 3 working studios and a dedicated sewing room.

Teacher showing student how to use CLO 3D

Lectra Modaris and CLO 3D

Students will have access to Lectra Modaris and CLO 3D technology.

Display Cabinet


MoDiP is the UK's leading resource for the study and interpretation of design in plastics and specialist research resource

Inside AUB's Library

The Library

The Library at AUB holds an excellent range of print and online collections

Teaching and learning

The course combines both independent learning and taught sessions throughout all levels.

Taught sessions are designed to support, underpin and inform independent learning and are delivered in a variety of styles including a diverse range of ongoing practical workshops, demonstrations, lectures, group and individual tutorials, seminars, critiques, unit briefings and optional study visits. These are delivered by the course team and supplemented by visiting practitioners from the fashion industry.

Teaching is directed at supporting individual engagement in learning although there are opportunities to work in teams to enable you to learn the value of peer cooperation. As members of the cohort, you're active participants in learning and teaching and through this the sharing of good practice is established. Peer learning is facilitated through group critiques and feedback sessions, collaborative projects and more informally within the studio environment.

The course team has developed a variety of learning and teaching methods which support different learning styles, inclusivity and access to learning. The main focus for the learning and teaching methods is through the assignment(s) undertaken for each unit, which reflect the level of study.

The course team has developed team teaching opportunities, both within the core team and in collaboration with Visiting Tutors and industry professionals, to enhance learning opportunities and to further your knowledge and awareness of industry practices and expectations. The team also regularly attend new and updated training, seminars and conferences in order to keep delivery current and in line with industry requirements.

The study time allocated to each unit in the course incorporates a balance of formal teaching, tutorial support and independent learning. The course is structured progressively to provide increased opportunities for independent learning as you reach the later stages of the course. The progressive promotion of independent learning and self-reflection encourages anticipated maturity and allows you to direct learning towards individual goals. Emphasis is placed upon reflective practice where you'll be expected to progressively take personal responsibility for your learning.

Contact hours include all scheduled teaching sessions, but also supervised time in the workshop or studio. In line with national guidance, we include in our calculation of contact hours all the time which is scheduled in the studio for independent study which is also supported by staff (either academic staff, or technicians).

The information provided below gives the proportion of your study time which constitutes contact hours. Where there are optional routes through the course, we've used the figures for the most popular option.

Year 1 (% time) Year 2 (% time) Year 3 (% time)




Assessment and feedback

Each unit is assessed separately, and the assessment forms part of the unit. Assessment both provides a measure of your achievement, and also gives you regular feedback on how your learning is developing.

For every unit of your course, we'll inform you of what you are expected to learn, what you have to submit, how your work will be assessed, and the deadline for presenting your work for assessment. This is made available through Unit Information, which is on your course blog.

You'll receive a final mark for each unit in the form of a percentage, which will be recorded on your formal record of achievement (transcript). Each component of assessment is graded using a notched marking scale, whereby only certain marks are used within each grade. The only marks available within any ten-point band are *2, *5 and *8 (e.g. 62, 65, 68). These marks correspond to a low, mid, and high level of achievement within each grade band.

The University has agreed that, during 2019/20, it will run a pilot project. This will mean that on some courses, one unit at Level 4 will be assessed on a Pass / Fail basis only, with written feedback but no numerical grade. If your course has been selected for the pilot, your Course Leader will tell you this, and the details will be clearly expressed on the Unit Information Sheet.

All learning outcomes must be passed to successfully complete the unit.

On successful completion of your Honours degree course, you'll be awarded a degree classification based on your unit marks. The final classification is determined using all unit marks at Levels 5 and 6 using two different algorithms, which are detailed in the HE Student Regulations. If the two algorithms produce different results, you'll be awarded the higher class of degree.

If you've joined Level 6 through either the Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) route or having completed a Foundation Degree (FdA), the final classification is determined using only your unit marks at Level 6.

For further information on assessment, progression, awards and classifications, please visit

What our graduates are doing

Graduates from this course have gone on to work with UK and International brands such as Burberry, Ralph Lauren and Net-a-Porter.

Our graduates work as designers, pattern cutters, garment technologists, product developers, fashion buyers, merchandisers, promoters and more. Here are some examples of recent graduate career destinations:

  • Stylists at White Room and Inca Productions, or working freelance
  • Buyers/merchandisers at Arcadia Group, Miss Selfridge and Signet
  • Working at Condé Nast
  • Sales and Marketing roles at Free People, 3rd Rock, GP & Baker Eyewear

The unique nature of the BA (Hons) Fashion programme helps you learn skills and gain knowledge that is transferable to many different roles across the fashion industry.

Our fashion graduates secure jobs in fashion design, buying, merchandising and visual merchandising, as well as trend and fashion forecasting, fashion journalism and PR, freelance work or setting up their own business.

Sophie Whatling

My collection is inspired by illustration and artwork. A lot of it is based on mental health...

People on a catwalk

Daniel Rynne

My collection is based on the work of Dorothea Lange and the Farm Security Administration...

Our graduating Fashion students scooped seven awards at Graduate Fashion Week 2018 – including the Graduate Fashion Week Gold Award.

Trips and visits

As part of your course you may also get the opportunity to take part in course trips.

Previous trips have included:

  • Beijing
  • New York
  • Paris
  • London (Victoria & Albert Museum)

*These trips are optional and some may incur additional costs

Due to the current travel restrictions and social distancing guidelines, it is unlikely that any trips will be planned in the first half of the new academic year. We will follow Government advice as soon as it is available for the remainder of the year.

See more of our student work

This dynamic course gives you the skills needed for a career in the fast-moving world of 21st-century fashion.