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BA (Hons) Modelmaking

Graduates from the BA (Hons) Modelmaking course are now working in an exciting range of careers - from the precision of Formula One, to the Fantasy of Star Wars.

Modelmaking Course Information

With an international reputation, BA (Hons) Modelmaking is a leading course in its field, enabling students to progress into the diverse world of professional makers. We’ll equip you to become an independent thinker, capable of solving problems and taking imaginative leaps in creative design.

The engaging and creative course will be your stepping stone to an exciting career in making.

With access to the latest technology and traditional resources, you will learn to make things using an extensive array of materials, tools, and techniques. You will develop the making skills needed for rewarding careers in film, architecture, exhibition, and design. You will develop as an independent thinker, who is capable of solving problems, and taking imaginative leaps in creative design and making.

You will work on live collaborative projects with students from other courses and with industry professionals. Using our strong links with the creative industries, you will have opportunities to undertake work experience with leading companies in the UK and abroad.

Our graduates have progressed in their careers to run departments at Pinewood Studios, RSHP, Foster + Partners, Chalk Studios and Rusty Squid. This course has been the first step in the journeys of many successful graduates, leaders, and innovators. You will get the opportunity to work in our award-winning and purpose-built ‘CRAB’ Drawing Studio, which was designed by Professor Sir Peter Cook RA.
You will also work in Passiv Haus and our well-equipped Printmaking Studio.

Course duration

3-years (full-time)

UCAS course code


UCAS institution code


Level 4 (first year)

Your first year introduces you to the core skills of a professional modelmaker. These include making processes and techniques, design thinking, and the essential function of the model as a form of communication.

You’ll challenge, reframe and develop your previous assumptions about skills, methods, thought processes, and representation to build the necessary foundations for professional practice. Teaching seeks to move you swiftly from ‘rule-seeking behaviour’ to independent decision making.

You’ll explore design ideas, critical thinking, visualisation skills and interpretation. You’ll attend specialist demonstrations and practical studio and workshop sessions.

Level 5 (second year)

In the second year, you’ll continue to develop your understanding of modelmaking as communication. Interpretation and representation are studied and practiced in a variety of different professional contexts.

You’ll turn your attention outwards to clients, industry and society as a whole. Engagement and interaction with industry, audiences and consumers (in the form of live briefs where possible) are integrated into the curriculum, as is research, reflection and the use of writing to develop understanding.

We’ll encourage you to develop interests and lines of enquiry which will inform the choice of creative and career directions in the third year.

Teaching seeks to facilitate your self-discovery and to build your confidence in pursuing independent paths in skill development, reflection and inquiry, and in choosing career directions.

Level 6 (third year)

In your third year, you’ll work on more in-depth and complex studio projects and carry out a major theoretical piece of research.

The direction of the course and of your decision-making is firmly towards the outside world as characterised by clients, the industry and audiences.

As part of this, there is a continuous process in which you are expected (through research and work experience) to ‘benchmark’ standards of performance, and to define, manage and meet your own personal standards of excellence.

You’ll carry out a ‘live’ or simulated project, working to a client-led brief which must succeed within the constraints and expectations of the commercial world. You’ll learn about the professional aspects of model making and running a business.

Your final major project is designed to promote your professional intent, direction, creativity, individuality and strength in your specialist area.

Your third year traditionally culminates in a show in London where you can meet potential employers.

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 will 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.

On the BA (Hons) Modelmaking course, you’ll benefit from the expert guidance from our experienced teaching staff. You can read more about their specialisms by exploring their profiles below.

Photo of Paul Johnson

Paul Johnson

A modelmaker with a variety of experience in professional practice. His portfolio covers Architecture, Product, Film, TV & Advertising...

Photo of Claire Holman

Claire Holman

With over 10 years experience of this course, Claire concentrates on giving 1st year students a thorough and enjoyable introduction to...

Will Strange headshot

Will Strange

Will is a Senior Lecturer at AUB with particular interest in teaching the skills needed for professional modelmaking...

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Graham Wood

Graham is a puppet maker, animator and practicing modelmaker with experience of modelmaking for museums, TV and the architectural...

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Gideon Bohannon

Gideon graduated from the University of Central England with a degree in Fine Art in 1995. He became a full time professional model maker...

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Johnathan Hoyle

Jonathan graduated from AUB with a degree in Modelmaking in 2003. Since then he has worked as a freelance Modelmaker in a range of areas...

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Val Adamson

Val is a classicaly trained sculptor who regularly works with BA (Hons) Modelmaking students to produce realistic figure models...

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Martin Adamson

Martin is a generalist modelmaker and sculptor, with a long experience of the stop motion animation industry, and surfing the severn bore...

David Lund Profile Picture

David Lund FHEA

David is a Senior Lecturer teaching in BA Modelmaking and BA Design...

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.

Modelmaking as a Career

Modelmaking is a highly rewarding experience for anyone interested in making or design, with our graduates working in an exciting range of careers at award-wining companies such as Dyson, Foster + Partners, and Merlin Entertainment; on theatre, film, and TV productions such as Star Wars, Jurassic World, Shawn the Sheep, and Spiderman; and for clients as diverse as the Natural History Museum, Selfridges, Apple, and NASA.

Professional modelmakers are employed to make high quality models across a wide range of creative industries. Whether they are needed to test or communicate the designs of products, structures, vehicles or buildings; to create make-believe worlds in film, television, and theatre; or to educate and inform through museums, exhibitions, and advertising, the demand for models is extremely high. Medical prosthetics and forensic reconstructions also rely on modelmakers, with the career offering many different areas to explore.

Many design and architectural firms employ teams of modelmakers directly, while there are several hundred commercial modelmaking companies in the UK who make a range of models for clients all over the world. With the British film industry thriving, there is also extensive work for modelmakers making sets and props for major blockbuster movies.

Modelmakers need to be highly adaptable and able to use a variety of materials and processes – whatever best meets the requirements of each specific model they are working on. Constantly innovating, modelmakers are often called upon to come up with novel solutions to problems, and their broad skillset allows them to work on a range of projects. This makes modelmaking an exciting and varied career – one week a modelmaker might be making a timber model by hand, the next they might be preparing CAD files for 3D printing.

Our BA (Hons) Modelmaking degree has been a leading course internationally for over twenty years, with our graduates fully equipped to excel in the diverse, exciting, and creative world of professional making.

Student Stories

Thomas Hughes

"My job is to turn concept art into real-life props. It usually starts with a concept design for a weapon from the art department, which I then have to figure out the best way to make.

Usually, we make a few different versions of each weapon, from hero versions for close-ups, which require the most attention to detail through, to stunt weapons made of rubber so no one gets injured using them.

I met my boss at New Blades, the modelmaker’s graduate show in London. I was asked to an interview at Pinewood Studios to work in the armoury for the Assassin’s Creed movie and ended up starting there before we’d had our graduation ceremony.

Since that finished, I’ve also worked on Wonder Woman, Annihilation, and I’m currently on the next Transformers film.

We have to sign non-disclosure agreements to stop us giving away anything about what we’re working on. I was a massive Transformers fan growing up and spent three months working on a weapon that I’m really proud of.

My advice would be: try not to overthink things, just get it made. Speed is everything and you won’t always have time to be a perfectionist."

As well as working on films, Thomas also created a replica Iron Age shield for The Collection, Lincoln.

Portfolio Requirements

We’re particularly interested in exploring how you have responded to a given brief from your school or college. We’ll expect to see written as well as contextual work, with samples of three dimensional pieces you have produced (ideally the pieces themselves or a photographic record of them).

Top tips on how to prepare your portfolio:

Due to Covid-19 and the need for social distance, we will not be able to offer on campus interviews to applicants this cycle. 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 will hold Offer Holder days in Spring and invite applicants to visit the campus and meet the course team, or if you are unable to visit us you will be able to attend a virtual Offer Holder Day.

We’ll be particularly interested in exploring how you have responded to a given brief from your school or college. We will expect to see written as well as contextual work, with samples of three dimensional pieces you have produced (ideally the pieces themselves or a photographic record of them).

We’d also like to see sketchbooks which demonstrate thinking and curiosity, and some observational drawing. If you can provide samples of work which you have produced outside of your studies this will also help reinforce your portfolio.

Portfolio Guidelines

Listed below are a number of suggestions to help you when you are collecting your work together. Please regard this list as general guidance rather than specific requirements.

  • Be selective in your choice of work - your portfolio should be a concise representation of your abilities presented in a maximum of 30 minutes.
  • It is very important that you bring at least one piece of Three Dimensional design work with you.
  • Clearly title project work and attach relevant notes and research/support documentation.
  • Make certain the work is presented in a format which is clear and concise and which expresses the essential creativity on which it is based - Include sketchbooks, scrapbooks, digital work, project work and drawings that demonstrate your ability to work in a variety of media.
  • Please provide evidence of academic work, e.g. An art history assignment or report.

Please feel free to bring non-college work with you as this gives us extra insight into you.

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.

Modelmaking is a thriving, creative profession that works across the creative industries with unique and highly desirable skills. Join this world leading course to explore opportunities that enable you to turn your passion for making into an exciting and rewarding career.

Paul Johnson, 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

As a student on this course, you’ll work in our purpose-built, state of the art building – designed especially for Modelmaking and Makeup students.

This award-winning new building has three floors, including a set of shared workshop rooms on the ground floor for the individual creative processes that are an integral part of both courses.

Students working in a modelmaking studio

Modelmaking Studios

Our purpose-built, and well lit, Modelmaking studio is divided into three separate areas, one for each year group

Student using tools in a Workshops

3D Workshop

Our 3D workshops with manual and digital manufacturing equipment and computers

Life drawing class taking place inside the Drawing Studio

Drawing Studio

Our icon, blue Drawing Studio is used by student from all courses and was designed by Alumnus, Sir Peter Cook

Teaching and Learning

The course combines independent learning and structured taught sessions.

Teaching includes guided studio sessions, inductions, demonstrations, specialist workshops, individual and group tutorials, seminars, group critiques, lectures, and study visits. These are delivered by a course team of industry-experienced professionals. The teaching is further supplemented by the invaluable input of visiting professionals, supplying the course with a wide range of current skills and industry knowledge. Work experience and company visits also provide highly valuable learning opportunities.

Independent learning includes studio practice, research, analysis and critical reflection. Teaching by the course team is directed at supporting you in managing your learning. You are encouraged to develop strategies for independent learning and time management on each unit of study and this responsibility progresses as you move through the levels of the course where the use of a statement of intent becomes an integral part of the process.

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 have 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 will 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 will 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 will 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 will be awarded the higher class of degree.

If you have 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

The skills that this course encourages are applicable to many other industries too. There are few courses that offer the range of experience that we can, and we have a very good reputation among those who are looking for reliable and well-prepared graduates to employ.

Graduates of this course have worked at the architectural practices of Foster + Partners, Rogers Stirk Harbour, AHMM and many others. Films including Harry Potter, Thor, Captain America, Troy and Clash of the Titans feature the work of our graduates.

Our Careers and Employability Service is dedicated to supporting you in turning your creativity into a great career.

Alumna Mea Warburton, holding up a pair of shoes

Creative Exchange 2020: Portrait of a Graduate

The Creative Exchange exhibitions are a showcase of AUB’s knowledge exchange activities...

student looking at a model

Tom Taylor

Here at Tailor-made Model Makers, we make high quality architectural models for architects, designers, property, developers and marketing...

headshot of Thomas Hughes

Thomas Hughes

My job is to turn concept art into real life props. It usually starts with a concept design for a weapon from the art department...

model of three feet

Bex Lowe

I'm a workshop and installation team leader at Merlin. I work with lots of theme parks, right now I'm working on scarcest for Alton Towers.

BA (Hons) Modelmaking news

See more of our student work

Graduates from the BA (Hons) Modelmaking course are now working in an exciting range of careers - from the precision of Formula One.