Course specification and structure
Undergraduate Course Structures Postgraduate Course Structures


Course Specification

Validation status Validated
Highest award Bachelor of Arts Level Honours
Possible interim awards Bachelor of Arts, Diploma of Higher Education, Certificate of Higher Education, Bachelor of Arts
Total credits for course 360
Awarding institution London Metropolitan University
Teaching institutions London Metropolitan University
School The Sir John Cass School of Art, Architecture and Design (The Cass)
Subject Area Design
Attendance options
Option Minimum duration Maximum duration
Full-time 3 YEARS 7 YEARS
Part-time 6 YEARS 7 YEARS
Course leader Aimee McWilliams

About the course and its strategy towards teaching and learning and towards blended learning/e-learning

The BA (Hons) Fashion course seeks to inspire students and equip them for employment at the cutting edge of fashion, couture, design, manufacture and promotion. The course provides its students with specialist skills grounded in industry practice and process: a contemporary studio-based teaching and learning environment encourages critical engagement with the character, opportunities and constraints of the commercial and cultural contexts of fashion.

The teaching supports preparation for future careers in a wide range of professional occupations in the fashion and textiles industries. Graduates may find work as a designer, consultant, director, maker, buyer, stylist, technologist or product developer within industry or on a self-employed basis. Graduates may also seek employment in related fields such as fashion photography, promotion, journalism, education, curation, retail or digital media. The course will also prepare students for application to a postgraduate course, where appropriate. The course seeks to specifically foster and provide:

  • Experimentation and learning, through direct experience of practice in multi-disciplinary studio-based working.
  • A culture of independent thought and directional ideas, encouraging individual choice and the production of critically informed fashion practice.
  • Projects that make use of London as a diverse site for cultural exchange and exploration.
  • Live projects with briefings and critiques that create as professionally realistic an environment as possible for students; and that open up opportunities to further engage with and understand the industry, potentially leading to placements and employment.
  • Disciplinary engagement across the Faculty, providing opportunities for collaborative project work during study with amongst others, textiles, jewellery and product students.

The course philosophy embraces experiential learning and a self-reflective practice that will lead each student to an individual design approach and method. Through immersion in studio practice, students are encouraged and enabled to develop a practised understanding of their discipline, evolving approaches to working in collaboration with peers and through self-critique. Typically, students will devise and develop practical projects under staff guidance, gradually building up a reserve of sector-specific skills, testing and realising these skills against new ideas and their design potential. This approach ensures that the student is guided through their acquisition of technical competence, knowledge of critical practice and understanding of theory, and understands how to apply this, as the course progresses.

The course engages with national and London-based competitions and encourages students to extend these opportunities as extra-curricular activity, including collaborative publication and exhibition wherever possible. The fashion teaching team (including professional fashion designers, industry specialists, textile, accessories, jewellery and product designers) is well connected to major industry entities and figures, from brands to individual designers and have worked closely with important bodies such as the British Fashion Council, On/Off, the Fashion Scout and a variety of fashion specific annual exhibitions and trade fairs.

Teaching methods include: lectures, seminars, tutorials, live briefings, group formal critiques, workshops and studio practice. Every effort is made to make teaching as varied and student-centered as possible. The course is taught within the creative hub of Aldgate, Shoreditch and Brick Lane, and benefits from links with local design practitioners, suppliers, magazines and shops. Each year of study comprises of four year-long (30 weeks, 30 credit) modules in the areas of concept and realisation, subject-specific industry practice and cultural and contextual studies (including professional practice).

Lectures seek to provide a critically informed overview of a topic, to conceptualize and contextualize the subject and illustrate applied approaches. Lecture series will be from industry experts and based upon contemporary industry subject matter.

Workshops and practical teaching takes a variety of forms. The objective is to apply knowledge and/or acquire technical competence, to think critically and creatively, to master technique and to develop the capacity to work independently and in teams. Workshop and practical teaching will focus upon related fashion skills including pattern cutting, draping and 3D realisation, toile making, sewing, finishing techniques and related fashion skills such as fashion illustration, styling, photography, promotion etc. Opportunities will be available to students to develop skills specifically relevant to their project work, a specific brief, or a discipline collaborative project.

Studio practice enhances lectures, seminars, study visits, critiques, workshop activities, group and individual tutorials. Both projects and theoretical work offer opportunities for developing professional competency in presentation (including visual, spoken and text-based modes), using digital technologies, blogs, videos, photography and websites. Through a rich mix of teaching styles and learning contexts, the course seeks to foster in its students confidence as autonomous learners, promoting imagination and effectiveness of design practitioners in the making.

Project briefs develop from year to year in accordance with contemporary practice, furthering research interests and project opportunities in context of the School and Faculty ethos. Disciplinary skills are embedded at the beginning of the course, and are built upon each academic year. The body of work accumulated at Level 6 is significant, making up an academic portfolio that demonstrates the full range of attributes that are required for career development in creative practice and/ or for entry to MA level Course. Shared projects across courses &/or years enables opportunities for peer-to-peer learning to be maximised.

Critical and Contextual Studies run in parallel to the design and subject-specific industry practice modules. These modules focus upon transferable graduate skills in the field of academic scholarship and writing as well as aspects of professional practice. As part of their professional profile, students need to be able to retrieve, analyse, interpret, articulate and structure information and knowledge for different purposes and audiences. These modules frame key skills of research within the specific context of design history and theory, taking into account the practice requirements of the industry, its professional, legal, ethical and institutional contexts. Intensive blocks of learning in seminar and lecture presentations, alongside site visits, image analysis, case studies, and workshops, aid acquisition of skills in presentation, visual and textual analysis and representation.

The course’s use of virtual learning supports students on day-to-day and project work in progress, enhancing the studio environment through a blended learning approach. Blended learning encourages students to form learning communities, whilst providing a personal reflective space, offering a knowledge portal that supports research-banks and studio sessions, exercises and lecture notes.

Course aims

The aims of this course are aligned with the qualification descriptors within the Quality Assurance Agency’s Framework for Higher Education Qualifications. The course aims to:

1. Deliver a high quality education in fashion that will ensure graduates are knowledgeable, creative, technically able and work-ready

2. Foster critical understanding of and creative approaches to the cultural, technological and economic factors surrounding the professional practice of fashion for luxury, ready-to-wear and/or high street fashion markets

3. Foster self-reliance and openness to professional development, ensuring individual practice that is accurately positioned in relation to current economic, ethical, cultural, environmental, material, global needs

4. Develop confident entrepreneurial, promotional and presentational skills, encouraging multidisciplinary approaches and critical thought

5. Develop curiosity, independent enquiry and capacity to reason, critique and reflect upon practice through an integrated approach to practice and theory, research and analysis

6. Through working intimately with materials and making/ production, enable skills for professional practice including subject knowledge, efficiency, confidence and autonomy relevant to individual interests, creative ambitions and sector conditions.

Course learning outcomes

On completion of this course, students will be able to:

Knowledge and Understanding

1. Describe, understand and explore the intellectual and practical process of creative practice in fashion and the broader academic debates in related fields such as textiles, product and accessory design

2. Recognise how trends in fashion and developments or constraints in manufacturing processes and technologies influence each other and apply this knowledge to practice

3. Apply self-critical, investigative and evaluative practice, understand the contemporary and historical framework associated with fashion to enable insight while developing an individual perspective and approach

Cognitive Intellectual Skills

4. Observe, investigate and synthesise complex visual and material effects towards the production of creative material solutions

5. Utilise disciplinary experimentation to challenge consumer perception of contemporary fashion design and related industries, bringing new ideas to market reception

6. Take responsibility for the content and signature of individual creative practice within professional and commercial contexts, demonstrating ethical sensitivity and a reflexive, innovative personal approach as a professional fashion designer

Transferable Skills

7. Competently apply individual critical, practical and creative strengths to self-promotion in order to professionally articulate practice intent visually, textually and orally

8. Respond to a defined industry brief and its constraints (including technological and aesthetic considerations), utilising creative opportunities towards professional project realisation

9. Work professionally and effectively with others through collaboration and negotiation, in a variety of roles, as sole practitioner and within a multi-disciplinary team

Subject-Specific Practical Skills

10. Employ the necessary skills to select appropriate materials and processes suitable for the realisation of creative intent, taking into account specific aesthetic and material characteristics through processes such as pattern cutting, draping, modelling, toile making and garment realisation, fashion photography,

illustration and styling

11. Realise specialist applications for resolved fashion collections, from construction, detailing and communication appropriate to functionality.

12. Apply knowledge of the fashion industry and the commercial contexts to effective career planning, strategically placing your work within the clearly defined markets, price-point and product categories uniquely defined in the fashion industry.

Principle QAA benchmark statements

Subject Benchmark Statement; Art & Design

Assessment strategy

The course deploys a range of formative and summative assessment methods, including peer appraisal and individual reflective practices throughout studio based work and personal projects. These evaluative achievements are evidenced through coursework and demonstrated within presentations, seminars and portfolio reviews, to accommodate differing learning styles. Each assessment (formative and summative) seeks to build students’ confidence as independent learners, providing pertinent advice for all aspects of learning. Students are guaranteed a consistent approach to assessment and feedback across the years and Faculty to ensure they have a secure grasp of their progress.

The course team provides ongoing opportunities for scheduled tutorial ‘drop in’ sessions and the course’s virtual learning environment offers students opportunities to discuss (with tutors and peers) their assessment strategies. Further support is available via personal academic advisors, Library Services, University Student Services and the Centre for Learning and Teaching.

Organised work experience, work based learning, sandwich year or year abroad

Employability skills are integrated throughout the course. During their final year, students are expected to work independently towards completion of a professional quality portfolio of project development and outcomes, culminating in exhibition of these in the annual graduate show. Level 6 students especially, are encouraged to develop entrepreneurial opportunities during the course and apply for and participate in subject-specialist work placements as well as gain professional experience appropriate to their discipline throughout the course.

Industry competitions, work placements and industry experience through live briefs are an integral part of becoming a practitioner and give undergraduates the opportunity to experience and participate in creative problem solving whilst working in teams with others. Experience of real working environments supports the emphasis of professional standards and undoubtedly increases confidence and currency of fashion skills. In addition, the course has collaborative links with the creative industries directly through visiting professional designer/makers/industry specialists who regularly teach and mentor throughout the programme. These live projects, critiques, reviews, exhibitions and fashion design and illustration competitions particularly foster understanding of professional demands and attributes.

Work-related learning is an integrated and mandatory part of the course, with at least 70 hours working on live projects for real organisations delivered through placement, live briefs and real entrepreneurial activities built into the course. The level six module ‘Exhibition Practice’ is designated as the placement or work-related learning module. Students will experience a competitive recruitment process or pitching for opportunities, and they will be required to reflect on their experience of the project and undertake forward career action planning.

Course specific regulations

ACADEMIC PROGRESSION: As a condition of progressing from level 4 to 5 and level 5 to 6, students are required to have gained 120 credits per level, that is, by achieving pass marks (40%) in all four modules in the preceding level of study.

Part-time study is defined as 60 credits per year. Consequently, in part-time mode, the duration of study for a 360-credit degree will be 6 years. The pattern of study in this instance shall be as follows:

Year 1: 3D Design Principles, Workshop Practice
Year 2: Critical and Contextual Studies 1(3D) , 3D Visual Research and Communication
Year 3: Design Resolution, 3D Design
Year 4: Critical and Contextual Studies 2 (3D), Making Matters
Year 5: 3D Project Design and Development, Major Project Realisation: Fashion
Year 6: Critical and Contextual Studies 3: Dissertation (3D), Exhibition Practice

Career opportunities

If you want a career in fashion or you’re keen to undertake a Fashion MA, this is the perfect degree for you. Designed to help widen your opportunities and skill set and advance your career in fashion, the course focuses on the professional presentation of project ideas. From the first year of study, you’ll develop your knowledge and understanding of the industry whilst working on real-world creative briefs set by professional design bodies. You’ll also have the opportunity to enter designated professional competitions, undertake consultancy commissions and research projects, and take part in London and Paris fashion week – all of which will enhance and develop your future career prospects.

Following graduation, you could enter any number of roles – from working for a well-known brand at a junior level to becoming a freelance designer, or even setting up your own label. Other career paths include becoming a retail buyer, stylist, technologist, fashion writer or design journalist.

Entry requirements

In addition to the University's standard entry requirements, you will normally be expected to obtain:

  • a minimum of grades BBC in three A levels in relevant subjects from the arts, humanities and social sciences (or a minimum of 112 UCAS points from an equivalent Level 3 qualification in relevant art and design subjects)
  • English Language GCSE at grade C (grade 4 from 2017) or above (or equivalent)

We encourage applications from International/EU students with equivalent qualifications and also accept mature students with diverse backgrounds and experiences.

Suitable applicants living in the UK will be invited to a portfolio interview.

Applicants living outside the UK will be required to submit a portfolio of work via email.

If you do not have traditional qualifications or cannot meet the entry requirements for this undergraduate degree, you may still be able to gain entry by completing the Fashion and Textiles Extended Degree (with Foundation Year).

All applicants must be able to demonstrate proficiency in the English language. Applicants who require a Tier 4 student visa may need to provide a Secure English Language Test (SELT) such as Academic IELTS. For more information about English qualifications please see our English language requirements.

Official use and codes

Approved to run from 2014/15 Specification version 1 Specification status Validated
Original validation date 24 Jun 2014 Last validation date 24 Jun 2014  
JACS codes W200 (Design Studies): 100%
Route code FSHION

Course Structure

Stage 1 Level 04 September start Offered

Code Module title Info Type Credits Location Period Day Time
CP4011 Critical & Contextual Studies 1 (3D) Core 30 CITY AUT+SPR TUE AM
DN4005 Workshop Practice Core 30 CITY AUT+SPR MON PM
DN4006 3D Design Principles Core 30 CITY AUT+SPR MON PM
DN4007 3D Visual Research and Communication Core 30 CITY AUT+SPR MON AM

Stage 2 Level 05 September start Offered

Code Module title Info Type Credits Location Period Day Time
CP5011 Critical & Contextual Studies 2 (3D) Core 30 CITY AUT+SPR THU AM
DN5006 Design Resolution Core 30 CITY AUT+SPR TUE PM
DN5011 3D Design Core 30 CITY AUT+SPR TUE PM
DN5021 Materials, Technology and Markets Core 30 CITY AUT+SPR THU PM

Stage 3 Level 06 September start Offered

Code Module title Info Type Credits Location Period Day Time
CP6011 Critical & Contextual Studies 3: Dissertation (3D) Core 30 CITY AUT+SPR WED AM
DN6013 3D Project Design & Development Core 30 CITY AUT+SPR FRI PM
DN6014 Major Project Realisation: Fashion Core 30 CITY AUT+SPR TUE AM
DN6035 World of Work Core 30 CITY AUT+SPR TUE AM