Costume and fashion choices have the ability to transport a production to certain time period, location or specific setting. Studying for a degree in costume design will allow you to explore the theoretical and practical elements of the discipline. You will come to understand the history of costume and costume design, as well as learning how to apply modern technologies, such as 2D and 3D design software, to the design and construction process.
Highlighted courses and degrees in Costume Design
An undergraduate degree in costume design will give you a foundation of knowledge in the area. You will study modules on the history of costume design, pattern cutting, menswear and women's wear, performance design and costume construction. These modules will develop your skills, preparing you for a variety of career options.
Your degree will be delivered through a mixture of modes. These will include lectures and seminars, as well as practical sessions. The costume department at your institution may work alongside other courses such as drama and theatre performance in order to provide opportunities to apply your practical skills to the creation of real costumes. You may also be given the chance to take part in a work placement module or year, allowing you to gain valuable work experience.
Depending on where you choose to study, you may be able to specialise towards the end of your degree. This specialisation can help to influence the area in which you choose to work after you have graduated. Common specialisations include:
If your degree requires you to write a dissertation, submit a final major research project, or take part in a final degree show, this will give you the opportunity to further explore a chosen area of costume design.
The accreditation of your degree will depend on where you choose to study. Different countries have different accreditation systems. Typically, you can expect to be awarded a Bachelor of Arts (BA), with some institutions awarding a Bachelor of Fine Art (BFA) or a Bachelor of Design (BDes).
Once you have graduated, your career might present you with opportunities to gain further professional or academic qualifications or certifications.
Generally, an undergraduate degree in costume design will take three to four years to complete. Foundation degrees, diplomas and certificates can last up to two years when studied full-time.
On successful completion of your degree, you can choose to either seek employment in your chosen area, or further your studies. Continuation of your studies could be in the form of a postgraduate degree, such as a masters or PhD, or a graduate diploma or certificate.
The entry requirements for a costume design degree will depend on your institution of choice. Some universities might require you to sit an entrance exam, where others may rely on previous exam results. Some universities may prefer you to have studied certain subjects, and others might consider previous relevant work experience.
It is common for art and design degree courses to require you to submit a portfolio of your previous work as part of your application. The institution will be able to provide you with more information about what to include and how to submit it.
You should check each institution to see what entry requirements they have for their costume design programmes.
If you do not meet the entry requirements you may want to consider a pathway course.
Tuition fees for international students are not fixed. This means that they can vary greatly from institution to institution. You should make sure that you are aware of how much your course will cost you.
You may be eligible for a scholarship or funding. This could be awarded by your institution, or by a separate funding body. For more information, visit our scholarships and funding section to read more about funding your studies.
Graduates of a costume design degree will find that there are many different career opportunities available to them. You might choose to work in a role directly related to your degree. This could include a costume maker for theatre, film and television, a costume director, tailor for menswear, a milliner, or a fashion designer.
You will have gained a range of transferable skills throughout your degree. These will be useful in the costume designing industry, as well as being applicable in other creative industries. Skills gained will include idea development, time management, independent working and effective communication.
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