Costume Design and Construction is the process of designing and constructing bespoke sets of clothing for performers in theatre, film, TV and many other aspects of the entertainment and leisure industries. Costume designers and makers research, design, and source or construct these costumes for characters, fictional or historical, and for performers of many kinds. The art and craft of creating, delivering and maintaining this essential aspect of performance is the central focus of this course.
The course has a strongly vocational element which is embedded in the six professional practice modules (two of them in each of the first three years of the degree). In these, you work as part of a team delivering the costumes for a series of live projects working in collaboration with partner organisations and companies. This unique structure is central to the way we teach.
Grouped around this structure and supporting your learning in Years One and Two are a series of modules which will develop your research and design skills, your analytic and writing skills, and your construction and wardrobe management expertise.
In Year Three the preferences and choices available to you within the modules enable you to begin to specialise by working in greater depth on two or more of the variety of pathways that costume practice offers - perhaps millinery and head wear, or the design of costume for film, or historical cut and construction.
You can extend your knowledge of these chosen skills in your industry placement and in your Independent Research and Construction Project - as well as in the responsible key production roles as Designer, Supervisor or Specialist Maker. In Year Four, if you decide to undertake the honours year as many of our students do, the emphasis is on refining your chosen areas of future practice, using the Independent Professional Practice options to gain practical experience and make contacts in the wider world. Also in Year Four, the Creative Entrepreneurship module is designed to help you focus on developing clarity about your future employment options while proving your expertise and academic research skills through the honours study.
The modules listed are correct at time of posting (Mar 2017) but may differ slightly to those offered in 2018. Please check the website for any updates.
You can opt to study for an honours degree over four years or an ordinary degree over three years. You will complete a range of modules, as outlined, each year and a dissertation in Year Four. We offer the option of a part-time mode of study with considerable flexibility in adjusting the timing of how the modules can be studied.
Special Information for EU Applicants
The Scottish Government has confirmed that undergraduate EU students enrolling in the 2017/8 and 2018/9 academic years will be entitled to free tuition fees in Scotland for the duration of their course. Those assessed as eligible will remain so for the duration of their course. You must apply to the Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS) for funding. For guidance on eligibility and funding please visit the SAAS website.
- This practical, vocational course is unique in Scotland in that it blends the theory with practice.
- The course is highly respected within the theatre industry and graduates consistently gain employment on completion of the course.
- In Years One and Two, the first three weeks of each semester will require you to attend class around four days per week. You will also work on a four week live project each semester and spend approximately 30 hours per week on that. Your personal workload/tutorials theatre visits etc. will be fitted round class times and live projects. You will also carry out a live project in Year Three. In Year Four, you will be entirely in control of your choice of project and time management.
There is a formal professional placement in Year Three, but you will have opportunities to work with professional companies throughout your four years.
Introduction to Professional Practice as a Wardrobe Trainee/ Introduction to Garment Cutting and Construction/ Introduction to Visual Communication Skills/ Introduction to Research and Costume Design/ Introduction to Theatre Production/ Professional Practice as a Wardrobe Trainee
Introduction to Professional Practice as a Costume Assistant/ Professional Practice as a Costume Assistant/ Costume Design and Scenography/ Complementary Construction Skills/ Advanced Cut and Construction/ Career Management
Professional Practice in a Key Role 1/ Professional Practice in a Key Role 2/ Independent Research and Construction Project/ Industry Placement
Honours Study/ Creative Entrepreneurial project/ Plus options including: Independent Professional Practice: Work Experience/ Independent Professional Practice: Collaborative Project/ Independent Professional Project: Major Project
Irish Leaving Certificate:
H3, H3, H3, H3,
Eng/ His / Drama (or another theatre related subject) and preferably Art, Design or Textiles at Higher/ A Level/ or equivalent. English and Maths are required at Int2/National 5 or GCSE.
Applications welcomed from mature students with relevant qualifications/ experience.
Year 2 - HND Theatre Costume Interpretation or other relevant HND with CB in the graded units.
Candidates are required to submit an e-portfolio containing 10 images. There will be a 20 minute interview as part of the selection process and candidates are required to bring their general portfolio, two garments or costumes that they have made and complete a short design exercise for discussion.
IELTS 6.0 with no element below 5.5.
You will have developed to an industry entry level of competence, understanding and experience in the design and construction of costumes for performance. You will be able to progress in the cultural and creative industries. Job opportunities exist in the following areas: theatre, including opera and ballet; film; television; exhibition; corporate entertainment; advertising; arts and crafts; and online multi-media.
Ruth George, BA (Hons) Costume Design and Construction
Being naturally creative, art was my favourite subject at school and I knew that I wanted an artistic career of some sorts. After leaving school I went on to do a one year foundation art course at my local college which introduced me to costume design. Combining my love of sewing and creativity, I soon realised that this was the career route that I wished to pursue. On completing the course, I took a year out and spent itworking with local amateur dramatics groups to gain more experience in costume , but I wanted to pursue my studies further in this area. I was unsure whether I wanted to be a costume designer or a maker, but the course at QMU was unusual: it allowed me to study both design and construction together and was why I chose it.
I most enjoyed the teamwork aspect of the course. I not only worked with fellow costume students, but I also got to work with students on QMU's other performing arts courses as you work together to put on real shows. This gave me a taste of what I would face in the real world and developed my practical and teamwork skills in ways that a paper-based course would never have done. The lecturers were enthusiastic and very knowledgeable, although I did enjoy the latter years of the course too when learning became more independent.
In Year Three I went on two placements: working as a costume trainee on a film in Ireland and working in the hire department at Angels, a large well known costumier in London. In Year Four, I costumed a musical for the 'Bohemians Lyric Opera Company,' which was performed at the King's Theatre, Edinburgh. I also got myself a part-time job as a dresser at the King's Theatre and the Festival Theatre in Edinburgh, so I managed to gain lots of useful experience.
Since graduating I have done some costume making and dressing work for theatre and worked on two films. The first one as a costume trainee and the second as an assistant maker. The backstage and teamwork skills I developed at QMU gave me the confidence and ability to work in a professional theatre environment and instantly fit in, despite being newly qualified.
During my time at QMU I decided that my ultimate job would be as a costume cutter and maker and focused my studies to help me develop skills in this area. I was exceptionally lucky in getting my dream job so soon after graduating: an assistant maker on a film, costuming principal actors! The construction methods and sewing skills I learnt during my time at QMU were invaluable in enabling me to do this work.
I will soon be moving to London and hope to find some work either in theatre or film. Ideally I would love to do some further work in film and develop skills in this area.