BA (Hons) Costume Design and Construction

On this highly respected BA (Hons) in Costume Design and Construction course you will learn how to research, design and construct costumes for performers of many kinds.

At the heart of the vocational course are the professional practice modules where you will work as part of a team delivering the costumes for a series of live projects working in collaboration with partner organisations and companies.

You will graduate with the competence, understanding and experience that employers in this creative field are looking for.

Why QMU?

  • Covering many aspects of costume design and construction: This course teaches costume design, period costume construction and practical wardrobe supervision and management in parallel.
  • Professional links: We have very close links with employers in the theatre, TV and film industry.
  • Hands-on learning experiences: Discover your vocation through working on live, audience-facing projects.
  • Showcase your work: See your work celebrated in our students’ annual runway show.
  • Ranked highly in the UK: QMU is ranked 1st in Scotland and 9th in the UK for Drama in the Guardian University Guide 2024 and we are in the top 2 Scottish higher education institutions for overall satisfaction for courses in Drama (National Student Survey 2023).

ACTING AND PERFORMANCE SHOWREEL 2022 (Costume Construction and Design students work on these productions)

Costume Design and Construction - BA (Hons): The course in brief

Think of a dramatic performance that you loved and you can probably picture the characters’ costumes. Costume design and construction are vital when it comes to creating successful theatre, film and TV productions. It is a creative and challenging career: you need to know the theory and history of costume design, how to make costumes physically and how to manage the wardrobe of a live production.

On this course you will:

  • complete a number of professional practice modules in each year where you will work as part of a team delivering the costumes for a series of live projects working in collaboration with partner organisations and companies, taking responsible lead roles in Years Three and Four;
  • design and construct up to three individual period costumes-which are your personal property;
  • learn to create designs for three or more theoretical productions ranging from Shakespeare to TV crime drama; and
  • pursue a personal costume interest as research.

How will I be taught?


All students enroll onto the honours degree, but you can choose to exit with an ordinary degree after three years.

Teaching, learning and assessment

You will be taught in lectures, seminars and practical workshops. You will work in teams delivering the costumes for live productions with well-known companies.

Placement/work experience

We encourage students to get casual work in the Edinburgh theatres and of course in the Edinburgh Festival from their first year, as your Professional Practice Projects are concentrated into a six- week block per semester leaving time for gaining wider experience.

In Year Four, one third of your credits will be earned through one six-week OR two three-week periods of intensive work experience, selected by you to help build a stepping stone into your future career in the industry-gaining confidence and above all contacts. This is a fantastic way to extend your experience and build contacts in the costume area of your choice.


You will spend the majority of your costume construction time in our costume studio which is equipped with industrial sewing machines, overlockers, cutting tables and irons, as well as domestic Bernina Machines. We have a wide selection of mannequins and supply the required materials for all professional practice modules*. You will have access to the costume store that holds a range of period and modern costumes and accessories, and supports your work on live performances. Costume students also spend time in our art room when working on individual creative design projects.

*You will only need to supply the materials for personal projects.

Teaching staff, class sizes and timetables

You can read more about the teaching staff on this course at the bottom of this page. Please note that teaching staff is subject to change.

For more information, please also visit ‘How we teach and how you’ll learn’.

What will I learn each year?

Year One

You will:

  • complete one practical learning module as a wardrobe trainee where you will work as part of a team delivering the costumes for a series of live projects working in collaboration with partner organisations and companies;
  • develop your research and design skills, your analytic and writing skills, and your cut and construction skills; and
  • develop practical costume management and key backstage skills through production workshops.


  • Introduction to Theatre Production
    The Origins of Theatre
    Introduction to Wardrobe Practice (including
    Professional Practice)
    Introduction to Costume Design

Year Two

You will:

  • complete two practical learning modules as a wardrobe assistant on ‘Show work’ where you will work as part of a team creating and delivering the costumes for a series of live projects working in collaboration with partner organisations and companies; and
  • develop your research and design skills, your analytic and writing skills, and expand your construction techniques in the two 'Advanced' modules.


  • Advanced Costume Design
  • Advanced Costume Techniques
  • Professional Practice as a Wardrobe Assistant

Year Three

You will:

  • begin to specialize by working in greater depth on two or more of the range of pathways that costume practice offers, for example creative supervision or perhaps masks, puppets and soft props, or the design of costume for film, or historical cut and construction;
  • extend your knowledge of these chosen skills in your allocated lead roles as designer, cutter or supervisor on live projects and in your independent practice and research project; and
  • benefit from a range of elective module options available, for example you can broaden your knowledge of performing arts funding, study the history of scenography, find a placement for experiential learning – or follow up a personal costume passion in the Student Initiated Module.


  • Professional Practice in a Lead Role-Designer, Supervisor or Cutter
  • Practice Informed Research Project-Personal choice of research topic.
  • Creating in Context: Design Project for an Individual Theoretical Production
  • Theatre of Ideas – Introduction to European Theatre with a Costumed Live Presentation.
  • Plus one elective option

Year Four

You will:

  • refine your chosen areas of future practice, using the Creating Your Career module. This asks you to take individual responsibility for finding valuable work experience-and writing an in depth report on the experience itself, the industry context and how it may have informed and expanded your plans for a future in costume or related fields (prop making for example); and
  • be provided with the practical information for launching a freelance career in the industry through the Creative Enterprise in the Performing Arts module.


  • Honours study
  • Creative Enterprise in the Performing Arts
  • Creating your Career (Work-based Learning)
  • Plus one elective option

Option modules may include:

  • Experiential Learning
    Student Initiated Module
  • Directing ,Designing and Performance
  • Advanced Theatre Production
  • The Only Way is Ethics
  • Photography
  • Site Specific Performance
  • Cultural and Arts Funding
  • Theatre Archiving
  • Staging the 20th Century

NB The modules listed here are correct at time of posting (Feb 2024) but may differ slightly to those offered in 2025. Please check back here for any updates.


Everyone working in costume begins with a love of beautiful period garments, fantastical couture dresses, or amazing outfits created for stage and screen. If you are someone who has a passion for fabrics and loves to design and make your own creations this course can be the stepping-stone into an exciting, varied and even international career.

Graduates from the course can be found working in film, TV, opera, theatre and ballet. If you have watched Outlander, Strictly Come Dancing, The Crown, The Rings of Power, Good Omens, Scottish Ballet’s Nutcracker, or seen a big West End show at the Playhouse, you will have seen some of their work.
If you love the clothes of the past, you can find work in museums like the V and A or heritage organization’s like National Trust, or in making authentic period clothing for re-enactment.

Costume is central to every culture in the world and has many applications which you might not have even considered. The course will open your eyes to some of these opportunities.

Costume Design and Construction - BA (Hons): Entry requirements and application information

Entry requirements

Scottish Higher: Standard: BBBB, Minimum: BBCC

A Level: BCC

Irish Leaving Certificate: H2 H2 H3 H3

International Baccalaureate: 28 points

International: IELTS of 6.0 with no element lower than 5.5.

Required subjects: Two discursive subjects (ie Eng/Hist/Drama) required and one Performing Arts/Creative subject required at Higher/ A Level/or equivalent. English required and Maths preferred at Nat 5/ GCSE/ or equivalent. We can also accept National 5 Application of Maths or Lifeskills at the same grade.

Am I a Widening Access student?: We apply the minimum entry criteria to applicants who meet one or more contextual factor. To see if this would apply to you, please refer to the access and application page.

Mature/Access: Applications welcomed from mature students with relevant qualifications/experience.

Direct Entry: Not typically available

Other requirements

  • You may be asked to submit an e-portfolio containing a minimum of 14 images including any completed garments that you may have constructed photographed on a model.
  • Candidates will be asked to complete a short design exercise and invited to take part in a 20-minute phone interview where the candidate will be able to discuss their design and portfolio.

Other costs

  • The additional costs associated with placement travel and accommodation are the responsibility of the student. Students who receive SAAS funding may be able to claim for some of these expenses to be reimbursed.
  • The course provides materials and equipment for basic construction training and for all Professional Practice Projects.You will be required to bring a set of basic ‘Required Kit‘ - which includes a simple domestic sewing machine, sewing kit, art materials and a laptop or tablet (at the time of writing approximately £675). In addition, you will need to provide materials for your personal construction projects. It is likely that you might spend around a minimum of £100 for your Year One construction project and £200 in Year Two for your Advanced Construction projects. The final amount will depend on your design choices. Where appropriate we encourage the use of recycled and donated fabrics.



Disability/health conditions

If you have a disability, long-term physical or mental health condition, or learning disability, it should not stand in the way of your studying at QMU. However, if you are not sure whether your disability might be a barrier in your studies or in relation to the professional standards, please contact the disability service who will be able to have a conversation with you about reasonable adjustments and supports available to you.

Terms and Conditions

The delivery of this course is subject to the terms and conditions set out in our 2025/26 Entry Terms and Conditions (Undergraduate).

Awarding body


Specialist facilities film

Become your best you: study at QMU

Course Overview

4 years full-time
Start Date
September 2025
On campus at QMU
Study Abroad
School of Arts, Social Sciences and Management
Subject Area
SCQF Level

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