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BA (Hons) Fashion

BA (Hons) Fashion

Institution code: N39
Course UCAS code: W233
Course length: 3 years

Do you see yourself as a future fashion designer? Our BA (Hons) Fashion degree course will equip you with the design and manufacturing skills to enter and excel in the contemporary fashion industry.

Throughout this stimulating undergraduate fashion course, you’ll push your creative boundaries and build your own design aesthetic and fashion identity. A focus on industry is embedded throughout the degree and is recognised through our Creative Skillset accreditation.

Your fashion skills

With a focus on developing an innovative approach to fashion design, underpinned by a thorough understanding of historical and contemporary trends in fashion, you’ll acquire a valuable range of technical skills in design development and planning, pattern cutting, garment construction and tailoring.

Your strong research and technical skills and extensive knowledge of the fashion industry, as well as the quality of your designs and manufactured garments, will help you build an enviable profile on which to establish your career. We’ll support you in building a professional portfolio – one of your most powerful assets as a designer to give employers an insight into your talents and design aesthetic.

Your fashion future

In our creative and buzzing studio-based environment and well-equipped workshops managed by expert technical staff, you’ll find the space and specialist resources to develop your original ideas and perfect practical skills like pattern cutting, draping and moulage, digital design and drawing.

You’ll participate in competitions and live projects involving major companies such as John Lewis and Hobbs and take your understanding of fashion to a professional level through seminars and workshops run by guests from brands like All Saints and Viktor & Rolf.

In the final year of your degree you’ll have the chance to participate in major showcases and public events, including Graduate Fashion Week in London.

Graduates work in a broad range of careers including

  • Freelance Designer
  • In-House Designer
  • Bespoke Tailor
  • Creative Pattern Cutter
  • Buyer
  • Design Consultant
  • Fashion Illustrator
  • Garment Technologist
  • Visual Merchandiser
  • Fashion Stylist

You’ll also get specialist creative careers advice from our Careers Team in the Ideas FactoryNUA to help support you as you plan your career.

Norwich University of the Arts at Graduate Fashion Week

Accredited by:

Creative Skillset Accredited Course

Course content

  • Year 1
  • Build a technical skill base in pattern cutting, fabric development and manufacturing to produce fully-realised 3D garments
  • Develop skills in sourcing and compiling visual research
  • Engage with contemporary and historical industry topics and themes from lectures and seminars
  • Explore professional ways of communicating ideas and outcomes, and essential digital skills
  • Work collaboratively alongside Year Three students, assisting with their final collections and NUA fashion catwalk show at Graduate Fashion Week.
  • Year 2
  • Focus on expanding and refining fundamental skills and developing a personal design practice
  • Advance pattern cutting and manufacturing skills
  • Enhance your fabric development skills through an applied textile project
  • Develop a strong industry awareness to formulate your own career trajectory
  • Explore working in a team and developing a creative role through course and university-wide collaborative projects.
  • Year 3
  • Determine your creative direction in the final major project brief by designing your own collection or developing your own fashion-related project
  • Develop strong conceptual and practical skills through extensive research, design development and original pattern cutting and craftsmanship
  • Take part in industry projects including briefs from Graduate Fashion Week and the British Fashion Council
  • Articulate a professional fashion profile through industry-ready portfolio presentation sheets, CV writing and interview practice
  • Write a Research Report on a topic broadly related to fashion and your practice.
Visit the Degree Show website #Disrupt

Typical UK offers

A / AS Levels – GCE
GCE A/AS Levels 3 A-level qualifications at grades BBB, at least one of which must be in an art, design or media related subject. Where candidates are not taking 3 A-levels, NUA will consider combinations of A-level/AS-level and other Level 3 qualifications.

BTEC Extended Diploma (QCF or RQF)
Distinction, Merit, Merit in an art, design or media related subject

BTEC Diploma (QCF or RQF)
Distinction*, Distinction* in an art, design or media related subject

UAL Extended Diploma

UAL Level 3 Foundation Diploma in Art and Design

UAL Level 4 Foundation Diploma in Art and Design

Foundation Diploma in Art and Design

Access to Higher Education Diploma (Art and Design)

International Baccalaureate Diploma
A minimum of 32 points

NUA welcomes applicants of all ages from all backgrounds. Your application will be primarily assessed through interview and portfolio review so even if you have no formal qualifications or do not meet our typical offers it can still be worth applying.

If you are studying at the time of your application and your interview is successful, it is likely that you will receive a conditional offer.

If the qualification that you are studying is not shown, do not worry as we are able to accept other pre-entry qualifications as well as combinations of different qualifications. Please do contact our Student Recruitment Team if you have any queries.

International applications

We accept qualifications from all over the world, to find our entry requirements from a specific country, please check our dedicated international pages.

Most international students are required to hold an English language qualification. Applicants are required to have a minimum UKVI approved IELTS exam score of 6.0 overall, with a minimum of 5.5 in each section. Equivalent English language qualifications are acceptable such as, IB English language syllabus A or B/English Literature (Grade 4).

You can email us on international@nua.ac.uk if you’d like to discuss your application individually.

BA (Hons) Fashion degree course portfolio guidance

Your interview

After you apply to study BA Fashion at NUA we’ll invite you to an interview on campus or by skype or telephone, depending on your circumstance.

If you apply by the UCAS deadline of 15 January your interview will usually take place in February. We’ll ask you to prepare your portfolio ready to bring with you or submit online ahead of your interview.

Read our tips for interviews at NUA.

Your portfolio

This is your chance to show us what you’re all about. Choose pieces that reflect your creativity and personal interests, as well as demonstrating your technical skills.

How much work should I include?

Choose at least two projects that show the steps you took to develop an idea. This might mean you include experiments, drafts or variations that demonstrate the progression of a project from the earliest stages through to completion. Don’t worry if they’re not perfect drawings, paintings or renderings – we want to understand how you think during the creative process.

What type of work should I include?

Finished projects that you’re excited about! Remember, we’re interested in you. What motivates your choice in discipline? What shapes your creative identity? You can submit assessed projects and coursework, but we recommend including independent work where possible. Self-initiated projects showcase your ability to generate ideas and tell us more about you and your ambition.

Things to consider

Take your time choosing pieces for your portfolio

You should be confident and passionate talking about each piece. You may not be able to talk us through everything in your portfolio at the interview, so be sure to present the work in a logical way. Choose a layout that tells the story of each project and use a structure that gives a full picture of your creative practice.

Show us the full range of your creative experience and interests

Tell us about contemporary creatives that have influenced your practice. Exhibitions, shows or festivals that have inspired you or influenced your work. Competitions you’ve entered and prizes you’ve won. If you can, avoid too much repetition in style and subject matter.

Your portfolio should be relevant to the course you’re applying to, but you can include a wide range of work that shows your creativity, technical competence and understanding of space.

You may wish to include some of the following:

  • Drawings, paintings and illustrations that demonstrate your skills, including life drawings, still life and images drawn from observations or from imagination
  • Work that demonstrates an understanding of thinking and working in 3D – this can include garments, textiles, accessories, sculpture or product design
  • Garment designs that demonstrate awareness of the body at all angles, not just front and back
  • Evidence of cutting skills or garment construction techniques
  • Mood boards
  • Work created using Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator or fashion design suites
  • Photography (personal and collaborative)
  • Accessory, jewellery and shoe design
  • Examples of experimental and constructive uses of fabric, colour, shape and styles

Hardcopy portfolios

  • If you’re only submitting hardcopy materials you should aim to submit 20-30 pieces. Portfolios should be ring bound or loose boards between A4 and A1 in size.
  • Include 2-3 sketchbooks with the portfolio to demonstrate idea development, contextualisation and your work strategies.
  • Large, intricate or fragile pieces should be shown as good quality photographs.
  • If you’re submitting a showreel you should also present 10-15 images of other work (see digital portfolios guidance below).
  • Labels should be discreet, neat and used in a consistent manner for clear navigation.
  • Ensure your name is on the portfolio.

Digital portfolios

  • Include up to 30 images, including images from sketchbooks, research, experimental work and finished pieces.
  • If you’re presenting a showreel, your work should be no longer than five minutes, but you can include 10-15 accompanying images.
  • Ensure photographs and scans are in focus and in large enough format to see clearly.
  • Digital work should be presented on an online platform such as your own website, Tumblr, Flickr, Prezi, MeMyArt, YouTube, Vimeo or a personal blog. The link should then be submitted through the Applicant Portal or by emailing the relevant address below.
  • Ensure your digital portfolio is accessible before you arrive for interview, as your interviewer will load it in advance of the interview.
  • UK and EU applicants should send their link to admissions@nua.ac.uk
  • Non-EU and EEA applicants should send their link to international@nua.ac.uk

Written submission

As part of your offer you may be asked to submit a piece of written work in addition to your application, usually after your interview.

Typically an essay, report or completed log of between 500 and 1,000 words, your submission should demonstrate your ability to think critically, make informed analysis and communicate confidently in a subject area related to your proposed course of study.       

“In portfolios it’s about seeing an engagement, looking at colour, being inspired, even looking outside the remit of fashion. Above all else it’s about enthusiasm.”

– Sue Chowles, Course Leader

Fees and Funding

The cost of your course is determined by your status as either ‘UK/EU’ or ‘International’, so it’s important to check your fee status. If you’re unsure, the UKCISA website will help you determine whether you’re eligible to pay a UK/EU fee (also called a ‘home’ fee). If you’d prefer to speak to NUA directly, please contact student.finance@nua.ac.uk

UK/EU students are eligible for a tuition fee loan from the UK government, meaning you won’t have to pay your fees up front. Further details about tuition fee loans are provided below. International students are not eligible for the UK government tuition fee loan.

2018/19 Tuition Fees For New Entrants

Citizen status



UK/EU nationality

Undergraduate degree (full-time three and four year degree)


International (non-EU)

Undergraduate degree (full-time three and four year degree)


Fees will remain the same for each year of your course. 

International students

Find out more about 2018 fees for international students and the support available.

Financial support for UK/EU students in 2018

Tuition fee loans and loans for living costs are available, as well as non-repayable NUA bursaries that take into account family income. Find how to apply for funding.

Tuition Fee Loan for Undergraduate study

Tuition fee loans are available for UK and EU students.

  • Available to cover the full cost of your tuition
  • You don’t have to pay for your course up front yourself
  • Only start paying back when you are earning over £25,000 per year

Maintenance Loan for Undergraduate study – 2018/19

Student Maintenance Loans are available for UK and eligible EU students to help with living costs such as accommodation, food, clothes, travel and course expenses. The amount students receive is dependent on household income and any maintenance grant received.

  • A loan of up to £8,700 may be available if you live away from home.
  • A loan of up to £7,324 may be available if you live with your parents.

How can you find out more?

To learn more about loans, repayment calculations and other financial support, visit Student Finance. If you have any questions about fees, please email student.finance@nua.ac.uk


Find out about scholarship programmes available to NUA applicants.


NUA offers bursaries to new students whose household income is £42,875 or less.

NUA alumni, staff and feeder staff discount

All NUA alumni are eligible for a £1,000 discount on NUA postgraduate degree fees. All NUA staff and staff from feeder institutions are eligible for a £500 discount on NUA postgraduate degree fees.


portrait photo of alum Mary Sinclair sitting at desk and smiling at camera with hands resting on desk and open sketchbook with short swept hair and a long floral scarf and a long denim top

Mary Sinclair

"Studying Fashion at NUA is one of the best things I have ever done, I have met the most amazing people and learnt so much about the industry"

BA (Hons) Fashion

photo of alum Jerry Huang standing at design desk and smiling at camera with hands on fabric material and spiked black hair and thick black glasses and black long sleeved buttoned shirt in a room with a large board on the wall covered with design work

Jerry Huang

"There’s a huge sense of achievement when you perfect a design or a garment. I’ve learnt to refine my making skills and work more precisely. I want my work to reflect the professionalism of the industry"

BA (Hons) Fashion

photo of alum Siobhan O'Feeffe smiling at camera whilst working on clothing piece with tied up hair and blue Aztec pattern top

Siobhan O’Keeffe

"The tutors are so passionate and gave me real confidence in myself and my ability. I’m now a very confident designer and cutter as a result."

BA (Hon) Fashion

portrait photo of alum Chana Watson sitting at a desk, looking away from camera and smiling with tied back hair, glasses, a loose knit scarf and a long sleeved top

Chana Watson

"Seeing my work going down the catwalk at the NUA Fashion Show was an amazing feeling and what made it extra special was the fact that everything was so professional."

BA (Hons) Fashion


  • Laura Old

  • Laura Spinola

  • Sarah Brennand

  • Alexandra Wood (Visiting Lecturer)

    Bespoke tailor
  • Melanie Plank (Visiting Lecturer)

    Trend forecaster, Stylus

Need help? Chat to our friendly recruitment team

Book a place on an Open Day, or to find out more about how to apply for a course at NUA, please contact Lynne, Sam, Tom, or Tori:

Call: +44 (0) 1603 610561

Email: studentrecruitment@nua.ac.uk

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