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This course is validated by: Lancaster University

Contemporary Fashion BA (Hons) (Top Up)

Location: University Centre at Blackburn College
UCAS Code: W23Y
Code: IA3550B16
Fees: View fees and financial information
Validated by: Lancaster University
Study Mode: Full Time
Start Dates: september 2020
Term Dates: View term dates

This undergraduate programme in Contemporary Fashion is designed for those who have completed the FdA Contemporary Fashion at University Centre at Blackburn College. The course is designed to develop expertise in design and creativity whilst reflecting and responding to practice in the fashion industry. It focuses to explore a personal identity and developing the creative design process.  

We designed this Contemporary Fashion (Top Up) BA (Hons) course for enthusiastic, innovative and ambitious fashion designers. Set within the School of Art & Society, we emphasise creativity, concept generation and your personal development to help you become a unique designer. It focuses on exploring your personal style awareness and demonstrating creative practice.

From prior experience gained from the FdA level, you will demonstrate contemporary fashion design techniques, CAD, commercial and creative pattern cutting, alongside technical applications, artisan skills and craft. Engagement with the entire fashion processes is key, from the creation and expression of your initial design ideas through to your graduate collection, evolving as highly credible and accomplished designer/practitioner.

Our course numbers mean that you will be able to choose a particular area of interest, with personal directed support from your tutor. This approach is unique locally. With the support of our highly-qualified team, you will be able to identify the direction for your own particular career path.

What will I study?

You'll study four modules in order to complete your top-up programme. These have been designed to increase your studio practice skills, and subsequently increase your body of fashion work, whilst also completing an academic dissertation. 

In the Academic Dissertation module you'll have the opportunity to produce a body of written work focussing on an area that really interests you. This will start with the production of an initial dissertation proposal. You'll be encouraged to approach the dissertation in a creative and individual way. It may take the form of a visual notebook with annotations and supplementary text, an extended essay or case study, or may also include video and oral presentations.

All students take a total of 120 credits per level.

Level 6 Modules (all modules are mandatory) include:

  • Academic Dissertation
  • Studio Practice 1
  • Professional Practice
  • Studio Practice 2


Entry Requirements

In order to join this BA (Hons) Contmporary Fashion (Top Up) programme you will need to have successfully completed Contemporary Fashion Foundation Degree FdA with a pass grade. 

How will I be assessed?

Throughout the course you will be assessed through a variety of methods. These include: final practical solutions to both given and self-initiated briefs, journals and personal sketch books, technical files, documentations of processes using digital technologies, presentations, critiques and project pitches, written essays, a dissertation, Project proposals and schedules, project reports,  work-based projects, portfolios, evaluative statements, group presentations, projects, peer assessments and group asssessments 

Each module is formally assessed through, for example, examination, open-book test, individual and group presentation, essay, observation of practice, assessment of course work e.g. art portfolio, written report, reflective practice and portfolios of evidence.  This formal assessment will count towards your module mark and feedback is usually given within 3 weeks following the submission of your formal submission of work.

Additionally, some lecturers will provide informal feedback, for example, following an examination they may choose to work through the exam paper in a tutorial. It should be noted that feedback is part of the ongoing learning cycle which is not limited to written feedback. Other forms of feedback include one-to-one meetings with a personal tutor, dissertation and project supervision meetings, a lecturer responding to learner questions or responses during topic or situation discussions. 

Feedback is intended to help you learn and you are encouraged to discuss it with your module tutor.

Teaching and Learning

The learning environment and facilities could include lecture theatres, classrooms, technology suites, laboratories and workshops, library and skills labs, art and photography studios, small group and quiet zones. Learning methods will vary according to the programme of study but will include lectures and group tutorials. In addition, seminars, field trips, work placements, role play or scenario activities, laboratory and workshop practical, demonstrations, guest lectures, discussions and debates all contribute to the learning experience to support the acquisition of subject specific skills and knowledge and the development of transferable and employment related skills.

You should typically expect to have around 15 contact hours per week if you are studying full time.

In addition, you will have timetabled meetings with your personal tutor.  

You will be taught by an experienced teaching team whose expertise and knowledge are closely matched to the content of the modules on the course.  The team could include senior academics, professional practitioners with industry experience, demonstrators and technical officers.  You can learn more about our staff by visiting our staff profiles.


We endeavour to make timetables available one month before you start your course.  Please note that while we make every effort to ensure that timetables are as student-friendly as possible, scheduled teaching can take place on any day of the week.  Part-time classes are normally scheduled on one or two days per week. 

Overall Workload

You overall workload consists of class contact hours, around 15 hours of independent learning and assessment activity and any field trips which may take place.

Academic Support

We have a dedicated Student Engagement Team who will be able to provide support in the following areas;

  • Study Skills (including reading, note-taking and presentation skills)
  • Written English
  • Academic Writing (including referencing)
  • Research Skills
What can I do next?

Fashion is an international industry employing people in a variety of roles across the world. Career opportunities include working as a fashion designer, fashion design consultant, fashion illustrator, stylist working on fashion shoots or in imaging for the press and advertising, creative pattern cutter or garment manufacturer. Postgraduate study is also actively encouraged.

Supplementary Information

Download the Programme Specification for BA (Hons) Contemporary Fashion (Top Up). The Programme Specification will give you further information about the course structure, learning outcomes and detailed information about the assessment you can expect during the course.

Career Options

Fashion Designer

Fashion designers design clothing and fashion ranges. As a fashion designer, you could work in high fashion or designer ready-to-wear fashion. You could also work in high street fashion. You would often specialise in particular types of clothing - for example in men’s, children’s or sportswear. If you love being creative and you are passionate about fashion, this job could be perfect for you.

To be a fashion designer, you will need to have a good eye for colour and shape. You’ll need skills like pattern cutting and sewing. You’ll also need to able to spot trends.

You will usually need a relevant degree to do this job. A course that teaches both design and technical skills will give you the knowledge you need to work in the industry.

Job Opportunites in Lancashire

Costume Designer

As a costume designer, you would be responsible for the overall look of the clothes and costumes in theatre, film or television productions. As well as researching and designing costumes, you would often lead a team of people in the costume department. If you have knowledge of fashion and costume history, and want a creative job in film, TV or theatre, this could be ideal for you.

You will need to have excellent design skills, be organised and work to a budget. You’ll also need the ability to work under pressure to meet deadlines.

Many costume designers have a university qualification in costume design or fashion and start as a wardrobe assistant or costume maker. You could also get into this job through an advanced apprenticeship.

Job Opportunites in Lancashire

Retail Buyer

A retail buyer is responsible for selecting products to be sold in retail outlets. Most buyers specialise in one product type, for example, clothes, homewares or food and drink.

To be a buyer, you’ll need to be able to recognise future trends and work out what people might want. You’ll also need excellent communication skills and ability to work under pressure.

Many people in this job start out as an assistant buyer, then go on to become a trainee buyer or junior buyer. Most buyers have a degree in retail though it’s possible to start without a degree and work your way up.

Job Opportunites in Lancashire

Visual Merchandiser

If you love making things look good and like being creative, this could be perfect for you. Visual merchandisers (also known as window dressers or display assistants) use their design skills to help promote the image, products and services of retail businesses and other organisations. They create eye-catching product displays and store layouts and design to attract customers and encourage them to buy.

To become a visual merchandiser, you would usually either have a background in design or work your way up through the retail industry. You could also gain a higher education qualification in display or merchandising.

A visual merchandiser needs to have a high level of attention to detail. They also need to be able to work to deadlines. The ability to work well as part of a team is also important.

Job Opportunites in Lancashire

Fashion Design Assistant

If you've got creative flair and would like to work in fashion, this job could be ideal for you.

Fashion design assistants support designers by helping them create new materials, styles, colours and patterns for fashion brands and labels.

In this job you would need to have an eye for pattern and colour. You would need to manage your time well and prioritise your work. You should also know what's coming in and going out of fashion.

To get into this job you can work your way up through a company or take a higher education course before joining a fashion business. Getting work experience, paid or unpaid, is especially important for this job.

Job Opportunites in Lancashire