BA (Hons) Fashion

The course

UCAS code
4 years
Scottish Borders
Delivery type

Our BA Fashion degree explores the creative process of fashion design, from initial research through to collection creation and production.


Got questions about this programme?

Contact our enquiries team.


Overview of Programme 

Our BA (Hons) Fashion degree focuses on developing your creative and intellectual capabilities to set you up for a career in Fashion Design across the broad industry, from luxury fashion houses, high street brands, and independent designers, creating anything from mass produced ready to wear, to custom haute couture pieces.  

You’ll gain the appropriate technical knowledge and business acumen to realise Fashion design ideas for the contemporary and future market place, and become aware of current influences and changing forces in design across the fashion design industry. You’ll develop a theoretical and practical understanding of pattern cutting and garment construction, which will allow you to develop your individual design style and ideas from drawings into finished garments. 

The programme explores a cross section of market sectors, ranging from high-street fashion to ready-to-wear, suitable for both UK and global markets. Undertaking internal and external projects as part of your learning journey will help you develop your own handwriting and shape your understanding of the worldwide fashion industry. These skills can ultimately open the door to incredible career opportunities in your chosen sector. 

You’ll explore fashion’s responsibility to work towards a more sustainable, ethical, and diverse future. Through briefs and projects, you’ll respond to these challenges currently being faced in the industry, and develop solutions to real-life scenarios. The Scottish Borders Campus is committed to support textile heritage, by working with many local and national industries to help ensure that traditional craftmanship will always have a place alongside contemporary.  

The programme offers specialised modules in fashion design, creation and related marketing and photography studies. You’ll develop the skills, techniques, and knowledge to create your own fashion collection in your final year, which will be unveiled during your Graduate Showcase. This will provide you a great opportunity to establish your style and skill and present this in front of industry, to help set you up for life after graduation.   

Our Expertise 

Your learning will be informed by our Fashion and Textiles faculty and staff, whose work covers many key areas including: 

  • Smart Nanotextiles – Nanofibres and Nanoyarns 
  • Fashion Technology  
  • Fashion Sustainability 
  • Design Innovation 
  • Printed Textile Design 
  • Medical Compression Design 
  • Textile and Apparel Supply Chain Management 
  • Brand Management and Marketing 
  • Garment Making and Pattern Cutting 

Your learning environment  

During your studies, you’ll benefit from our unique and purpose-built workshops and studies, providing you with a supported creative yet academic setting to study Fashion. 

You’ll have access to our fully equipped apparel workshops, spacious studies with blended use workspaces, technical workshops, and our premium Computer Aided Design (CAD) suites. The state-of-the-art industrial production equipment will enable you to develop your skills, whilst exploring and establishing your interest within the world of Fashion.  

At our highly creative and practical Scottish Borders Campus, located in the heart of Scotland’s luxury textile industry, you’ll be part of a diverse yet dedicated community of students studying Communication and Design, Constructed and Virtual Environments, Fashion and Textiles, and Textiles and Design. You’ll collaborate with students from your programme, and across the campus, to develop deep connections with your peers and set you up with an established industry network upon graduation.  

We appreciate all students are different, and the programme has been designed to be as inclusive and dynamic as possible.  

Outside of the classroom, you can join a range of societies at our Edinburgh Campus, including Art Society which provides a space to explore your creativity and meet people with similar interests, and the New Designers Society which provides support for 4th year students attending the New Designers Exhibition in London.  

Customise your learning 

You’ll follow a comprehensive course structure, learning topics including garment construction, photography, product development, fashion buying, tailoring, promotions and advertising and fashion design.  

You’ll have the opportunity to Go Global and study at Philadelphia University in USA, the National Institute of Design in India, Albstadt-Sigmaringen University in Germany, or ENSAIT in France.  

In your fourth year, you’ll produce a Fashion collection from concept to catwalk in response to your self-initiated design brief. You’ll be required to demonstrate your mastery of Fashion, by shaping concepts and ideas into a meaningful argument to reinforce the thinking behind the collection, and utilising appropriate production methods to create original garments.  

Teaching and Assessment  

Taught through a combination of lectures, tutorials, workshops, and site visits, you’ll get to know and build relationships with the teaching staff, academics, and technicians. You’ll be assessed by coursework, exams, and your fourth year Collection, and will receive support and feedback throughout the programme.  


We work closely with industry to ensure our course content is up-to-date and reflects the current and emerging needs of industry and employers. You’ll gain the right blend of knowledge, practical skills, and soft skills to set you up for life after graduation. 

We recognise the benefit of industry experience and encourage our students to work on projects with designers and fashion houses. Our students have previously worked on industry projects with companies including Louis Vuitton, Malton Young and Borland, and W.L Gore.  

Course content

Year 1

Get an introduction to your chosen course and take the first step towards a career in your chosen area of fashion. This broad common Level 1 for all Fashion, Communication, Marketing and Retailing students encourages you to research and develop individual strengths and skills in the analysis, evaluation and contextualisation in the contemporary fashion marketplace.

Semester 1

  • Rethinking Design 1: Discover and Define
  • Rethinking Design 2: Develop and Deliver

Semester Two 

  • Garment Construction
  • Introduction to Photography
  • Textiles 1

Year 2

Specialise in your chosen pathway and explore pattern design, creation and production in greater depth through traditional and non-traditional fashion methodologies. The courses also cover fashion illustration, fashion design, knitwear design and contextual studies, all of which will help you begin to develop your own unique style.

Semester 1

  • Tailoring & Innovation
Optional Courses 
  • Fashion Buying 
  • Fashion Film

Semester Two 

  • Fashion Product Development
  • Digital Technologies
  • Promotion & Advertising

Year 3

Work on cross-disciplinary projects and fashion industry collaborations through a combination of independent study, team working and external projects. You’ll also have opportunities to work across events and brand promotion — this external activity boosts your industry awareness and gives you first-hand knowledge that allows you to contextualise your work against the global fashion landscape.

Semester 1

  • Fashion Writing
  • Fashion Design & Make
  • Fashion Process and Presentation

Semester Two 

  • Critical & Contextual Studies 3
  • Diffusion Collection
  • Capsule Fashion Collection

Year 4

Consolidate your skills and explore your individuality through the initiation, development and completion of a contemporary fashion-led collection accompanied by a strong fashion design portfolio that really showcases your talent to employers.

Industry partnerships and sponsorships are available, allowing you to take advantage of talks and mentors from industry professionals. Previous collaborations include Johnsons of Elgin, W L Gore (technical and outerwear), Morton, Young and Boreland, and Halley Stevenson’s.

Semester 1

  • Collection Part 1
Optional Courses
  • Marketing Strategy for Design
  • CCS Essay

Semester Two 

  • Collection Part 2
  • Advanced Practice and Evaluation

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Entry requirements

Year 1

Standard entry requirements

  • Highers ABBB (including English)
  • A-Levels BCC
  • Int. Baccalaureate 29 points
  • BTEC DMM (in a relevant area)

Minimum entry requirements*

  • Highers BBBC (including English)
  • A-Levels BCC

* Minimum: under our Fair Access Policy, we will relax our standard entry requirements for some Scottish students depending on their circumstances. Our minimum requirements will apply if you:

  • live in an area within the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation lowest 20% (SIMD20), or
  • are care experienced.

We can also make exceptions for some Scottish students with grades above minimum but below standard. Read more about our Minimum and standard entry requirements

Year 2

  • HNC B in graded unit (in a relevant HNC)
  • BTEC DMM (in relevant subject)

Year 3

  • HND BB in graded unit (in relevant HND)

Additional information

The digital portfolio

Selection is by application and submission of a portfolio, which will demonstrate your aptitude to textiles through use of colour, texture, rhythmic pattern-making and a logical design process. The ability to produce observational work in the form of both controlled and gestural drawing, painting and relief work should also be shown.

Applicants are invited to submit a digital portfolio by Friday 23rd February 2024. Late submissions may be accepted, please contact for more information. If upon review of a portfolio it is deemed appropriate we will contact an applicant for interview.

Online portfolio feedback sessions with an academic will be offered following your submission.

What to include in your digital portfolio:

Your application must include a portfolio of 10 to 15 carefully curated pages in PDF format. Please ensure that the images used in your submission are high resolution and of good quality. These images should include examples of past work and must include evidence of the following:

Research and investigation:

To show the level of your engagement in visual investigation and research and how well you apply and integrate it within a design project. This could be through the medium of notetaking, sketches, photographs, painting, collages and so on.

Design development:

To show your ability to explore and develop ideas in a creative and critical way; and your level of skill and ability in the use of different visual methods and techniques to express development. We want you to show a strong evolution of your work and ideas.

Visual communication and presentation:

To clearly communicate and visually express a few of your most successful design projects from start to finish in a professional way.

English language requirements

  • If English is not your first language, you have to show that your English is good enough to succeed on your course. Please see our English language requirements.


Tuition fees for 2024 entry
Status* Scotland England / Wales / N Ireland / Rep of Ireland International**
Fee Paid by SAAS £9,250 £18,704

* Your residency 'status' is usually defined as the country where you have been ordinarily resident for the three years before the start of your course. Find out more about tuition fees.

** 'International' includes applicants from European Union countries who do not hold Pre-Settled or Settled status in UK. (This does not include students from the Republic of Ireland - see above). Read more about the application process for EU nationals.

Additional costs

You may incur additional costs in the course of your studies at Heriot-Watt over and above tuition fees in an academic year. Depending on your programme of study, these may include: protective equipment, field trips, professional memberships, studio fees, required course texts or other study resources.

Please note that there is an additional consumable fee, charged per year of study.

Scholarships and bursaries

Featured scholarships

Bursaries for students from England, Northern Ireland or Wales

In addition to government loans and grants towards the costs of fees and living costs, we are offering generous financial support to attract and support eligible undergraduate students from England, Northern Ireland or Wales:

  • Heriot-Watt University Bursary (up to £3,100 per year)
View details about the Heriot-Watt University Bursary

View our full range of undergraduate scholarships.