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FdA Specialist Make-up Design

Bristol Zoo Gardens remains open to students.

You will have private access to the zoo grounds during lectures, to carry out your observations and data collection, but as more animals are moved, this will gradually be carried out at the Wild Place Project. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Course Description

This intensive but engaging degree offers you a broad range of industry skills and knowledge to prepare you for entering the creative industries, working within Media Make-up, Hair, Wigs and Prosthetics for TV, Film, Fashion and Theatre. The degree includes practical skills development across diverse project themes, with embedded research, critical engagement and contextual studies.  

Designing make-up looks and concepts through fashion, period and contemporary styles for performances you will bring your ideas into reality. Character looks are created using prosthetics, special effects make-up techniques, and wig making and hairstyling. A range of technical and creative processes are embraced to develop you as a multi-skilled make-up artist and designer. There is the opportunity to display your final project work in a showcase/exhibition. You may progress to the BA (Hons) Specialist Make-up Design (top-up) year, to gain your honours degree.

Get Industry Ready

You will enhance your creative practice through art and media studies to support your individual designs. Your employability skills and professional practice are developed to industry standards. Industry-experienced lecturers, trips (at an additional cost) and work experience opportunities offer contemporary industry awareness. Your final major project leads to an exhibition and showcase opportunity to present your professional portfolio.

Studying at University Centre WISE

You will have access to fully equipped make-up studios and workshop spaces at our University Centre WISE campus.  This area has been specifically designed for degree students and provides professional facilities to work on projects. You may also access other facilities such as digital design studios, 3D workshops and design suites. Our University Centre WISE (UCWISE) campus provides essential materials, tools and facilities for modules. However, you will be required to purchase a kit of personal tools and equipment to support your studies (costs and specifications will be shared with students before enrolment). You will have the ability to work competently within make-up studios to enhance your practical skills and develop module projects; through tutor-guided development, individual and collaborative work.  In addition, there will be opportunities for you to engage with industry through work experience, guest speakers, and attendance at industry events.

"An amazing course"

"An amazing course that offers an insight into a range of areas within the makeup industry and in great detail, as well as outstanding support available through my Disability Student Allowance (DSA). My experience over the last 3 years is something I will never forget which ended with a 1st class degree result."

FdA Specialist Make-up Design
Study Modules
Media Make-up and Hair Design

This module introduces you to the fundamentals of Media Make-up and Hair design and application. The module involves theory and practical, and you will engage in a series of projects that challenge your skills development and understanding concerning the function, purpose and form of Media Make-up and Hair design. Assessment will be through production of a portfolio of design investigations and preparation of practical make-up and hair designs, and realisation of designs to create practical make-up and hair looks. Make-up and hair themes will range across design and application techniques for TV, Film and Theatre contexts. Key techniques will be developed via practical workshops, and independent study to develop essential skills, realising contemporary to period styles, casualty and character designs. You will learn to identify and evaluate use of appropriate media, products and contexts for your designs.

100% Coursework: Individual, portfolio

Fashion, Editorial and Body Art

This module will allow you to develop fundamental skills, knowledge, and understanding to create a variety of make-up looks appropriate to Fashion, Editorial and Body Art. Your projects will emphasise the use of design work as a tool for investigation and method to realise outcomes. Projects will range across fashion and photographic to commercial make-up and hair styles, creating total looks appropriate to Editorial and High Fashion contexts as well as Body Art techniques. You will gain understanding of factors such as lighting and photographic environments to identify the importance of the journey from design to realisation of styles, and of fulfilling the design brief for commercial clients through product choice and application methods.

100% Coursework: Individual, portfolio

Creative Practice

This module explores your creative practice to develop your skills, creativity and critical thought processes to design work to complement make-up and design tasks. The module will introduce you to a variety of drawing and design techniques including life drawing and using mixed media. You will also be trained in using effective design communication processes to fulfil the design brief. Your creative skills and design confidence will be developed through a series of projects using drawing and design as investigation of personal ideas. You will learn to link your creative practice to make-up and design processes, in developing appropriate industry standards as visual communication.

100% Portfolio

Digital Media and Portfolio Building

The emphasis of this module will be the use of digital media in relation to the Make-up Industry and wider use across Design practice. You will be able to explore visual information and contemporary contexts, use digital media tools to visually communicate ideas, and relate such investigations to industry uses.? Digital and Social Media contexts will be explored in establishing an online presence and the impact this media has upon current practice and business development within industry today. The practical work will be delivered through projects during which you will be introduced to strategies for processing their ideas using digital technology. You will engage in studio workshops to learn key skills and knowledge to establish digital portfolios and blogs/websites that will be used throughout the duration of the course to develop professional portfolios.

100%? Coursework: Individual, portfolio

Studio Practice: Freelance Practitioner

The emphasis of this module will be on gaining insight into the roles and responsibilities of the Make-up Artist and professional practice expected across the creative industries. You will gain an understanding of Freelance employment contexts, of networking methods and of maintaining business contacts and entering freelance employment. You will learn about the variety and contexts of roles, studio practice and professional ethics within the media industry to inform the development of your career aspirations.

60% Coursework: Individual, portfolio

40% Coursework: Individual, standard written

Contextual Studies

This module will emphasise the context in which make-up and practical skills require associated underpinning knowledge, and understanding of related topics, as part of the role as a Make-up Artist and creative practitioner. This module will provide the theoretical and contextual awareness to complement the practical content of other modules. Your exploration of creative and critical thinking to identify strengths and weaknesses and to develop independent thinking and learning will support independent study aims across other modules.

60% Portfolio

40% Coursework: Individual, standard written

Advanced Media Make-up

This module offers you advanced make-up techniques learning, opportunities and skills development working towards industry level. Projects will explore a variety of looks and techniques used to realise this higher level of skill in specialist make-up application. This module forms essential skills development in progressing you towards employment opportunities. You will engage in advanced technical skills development with embedded theoretical study, working towards final practical outcomes. You will also work independently on your chosen specialism across fashion, editorial, TV, film or theatre.

100% Coursework: Individual, portfolio

Major Design Project and Showcase

The theme of this module is the advanced application of Make-up and Hair design across Media, Special Effects and Theatrical contexts, as recognition of skills and knowledge developed during the course. You will undertake an extended project relevant to the individual's vocational or educational aspirations. This module marks the culmination of your technical and ideological development on the course and you will produce a major design project. An additional aim is to allow you to prepare for either exit from the course with a Foundation degree to seek employment in the creative industries, or to plan progression to BA (Hons) degree level, which you can do by undertaking a Level 6 programme such as the one offered by SGS College. All students will participate in a 15 hour work experience placement as part of this module.

50% Coursework: Individual, portfolio

50% Practical Exam: display, show or performance

Historical Contextual Studies

This module will give you the opportunity to research hair, make-up and fashion styles across the wider historical timeline and a further investigation in depth research assignment within a chosen period in time. You will explore how hairdressing, make-up and fashion are related and how they have been developed over time by internal and external forces, including social and economic influences. An important aspect of make-up design is the understanding of various period styles, to be able to create accurate (or interpreted) historical looks for productions. Working as a Make-up Designer involves research and design duties in liaison with other key roles such as Production Designers, Directors, Photographers, etc, to create suitable Period looks. You will need to know how to approach research, use relevant methods, to source valid evidence according to the era, brief and contexts required for design.

50% Coursework: Individual, portfolio

50% Coursework: Individual, standard written

Creative Practice for Media and Prosthetic Make-up

This module develops your creative practice, building upon your design ethos from level 4 to advance your visual communication skills to further your 2D and 3D design applications. You will explore a range of design methods to recognise professional levels of presentation in varied formats. Linking with the Prosthetic hybrid project in MM503 specifically, you will develop your design planning for that project within this module and create a portfolio of experimentation and development of a range of design ideas. The module is delivered by multiple tutors to access a range of experiences to develop your own design ethos and experience of techniques. You will engage in a series of workshops both onsite and online across the module to develop key skills. Progress is supported through various tutor feedback conversations during module delivery.

70% Coursework: Individual, portfolio

30% Coursework: Individual, presentation

Prosthetics and Special Effects Make-up Design

The emphasis of this module is the advanced skill learning of techniques and processes used within the specialist area of Prosthetics and Special Effects Make-up. You will be introduced to industry relevant products and processes and various professional techniques and design ideas will be explored, in developing this higher level of make-up techniques appropriate to level 5. Topics such as face casting, mould making, sculpting and casting techniques will be studied, in addition to application of special effects and prosthetics make up. Character make-up of your own negotiated design will be created for assessment, demonstrating techniques of creating and applying own made prosthetics.

60% Coursework: Individual, portfolio

40% Practical Assessment: In-class

Hairstyling, Wigs and Facial Postiche

This module introduces wig and facial hair (postiche) making techniques, with development of fundamental wig and hairdressing key skills and knowledge required for commencing employment as an industry Hair and Media Make-up Artist. You will be encouraged to develop more advanced hairstyling techniques, building upon key skills and knowledge learnt at level 4 study. Your individual designs will be developed according to production requirements and your own creative choices. Delivered through practical workshops, you will develop your body of work and portfolio during this module. Design briefs will be set within themes to develop wig and facial postiche designs and practical outcomes.

50% Coursework: Individual, portfolio

50% Coursework: Individual, standard, portfolio

There are no modules at this level.
Course Video
Ruth Mitchell
Subject Area Lead (Creative Industries) and Programme Lead/Lecturer for Specialist Make-up & Prosthetics
*Programme subject to validation by the University of Gloucestershire
University Centre WISE
Foundation Degree
Full-time Duration:
2 Years
Full-time Fee (Per Year):
Part-time Duration:
4 Years
Part-time Fee (Per Year):
UCAS Application Code:
UCAS Entry Tariff:
Entry Requirements

The minimum UCAS tariff entry points from a level 3 qualification, GCSE Maths and English at grade C/4. Please submit a portfolio to be reviewed by Programme Lead. Once your portfolio has been reviewed, you may be invited for an interview. Mature students over 24 without the relevant qualifications will be required to demonstrate previous experience and evidence of academic ability.

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Course info last updated:
February 16, 2023
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