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BA (Hons) Fashion (Top-up)

Turn your existing qualifications into a full fashion honours degree

Enquire: 023 8201 5066

Do you have a flair for fashion? Want to build your career in the fashion industry? Southampton Solent’s fashion top-up course will help you build on your existing skills and qualifications, earning a full UK honours degree and boosting your employability in just one year.

  • The course is taught by a team of experienced industry professionals.
  • Students have the opportunity to work on exciting and varied project briefs.
  • Solent’s fashion courses regularly host guest speakers from across the fashion industry.
  • The University’s collaborative culture encourages students in areas such as photography, fashion, film, make-up, hair design, graphic design and performance to work together on exciting shared projects.
  • Students have free access to Solent’s cutting-edge media academy. This includes our industry-standard photography, IT and editing facilities.
  • Past students have taken part in high profile student showcase events.

The industry

The fashion industry is a huge contributor to the UK economy, worth £26bn in 2014 and supporting almost 800,000 jobs (British Fashion Council, 2014). As the fashion industry continues to evolve it offers huge potential for graduate employment both in the UK and globally.

The programme

Solent University’s fashion top-up programme helps students to develop their existing knowledge and expand on the creative, technical and professional design skills they'll need to work in the fashion industry. Working with an experienced course team, students are encouraged to focus on their own personal career aims.

The course covers the entire fashion industry process, from research and original concept development to the design and production of a final collection. Students also learn behind-the-scenes skills such as forecasting, styling, writing, buying and merchandising; as well as digital photography and IT skills like InDesign, Photoshop and Illustrator.

A strong focus on employability means students are supported to pursue work experience opportunities throughout the year. Past students have gained placements with a range of household name brands.

To aid their studies, students have free access to the University’s industry-standard facilities. These include specialist machine rooms for garment production and pattern cutting; digital and sublimation printers; laser cutter; and IT suites equipped with the latest design software.

Next steps

Think a career in fashion might be for you? With a dedicated teaching team, professional facilities and a long history of industry collaboration, Southampton Solent University's fashion top-up programme could be the ideal first step towards your dream career.

Have you got a question about applying?


UCAS codes


  • 1 Year Standard entry W234

Typical entry requirements

Relevant HND/foundation degree pass with Merit Overall

Member of

Year one:


Core units

  • Major Project: Research Proposal
  • Major Project
  • Work-Based Learning for Fashion and the Creative Industries


  • Professional Practice
  • Fashion Design Portfolio
  • Dissertation
  • Fashion Practice Dissertation
  • Freelancing at Solent Creatives
  • Creative Entrepreneurial Freelance Practice
  • Curriculum Plus

Teaching, learning and assessment

The course is taught through lectures, seminars, practical workshops and guest lectures.

Work experience
Students are encouraged to attend work placements. Recent fashion placements have included companies such as House of Holland, Fat Face, Ted Baker and Topman.


Your work will be evaluated through assessments, individual and team work, presentations and group critiques.

Our facilities

  • Specialist machine rooms for garment production and pattern-cutting with industrial-grade equipment.
  • Digital and sublimation printers and laser-cutter.
  • Modern IT suites with the latest fashion and design software.

Study abroad

Southampton Solent’s School of Art, Design and Fashion has strong international contacts and welcomes student exchange, project work, collaboration and employment opportunities from a variety of international industrial centres, such as China and India.

Web-based learning

Southampton Solent’s virtual learning environment provides online access to assignments, lecture notes, suggested reading and other course information.

UCAS codes


  • 1 Year Standard entry W234

What do we offer?

From a vibrant city centre campus to our first class facilities, this is where you can find out why you should choose Solent.

This course gives you the opportunities you need to find roles in various different areas of fashion, including design, textile design, fashion styling or visual merchandising, as well as strategic roles in fashion buying, business or communications and PR. 

Suitable roles for graduates include:

  • Fashion designer
  • Textile designer
  • Stylist
  • Buyer
  • Visual merchandiser
  • Fashion forecaster
  • PR officer.

Links with industry

Recent students have worked on live projects in conjunction with Dickies, Addict, Top Man, Fat Face, All Walks Beyond the Catwalk and Peter Pilloto. Past work experience placements have included a variety of PR, styling and design roles at organisations such as House of Holland, Alexander McQueen, Ted Baker, Topman, Marks & Spencer, Jenny Packham and Timberland.

Transferable skills

Students will develop transferable skills to prepare them for fashion industry employment:

  • Creative thinking, writing and professional presentation
  • Project management 
  • Visual communication 
  • Analysis, evaluation and problem solving.

Examples of employment obtained by recent graduates

Graduates have gone on to roles including assistant buyer, brand assistant, business development and brand co-ordinator, fashion design assistant and online visual merchandiser - working at a wide range of companies including Fat Face, Nougat, Ariella Fashions, Zara, ASOS, Ted Baker and Next.


Key facts


Location of study: East Park Terrace

Study mode: Full-time

Entry requirements

  • Relevant HND/foundation degree pass with merit overall (55 per cent) or 240 CATS from a relevant three-year degree.
  • Applicants will be required to send an electronic portfolio.

Portfolio requirements

Before sending us your portfolio, please read the following: Portfolio information

We welcome applicants from a diverse range of backgrounds. Applicants who are not in possession of the minimum entry requirements but are able to demonstrate aptitude, enthusiasm and motivation will be considered on an individual basis and may be admitted subject to satisfactory interview and/or portfolio. Please contact us for further details.

English language requirements

Applicants who do not have English as their first language will be required to demonstrate an approved level of proficiency in the use of the English language. The agreed minimum requirements for this course are:

  • IELTS minimum 6.0 overall with a minimum of 5.5 in each individual component
  • TOEFL IBT minimum 80 with a minimum of 19 in each individual component- TOEFL is only valid for EU students
  • or equivalent.

Qualifications are checked before enrolment, and international students must bring their original certificates or certified copies when coming to study at the University.

The University also offers a pre-sessional English programme for international students who wish to improve their level of English before starting a degree course.

Note to all international students requiring a visa:

All international applicants need to be aware that the English language requirements to attend Southampton Solent University, and the English language requirements to obtain a visa from the Home Office, may be different. This means that if you meet the Southampton Solent University language requirement to gain a place on the course, you may still have to meet additional requirements to be granted with a visa by the Home Office.

We strongly advise all applicants to visit the Home Office website which outlines all the requirements for a successful visa application and to take a look at this PDF document which outlines both Solent University and Home Office requirements for a number of language tests.  

Non-standard entry

If you do not have these qualifications or are unsure of your eligibility please contact the University using the contact details found at the top of this page.

Costs involved


Tuition fees

The tuition fees for the 2016/2017 academic year are:

UK and EU full-time fees: £9,000 per year

International full-time fees: £11,000 per year

Other costs

Compulsory portfolio, travel, stationery and material costs: £500
Optional printing costs: £100

Graduation costs 

Graduation is the ceremony to celebrate the achievements of your studies. For graduates in 2015, there is no charge to attend graduation, but you will be required to pay for the rental of your academic gown (approximately £42 per graduate, depending on your award). You may also wish to purchase official photography packages, which range in price from £15 to £200+. Graduation is not compulsory, so if you prefer to have your award sent to you, there is no cost.

For more details, please visit:

Bursaries and scholarships

Southampton Solent University offers a range of scholarships that provide financial assistance or waive fees for tuition or accommodation. Each scholarship has specific eligibility criteria. Check out our scholarships page to find out more.

How to apply


Any student applying for the first year of a full-time/sandwich undergraduate course must apply through UCAS (University and Colleges Admissions Service). This includes mature, overseas and EU students.

Nearly all schools and colleges offer their students the facility of applying electronically through the UCAS website using 'Apply'; it may also be used by those applying independently in the UK and overseas. This facility and all course information can be found on the UCAS website:

Your application should reach UCAS by January if you hope to enter a course the following autumn. Early application is advised for the most popular subject areas. Late applications may be made until June. The UCAS Code for the University is S30, code name SOLNT.

Student support and services


Student welfare

Southampton Solent University is committed to giving you the best possible educational experience during your time with us. As such we have a number of support services and policies set up covering funding, careers and employability, chaplaincy, counselling, international advice, student affairs, key academic skills, disability support and general student advice. Find out more about our approach to student welfare.

University facilities

You will have access to a modern, comfortable and efficient environment in which to study, following our extensive refurbishment and modernisation over recent years. Some key facilities include Mountbatten library, a wide variety of sports and watersports facilities, plus superb IT and media facilities. Find out more about our first-class facilities here.

Living in Southampton

Southampton is a vibrant student city and studying at Solent means that you will be at the very heart of the action. Find out more about being a student in Southampton.

Solent Students’ Union

Run by students for students, Solent Students’ Union is a key part of any student’s time at Solent. Visit the Students’ Union website for more information.

UCAS codes


  • 1 Year Standard entry W234


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