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About the course

Do you have a flair for fashion? Want to build your career in the fashion industry? 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.

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.

You have the opportunity to obtain a professional membership as part of this degree.
Professional memberships
This course has access to Solent's specialist facilities.
Specialist facilities
After successfully completing your studies, there's an opportunity to continue your studies at Solent.
Further studies
If you have an appropriate Level 5 qualification, you can top it up to a degree in just a year.
Top-up degree

The course is taught by a team of experienced industry professionals.

What does this course lead to?

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.

Who is this course for?

This fashion top-up programme is the perfect way for students to convert their qualification at HND level into a full undergraduate degree. Students often aspire to careers in fashion design, textiles, styling, fashion buying, merchandising or fashion PR.

Facts and figures

UCAS codes icon

UCAS codes

Full Time

  • 1 Year Standard Entry W234
Fees icon

Fees and costs

Tuition fees

The tuition fees for the 2019/20 academic year are:
UK, EU and Channel Island full-time fees: £9,250 per year
International full-time fees: £12,875 per year

For further information, please visit our tuition fees page.

Other costs

The 2019/20 other costs are not yet available. For guidance the 2017/18 costs were:

Portfolio, travel, stationery and material costs: £500
Printing costs: £100

Bursaries and scholarships

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

Key entry requirements icon

Key entry requirements

Relevant HND/foundation degree pass with merit overall (55 per cent)

  • or 240 CATS from two years of a relevant three year degree.
  • Applicants will be required to send an electronic portfolio.
  • If you are applying from outside the UK, find information about entry requirements, visas and agents for your country here.

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
  • 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.

Study location

East Park Terrace

Got a question about this course?

Contact our Ask Solent team: 023 8201 5066

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.

Click the links below to apply through UCAS:

Mode of study
Full-time  1 year  Apply 
How to apply

What you'll study

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

Please note: Not all optional units are guaranteed to run each year.


Web-based learning

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

The Student Hub

The Student Hub is a central space where you can access all of the information and support you need during your time at University.

Professional and experienced staff can help resolve any query, and if they cannot answer the question themselves they will find the person who can.

Career support

Key figures


Assessment by coursework


Practical exams

Students' work


We provide a stimulating learning environment and access to state-of-the-art resources to help you make the most of your time with us. Flexible spaces, Wi-Fi facilities and learning zones all contribute to our lively and contemporary study environment at Solent. Students also have access to:

  • 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.

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.

Your future

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.

Industry links

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.


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

Further study

Enhance your career prospects by continuing your study at Solent.

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