Reasons to choose the programme

You will develop both your creative and practical skills, enabling you to design well thought-out, wearable, innovative and expressive costumes for a range of performing arts contexts.
You will develop personal projects in your final year, putting your most exciting ideas into practice.
You'll be at the heart of a community of like-minded creatives within the School of Design and ECA, supported by leading academics.
You'll graduate with the skills to enter a wide range of design-related careers in the creative arts, education and media.
You will have the opportunity to showcase your work in our annual Performance Costume show.

"You’ll be supported by academic staff and practitioners from the world of costume design. All will have specialist skills which will add to the range of your knowledge."


From the start, you will be immersed in an exciting programme of discovery. You’ll explore the role of art and design in a modern society and, in particular, the role of costume design in the performing arts. The performance Costume programme offers specialist training in both Costume Design and Making for stage and screen. You will learn to respond to text, music and performance concepts and to develop designs for costume that are simultaneously innovative and supportive of the performer’s role. You will develop a repertoire of core skills, ranging from research, design for character, textiles, millinery, computer skills and illustration to pattern cutting and costume construction.

Who should study the BA (Hons) in Performance Costume?

Anyone with a passion for costume and a strong interest in the performing arts. If you have found yourself excited by costume in theatre, film, opera, musicals or dance, and longed to be involved in the creation of memorable and exciting images through costume, then this course is for you.

Join a vibrant creative community

Within ECA, you’ll find yourself at the heart of a dynamic community. You’ll be ideally placed to study the interaction between costume and the other arts, such as fashion, textiles, jewellery, film, animation, illustration, and also within the many courses in the wider University. You will take part in live productions in ECA and have the opportunity to undertake a wide range of work experience outside of the University.

Creative thinkers

You’ll be supported by academic staff and practitioners from the world of costume design. All will have specialist skills which will add to the range of your knowledge. And during your studies, you’ll have the chance to attend guest lectures from a range of inspirational creative designers.

View student work


There are many career opportunities for our graduates including costume designers, costume makers, costume assistants, costume supervisors for the screen and stage industry.

The professional skills and abilities developed on the programme prepare our graduates for a rewarding career path in the creative industries. Our graduates have an excellent track record of employment across the world including: Dune, Wheel of Time, Shadow and Bones, Downton Abbey, The Father, Game of Thrones, Outlander, The Crown, the Royal Opera house, Scottish Opera, National Theatre, Northern Ballet and the V&A.

How to apply and entrance requirements

If you'd like to study on an undergraduate programme at Edinburgh College of Art, you must apply through UCAS, the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service. You can find out how to do this on the University of Edinburgh Degree Finder, where you'll also be able to

  • see the structure of the programme and what you will study each year
  • see detailed entrance requirements for each programme on the Degree Finder
  • get information on what to expect after you apply
  • find out about fees
  • find out where to go for further advice and guidance

Take me to the University of Edinburgh Degree Finder


If you have any questions about the application process, your qualifications or deadlines, our Undergraduate Admissions Office will be happy to help you.

Email the Undergraduate Admissions Office:


Application process

You are required to submit a digital portfolio as part of your application which evidences your artistic ability and potential, and we strongly suggest that you begin to plan your portfolio as soon as you decide to apply. 

Please allow plenty of time for preparing your digital portfolio as it should be well presented and have a clear structure to it. Scan and photograph your work carefully to ensure clarity of images, you should also add in annotation to contextualise your ideas to the assessors.  

How you decide to put your portfolio together and what you decide to include will give us an insight into you as an individual and as an artist, include work you are proud of and show us your personality through that work, be selective and show your process as well as your final outcomes. The inclusion of drawing, in particular life drawing, is also recommended. 

Portfolios are assessed anonymously by staff on the Performance Costume programme we are looking for: 

Research and visual exploration: 

  • What are you interested in? What is influencing your work and what images do you find inspirational and informative in the development of your ideas?  


Idea development: 

  • Demonstrate the ability to explore and develop your ideas in a creative and unique manner. 


Selection and resolution: 

  • Final choices and presentation of final ideas demonstrate a considered resolution to a design brief. These should show good selection choices from the development stage and be well presented and evidenced. 


Contextual awareness: 

What is occurring in the arts sector at this time and who are the contemporary designers that inspire you and your work. What recent productions have you seen and how does this inform your current practice?    


What happens next?

We will contact you with our decision by mid-May. If you are made an offer, you will be invited to attend an Offer Holder Day.

Offer Holder Days typically take place in April and are opportunities for successful applicants to learn more about their subject areas and life as a student at Edinburgh College of Art and the University of Edinburgh. Whether you visit us in person or attend a virtual Offer Holder Day, you will have the opportunity to meet with academic staff and current students from your programme, tour the studios and other facilities and attend general information sessions.

Alumni profiles


Megan Baker

Programme Director, Performance Costume, School of Design


Tel: +44 (0)131 651 5811

Facilities and resources

The Performance Costume workshops are equipped for a mixture of fabric sewing and pattern cutting processes.

The printmaking suite provides a host of facilities for traditional and contemporary printmaking processes.

Computer-aided design and computer-aided manufacturing (often abbreviated to CAD-CAM) facilities are available to students across Edinburgh College of Art workshops. These include 3D printers, 3D scanners, CNC routers, CAD embroidery machines and laser printers.


College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences Undergraduate Admissions Office

Tel: +44 (0)131 650 3565