Theatrical Special Effects, Hair and Media Make-up Level 3

Overview (NV)

Theatrical Special Effects, Hair and Media Make-up Level 3

Course length
1 year full-time


We will show you how to apply and master specialist make-up techniques and work with artificial hair for a broad range of creative and dynamic industries.

You will cover every aspect of advanced make-up techniques for film, television and stage alongside other media purposes. This comprehensive course covers basic hairdressing, media make-up, wigs and postiche, character make-up and special effects.

Why should I choose this course?

  • You are drawn to the creative industries and like seizing opportunities
  • You like keeping up to date with the latest fashions and trends
  • You are good at working independently – but also like being part of a team
  • You are looking for a course that gives you options, including the possibility of further study 

Why Maths and English are so important to your career

Achieving a good level of English and maths is important so that you can compete in today’s labour market and securing the career you’ve always wanted. Alongside your full-time course, students will continue to develop their English and maths skills. If you haven’t yet achieved GCSE grade 4 (grade C) in English and maths at 16 you will continue to study these by resits or by taking Functional Skills at an appropriate level.


  • Ratio is very important mixing hair dye etc.
  • Basic addition and subtraction are important in calculating the costs of equipment and products and managing the stock
  • Percentages are key in working out customer discounts
  • Area and perimeter are important when designing and arranging a salon space


  • Accurate spelling and a wide and specialist vocabulary are key in the presentation of hair and beauty products and services
  • Good quality Speaking and Listening skills are needed when communicating with colleagues
  • Customer services skills require good English skills in speaking and written communication
  • Accurate reading is a vital skill when following instructions in hair/beauty products and treatments
  • Secure English is important when preparing a CV or a business proposal or when advertising/marketing your business 


Uniform and kit costs

This course incurs additional costs for uniform and kit. The approximate cost is £235, or £70 for Level 3 (Top-up). Please be aware that prices are subject to change each year. Exact costs, as well as information on how to order the required items, will be provided prior to enrolment.  

You may be eligible for The Learner Support fund, which assists college students with course-related costs such as essential uniform equipment and travel. For more information, please visit our Financial Support for College Students page.

Teaching & Assessment (NV)

Teaching and assessment

Assessment takes place in a range of realistic working environments, including shows, competitions and theatre productions. You will also be required to complete written papers.

Our teaching and assessment is underpinned by our Teaching, Learning and Assessment Strategy 2015-2020.

Entry Requirements (NV)

Entry requirements

  • Ideally, you will require a relevant Level 2 qualification, ideally in one of the following subject areas: Theatrical and Media Make-up, Beauty Therapy, Hairdressing, Art and Design, Theatre Studies, History, Performing Arts, Media/Film Studies, Fashion, Photography and Costume Production, and ideally you will require 4 GCSEs at grade 4 (grade C) or above.
  • However, we also welcome applicants who are able to present an in-depth portfolio at interview. Places offered, will depend on the standard and depth of the portfolio provided (lecturers discretion).
  • School applicants will be required to provide a good school report, which must include attendance.
  • If you do not have a grade 4 (grade C) or above in English and maths and you are under 19, you will be required to complete an assessment so we can ensure you receive appropriate support. Applicants over 19 are not required to complete maths and English.
  • You should be committed, enthusiastic and have a desire to succeed in the hairdressing industry.


Students are required to buy a uniform and a basic set of equipment.  To help keep costs to a minimum, these items are available to buy through UCB. If you have any concerns about the cost of the uniform, please discuss this at your interview as we may be able to help. 

What will I study? (NV)

What will I study?

  • Hairdressing Techniques for Media Make-up
  • Provide Wigs and Postiche for Media Make-up
  • Prepare for and Provide Character Make-up
  • Provide and Remove Special Effects and Media Make-up
  • Good Working Relationships with Colleagues, Artistes, Subjects and Production Teams 

Your study programme

In addition to your full-time course every student has an individual study programme which ensures that you develop the right skills and experience to progress onto either higher education or gain employment. What’s included in your individual study programme will vary depending on what you have already achieved and your career aspirations.

For example; if you haven’t yet achieved GCSE grade 4 (grade C) in English and maths at 16 you will continue to study these by resits or by taking Functional Skills at an appropriate level. Achieving a good level of English and maths is important so that you can compete in today’s labour market and securing the career you’ve always wanted.

Work placement

Work placement will form an essential part of your individual study programme and all students will be expected to complete an appropriate work placement related to their full-time course.

To find out more about the work placement opportunities for this course, click on the ‘Work Placement’ tab above.

Work Placement (NV)

Work placement

UCB’s links with theatre companies provide students studying Theatrical Special Effects, Hair and Media Make-up with an ideal opportunity to experience a theatre production and work with actors in applying stage make-up. Additional opportunities may arise with the emergency services replicating special effects techniques.

A work placement not only gives you valuable experience, it also:

  • Helps you to apply what you’re learning into practice
  • It gives you a better understanding of how a company or organisation works
  • Helps you to develop essential skills such as time management, social and communication skills and the ability to work as part of a team
  • Enriches your CV
  • Enhances a UCAS application and personal statement should you wish to progress to higher education
  • Helps you to consider wider future employment opportunities

At UCB we have a specialised team of Employability Tutors based in hired@UCB (located on the ground floor of Moss House) who will provide you with the necessary skills in order to source a work placement.

If students are passionate about their career choice, work placements are vital.

A set of achievements, skills, understanding and personal attributes make a student more likely to gain employment and be successful in their chosen occupation, which benefits themselves and the work force.

Careers (NV)


On successful completion of this course, there are job opportunities in the television, theatre and film industries - or you could explore becoming a freelance make-up artist.

Students can also progress on to the foundation degree or degree in Specialist Hair and Media Make-up which is available at UCB.


The team at hired@UCB – our student placement and careers service – can help you with advice, information and guidance in finding a job. They can help you develop your work-related skills.

Based in new facilities on the ground floor of Moss House, the hired@UCB team comprises specialist staff to help with:

  • Careers advice and guidance
  • Placements, work experience and volunteering
  • Unitemps – UCB's recruitment agency
  • Employer engagement
  • Part-time and seasonal work
  • Internships, apprenticeships and traineeships
  • alumni support

Find out more about hired@UCB services.

Profiles (NV)

Student profiles

Read what our current students and alumni love about UCB and how we helped them begin their career in industry.

Amy Askew

Amy Askew

Theatrical Special Effects Hair and Media Make-up

Read more

Jess Smorthwaite

Jess Smorthwaite

Theatrical Special Effects Hair and Media Make-up

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Marion Young

Marion Young

Theatrical Special Effects Hair and Media Make-up

Read more