Specialist Hair and Media Make-up BA (Hons) / FdA

Overview (NV)

BA (Hons)

Course length
3 years full-time
UCAS code
Fees (Home/EU)
View tuition fees
Fees (International)
View tuition fees


Course length
2 years full-time
UCAS code
Fees (Home/EU)
View tuition fees
Fees (International)
View tuition fees


You may have seen our Specialist Hair and Media Make-Up students’ work on BBC’s Peaky Blinders or Glow Up: Britain’s Next Make-up Star, or at Dirty Dancing and Matilda in the theatre. If you saw Steven Spielberg’s Ready Player One, you will also have seen the work of students who mastered their skills at UCB.

Trained by experienced lecturers, some of whom have worked on the likes of Game of Thrones, students on this course will learn a wide variety of advanced practical skills and the know-how to build a freelance business for an exciting career in TV, film, photography and theatre.

The freelance hair and make-up industry requires artists who are able to work within a range of media settings. An understanding of each environment and its individual remit is a key component to your success. The modules will provide you with the specialist skill set you’ll need for the creative industry sector. The course also presents diverse placement opportunities to enhance your employability.

Important attributes alongside your skill-set are crucial to building your professional reputation. These include commitment, reliability and timekeeping skills, as well as the ability to evaluate your work and train your eye to pick up detail. Your ability to communicate effectively with directors, crew, photographers and costume designers, to name a few, is key to your future success in this demanding, yet exciting, industry.

This course will train you to an advanced level in a wide variety of practical skills and give you vital business knowledge to promote yourself, build your business as a freelancer and manage your finances for a career in TV, film, photography and theatre. You will create a professional portfolio of work that showcases your technical abilities to future employers.

During this degree, you will study core modules, but will also have option modules in years two and three. Option modules will allow you to control your own learning journey, advancing your skills in either prosthetics, fashion, postiche or working ‘on set’ (film/TV). 

While you may choose to specialise within a particular field in the future, it is essential to prove yourself and build a reputation within industry first. Who knows where it may lead?

Students studying the FdA will have the option of progressing onto the final year of the BA (Hons).

What our staff and students say


Why choose this course?

  • Work experience –You will be offered the opportunity to apply for invaluable work experience in a range of environments including theatre, television, film, catwalk or photographic work, as well as more unusual opportunities like working with the police
  • Specialise your studies - As well as exploring fashion and editorial make-up, we will also teach you to develop the skills required for you to set up and run your own freelance business
  • Practical application - You will get the chance to work on your own research or final major project, which is an ideal opportunity to showcase the technical skills you have gained and develop an industry specialism.
  • Become industry ready - You will develop a range of specialist technical skills and assist in creating accurate hair and make-up styles for different periods in history
  • Develop your knowledge - You will develop advanced skills in making and applying prosthetics, as well as how to create realistic wounds and special effects

Inspiring experiences

Our students enjoy a world of additional opportunities to broaden their horizons. Here is a small selection:

Course-specific facilities

Our specialist teaching facilities and equipment are state-of-the-art, with two fully-equipped make-up studios, as well as a special effects studio and a prosthetics studio. We also have additional facilities at our nearby Richmond House site.

New specialist facilities for 2019/20

  • Prosthetics Studio - Specially designed to replicate industry workshops, our prosthetics studio provides two purpose-built spaces for processes such as lifecasting, sculpture/floating off, mould making, casting of pieces, artwork and fitting
  • Media Workshop - If you’re looking to work in the editorial fashion sector, our media workshop will enable you to learn how to perfect your hair and make-up work for the camera and how to light, compose and take professional studio shots

Kick-start scheme

As a new student studying this degree full-time, you will receive £300 per year via our Kick-Start Scheme (eligibility criteria applies). The scheme will support your studies and future career by contributing to course-related materials, uniform or selected items on campus. You might even qualify for an additional £500 per year.

Uniform and kit costs

This course incurs additional costs for uniform and kit. The approximate cost is £450-£530 depending on which pathway you would be on. Please also 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.

Open days

Our open days are designed to give you as much information as possible about UCB and the areas you are interested in studying. Come along and we may make you an offer on the day. 

Teaching & Assessment (NV)

Teaching & assessment

Teaching is carried out by appropriately qualified and experienced staff and a typical teaching week will have up to 16 contact hours made up as follows:

  • Large group teaching - 4 hours of lectures in lecture rooms
  • Smaller group teaching - 9 hours of teaching in the make-up and/or special effects studios
  • Tutorials - 3 hours of a mixture of personal, group and academic tutorials per week

Individual study

In addition, you are expected to commit to approximately 20 hours a week of your own study time in preparation for teaching sessions and preparing for and completing assessment. Canvas, our online portal, provides a 24-hour access to learning and support material.


Assessment is designed to provide you with the opportunity to demonstrate your strengths in a number of ways and so a variety of assessment methods are used. As this is a highly vocationally-based programme, there is greater emphasis of assessment by way of coursework to include written work and a portfolio, as well as practical activities such as assessments of technical skills and/or presentations. 

An estimated breakdown of the assessment for this course is as follows:

  • Coursework - 67%
  • Practical assessment - 28% 

Please note that the information provided above is indicative only and actual timetables and assessment regimes will be issued to students at induction.

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

Entry Requirements (NV)

Entry requirements

Specialist Hair and Media Make-up BA (Hons)

A Level: An A level grade profile of CCC

BTEC: A BTEC grade profile of MMM, this can be achieved from either an Extended Diploma or a combination of smaller BTEC qualifications.

Access to Higher Education Diploma: 96 UCAS Tariff points including a minimum of 15 Level 3 credits at Distinction.

Tariff: Other Level 3 qualifications are accepted at UCB for entrance, a minimum of 96 UCAS Tariff points will be required.

Non-tariff: UCB accepts a wide range of Level 3 qualifications not currently on the UCAS Tariff. These can include a range of vocational Level 3 diplomas and EU qualifications. Depending on the subject matter studied will depend on the pathway you are suitable for (as explained above). To find out if we accept your qualification for entry, please contact the Admissions team directly. 

Specialist Hair and Media Make-up FdA

A-level: An A-level grade profile of CD

BTEC: A BTEC grade profile of PPP. This can be achieved from either an Extended Diploma or a combination of smaller BTEC qualifications

Apprenticeship: Achieve an advanced apprenticeship (level 3)

Tariff: Other Level 3 qualifications are accepted at UCB – a minimum of 56 UCAS Tariff points will be required for entrance

Access to Higher Education Diploma: 56 UCAS Tariff points

Non-tariff: UCB accepts a wide range of Level 3 qualifications not currently on the UCAS Tariff. These can include a range of vocational Level 3 diplomas and EU qualifications. Depending on the subject matter studied will depend on the pathway you are suitable for (as explained above). To find out if we accept your qualification for entry, please contact the Admissions team directly.  

Work-based: We equally consider applicants who are currently in work or freelancing within the industry. To be eligible, you must currently be in work demonstrating management or supervisory duties for the past 3 years in a relevant industry to the course you are applying for. A reference from your current line manager supporting your entry to higher education will be requested.

Freelance applicants who have been working in the industry must be registered as self-employed and have testimonials that we will assess.

Applicants applying based on work experience will be suitable to apply for the Non-Vocational pathway.

EU/international students

For entry requirements for EU and international students, please visit the Country Specific Information page.


UCAS Tariff calculator

You can use our calculator below to convert your predicted/achieved grades into UCAS Tariff points.  

If your total predicted/achieved points do not meet those outlined above or your qualification(s) do not appear on the UCAS tariff please contact the admissions directly on 0121 604 1040 or email admissions@ucb.ac.uk.

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Qualification Grade Points
Modules (NV)



FdA students will study modules for years 1 and 2. Upon successful completion FdA students will have the option of progressing onto the final year.

Year 1

Historical Hair and Make-up Studies Pathology of Special Effects Make-up Sculpture and Design Special Effects Make-up
Plus one of two make-up modules (depending on existing qualifications)
Plus one of two hair continuity modules (depending on existing qualifications)

Year 2

Period Hair and Make-up Editorial Imagery On Set Prosthetics Professional Identity and Employability Critical Approach to Research Methods
Plus one option from:

Year 3

Plus one option from:
You will also need to choose one of the following to achieve the full 40 credits:
  Please note
The modules listed on the website for this course are regularly reviewed to ensure they are up-to-date and informed by industry as well as the latest teaching methods. Unless otherwise stated, the modules listed above for this course are for students starting in the academic year 2020/21. On occasion, we may need to make unexpected changes to modules and if this occurs, we will contact all offer holders as soon as possible.
Placements (NV)

Work placement

You are encouraged to gain work experience throughout this course because it is a great opportunity to put what you have learned into practice alongside qualified professionals. Over the years we have developed close working relationships within the industry so that we can offer you a wide range of placement opportunities alongside your studies.

Our hired@UCB team will make sure that you are well-matched for your placement and support your progress throughout your work experience.

Work Placement - School of Sport and Creative Services - University College Birmingham

What our employers say

At UCB, we understand the importance of work placements within academic study, and our employer contacts say they give preference to students with qualifications who also have experience within the field. Our hired@UCB team will assist you in finding a placement that gives you the relevant experience to support your future career plans.

If you do well on your placement, there are additional opportunities available such as recommendation for industry-supported mentoring schemes to guide you through your future career.

Employability (NV)

Graduate careers

Upon successful completion of this course, you will be able to move into a wide variety of areas within the specialist hair and media make-up sector. Graduates have also gone on to work in the fashion image industry, cosmetics or as a freelance hair and make-up artist.

Graduating with this degree will enable you to pursue a career path in:

  • Theatre
  • Film and TV
  • Editorial
  • Photographic studios
  • Catwalk fashion
  • Retail
  • Historical research
  • Corporate events

Successful graduates may choose to continue with further postgraduate studies. University College Birmingham offer a range of postgraduate degrees, including our MA in Prosthetics for Film and Television. You may also be eligible for a postgraduate loan.

Employability Day 2018


hired@UCB is our student and alumni support service designed to provide a single reference point for information, advice and guidance regarding opportunities to develop and demonstrate employability and enterprise skills. Based in new facilities on the ground floor of Moss House, the hired@UCB team comprises specialist and qualified staff with knowledge and experience of:

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

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.

Monica Montalvo

Monica Montalvo

Specialist Hair and Media Make-up

Read more

Ellen DAndrade Brown

Ellen D'Andrade Brown

Specialist Hair and Media Make-up

Read more


Hannah Forbes

Specialist Hair and Media Make-up

Read more

Course Stats Data (NV)