Level 3

Course Level

Level 3


1 year full-time


Included in course




View Fees

Department of Creative Industries
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£1.3m invested in subject-related practical facilities to support your future career opportunities

Job opportunities in the television, theatre and film industries - or explore becoming a freelance make-up artist

If you’ve ever dreamed of working in hair and make-up for film, TV and theatre, this is the course for you. Our Theatrical Media Make-up college course will teach you the specialist techniques you need to get started on your way to an exciting career in a range of creative and dynamic industries.

Our Level 3 media make-up course covers every aspect of advanced make-up techniques for stage and screen alongside other media purposes. Studying in our cutting-edge make-up studios at University College Birmingham, you will learn basic hairdressing, media make-up, wigs and postiche, as well as cosmetic camouflage and applying airbrush make-up.

Thanks to our excellent links with the industry, you will have the chance to gain real-life experience on work placements with theatre companies and a range of other practical opportunities. On completing the course, you will have a wealth of options for working within the industry or taking on further study towards your ideal career.

Why choose this college course?

  • BOOST YOUR SKILLS – Learn how to apply and master specialist make-up techniques and work with artificial hair for film, TV and stage
  • WORK PLACEMENT – From working with actors applying stage make-up to replicating special effects for the emergency services, put your skills into practice on real-life work placements
  • PRACTICAL APPLICATION – Hone a vast array of practical skills working in our cutting-edge make-up studios on campus
  • MOVE UP TO UNIVERSITY – Want to keep studying at a higher level? This college course will support your progression to relevant degrees at university
There are lots of reasons why we think you should study with us, but here are our top 5. View video.

Our facilities

University College Birmingham has a range of state-of-the-art teaching facilities and equipment for students on our hair and make-up courses, including cutting-edge make-up studios.

Course breakdown

Topics you will study

  • Photographic make-up​
  • Anatomy and physiology for make-up services​
  • Airbrush make-up​
  • Cosmetic make-up science​
  • Media make-up​
  • Style and fit postiche​
  • Cosmetic camouflage​
  • False eyelash application​
  • Health and safety in the salon

Please note: Units/topics of study are subject to change

You will also have an individual study programme to help you build the skills and experience you need to progress onto higher education or gain employment.

Maths and English

To help you secure your dream career, you will also continue developing your maths and English skills alongside your full-time course. If you haven’t achieved GCSE grade 4/C in English and maths at age 16, you will continue to study these through resits or taking Functional Skills at an appropriate level.

How maths will support your career

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

How English will support your career

  • 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 service requires good English skills in speaking and written communication.
  • Accurate reading is a vital skill when following instructions for hair/beauty products and treatments.
  • Secure English is important when preparing a CV or business proposal, or when advertising/marketing your business.

Entry requirements

Our hair and make-up lecturers are looking for students who are committed, enthusiastic and have a desire to succeed in the industry, so please contact Admissions if you do not have the specific requirements outlined below.

If you are unsure if your qualification is equivalent or if you wish to check if you meet the entry requirements for this course, please call 0121 214 2919, email or use our live chat.

Academic requirements

  • A relevant Level 2 qualification in Theatrical and Media Make-up, Beauty Therapy, Hairdressing, Art and Design, Theatre Studies, History, Performing Arts, Media/Film Studies, Fashion, Photography or Costume Production.
  • 4 GCSEs at grade 4 (grade C) or above, or equivalent.
  • GCSE English and Maths at grade 3/D are desirable for entrance but not essential.

English and maths

If you do not have a grade 4/C or above in English and maths and you are under 19, you will be required to study these subjects alongside your vocational subject. After enrolment you will complete an assessment with our teaching team so we can ensure you receive appropriate English and maths support.

Applicants over 19 are not required to complete maths and English.

Supporting documents required

School applicants will be required to provide a good school report, which must include attendance. This will be assessed in conjunction with your qualifications and application during the confirmation of your place at University College Birmingham.

Work experience admissions pathway

2 years’ relevant beauty industry experience. Admissions will be based on your interview performance alongside a reference stating the roles and responsibilities held during your period of employment.

Guaranteed progression

Students who achieve a pass for this qualification will automatically be guaranteed a place on a foundation degree course at University College Birmingham.

Key information

Teaching and assessment

You will be assessed through two external exams and one graded synoptic exam.

Our teaching and assessment is underpinned by our Teaching, Learning and Assessment Strategy 2021-2024.

Uniform and kit costs

This course requires a uniform and kit costing approximately £235, or £70 for Level 3 (Top-up), depending on the items you purchase. (Prices are subject to change each year – exact costs and information on how to order required items will be provided to you 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.


of graduate employers say relevant experience is essential to getting a job with them

Work placements

Work placements offer a wealth of benefits alongside your studies, helping you put your learning into practice, develop your skills and understanding of the workplace, boost your CV for your chosen career or enhance your UCAS application for higher education. Our Hired employability team can help find the ideal placement for you.

As part of this Level 3 make-up course, we provide opportunities for you 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.

Work alongside experts in your sector

A snapshot of some of the employers we have worked with:

  • The Alexandra Theatre (Birmingham)
  • Crescent Theatre (Birmingham)
  • Hall Green Little Theatre (Birmingham)
  • Dovehouse Theatre (Solihull)
  • Core Theatre (Solihull)
University College Birmingham helped me to explore my strengths and weaknesses without judgement. I used my coursework to build my portfolio, helping me land jobs, and there were many opportunities to utilise, in industry and to help you excel your business. Explore, learn and grow, and gosh, they give you room to grow.

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

Career opportunities

Note: Some roles below may require further study/training. The roles and salaries below are intended as a guide only.

Make-up artist

Average Salary: £21,161

Freelance make-up artist


Camouflage technician for NHS


Make-up/hair artist for TV/theatre


Make-up artistry lecturer

Average Salary: £39,239

Sales associate

Average Salary: £21,849


We are here to support your career goals every step of the way. 


Find out more

Bethany’s Story

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