Course Overview

This creative and challenging course provides an insight into the fast-paced and diverse world of media make-up and associated special make-up effects, offering a wide range of  skills and career options. 



The course aims to provide the opportunity to understand and experience as many of these as possible. Areas studied may include make-up for film, television, theatre, fashion, editorial and special occasion, using both traditional and contemporary methods. Within special effects, casualty simulation, life casting, sculpting, mould making, and the manufacture & application of prosthetics may be studied. Hair work including basic dressing, period work, creative hair and postiche is also covered. The course explores the skills required by the Make-up Designer with an emphasis on research techniques and design planning. Work experience within the industry is an integral part, with students encouraged to obtain their own work as well as being supported by opportunities that come through the college. Our links with the British Youth Film Academy offers the experience of making short and feature-length films. You will build a portfolio of work, providing a strong basis for entry into the industry. See our gallery of students' work.



Prospective students will be highly motivated and creative individuals with a genuine passion for the subject and industry. Reliability, punctuality and the ability to work to tight deadlines are also essential.


Course Structure

The course covers a range of practices, including make-up for film, television and theatre. We also offer introductions to casualty simulations, historical/fashion make-up, postiche work, sculpting, casting, and prosthetic manufacture.

The overall aims of the course are:

·         to provide a broad-based education in Media Make-up and Special Effects.

·         to develop an awareness and understanding of the creative potential of contemporary professional practice in the field.

·         to develop an understanding of the different cultural, historical and commercial contexts within which creative professionals operate today.

Modules Covered

Level 4 Modules include:

·         Studio Practice

·         Special Effects with Character Make-up

·         Prosthetics with Character Make-up

·         Contextual Studies 1

·         Personal Development and Planning

Level 5 Modules include:

·         Advanced Studio Practice (Further Media Make-up / Postiche)

·         Intermediate Prosthetics

·         Creative Make-up Design and Application

·         Portfolio Building

·         Contextual Studies 2

·         Professional Development

Level 6 Modules include:

·         Advanced Studio Practice

·         Major Project

·         Professional Promotion

·         Critical Appraisal

·         Dissertation

·         Professional Portfolio

Learning Methods

An active and collaborative approach to learning is encouraged on this course. Students are encouraged to develop personal and professional independence, and maintain a self-managed approach to learning. This is facilitated through a project based approach to learning, which develops academic independence through a variety of individual research topics.

As the course progresses, we place an increasing emphasis on independent learning and critical self-awareness, culminating in the production of a personal and professionally executed final collection and portfolio which demonstrates creativity and a range of appropriate professional skills.

Teaching Methods

We aim to provide a friendly and enthusiastic environment for students. Students are encouraged to explore their individual creativity, and are supported through every aspect of the course, both personally and professionally.
We provide a supportive backdrop to the student centred teaching and learning methods, which are designed to enhance personal development. Increasing emphasis will be placed upon independent learning throughout the course, via negotiated, self initiated briefs. This independence ensures that you realise your individual potential and achieve your academic and future career aspirations.


You will be assessed by a range of formative and summative assessments, which allow you to continue strengthening your skills as a Creative Make-Up Artist. The course is based both on practical and theoretical study, which will be reflected in the method of assessment; practical work will typically be assessed through the presentation of a body of work in portfolio or exhibition form, whilst written work will be presented in essays, reports or journals, including a Dissertation to be completed at Level Six.

Work Placement/Fieldwork

The particular nature of the industry (that many Media Make-up and Special Effects professionals are self-employed) means that it is not always possible to predict when work placement opportunities will arise. However, previous students have gained valuable work placements in a range of prestigious organisations, including the BBC. Students have gained work experience in television dramas; small and medium budget films such as Jamaica Inn, and Dad’s Army; theatre (local and regional), and editorial.

What's Next?

The course provides you with routes into a wide range of creative employment opportunities in the Media Make-up and Special Effects industry, including the areas of film and television (mainly on a freelance basis).  Alternatively, you may wish to progress directly onto postgraduate study.

Did You Know?

As an Arts and Media student you will have the opportunity to learn from both practitioners and experienced professionals. You will work with artists and designers a well as local and national galleries, museums and exhibitions.

You will develop your creative ability within a well-resourced learning environment which offers excellent studio and workshop facilities.

In 2010, 59% of our BA (Hons) Arts and Media graduates achieved a First or 2:1 degree.

In 2015, 53% of our BA (hons) Media Makeup with Special effects achieved a First or 2:1 degree.


Additional Costs

Approximately £500 for specialist equipment and tools, depending upon specialism and brand of supplier.

Entry Requirements

80 UCAS tariff points and GCSE English and mathematics at a minimum of Grade C.

For UCAS tariff points grade combinations click:

Applications are encouraged though non-traditional routes.  An appropriate level of study will be identified through a portfolio presentation and evidence of professional practice experience at interview (APEL).

If you have already completed a Foundation degree or HND, you will be considered for direct entry to the appropriate level of the degree course.

Applications are also encouraged from those who have completed an Art & Design Access Certificate course.

As part of the application process, you will be required to attend an interview to which you should bring a portfolio of your work.

For mature candidates, we require appropriate work experience supported by a demonstrated commitment to pursue a specialist area of study.


Information, Advice and Support

Careers Guidance

Help with choosing the right course and with thinking about where this might take you in the future.
Email: [email protected]

Student Finance

Money matters - you may be entitled to financial support whilst you study.
Tel: 01274 088503 (HE).
Email: [email protected]

Learning Support

Support for applicants with a learning difficulty, disability, illness or other learning need.
Tel: 01274 088344
Email: [email protected]

For all other queries call 01274 088088

Fees Information

We believe that quality degrees should not cost the earth. That's why our competitive tuition fees provide you with a quality experience that includes more taught hours than those at most universities, good levels of tutor access, and support with small teaching groups. More information on our competitive tuition fees

Programme Specification