Develop your existing knowledge and experience as a fashion designer, exploiting our significant research expertise to enhance your own design and research skills to a new level.
We place emphasis on personal research, giving you the chance to develop your own interests and ideas in a challenging and supportive environment. Our aim is to help you to become a creative, imaginative and versatile fashion designer who can operate independently or as a member of a design team.
You can pursue a wide area of investigation when developing your designs. Your course tutors include fashion design specialists in areas including innovative pattern cutting, CAD and fashion technology, fashion marketing, fashion entrepreneurship, fashion craft and sustainability. As well as helping develop your creative design skills, they also help you to identify and shape your future career direction.
There are opportunities to participate in study trips and visits to design conferences and debates.
You choose your own project content and this is supported by lectures and seminars dealing with professional practice issues and reviewing your progress. You also take part in regular group and individual tutorials.
Your final major project is the culmination of your research and studio-based design practice. It demonstrates that you can deal with difficult contemporary questions and take a leading role as a design professional.
We are one of the oldest established art and design institutions in the UK, renowned for producing internationally recognised research. Your projects are supported by lecturers who are fashion design specialists.
Vibrant and supportive learning environment
During the course you regularly take part in constructive critical debates about your own work and that of your peers. You need to communicate your research, ideas and designs in ways that are appropriate to professional leadership.
You study alongside MA and MFA Design students for part of your course and benefit from a vibrant, international, collaborative and supportive postgraduate environment.
Excellent facilities and creative resources
We have professionally equipped design studios and fashion workshops that house digital garment manufacturing equipment, pattern-cutting software and flat-bed cutting equipment. As well as specialist fashion design facilities, you can a use the University’s wider creative facilities including professional photography studios, printing facilities, and laser cutting technology.
You can also access our award-winning learning centre featuring a specialist art, design and media library and extensive online resources.
MA and MFA study
MA and MFA students complete the same modules during the course except that MFA students complete an extra project module. The MFA project encourages you to develop professional skills that help you to identify, instigate, and deliver projects with external partners, such as communities, galleries or businesses. You find a project partner, agree a brief and then deliver the project to a professional standard.
We are normally asked to shortlist applicants before recommending a small number to apply. If this happens, we consider your interview, portfolio of work, academic qualifications and learning aims. We aim to pick people whose abilities and aims are relevant for the company and who are most likely to be successful in a competitive interview.
This course is part of the Sheffield Institute of Arts (SIA), an amazing, diverse community of makers – where staff, students and partners work as equals to deliver real innovation and creativity. SIA opened in 1843 and is one of the UK's oldest Art and Design Schools. We have recently moved into the Head Post Office, a redesigned Grade II listed building. It includes state-of-the-art workshops which provide you with a unique studio-based learning environment in the heart of the creative community.
• project 1 • theory supporting practice
• project 2 • negotiated project
• major project
Semester four – MFA students only
• MFA project
Semester one (year 1)
• theory supporting practice • negotiated project
Semester two (year 2)
• project 1 • project 2
Semester three (year 3)
• major project
Semester four – MFA students only (year 4)
• MFA project
Assessment and feedback are vital parts of the learning process in creative disciplines. Most assessment is through individual project work which combines research and creative practice. Assessment calls for both excellent creative work and well-documented research.
There are many opportunities for employment or self-employment. We encourage you to take an enterprising approach and to strengthen your ability to develop your own business.
An increasing number of our graduates undertake advanced further study through research degrees (PhD) in our Art and Design Research Centre, which has a leading position in the advancement of creative practice in design.
Sheffield is home to the largest concentration of creative production in the region. Support for creative industries in the city has encouraged home grown talent as well as practitioners relocating here.
Experiment, explore and discover your own creative identity while developing essential fashion design skills. You’ll benefit from our tutors’ extensive industry experience and contacts, equipping you for success in the competitive world of fashion.
The MA Fashion Design programme gives you the freedom to pursue your creative ambitions through experimental practice, personal research and critical evaluation. Working in purpose-built studios, you’ll cover core topics such as sketchbook development, visual research, sustainability and design, construction techniques and materials, CAD (computer-aided design) and fashion portfolio skills. We focus on a combination of hand making skills and techniques alongside the use of cutting-edge technologies; our superb facilities include bespoke pattern-cutting tables and industry-standard machines, traditional print and textile facilities as well as the latest technical and 3D printing technology. You’ll learn from tutors with years of professional fashion design experience and strong industry connections. They will work closely with you to help you develop your individual strengths and to enhance your employability. You’ll benefit from professional skills workshops, exposure to industry through live briefs and guest lectures, and the opportunity to showcase your work in Winchester and London. The teaching team’s extensive contacts can also facilitate internship opportunities with leading fashion companies.
We welcome students from a range of backgrounds, including recent graduates and those with some professional experience who are looking to advance their career. You’ll study with talented students from around the world, developing a global network of friendships and professional contacts that will be invaluable as your career progresses. Co-location with MA Textile Design students creates a stimulating studio environment in which students share ideas and draw inspiration from one another’s work.
As you’d expect from a Russell Group university masters degree, there is a strong emphasis on research within the course. We encourage you to underpin your studio work with an understanding of ideas and contemporary issues in fashion and society – for example, past students have investigated the idea of sustainably produced wedding dresses, the issue of modesty and clothing, and zero waste in fashion.
In addition, you’ll be able to attend lectures and conferences run by the School’s renowned research and special interest groups, such as the Winchester Luxury Research Group, In The Loop and the Fashion and Sustainability Forum.
We produce creative, technically accomplished graduates with a professional approach, who are sought after by top employers. You will be able to choose from a range of fashion roles, including fashion designer, costume designer, pattern cutter, illustrator, fashion/photographic stylist, trend forecaster, fashion buyer, visual merchandiser, social media, blogger or fashion editor. This degree is also excellent preparation if you are interested in taking your studies to PhD level.
Past students have gone on to jobs as fashion designers and design teachers all over the world. Others have started their own labels; one former student who has established a label in Hong Kong recently brought her collection to the Pure trade show in London.
Many students have been successful in applying for internships, for example at Gareth Pugh, Roksanda Ilincic, Jasper Garvida for Ethologie and Thomas Tait. Two students who undertook internships at notjustalabel.com now have their own labels in Hong Kong and New Delhi.