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Course content

This exciting programme of study for students wishing to develop the craft and philosophy of costume design for live performance, screen or site-specific installation is unique in its approach.

Our students develop their concepts and creativity by interpreting a text or exploring a theme, thinking about character, movement and the performance environment. Instruction in the skills of pattern cutting, textile manipulation, millinery, puppetry, set design, computer aided design, welding, knitting, illustration and life drawing help students expand their skills base.

Students work on developing a comprehensive understanding of fabric, costume design and cutting, while exploring the historical and dramatic perspectives of the discipline and the process of performance.

This creative freedom and the combination of the practical developing alongside the conceptual, provides our students with a wide range of skills and a flexibility valued and highly respected by the industry.

Postgraduate students are ideally placed to study the interaction between costume and the other arts such as fashion, textiles, jewellery, film and TV, animation, illustration, installation, music and dance, and to take part in collaborations inside and outside of the University.

Thanks to our extensive national and international links with theatre, dance, film, television and opera companies, plus our network of freelance designers, you’ll be supported in sourcing work experience and other hands-on opportunities that will give you real-world skills and experience.

Programme structure

This programme is assessed by the production of a body of practical and written work on an agreed, self-initiated topic which can take advantage of the many local and international performance-based opportunities.

This programme is project-led. Your project could be led by narrative, theme, performance medium. It should offer scope for sustained research and design development for costume design. Study will combine practical studio work with theoretical and written studies, including professional practice elements to prepare you for employment in the industry, and a lecture/seminar series which will examine the wider context of your studies.

Career opportunities

Postgraduate studies in performance costume open up access to a wide range of work for the stage and screen. You will benefit from the superb reputation of this programme and may find employment within the spheres of drama, opera, film and television.

Our graduates have an outstanding record of success within the industry, most recently including a costume designer for British television series Downton Abbey, and costume workers on TV series Game of Thrones, Outlander, Poldark, Endeavour and The Halcyon, and on films Star Wars and Doctor Strange.


Visit the Performance Costume - MFA/MA page on the University of Edinburgh website for more details!

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