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Course Code: W752

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Why choose the School of Arts and Creative Industries

We are members of the British Fashion Council, The Association of Fashion and Textiles Courses, the Association of Illustrators and AA2A (Artists Access to Art Colleges), enhancing your graduate employment opportunities

Our Fashion Design graduates have entered many areas of the fashion industry and completed internships with Alexander McQueen, Mary Katrantzou, Sophia Webster and Amanda Wakeley

Our students work on live briefs for companies such as Bedford Creative Arts, London Luton Airport, Luton Town FC, Luton Culture Trust and Penguin Books and participate in collaborative projects with leading art and design practitioners

About the course

This course is taking applications from 2024 only

The course develops diverse skills in the world of make-up and hair to produce flexible creative make-up artists able to work in a variety of areas of the industry from special effects to fashion and from live events to film TV and stage productions.

This course prepares you for a career as a make-up artist in television film theatre prosthetics advertising and fashion with a special focus on creating convincing and realistic special effects. It gives you the techniques craft skills and specialist knowledge employers are looking for.

You learn to research and realise characters through hair and wig setting; postiche; costume; prop design; prosthetics; and designing effects make-up.

You benefit from working within our high-spec media facilities alongside student actors producers scriptwriters and presenters as well as collaborating with local theatres TV productions and performances at the University’s professional theatre

Why choose this course?

  • Explore character creation with an emphasis on prosthetics and special-effects make-up as well as high fashion advertising/editorial and period make-up
  • Practise drawing from life to identify the body’s reactions and their visual impact
  • Learn how anatomy and physiology affect make-up design
  • Gain specialist knowledge and expertise in preparing performers for the stage catwalk or screen
  • Study relevant regulations and develop the entrepreneurial skills to establish yourself as a freelance make-up artist
  • Develop academic skills to undertake research into the field of make-up which you can then use to create your characters
  • Build up your portfolio and prepare for freelance work in performing arts events and the media TV and film industries
  • You can progress to the BA (Hons) Make-up for Fashion and Media (top-up) on completing this Foundation Degree.
  • Work experience with professional experts and companies

“Completing the FdA in Media Make-up and Character Design has been inspirational for me. I now have the strong skills set I need to pursue my dream of a career in special-effects make-up.”
Remi Smith alumnus


Student feedback from Industry workshops and masterclasses


Kate Beavis: Marketing and Social Media expert:

“Kate's masterclass on social media and websites for business were very useful. She is very knowledgeable and helped me with ideas for social media content and websites creation including understanding on legal requirements of websites and how blogging can help me become visible as a makeup artist.”

Gemma Horner, Fashion Makeup Artist:

“Gemma was a very lovely and inspiring makeup artists to have a masterclass with. I gained lots of inspiration from her about working with colour, texture and trying techniques out of my comfort zone.”

Alice Snell, Fashion Makeup Artist:

“Alice was amazing and answered all the industry questions and put into perspective workable business techniques of how to start working in the industry. She had amazing makeup skills and was very informative. She gave a realistic brief for us to achieve with constructive feedback that will help me build my portfolio.”

with Professional Practice Year

This course has the option to be taken over four years which includes a year placement in industry. Undertaking a year in industry has many benefits. You gain practical experience and build your CV, as well as being a great opportunity to sample a profession and network with potential future employers.

There is no tuition fee for the placement year enabling you to gain an extra year of experience for free.

*Only available to UK/EU students.

with Foundation Year

A Degree with a Foundation Year gives you guaranteed entry to an Undergraduate course.

Whether you’re returning to learning and require additional help and support to up-skill, or if you didn’t quite meet the grades to pursue an Undergraduate course, our Degrees with Foundation Year provide a fantastic entry route for you to work towards a degree level qualification.

With our guidance and support you’ll get up to speed within one year, and will be ready to seamlessly progress on to undergraduate study at Bedfordshire.

The Foundation Year provides an opportunity to build up your academic writing skills and numeracy, and will also cover a range of subject specific content to fully prepare you for entry to an Undergraduate degree.

This is an integrated four-year degree, with the foundation year as a key part of the course. You will need to successfully complete the Foundation Year to progress on to the first year of your bachelor’s degree.

Why study a degree with a Foundation Year?

  • Broad-based yet enough depth to give you credible vocational skills
  • Coverage of a variety of areas typically delivered by an expert in this area
  • Gain an understanding of a subject before choosing which route you wish to specialise in
  • Great introduction to further study, and guaranteed progression on to one of our Undergraduate degrees

The degrees offering a Foundation Year provide excellent preparation for your future studies.

During your Foundation Year you will get the opportunity to talk to tutors about your degree study and future career aspirations, and receive guidance on the most appropriate Undergraduate course to help you achieve this; providing you meet the entry requirements and pass the Foundation Year.


What will you study?

Anatomy And Its Visual Representation

Demonstrate an understanding of the aesthetic and its correlation to form with underpinning knowledge of anatomy. You will be introduced to anatomy, physiology and life drawing within the context of make-up. You will be taught how to visualise your ideas from concept to actual work on the body through relevant research skills, sculpting, drawing and special make-up techniques. The knowledge and skills learnt in this unit are fundamental to the make-up artist and will present you with the opportunity to understand how the human body can be both subject and object of the creative focus. There is a strong focus on sculpting, drawing and painting the body. And a practical special effects workshop activity, where continuous practice will enable you to hone the foundational skills of a make-up practitioner.  

Period Make-Up And Hair

This unit focuses on make-up for stage and screen.
You will undertake visual and textual research into the historical, cultural and technical contexts of hair styling and make-up.
There will be a dual focus, one on recreating hair and make-up styling based on representations of historical context and two on developing knowledge and understanding of how to create visualisations for the stage and the screen.
On this unit you will develop both your analytical and technical skills and apply them practically.
This unit will enable you to learn about and appreciate the differences between make-up practice for the stage and screen and use this appreciation in a practical and creative way.

Professional Practice

This unit will prepare you for work in the make-up industry.
You will be introduced to range of skills to enable you work effectively in various contexts including as a freelancer. This will include being exposed to professional processes such as understanding an external script or brief; working for different media cultures and contexts; budgeting; personal financing and working in a team.
In addition you will have the opportunity to engage in guided work-based learning in collaboration with other departments in the University, improving your ability to team work, manage time, work creatively to a brief, work collaboratively with others and source your own work.

Researching And Creating A Character

This unit aims to prepare learners for a career within the media makeup industry with a deeper, critical understanding of professionally designing and constructing prosthetic make-ups for film and television scenarios. Taking into consideration specific briefs, continuity, budget, performer and director/production team requirements. You will learn how to realise your character for multiple contexts including theatrical, TV and film genres - through make-up techniques, prosthetics, hair and wig styling, postiche, customising costume and prop design.

You will investigate the origins and adaptations of a single actual live-action character who has already been depicted in entertainment forms such as film, television, and theatre. 

Analyse the character design, to see how internal and external forces influenced the characterisation and representation. With consideration of the genre style and modern audience expectations. The learner will show proof of academic writing and a portfolio of research to support the design process, as well as a final professional computer produced design, to demonstrate thorough comprehension.

Problem-solving, autonomy, critical understanding, experimentation and reflection of industry recognised prosthetic materials and methods will be employed to create unique 
character prosthetic transformations to create portfolio pieces in line with a work-based industry brief.  





Fantasy Character Design Creation

This unit builds upon knowledge and techniques learned at level 4, and aims to provide learners with a deeper, critical understanding of professionally designing and constructing holistic make-ups for film and television scenarios, taking into account specific briefs, continuity, budget, performer, and director/production team requirements, in order to prepare them for a career in the media make-up industry.

Research And Applications Of Fashion And Editorial Make-Up And Hair

The aim of this unit is to develop and extend your skills in researching the context and techniques for make-up and hair styling in fashion and editorial.

You will learn about the function and roles of professional make-up design for the fashion industry.

This unit will enable you to develop a critical understanding of the key practitioners and the media/creative/professional contexts in which they work.

The unit will demonstrate the differences of creating make-up and hair solutions for live fashion events as well as for fashion editorial.

A key aim of the unit is to expose you to the various working practices and techniques required for success in this industry including the challenge of working to briefs and with clients and models.

Foundation Degree Show

This unit gives you the opportunity to extend your creative make-up practice and to critique and select work completed to date for exhibition.
You will use your critical judgement in editing your work from other Level 5 units and presenting it in the most effective way possible for your chosen audience.
The aim is to enable you to apply strategic thinking to the final execution and curation of make-up work which can be difficult to exhibit in traditional settings. You will be enabled to extend your knowledge and creative practice into a context where a large audience of non-professionals can engage with your professional practice.
You will have active involvement in the design, planning, promotion and execution of the final course show.

Professional Development And Freelancing In Make-Up Industry

This unit builds upon the Professional Practice unit from Level 4. You will be guided to make realistic career plans and prepare yourself for the make-up industry, including working for others and setting up as a freelance make-up artist. This unit has a larger element of work-based learning, both in collaboration with other departments in the University as well as sourced independently – helping you towards the goal of operating as freelance professional.
This unit aims to give the opportunity to develop a professional profile and to gain experience of collaborating with students working towards television and live theatre productions.

How will you be assessed?

All units have assessments incorporating theoretical and practical aspects of the subject being studied. These include academic essays with Harvard Style referencing and. Each unit will have a practical assessment. Students will also be required to present to their peers in order to develop their communication skills and boost their confidence levels. Sketchbooks will provide a vehicle to demonstrate academic as well as visual research suited for make-up artists.

Adequate weighting for academic as well as practical work is given. All summative practical assessments will be preceded by formative assessments after which the tutor will provide constructive feedback to enable you develop your work for final assessment. Your academic ability will be assessed by written components in the units but also in how research and discuss your design work. You will show your make-up and character research and critical evaluation through written essays and in sketchbooks.


By working with industry professionals and visiting specialists using up-to-date techniques materials and skills covering a broad range of make-up related aspects students are well prepared for a range of careers in the make-up industry including fashion TV and film stage and editorial work.

Adding self-employment skills development online profile and doing onsite work in TV/film studios and stage productions as well as completing work experience builds a portfolio with which students can readily step into a career in the industry.

Former students have gone on to specialise in for example prosthetics or successfully gained contracts in the film industry.

Entry Requirements

Fees for this course


The full-time standard fee for a Foundation Degree for the Academic Year 2024/25 is £9,250. These are the full course fees covering each year of study.

Alternatively if you have any questions around fees and funding, please email


International students cannot apply for Foundation Degrees.

Alternatively if you have any questions around fees and funding, please email

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