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University Centre

Foundation Degree (FdA) Media Make-up, Special Effects and Hair Design

Subject Area
Hair, Beauty & Holistic Therapies
Start Date
September 2022
Study Mode
2 Years
£7,200 per year
Entry Requirements
32 UCAS Tariff points or relevant experience
Validating partner
The Open University

The role of the make-up artist for film and television will see you create an array of looks, from classic elegance to full body prosthetics and SFX. This course will allow for the development of a range of skills, whilst encouraging students to express their own individual identity and creativity.

This course puts you at the heart of the media industry. Taught face-to-face, it will equip you with a combination of technical expertise, academic knowledge and transferable skills required by industry. The programme has been specifically designed for students wanting to develop their skills further in the exciting growth area of TV, Film and Theatre.

You’ll be working with experts in the fields of hairdressing, special effects make-up, face casting, sculpting, the application of bald caps and prosthetics. This programme has been designed with feedback from industry and teaching professionals to give you an unrivalled learning experience.

Timetabled over two consecutive days, this qualification enables students travelling from further afield to minimise accommodation costs and offers a flexible approach to those who wish to work alongside their studies or have other life commitments, such as young children, to care for.

UCAS Code: W452

UCAS Institution Code: Y70

Level 4 Level 5
Employability Skills Period Hair and Make-up
Make-up Exploration for Varying Effects Prosthetic Design and Application
Continuity for Film and Television Advanced Make-up Artistry Skills
Cutting, Dressing, and Styling of Hair for Film and Television
Design, Create and Apply Postiche

Entry requirements

The entry requirements for this course are 32 UCAS tariff points, a Level 3 qualification in a relevant subject or A Levels. Significant relevant prior learning and experience will also be considered. You might be asked to submit a portfolio of work to support your application.

On receipt of your application, you will be asked to provide a portfolio that demonstrates your ideas and abilities creatively. This may showcase work you have done at school or college, alternatively this may capture independently devised projects. You will then be invited for interview in which you are able to discuss the course and ask any questions you may have.

How will I be assessed?

You are assessed on your ability to research and project manage and these skills are developed at Level 5. The course places a strong emphasis on style and quality of presentation with the underlying aim of building an industry quality portfolio to help you progress into further education or industry. This includes collaborating with professional photographers during assessments whenever possible. A range of formative and summative assessment methods will be used that will help to develop your skills and knowledge in preparation for entering industry.

In the final semester of Level 5 you will be expected to show an awareness of industry standards for the area of the sector in which you aim to work, which must be reflected in the quality of the presentation of your work. You will be required to critically evaluate your work.

Assessment practices adopted cover a range of formal and informal activities designed to satisfy the requirements of diagnostic, formative and summative assessment.

Skills you will learn

Throughout the foundation degree students will develop skills in; interpreting a brief, teamwork, communicating with clients and industry professionals, portfolio development, flexibility and adaptability, working well under pressure, practical creative skills, excellent attention to detail, research skills and marketing for self-employment.

Method of delivery

Our tutors have the experience, expertise and industry contacts to ensure that you are learning the most up-to-date and relevant techniques from the moment your course begins, ensuring that you are fully prepared for a career in the media make-up sector.

Teaching will take place within both workshop and classroom environments. Tutors teaching on the course have experience in various aspects of the Media Make-up and Hair Design sector including Special Effects and Prosthetics for Television and Film, Make-up and hair design for theatre and fashion. This industry knowledge will enable you to experience many aspects of the industry enabling them to specialise as you progress. The focus throughout the course will be to provide you with skills and knowledge that are current and relevant to the Media Make-up sector. You will be required to work towards industry standards which will involve collaborating with professionals such as photographers, fashion/costume designers and models. Teaching methods will include:

  • Practical demonstrations
  • Learner practical sessions
  • Group/peer work projects
  • Simulation tasks
  • Lectures/Seminars
  • One/one tutorials
  • Work experience*

*The College will help you find such work experience with the links they have in industry.

Additional costs

You will be required to purchase a special effects kit, industry standard makeup kit and hairdressing kit costing approximately (£650). In addition, further costs for trips and external speakers may be required.

Your next steps

Successful completion of the FD Media Make-up, Special Effects and Hair Design will enable you to enrol on the BA (Hons) Media Make-up, Special Effects and Hair Design to convert your qualification into a full honours’ degree.

Students can transfer the skills and knowledge learnt during the course to their employment. Former students have gone on to achieve successful careers as freelance make-up artists for weddings and events, creative professionals for TV and film and experts in the world of prosthetics and SFX.

Course leaders and tutors:
Sharon Barrington

specialises on creative project management, period hairdressing and postiche. She has been teaching for 20 years and has work experience within the industry for CBBC, Emmerdale and many independent films, photoshoots and music videos. Sharon’s love is for all things Wigs! Not only has she a flair for period hairstyling but also ventilating her own wigs, she loves the history and researching into period hair and makeups for that time. Sharon is a 'wiggy' enthusiast, working on commissions and larger wig designs, incorporating wig frames and additional hair: The bigger the wig the better: Be bold!

Sharon enjoys outsourcing her creativity in numerous ways with a passion for furniture restoration and design.

Emma Dobson

initially qualified in Media Make-up, SFX and Hair Design and has continued to upskill to remain fresh within the industry standards. She trained at Neil Gorton’s studios and has excellent knowledge in the use of fibreglass, polyurethane resins, and silicone to produce industry standard prosthetics and SFX, in which she has a passion for. Also Toni and Guy trained, Emma has a flair for barbering and cutting hair.

As well as teaching, Emma has worked at numerous Scareground productions, photoshoots, and independent productions.

Being a creative and with a love of the Arts, Emma has a great appreciation for art and music, in particular sketches and painting. Emma has two children and really enjoys keeping fit and healthy and is also currently studying MA in Education, Leadership and Management at Derby University.

Helen Casey

is a hair and make-up artist and educator with twenty years of experience working in theatre, film and television. Prior to her role at York college, Helen has worked at theatre companies including the English National Opera, Leeds Playhouse and on sets such as The Lion King and The Sound of Music. Her television work includes All Creatures Great and Small (Channel 5) and The Confessions of Frannie Langton (ITV). Helen was deputy head of the wigs, hair, and make-up department at the National Theatre for 8 years and continues to work in theatre and television with a particular focus on historical hairdressing.

She holds a BA (Hons) in Hair and Make-up for performance from the London College of Fashion and a MA in Applied Imagination for the Creative Industries from Central St Martins and is also a ceramic artist and has a keen interest in using visual facilitation as a tool in the learning environment.

Her work has been published in the following publications:

  • New Perspectives on the History of Facial Hair (Framing the Face)
  • Palgrave Fantastic Faces, Walker Books
  • Backstage Guides, Wigs, Hair and Make Up, Bloomsbury (publication pending)
Chloe Fitzgerald

started her training in Media Makeup, SFX and Hair Design at York College in 2015 in which she holds her BA (Hons). This further created a passion for creative wig work and period hair styling. Chloe continued her career in specialist hair replacement systems and extensions in London, which she has built upon industry knowledge of various hair replacement methods and styling techniques. Chloe continues to work in industry as well as teaching upon the Foundation Degree in Media Make up, SFX and Hair Design.

She is a naturally creative person with her main love being Halloween and creating characters! She has over 15 years' experience in dancing and performing arts with an amateur dance company and took part in multiple, annual dance performances held at the Bridlington Spa. In her spare time she loves baking and even sewing and making clothes!

The Media Make-up, Special Effects & Hair Design department is proud to work with:

The Wig Department
Providers of supplies and tools, a shop run by Wigmakers for Wigmakers

PAM - Precious about Make-up
Founded by Make up Artists, for Make up Artists. Pam has been sharing pro make up advice and tips for over twenty years

Neill's Materials
Neill's Materials are the leading UK materials supplier for industry professionals in sectors spanning TV & Film, Teaching & Simulation, Tooling & Composites and beyond.

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