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Courses for Adults
York School of Art

Foundation Degree (FD) Media Make-up, Special Effects & Hair Design

Subject Area
Hair, Beauty & Media Make-up
Start Date
September 2024
Study Mode
2 Years (2 days per week)
Level 5
Entry Requirements
32 UCAS Tariff points or relevant experience
Validating partner
The Open University

This foundation degree explores the role of the make-up artist for film and television and 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 number of skills, whilst encouraging students to express their own individual identity and creativity.

Part of York School of Art, our Foundation Degree in Media Make-up, Special Effects & Hair Design puts you at the heart of the media industry. 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

YSOA Logo Black Landscape
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 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, or alternatively this may capture independently devised projects.

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, and make-up and hair design for theatre and fashion. This industry knowledge will enable you to experience many aspects of the industry, enabling you 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-to-one tutorials
  • Work experience*

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

Additional costs

There will be a kit cost for hairdressing tools, wig making tools and special effects products and equipment. You will be expected to provide your own straight make-up products and brushes, a list of what is required will be provided during enrolment. 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 (Top-up) course to convert your qualification into a full honours degree.

On completion of the course, you will be equipped with the skills and knowledge expected to work as a make-up trainee or make-up artist in film, television, theatre and fashion.

Former students have gone on to work in industry in positions including:

• SFX Artist
• Freelance MUA
• Prosthetics Artist/Technician
• Lecturer in Hair & Beauty
• Art Director

Course leaders and tutors:
Sharon Barrington

Sharon specialises in 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! She has a flair for not only period hairstyling, but also ventilating her own wigs, and she loves the history and researching into period hair and makeups from 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

Emma was trained at Neil Gorton Studios and has excellent knowledge in the use of fibreglass, polyurethane resins and silicone to produce industry-standard prosthetics. Emma has worked at numerous Scareground productions and has a wealth of experience both inside the classroom, as Course Leader for our FD Media Make-up programme, and in the current industry. Emma is always keen to stress the importance of maintaining strong working relationships with individuals across the creative industries to maximise your potential. Emma is currently studying for her Master’s in Education, Leadership and Management.

Helen Casey

Helen is a hair and make-up artist and educator with 20 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 an MA in Applied Imagination for the Creative Industries from Central St Martins. She 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)
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 20 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.

Dennis Williams
Supplying hair and beauty professionals throughout the UK.

Banbury Postiche
Professional hairdressing and wigmaking materials.

Experts in cosmetic hygiene.

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