Sustainable Fashion BA

Year of entry

2024 course information

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UCAS code
Start date
September 2023
Delivery type
On campus
3 years full time
Work placement
Study abroad
Typical A-level offer
Typical Access to Leeds offer
BBC at A Level and a Pass in the Access to Leeds module.
Full entry requirements

Course overview

Fashion design students in workshop

You can embrace intellectual and creative challenges by studying sustainable fashion. Combining theory and practice, this course produces critical and creative thinkers and practitioners.

You'll be encouraged to consider the interconnectedness of sustainability, business and technology, and the changing nature of consumption and consumer behaviour for fashion. You'll achieve this through research and developing an understanding of contemporary and historical discourse that will underpin your thinking.

This course offers a wide range of exciting experiences through industrial engagement, guest speakers, and optional Year in Industry. Collectively, they will equip you with vital skills to enter the world of the creative industries. 

By the time you graduate, you'll be able to choose from a diverse range of career paths, roles, and next steps within fashion, for example:

  • Retailing
  • Manufacturing
  • Product development
  • Corporate Social Responsibility
  • Studying at a postgraduate level

Throughout the course, you’ll have the opportunity to choose a number of optional modules in the School of Design in a range of related subjects. You could also choose some Discovery modules that are hosted across the university. These could include popular subject choices such as business management and sustainability.

The School of Design also offers all our students the opportunity to participate in the Study Abroad scheme or our very successful placement year (Year in Industry) between the second and third years.

For many students, the placement year is an ideal opportunity to experience the reality of fashion and sustainability.

Specialist facilities and support

Take a virtual tour of our facilities.

The School of Design offers excellent facilities and technical support for developing your creative skills. We have dedicated practice studios, workshops and specialist facilities: 3D Art & Design Studio; 2D Art & Design studios; Fashion Design studios; Knit and Weave studio; Graphic and Visual Communication studio; Photography and Film studio; Digital print studio; Laser cut studio; traditional printing studio; Design workshop; 3D workshop with 3D printing; computer clusters.

The School also provides a range of other support to enhance the student experience and prepare students for the workplace: essential learning materials; essential studio and workshop materials; dedicated software (Adobe CC; PointCarre, Solid Works, Cinema 4D, Lectra, etc); cameras and video recorder on loan; free entry to Inside/Out lecture series; compulsory field trips part of assessment; part of curriculum subscriptions (eg LSN, Special journals and periodicals); costs of Degree Show (infrastructure, course catalogue and exhibition set-up); external promotion (eg New Designer, AD&D, Graduate Fashion Week); Yorkshire Fashion Archive and Membership to the ASBCI (Fashion Design and Fashion Marketing students); and Visiting Speakers, who are well known figures from industry or other institutions around the world.

Course details

Sustainable fashion is done differently at the University of Leeds. We believe that the best sustainability experts are made by engaging with real-life ideas and problems and developing essential research and analysis skills.

Creativity and problem-solving both have contexts that shape them. Our students and staff enjoy collaborating to push ideas, skills and knowledge to their limits.

Sustainable Fashion is of growing importance with governments, NGOs, and the media. You will study the role of these organisations in the changing of the fashion agenda. 

In your first year, you'll choose a selection of modules that provide the foundations for understanding: 

  • Sustainability

  • Our current culture of consumption

  • The fashion industry

  • The environmental and social impacts of fashion products throughout their lifecycle. 

During your second year, you will build on the foundations of your current understanding. You'll explore existing opportunities to minimise Fashion's environmental and social impacts across the product's lifecycle. 

The use of real-life case studies and new research will illustrate solutions for sustainability within a business and consumer framework. 

Critically you'll learn about more advanced ways of conducting research in the sustainability area and develop a broader understanding of fashion business and marketing. 

In your final year, with creative and critical analysis skills developing, you'll use your knowledge and skills to consider what a sustainable future in Fashion might resemble. You will produce an independent dissertation exploring a fashion and sustainability topic of your choice. 

Ultimately, you'll expand your skills to assess and develop sustainable solutions for Fashion that meet the needs of the planet, as well as the industry and its customers. Issues of sustainability, diversity, inclusion and employability are central factors for you to consider and implement throughout the course.  

Discover more about School of Design facilities with our online 360 tour.

Course structure

The list shown below represents typical modules/components studied and may change from time to time. Read more in our terms and conditions.

Year 1 compulsory modules

Module Name Credits
Sustainable Fashion 20
Fashion Lifecycle 1: Materials and Process 20
Fashion Lifecycle 2: Products, Users, End of Life 20
The Fashion Industry 20
Design History, Design Futures 20

Year 1 optional modules (selection of typical options shown below)

Module Name Credits
Introduction to Photography (Digital) 10
Colour in the Design Process 10
Fashion Branding 20

Year 2 compulsory modules

Module Name Credits
Strategic Fashion Management 20
Research Methods 20
Marketing Creativity and Innovation 20
Sustainable Product Development 20
Green Processes 20

Year 2 optional modules (selection of typical options shown below)

Module Name Credits
Photography (Digital) 10
Colour: Art and Science 10
20th Century Fashion History 20
Design for Sustainability 20
Consumer Behaviour and Neuromarketing 20

Year 3 compulsory modules

Module Name Credits
Fashion Revolutions 20
Independent Study Dissertation 40
Sustainable Business Analysis 20
The Sustainable Product 20

Year 3 optional modules (selection of typical options shown below)

Module Name Credits
Time and the Image in Contemporary Art 20
Fashion Styling and Photography 20
Brand Communications 20
Contemporary Advertising 20
Collaborative Marketing 20

Discovery modules

Throughout your degree you will benefit from a range of opportunities to expand your intellectual horizons outside or within your subject area.

This course gives you the opportunity to choose from a range of discovery modules. They’re a great way to tailor your study around your interests or career aspirations and help you stand out from the crowd when you graduate. Find out more about discovery modules on our Broadening webpages.

Learning and teaching

We use a variety of teaching and learning methods including lectures, seminars, industrial visits, practical sessions and tutorials plus one-to-one contact with tutors. However, we attach a lot of importance to independent study, since it allows you to develop your knowledge and skills such as research and analysis. You’ll also take part in project work throughout the degree, collaborating with students on the other programmes within the School.

On this course you’ll be taught by our expert academics, from lecturers through to professors. You may also be taught by industry professionals with years of experience, as well as trained postgraduate researchers, connecting you to some of the brightest minds on campus.


We use different assessment methods to help you gain a wide range of skills, including exams, essays, reports, business plans and project work among others.

Entry requirements

A-level: ABB

GCSE: 5/6 A-C (or 4+) including English.

Alternative qualification

Access to HE Diploma

Pass diploma with 60 credits overall, including at least 45 credits at level 3, of which 30 credits must be at Distinction and 15 credits at Merit or higher. An interview and a piece of written work may be required.



Cambridge Pre-U

M1, M1, M2

International Baccalaureate

34 points overall with 16 at Higher Level, including a 4 in English.

Irish Leaving Certificate (higher Level)

H2, H2, H2, H3, H3, H3

Scottish Highers / Advanced Highers

BB in Advanced Highers and AABBB in Highers OR B in Advanced Highers and AAABB in Highers OR AABBBB in Highers.

Other Qualifications

Art Foundation course: We welcome Art Foundation course students. However, the qualification is not a requirement for entry and doesn’t usually count towards entry requirements, which are based on A-levels and equivalent qualifications. In exceptional cases, we may make you an offer conditional on achieving an Art Foundation qualification.

If you’re taking the EPQ, we may make you an alternative offer in addition to the standard offer. In this case that would be BBB, plus EPQ grade A.

Read more about UK and Republic of Ireland accepted qualifications or contact the School’s Undergraduate Admissions Team.

Alternative entry

We’re committed to identifying the best possible applicants, regardless of personal circumstances or background.

Access to Leeds is an alternative admissions scheme which accepts applications from individuals who might be from low income households, in the first generation of their immediate family to apply to higher education, or have had their studies disrupted.

Find out more about Access to Leeds and alternative admissions.

Typical Access to Leeds offer: BBC at A Level and pass Access to Leeds.

International Foundation Year

International students who do not meet the academic requirements for undergraduate study may be able to study the University of Leeds International Foundation Year. This gives you the opportunity to study on campus, be taught by University of Leeds academics and progress onto a wide range of Leeds undergraduate courses. Find out more about International Foundation Year programmes.

English language requirements

IELTS 6.0 overall, with no less than 5.5 in any component. For other English qualifications, read English language equivalent qualifications.

Improve your English
If you're an international student and you don't meet the English language requirements for this programme, you may be able to study our undergraduate pre-sessional English course, to help improve your English language level.


UK: £9,250 (per year)

International: £24,000 (per year)

Tuition fees for UK undergraduate students starting in 2023/24 and 2024/25
Tuition fees for UK full-time undergraduate students are set by the UK Government and will remain capped at £9,250 for 2023/24 and 2024/25. The fee may increase in future years of your course in line with inflation only as a consequence of future changes in Government legislation and as permitted by law.

Tuition fees for international undergraduate students starting in 2023/24 and 2024/25
Tuition fees for international students for 2023/24 and 2024/25 are available on individual course pages.

Tuition fees for a study abroad or work placement year
If you take a study abroad or work placement year, you’ll pay a reduced tuition fee during this period. For more information, see Study abroad and work placement tuition fees and loans.

Read more about paying fees and charges.

Additional cost information

There are additional costs of study that students need to cover. We estimate that these additional costs could be as described below, but this amount may vary depending on how you decide to respond to university briefs and the range of materials and techniques you decide to adopt.

Equipment and material costs

Students need to cover the cost of printing their work during the course, including specialist print workshop costs. Students also need to cover costs of copying and supplying their own basic materials (eg pens, pencils, cutting tools, paper, ruler, etc.) and more course specific materials (eg sketchbooks, specialist papers, specialist fabrics, sculpting materials, specialist tools, etc.), as well as print portfolios.

The approximate cost of these items in recent years has been:

• Level 1 – £100 - £170
• Level 2 – £100 - £150
• Level 3 – £200 - £600

Computers and digital equipment

To ensure you can make the most of your studies at Leeds, you’ll need to make sure your laptop meets the system requirements for your course.

Some of our courses require the development of work using Adobe Creative and other relevant software. As/if required by your programme, the School will provide you with a free Adobe CC account when you arrive. We also use a blended learning model where you’ll need to access course materials and video conference using a computer or mobile device (eg laptop, tablet, smartphone). Costs for a laptop will vary depending on the exact specification. You should expect to pay between £500 - £2,500. You might also consider buying an external drive to back-up your work on a regular basis, which may incur another additional £50 - £150. Alternatively you can choose to store your work using cloud storage or your personal M:Drive, provided by the University.

If you’re buying a new laptop for your studies, then we recommend that you wait until you’re registered as a student so that you take advantage of discounts given to university students.Delaying purchasing also allows you to find out from your programme leader what you need and what you do not need. Depending on your circumstances you can benefit from a laptop loan or further support from our Financial Assistance Fund.

You’ll also have access to further digital equipment in our studios and using our loan scheme. But, you may decide to purchase your own equipment (from Year 1 or as your studies progress) which will result in additional costs. Examples are: Drawing tablet (£50 - £500); Digital camera (£200 - £1500); etc.

There may be additional costs related to your course or programme of study, or related to being a student at the University of Leeds. Read more about additional costs.

Scholarships and financial support

If you have the talent and drive, we want you to be able to study with us, whatever your financial circumstances. There is help for students in the form of loans and non-repayable grants from the University and from the government. Find out more in our Undergraduate funding overview.

Clothworkers’ Scholarships

Affordability route

The School of Design offers a limited number of Clothworkers’ Affordability Scholarships. The Affordability Scholarships provide students with £3,000 a year, for 3 years, towards their study. An additional sum of £2,000 is also awarded at the start of the programme for the purchase of a laptop.

The scholarships do not have to be paid back and are in addition to the financial support you can receive from the government (such as the tuition fee loan or maintenance loan).

Undergraduate means-tested scholarships are available to selected UK students from low-income households, who also meet the eligibility criteria and are entering Leeds as full-time, level one undergraduates in the academic year 2023/24.

Applications for the scholarship open mid-February and the deadline is end of May. Please check back in February for further details on how to apply, or visit the Personal Circumstances Scholarship webpage.

Academic achievement route

All UK fee paying students who apply to this programme are considered for a Clothworkers’ Academic Achievement Scholarship. The Scholarships provide students with £2,000 a year, for 3 years, towards their study and are based on academic achievement.

There is no separate application process and the decision will be based on applicant’s equal weightage to GCSE (or equivalent) results and Predicted A-level (or equivalent) results.

The announcement for the academic achievement Clothworkers’ Scholarship will be made by 15 March 2023.


Apply to this course through UCAS. Check the deadline for applications on the UCAS website.

Read our guidance about applying.

International students apply through UCAS in the same way as UK students. Our network of international representatives can help you with your application. If you’re unsure about the application process, contact the admissions team for help.

Read about visas, immigration and other information in International students. We recommend that international students apply as early as possible to ensure that they have time to apply for their visa.

Admissions policy

University of Leeds Taught Admissions Policy 2024

This course is taught by

School of Design

Contact us

School of Design Undergraduate Admissions


Career opportunities

This degree is designed to equip you with a wide range of skills that are highly desirable to employers in the fashion industry.

You’ll have an understanding of the design process and be able to translate a design into a workable production process using the right materials. You’ll be able to put all of this in the context of how the finished product will be marketed, purchased and used. As the fashion industry places increasing focus on sustainability, the course will equip you to meet these challenges head on.

This holistic knowledge of fashion technology, the supply chain and the industry will equip you to succeed in a range of different careers with clothing brands and retailers and their suppliers. These roles could include buying, product development, technology, retail and supply chain management among many others.

In addition, the understanding you’ll gain of operational issues, manufacturing processes and project management could open doors for you in a range of other sectors.

Careers support

We encourage you to prepare for your career from day one. That’s one of the reasons Leeds graduates are so sought after by employers.

Leeds for Life is our unique approach to helping you make the most of University by supporting your academic and personal development. Find out more at the Leeds for Life website.

The Careers Centre and staff in your faculty provide a range of help and advice to help you plan your career and make well-informed decisions along the way, even after you graduate. Find out more about Careers support.

Study abroad and work placements

Study abroad

On this course you have the opportunity to apply to spend time abroad, usually as an extra academic year. We have over 300 University partners worldwide and popular destinations for our students include Europe, the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong, South Africa and Latin America. 

Find out more at the Study Abroad website.

Work placements

Every Leeds student can spend a year working in industry after their second year of study. The industrial placement is great for your personal and professional development, and some students have even been offered permanent roles at their placement companies.

A Year in Industry is not only a fantastic opportunity to gain experience of working in your chosen industry or field of expertise before you graduate, but it is also a chance for you to put the knowledge and skills you have gained during the first two years of your degree into practice. You can spend a year immersing yourself with one organisation or try a multitude of placements to explore different organisations and career paths.

Whilst on placement you could be in a fast-paced creative agency, or a high end fashion design company, an international retailer, a product manufacturer or an art practitioner developing their latest exhibition. Whatever option you decide to do you’ll be expanding your skillset, creating your professional network and developing your professionalism all of which will help you to secure graduate employment in the future.

Read more about our Year in Industry in the School of Design.