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BA (Hons) Set Design for Stage and Screen

UCAS CODE: PDSS (Full-time) or PDFF (Foundation Year)
TARIFF: 88 - 112 (Full-time) or 32 - 56 (Foundation Year)
  • Study Mode: Full Time
  • Location: High Wycombe
  • Duration: Three or Four Years
  • Start Date: September 2024

Do you want to bring theatre, film and television sets to life through creativity and design? This set design degree will provide you with an environment where you can experiment, innovate and create your ideas.  

Boost your understanding of design, aesthetics, form and function, develop your technical skills and broaden your knowledge, so upon graduation you’ll have a portfolio that demonstrates that you can turn scripts into three-dimensional environments for stage and screen.

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Why study BA (Hons) Set Design for Stage and Screen at BNU?

Our industry standard facilities are here to help you produce your most creative ideas. We will build your confidence in using the latest software, such as Auto CAD, Rhino, Photoshop and InDesign. You’ll also benefit from creating sets within a studio environment, complete with prop stores and workshop facilities for wood, metal and plastic. 

Our other specialist resources including;

  • CNC and laser cutter technology
  • highly equipped engineering & modelmaking workshops
  • 3D design studios
  • computer suites
  • electronics/ control and plastic fabrication labs
  • 3D printing technology.

At every step you’ll be supported by a dedicated team of technicians who will provide you with advice, technical assistance and support to realise your assignment briefs and final project. The University also has a teaching base at the iconic Pinewood Studios, which means there could be opportunities to engage with the community there.

The BA (Hons) Set Design for Stage and Screen course is led by a dedicated and experienced course team. Benefit from their industry knowledge and the industry links they bring to the course. You’ll get direct access to guest lectures, who are specialists in the sector, and can benefit from project briefs, masterclasses, and networking opportunities.

As part of the Art, Design and Performance School at BNU, you’ll benefit from a practiced-based course, supported by contextual studies. You’ll also have the opportunity to work collaboratively across the School with other courses, ensuring during your studies you are building a varied network, like you would in the real world. Recent collaborations have seen the course working with Costume Design, Hair and Make-up and Acting students. 

With London on our doorstep, you’ll be able to experience visits to outside bodies related to the course, such as prop stores, sets and set stores, material suppliers and manufacturing professionals and museums. It also means you may have the opportunity to visit working studios, such as Pinewood Studio. 

Do you want a career which could take you all over the world? Working in film, theatre or live performance, you could take on several roles across the globe, from production designer to model maker, art director to production design co-ordinator, stylist or illustrator. You could also end up touring with big theatre companies.

During your time on the course you’ll lend your hand to a range of techniques and periods. Your modules and briefs allow you to develop the skills that employers are looking for, whilst ensuring you have a varied and desirable portfolio. 

Opportunity modules are a key part of the BNU curriculum. You’ll choose modules in your first year from a broad selection in areas such as sustainability, entrepreneurship, creativity, digital skills, personal growth, civic engagement, health & wellbeing and employment. Opportunity modules are designed to enable you to develop outside the traditional boundaries of your discipline and help you to further stand out from the crowd to future employers.

With a history of delivery expert craft, art and design education for more than 130 years, Buckinghamshire New University is the perfect place to start your creative career to become a set designer. 

What will I study? 

This course is also offered as a four-year programme, including an initial Foundation Year. The Foundation Year will allow you to develop your academic study skills and build confidence in your abilities, identifying your own strengths and development needs for progression onto an undergraduate programme. 

During you time studying on this set design degree, we aim to develop you into creative, reflective and skilled professionals in the production design practices of theatre, film and television. We do this by providing you with an environment where you can explore your ideas and push the boundaries with set design.

The course material that you will be provided with is rooted in contemporary practice, benchmarked by ongoing input from industry, and contextualised by a historical and theoretical overview. You will learn to respond innovatively to design briefs, to produce high quality outcomes, through rigorous research, analysis, experimentation and development of skills.

We’ll teach you about aesthetics and form, technical skills such as workshop and production techniques and CAD and technical drawing, giving you a well-rounded understanding of design methods. Provided with a broad range of core skills required for the creative industry, you will hone and develop your specialist interests, graduating with a portfolio tailored to suit your chosen profession.

The teaching team provide the best quality teaching in every lesson. They offer 1 to 1 tutorials and often invite professional people in film/tv industry in as our guests speakers. They are very hard working professionals that always make sure we never miss anything that may benefit our learning.
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The course also emphasises the importance of cultivating unique, personal entrepreneurial skills to prepare you to work within the professional environment. By being equipped with the right tools to effectively communicate with other departments and professions and produce outcomes that are aimed at international markets you are widening your career prospects.

At the same time, the set design degree embeds critical and analytical skills through contextual studies, providing you with a broader awareness of theoretical debates within media and cultural studies and related industries.

Students will also experience visits to prop stores, sets and set stores, material suppliers and manufacturing professionals, museums, among others, to better prepare themselves for the research activities proposed in the programme. 

Upon graduation you should be able to solve issues, for film, stage and television, using a range of materials and set design techniques, that bring detailed and creative stories to life.

Read this Cadspec article based on our Production Design course at Buckinghamshire New University.

How will I be taught and assessed?

The BA (Hons) Set Design for Stage and Screen degree encompasses a wide variety of teaching and learning methods.

Most of this degree is workshop based, here we aim to create the ethos of a professional real-world environment. As set design student you’ll have to complete a series of modules and projects across your time spent studying with us. Projects are designed to present new challenges to you as you progress through the course. By the end of your time with BNU, you’ll benefit from a full portfolio to go to employers with.

We also aim to provide masterclasses and industry brief opportunities for you to apply your knowledge, skills and understanding into real-world contexts, whilst gaining feedback from current industry-leaders.

Individual and small group tutorials led by industry professionals and business mentors, are not only to support you throughout the degree but more importantly to prepare you the professional world afterwards with an outstanding portfolio and a network of employers. 

You’ll also be assessed though; 1:1 or small group tutorials, Portfolio and presentations, written assessments, sketchbooks, group critiques and self-directed study.

BA (Hons) Set Design for Stage and Screen Programme Specification

BA (Hons) Set Design for Stage and Screen Additional Course Costs

What are the course entry requirements?

A typical offer will require a UCAS tariff score of: 88 - 112 (Full-time) or 32 - 56 (Foundation Year)

UCAS points can be obtained through qualifications such as A levels, T levels, BTEC or an Access to Higher Education course in a relevant subject. Please list all your qualifications on the application form as you will be asked to provide copies when we receive your application.

A minimum of two full A-levels (or equivalent) is required. Every application is considered on an individual basis.

Applicants will need to complete an interview and/or demonstrate portfolio work, further guidance is given on the interview and portfolio advice section.

Applicants who do not meet the minimum requirements for the 3-year undergraduate programme, or those who do not feel fully prepared for a Level 4 course, will be considered for the 4-year programme including a Foundation Year. If you wish to enquire further, please send your query along with any academic evidence or references to admissions@bucks.ac.uk.

For further details of our international English entry requirements, please visit our international pages.


This provides a guide of the modules that make up your course. You can find more information about how your course is structured on our Academic Advice section.

This course has Opportunity modules.

Opportunity modules are a key part of the BNU curriculum. You’ll choose modules in your first year from a broad selection in areas such as sustainability, entrepreneurship, creativity, digital skills, personal growth, civic engagement, health & wellbeing and employment. Opportunity modules are designed to enable you to develop outside the traditional boundaries of your discipline and help you to further stand out from the crowd to future employers. Find out more.

What are the tuition fees

  • Home, Academic Year 2024 - 2025: £9,250 per year
  • Overseas/International, Academic Year 2024 - 2025: £15,150 per year

Additional course costs and financial support

Most courses will involve some additional costs that are not covered by your fees.
You could benefit from financial support through a bursary or scholarship during your time as a student. For more details visit our financial support, bursaries and scholarships section.

Questions about fees?

If you have any questions about the fees above, contact our Enquiries team by calling 0330 123 2023 or emailing advice@bnu.ac.uk.

What are my career prospects?

Throughout your time with us we’ll support you on the route to your chosen career. We’ll help you to develop crucial skills, encouraging you to become enterprising, employable and good leaders. Our Careers and Employability Team also help you find employment after graduation.

Upon graduation, you will be prepared for a range of career possibilities. Using the skills and knowledge learnt on this course, you could find yourself performing the following roles all over the world:

  • Production designer for film, theatre, or live performances
  • Design assistant or designer
  • Art director or assistant
  • Model maker
  • Buyer or production specifier
  • Studio manager or production design coordinator
  • Film/theatre/performance stylist
  • Film illustrator
  • PR/marketing.

You may also wish to stay on at Buckinghamshire New University and study our full-time or part-time Postgraduate Courses.

Course leader

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Janis Hart
  • Senior Lecturer
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Joseph Davies
  • Technical Tutor
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Rupert Hammerton-Fraser
  • Technical Demonstrator
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Dr Louisa Lee
  • Lecturer
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BA (Hons) Set Design for Screen and Stage
BA (Hons) Set Design for Screen and Stage with Foundation Year