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The Visual Merchandising, Styling and Promotion Top-up Year - BA (Hons)
Level 6 programme is subject to validation by the University of Hertfordshire.

Whether it is in a physical or digital space, successful visual merchandising is an essential part of the retail environment, it can define a brands image and create memorable and engaging customer experiences expressed over a multitude of channels, which ultimately drives sales.

This Top-up Degree is the final year (Level 6) of an undergraduate degree course and allows students who have a Foundation Degree, Higher National Diploma or equivalent qualification, to top up their existing qualification to a full BA (Hons) degree.

On this dynamic one-year programme, you will master a wide range of industry skills including, retail display, fashion styling and promotion, fashion branded spaces and graphic design. You will also develop expertise in visual merchandising, digital visual merchandising, spatial design and branding practices through a curriculum that explores the design process from conceptualization through realisation.

This Top-up Degree will equip you with skills in these key areas, ensuring you have the necessary knowledge and understanding to guarantee a greater likelihood of employment within the retail industry, while showcasing your creativity to any employer.

This programme is unique; there are a limited number of Degree Level Visual Merchandising programmes in the UK. Hertford Regional College currently offers a Foundation Degree in Visual Merchandising and having over 50 years experience in running Visual Merchandising programmes is already recognised as a UK 'Centre of Excellence' by the British Display Society.

The college is located just outside of the retail epicentre that is London, offering students access to luxury department stores, high street flagship stores, top design and branding agencies, museums and exhibition centres, therefore providing opportunities for work placements and participation in live briefs at some of the world's most highly regarded locations.

What can I do next?

Upon successful completion of the course you have the option to progress onto a Level 7 Master's degree at the University of Hertfordshire. Alternatively, you can progress onto an appropriate Master's degree at another institution.

After graduating there are a range of career opportunities and roles you can enter within the industry such as Visual Merchandiser, Display Designer, Fashion Stylist, Photo-shoot Stylist, Event Designer, Exhibition Designer, Retail Designer, Interior Designer, Graphic Designer and freelance Visual Merchandiser.

What will I be doing?

On the Top-up Year Visual Merchandising, Styling and Promotion (Level 6) you will explore critical tools which is utilised within the retail industry from high street to luxury brands, and across all channels including websites, social media, pop ups, photographic shoots and campaign images, events, fashion styling and so much more. These aspects are all integral to the success of a brand - by understanding both its identity and increasing its commerciality.

Teaching comprises a combination of lectures, seminars, practical workshops, tutorials, industry guest speakers, presentations, practical assignments and written work. You are to undertake self-directed independent study to consolidate your learning and to broaden your knowledge and understanding of the subject. You will have the opportunities for collaboration with other students on the programme and you are also encouraged to independently negotiate and organise your own work placement opportunities to gain industry relevant knowledge and practice by working with a prestigious company. This will enhance your employability by offering valuable experience and contacts within the industry.

Modules of study for the BA Visual Merchandising, Styling and Promotion programme are:

Level 6 (Year Three)

Semester A Modules

  • Professional Practice - 30 Credits
  • Styling and Product Presentation - 30 Credits

Semester B Module

  • Final Major Project Visual Merchandising - 60 Credits

At the end of the course you will be expected to create a professional portfolio of work to gain employment operating at a high level or for further study at a MA Level.

Added Extras

You will have access to state-of-the-art facilities including a dedicated purpose-built display studio with display practice spaces and store-quality glazed windows. As well as dedicated studio spaces, specialists' workshops, Mac suites, professional-quality photography studio and industry standard resources.

The teaching team combines full-time teaching staff with part-time industry professionals, who split their time between teaching and working in the creative industries. Throughout the programme there is an international study trip, as well as national study trips and visits to businesses, agencies, retailers, museums and galleries. These visits are not mandatory, and the costs will be additional to the course fee. Students will be given sufficient notice to budget for these events.

There is the opportunity to take part in industry live briefs with local community businesses, organisations, groups and head offices as well as prestigious national and international competitions and work placements from leading retail brands.

We are exceptionally proud to say that Top-up Year Visual Merchandising - BA (Hons), Styling and Promotion programme is recognised by the British Display Society as a UK 'Centre of Excellence'. Graduates may receive the award of ProDip.BDS upon successful completion of the course and have the benefit of membership of the British Display Society whilst studying on the programme.

You will also have the opportunity to manage and curate your own exhibitions in our stunning David Gentleman Gallery as well as at external venues.

How will I be assessed?

This programme is assessed from 100% coursework consisting of both practical and theoretical assignments.

A sustained body of creative work forms the basis of assessment, supported by written documentation and practical assignments.

Assessment is continuous throughout this programme to help you to measure your progress with your subject with a wide variety of assessment types for example formative and summative assessment which align to the Programme's learning outcomes and self and peer assessment with the University of Hertfordshire Exam Board at the end of each semester to approve the final grades.

Entry requirements

Successful completion of Foundation Degree/HND in a design discipline for example: Visual Merchandising, Three-dimensional Design, Interior Design, Graphic Design, Photography, Fashion Business and Retail, Fashion and Textile, and Promotion.

Provide evidence of Transcript at Level 4 and 5 from either a Foundation Degree, HND or BA (Hons) course.

Attend an interview and portfolio presentation.

Entry to this programme will also be determined by assessment of your portfolio.

How to Apply?

Applications will be via UCAS to the University of Hertfordshire when the course is validated. If you are interested please e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for further information and updates on when you can apply.

What do I need to bring?

You will need a desktop or a laptop in order to begin the programme. You will be required to purchase a course kit at approximately £150, a kit list will be provided with everything you need before you start the course. Also, throughout the programme of study you will need to buy general materials and production services in order to complete module assignments.

Fee Information

£8250 for the 2022/2023 academic year (subject to validation).

Students are normally eligible for a tuition fee loan from Student Finance England. See https://www.gov.uk/apply-for-student-finance

There may be opportunities for trips and visits organised, these will be at an additional charge for the students.

These fees are indicative of the 2021-22 costs and may be subject to change

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