BA (Hons) TV and Film Set Design
Top ten in UK for assessment in Graphic Design Guardian University Guide 2024
BA (Hons) TV & Film Set Design has been designed to prepare students for an exciting and varied career working in art departments in the film and TV industry.
On graduating, students will enter art departments as Art Department Assistants, equipped with extensive knowledge of core design skills, and then progress with experience to the many varied roles within the art department; Buyer, Set Decorator, Assistant Art Director, Art Director and ultimately Production Designer.
The course has had sixteen years of graduates and we are very proud to see them working in art departments for every conceivable film and tv production. Travelling through time and space on Dr.Who, Avenue 5, War of the Worlds and Brave New World, back to The Crown, The Spanish Princess and The Great and everything else in between…The Witcher, Willow, Dr Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, Black Widow, Ant Man 3, Cruella, Wonder Woman, His Dark Materials, Sex Education, Killing Eve, Eastenders, I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here, The Great British Sewing Bee, and Universal’s Epic Universe too... the list is endless.
This network of graduates are part of our extensive links with industry, which keeps course content current and provides resources for work experience, masterclass events and studio visits.
The film and TV industry within the UK and locally within South Wales is flourishing. The course benefits greatly from being situated in the centre of Cardiff, within this booming network of high profile productions from Netflix, Disney, and studios of Bad Wolf, BBC Drama and Dragon Studios in Bridgend.
Work experience in professional art departments is part of the course and our location provides students with a wealth of opportunities on a range of high profile productions locally including His Dark Materials, Discovery of Witches, Industry, Sex Education and Dr.Who.
Our course combines challenging design projects, practical art direction all underpinned by critical analysis, this makes our students' industry ready, and equipped with all the working processes needed this exciting industry will throw at them.
The Graduate Showcase and Virtual Tour below reflects the range and high standard of work produced throughout the course.
Top in Wales for teaching and assessment in Graphic Design (Guardian University Guide 2024)
The Production Designer is the head of the art department and works closely with a Director to bring the vision of a production to life. They are responsible for the whole of the visual style of the production. This vision is produced by the members of the art department through concept visuals, scale models and construction drawings. The course aim is to provide students with a confident understanding of these pre-production design processes of professional art departments, and also provide an invaluable practical experience of art directing short films, this combination makes the step into industry on graduating a very small one.
Technical drawing, visualizing and model making underpin the role of the designer and Year 1 starts with a series of modules which provides students with an understanding of all these core principles of concept visualizing, storyboarding, scale model making and construction drawing. All these are taught manually and digitally, so students will understand the process and also learn key software to support the process. AutoCAD, Photoshop, Vray and Sketchup are currently used, and also supported by Technical Demonstrators who are at hand to provide additional support. First Year students will also understand scenic construction materials and processes through practical workshop sessions, also essential to support design understanding.
TV & Film Set Design Project Modules in Year 1, 2, and 3 develops students design skills over a wide range of genres, and these production design projects become more ambitious and challenging over each project and each year. Students will understand the specific design challenges required to design for all aspects of drama design, including fantasy, science fiction, period drama, contemporary TV, and also non drama and light entertainment.
In Year 2 the design process and understanding is also supported by practical art direction and professional work experience.
Working with BA (Hons) Film on two short films gives students the opportunity to work collaboratively with final year film students. The whole process simulates industry practice, students work in production teams, take responsibility to work with a limited budget, attend weekly production meetings, sourcing and making props when required, dressing locations. These opportunities provide students with a practical understanding of the challenges of filmmaking and an understanding of the demands of art departments and production etiquette.
Theory and critical analysis is embedded within all three years and supports the practical nature of production design and gives students an opportunity to analyse and critique production design.
The 3rd Year of the course requires students to use their acquired skills and knowledge to produce ambitious and sophisticated design schemes. The briefs and outcomes of the designs will always need to reflect ambition, originality and current industry practice.
A very high standard of work is expected throughout the course, particularly from the final year when the end of year Degree Show is the focus. This launches each student into industry and is a celebration of their knowledge, aspirations, and ambition.
- Visual Studies TV and Film Design
Students will address the core principles of producing mood boards, concept visuals and storyboarding for film and TV. Software provision of Photoshop and Vray runs alongside this module.
- Scenic Construction Principles and Practice
Through practical workshop instruction and exercises, students will understand materials and techniques used in scenic construction for film and TV.
- Surveying and Recording Spaces
Students will understand scale and the core principles of construction drawing and model making. Through practical instruction, students will produce location surveys, produce construction drawings manually and also use AutoCAD, and then produce physical white card model and also digital models using Sketchup.
- TV and Film Set Design Projects 1
Students will design for a series of multi camera light entertainment briefs. Understanding how to design from a brief for a specific studio.
- Histories and Contexts in TV and Film Set Design
This module will introduce TV and Film Set Design students to the historical, theoretical and artistic contexts that their practical design work will draw upon throughout their course.
It will provide students with the research, writing and information presentation skills necessary to communicate theory and design concepts.
- Production Design for Period Drama
Students will break down a short story or script, source a building appropriate for the period and produce a design scheme, which reflects period accuracy.
- Production Design for Contemporary Television Drama
This brief requires students to analyse current ongoing drama and produce a design scheme, which reflects current industry practice for multi camera drama.
- Production Design for Feature
Students will design for fantasy/ science fiction and produce a production design, which reflects the scale and ambition of high-end TV drama.
- Professional Practice TV & Film Design
Students develop their CV and will seek work experience in art departments on professional productions. Students will also work on two short films over the course of the year, and gain practical experience Art Directing short films with 3rd year film students from BA (Hons) Film.
- Critical Analysis for Production Design
Following on from the module ‘Histories and Contexts in TV and Film Set Design’, this module aims to engage students in a critical analysis of their own work and of produced work. This module will begin by applying questions of analysis to film and TV productions and to the students own practical design work.
- TV and Film Set Design Minor Project
Final year students will design for a non-drama brief, typically a high-end TV light entertainment production. An analysis of current TV industry and popular culture is essential for this module.
- TV and Film Set Design Major Project
Final year students will adapt from a text and produce a production design scheme for a high-end TV/feature film.
- TV and Film Set Design Dissertation
Students will produce a Dissertation which reflects critical analysis of a subject of their choice. This may be from wide-ranging areas of film and TV production design or from a wider design context.
Subject to revalidation
This course is subject to revalidation, this means it is under review as part of the University’s standard quality assurance and enhancement processes. Course and module content is indicative and may change through the revalidation process. As soon as the course is revalidated, the details will be confirmed and published on the University website.
In the unlikely event the course does not go ahead as planned, or is significantly amended, we will write to inform you. If this happens, we’ll help you to find a suitable alternative course, either at USW or at another provider.
There are strong industry links running throughout the whole of the course, through module and assignment content, written and delivered by a core teaching team with significant industry experience. There are also opportunities for members of art departments to step in and input into many modules.
Through the varied nature of our course, the main focus for our teaching will be in our designated design studios, but we also use the fabrication workshop as a facility and also the multi camera TV studio. This gives students not only a wide range of facilities, but also the support and expertise from the technical support team for those areas. Software is also taught within specific computer labs by technical demonstrators.
The combination of design projects delivered in our designated design studios, is also supplemented with studio visits and Masterclass events where Production Designers or members of art departments deliver specific lessons on site in our studios, or virtually or on set combined with a set visit. Masterclass events are always a really exciting part of the course and bring everyone together. In previous years, we have enjoyed masterclasses from:
- Joel Collins, Production Designer for His Dark Materials and Black Mirror
- Arwell Wynn Jones, Production Designer for Dr.Who, Sherlock and Dracula.
- Stuart Kearns, Supervising Art Director for feature films including Christopher Robin, Wonder Woman and The Witcher.
- Peter Bingemann, an incredible light entertainment designer responsible for the production design of the BAFTAs and BRITS for many years.
This input from industry combined with our core team provides exciting, current content.
Every module will have its own assessment criteria. As a design based course the majority of our assessments are design based coursework, with submissions reflecting this. There will be a range of other types of assessments including presentations, written submissions, evaluation reports. All of which are designed specifically for you to achieve your best outcome.
This course is Screenskills accredited, which means it has been recognised by the film and tv industry as an excellent through route to industry.
The course is also an educational sponsor and affiliated to The British Film Designers Guild. The BFDG is a professional group with over 550 members of Production Designers, and spanning the various branches of the Art Department in Film, Television and Commercials. This provides an excellent resource and network for students.
Work experience is embedded within the 2nd year module Professional Practice. This module enables students to gain work experience within a professional art department, which then occurs within the 2nd year. This may be for one or two weeks at a time for each production. Students may take many of these opportunities as possible to suit, and are an invaluable way of seeing a working art department, and understanding the roles within the team and how fast-paced the environment can be.
These opportunities are in response to industry requirements, and the success of these often lead to paid work within the course and jobs in the future. Previous students have worked on productions including:
- Ant Man
- Artemis Fowl
- Christopher Robin
- Coronation Street
- Celtic Prop Hire – Cardiff
- Detective Pikachu
- Dr Doolittle
- Dr Who
- Farleys Prop Hire – London
- His Dark Materials
- Jurassic World
- Mission Impossible 6
- No Time to Die
- Pobol y Cwm
- Sex Education
- Silent Witness
- The Crystal Maze
- Vanity Fair
USW is a partner of Screen Alliance Wales (SAW). SAW is a resource that provides support, links and training for the film and TV industry. They have been an excellent resource for work experience, masterclass events and studio visits.
Throughout the course there have always been opportunities to visit TV studios, meet production designers on set and to observe productions being filmed, these have happened locally and nationally. Recent production visits include:
- The Witcher
- The Crystal Maze at the Bottleyard Studios Bristol
- His Dark Materials at Wolf Studios Cardiff
- Dr. Who
- Pobol y Cwm at BBC Drama Village, Roath Lock
The TV and Film Set Design course is based at USW’s creative campus in the centre of Cardiff.
Due to the varied nature of our subject we use a range of facilities across the campus including design studios, fabrication workshop and TV studios, but our dedicated design studios are our main base. Here the majority of our modules take place and these studios are filled with the output of our work. It is a busy working environment where students construct models, design and work through the whole design process of projects. The studios are also a very sociable base where students from all years interact with each other, providing a base for creativity.
The fabrication workshop and 3D printers are used to construct larger models using specialist tools, or build scenery or props for short films. Every student in the 1st year is given an induction to the fabrication workshop and 3D printers, so they can safely use the equipment. Similarly, all our students are given an induction into the TV studio to fully understand how the TV studio operates and also how to handle the multi camera system, including the pedestal cameras.
We regularly revalidate courses for quality assurance and enhancement
At USW, we regularly review our courses in response to changing patterns of employment and skills demand to ensure we offer learning designed to reflect today’s student needs and tomorrow’s employer demands.
If during a review process course content is significantly changed, we’ll write to inform you and talk you through the changes for the coming year. But whatever the outcome, we aim to equip our students with the skillset and the mindset to succeed whatever tomorrow may bring. Your future, future-proofed.
We may make you a lower offer based on a range of factors, including your background (where you live and the school or college that you attended for example), your experiences and individual circumstances (as a care leaver, for example). This is referred to as a contextual offer and we receive data from UCAS to support us in making these decisions. USW prides itself on its student experience and we support our students to achieve their goals and become a successful graduate. This approach helps us to support students who have the potential to succeed and who may have faced barriers that make it more difficult to access university. Here is a link to our Contextual Admissions Policy.
Other qualifications and experience
We can also consider combinations of qualifications and other qualifications not listed here may also be acceptable. We can sometimes consider credits achieved at other universities and your work/life experience through an assessment of prior learning. This may be for year one entry, or advanced entry to year two or three of a course where this is possible.
To find out which qualifications have tariff points, please refer to the UCAS tariff calculator.
If you need more help or information or would like to speak to our friendly admissions team, please contact us here
Applicants in the UK
Selection for this course is based on a suitable application. If you do not meet the entry criteria, you may also be required to provide a portfolio of your work to help us assess your suitability for the course.
Applicants outside the UK
Selection for this course is based on a suitable application and submission of a portfolio of your work which the Course Leader confirms is suitable for an offer to be made.
Typical A-Level Offer
CCC to include a relevant art and design subject (this is equivalent to 96 UCAS tariff points).
Typical Welsh BACC Offer
Pass the Advanced Welsh Baccalaureate Diploma with Grade C in the Skills Challenge Certificate and CC at A Level with a relevant art and design subject (this is equivalent to 96 UCAS tariff points).
Typical BTEC Offer
BTEC Extended Diploma Merit Merit Merit in a relevant subject (this is equivalent to 96 UCAS tariff points).
Typical Access to HE Offer
Pass the Access to HE Diploma with a minimum of 96 UCAS tariff points
GCSEs: The University normally requires a minimum 5 GCSEs including Mathematics/Numeracy and English at Grade C or Grade 4 or above, or their equivalent, but consideration is given to individual circumstances
International Entry Requirements
We also welcome international applications with equivalent qualifications. Please visit the country specific pages on our international website for exact details.
In general, international applicants will need to have achieved an overall IELTS grade of 6.0 with a minimum score of 5.5 in each component.
However, if you have previously studied through the medium of English IELTS might not be required, but please visit the country specific page on our international website for exact details. If your country is not featured please contact us.
Full-time fees are per year. Part-time fees are per 20 credits. Once enrolled, the fee will remain at the same rate throughout the duration of your study on this course.
August 2024 - July 2025 Fees
Full-time UK: TBC
Full-time International: £14950
August 2025 - July 2026 Fees
Full-time UK: TBC
Full-time International: TBC
At the University of South Wales, you’re investing in so much more than a degree. We strive to provide our students with the best possible experience, no matter what you chose to study. Whether it’s access to top of the range mac books and PCs, state-of-the-art facilities packed with industry-leading equipment and software, masterclasses and events led by industry experts, or a wide range of clubs and societies to meet likeminded people, better tomorrows start with extra perks.
Each course also has their own unique student benefits to prepare you for the real word, and details of these can be found on our course pages. From global field trips, integrated work experience and free course-related resources, to funded initiatives, projects working with real employers, and opportunities for extra qualifications and accreditations - at USW your future, is future-proofed.
As a student of USW, you’ll have access to lots of free resources to support your study and learning, such as textbooks, publications, online journals, laptops, and plenty of remote-access resources. Whilst in most cases these resources are more than sufficient in supporting you with completing your course, additional costs, both obligatory and optional, may be required or requested for the likes of travel, memberships, experience days, stationery, printing, or equipment.
|Kit (Uniform and Equipment) *||£150||
Materials, per year
|Kit (Uniform and Equipment)||£150||
Equipment, year 1
Field trip to Europe
|Other: Printing & Exhibition Costs||£100 - £250||
£100 (Year 1& 2), £250 (Year 3)
Funding to help pay for (or cover) course tuition fees and living costs
Whilst you’re studying, you’ll have two main financial obligations – tuition fees and living costs. There’s lots of financial help available from the University of South Wales and external funding sources, that may provide loans (which have to be paid back) and grants, scholarships and bursaries (that don't).
To learn about course fees, funding options, and to see if you are eligible for financial support, visit our Fees and Funding pages.
Apply via UCAS if you are a UK residing applicant, applying for year one of a full-time undergraduate degree, Foundation Year, Foundation Degree or HND and you have not applied through UCAS before. If you are applying to study part-time, to top up your Foundation Degree or HND, or to transfer to USW from another institution, please apply directly.
International and EU students
Apply directly to the University if you live outside the UK.
There is a very successful employment rate from the course, with students entering art departments locally and nationally.
Students will typically enter at Art Department Assistant level, then progress in time through the hierarchy within the structure to more senior levels of Draughtsperson, Assistant Art Director, Art Director, Supervising Art Director and ultimately after considerable time to Production Designer.
There are also more practical roles where many of our students have flourished, including Standby Props, Set Decorator, Production Buyer.
The film and TV industry within the UK is thriving, and South Wales has seen an exponential growth. We are pleased to be at the heart of this and can see first hand the growth and need for Art Department crew.
The range of productions graduates have worked on includes:
- Discovery of Witches
- Dr Who
- Game of Thrones
- His Dark Materials
- Killing Eve
- Pobol y Cwm
- Silent Witness
- Sex Education
- The Dark Crystal
- The Witcher – Season 2, 3
- The Great
- A Star Wars Story: Han Solo
- Black Widow
- Chicken Run 2
- Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
- Fast and Furious – Hobbes and Shaw
- Guardians of the Galaxy
- Men in Black IV
- Maleficent II
- Mary Poppins Returns
- Mission Impossible 6
- Paddington 2
- Ready Player One
- Rogue One
- The Batman
- The Favourite
- The Justice League
- The Little Mermaid
- Wonder Woman
- Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Take-Away
- Dancing On Ice
- Eurovision Song Contest
- I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here
- The Great British Sewing Bee
Our Careers and Employability Service
As a USW student, you will have access to advice from the Careers and Employability Service throughout your studies and after you graduate.
This includes: one-to-one appointments from faculty based Career Advisers, in person, over the phone or even on Skype and through email via the "Ask a Question" service. We also have extensive online resources for help with considering your career options and presenting yourself well to employers. Resources include psychometric tests, career assessments, a CV builder, interview simulator and application help. Our employer database has over 2,000 registered employers targeting USW students, you can receive weekly email alerts for jobs.
Our Careers service has dedicated teams: A central work experience team to help you find relevant placements; an employability development team which includes an employability programme called Grad Edge; and an Enterprise team focused on new business ideas and entrepreneurship.