The University of Southampton
Winchester School of ArtPostgraduate study

MA Textile Design

Create beautiful, innovative textiles and gain the skills you’ll need for a successful career in textile design, guided by industry experts and supported by unrivalled facilities.

Introducing your course

The MA Textile Design programme will encourage you to be experimental, to stretch the boundaries and focus on taking your textile design skills to the next level. Taught by industry-experienced tutors and supported by our dedicated technicians, you’ll learn techniques such as print, embroidery and Devore, with access to superb facilities including traditional print rooms, laser cutting, dye labs, illustration and mac suites. Alongside this you’ll gain the contextual knowledge and critical research skills that will underpin your work through core topics such as sketchbook development, visual and market research and considerations of sustainability. Our staff are committed to helping you realise your own creative ideas and you will develop the ability to inquire into and reflect on contemporary life; whether your interests lie in textiles for fashion, interior design or as a medium for art pieces, you’ll receive plenty of individual support.

The programme includes extensive industry exposure through guest lectures, live project briefs and visits to trade events, and staff will work closely with you to help you develop your individual strengths and enhance your employability. Using their industry connections, tutors can also facilitate internship opportunities with leading fashion and textile companies and the opportunity to showcase your work in Winchester and London. 

You’ll graduate with a portfolio that demonstrates your creative talents and technical accomplishments, as well as the industry-specific knowledge that will enable you to pursue a successful career in textile design.


Whether you are a recent graduate or want to refocus your career, the MA Textile Design programme will allow you to develop your creative design skills and apply them to a range of textile media within a robust academic framework. As part of a well-respected Russell Group university, we place a strong emphasis on research across our programmes. As well as honing your technical skills, you’ll be encouraged to explore the ideas and issues that have shaped textile design and contemporary issues that influence the industry, rooting your studio work in a conceptual context.

In addition, you’ll be able to access lectures and conferences run by the School’s renowned research and special interest groups, such as the Winchester Luxury Research Group, In The Loop and the Fashion and Sustainability Forum.

A relatively small intake means you’ll get plenty of individual attention from your tutors, and you’ll develop friendships and contacts among your peer group that will be invaluable as your career progresses. You’ll be co-located with MA Fashion Design students in a creative studio atmosphere where students can share ideas and draw inspiration from one another’s work.

 Click here to download the full Programme Specification.

Programme Structure

This is a one-year, full-time masters degree. You’ll undertake studio-based work and taught modules in semesters one and two, followed by a period of independent studio work for your final project in the third semester. 

Studio practice 

During studio practice modules in semester one and two you’ll explore design approaches and methods while learning about contemporary concepts and issues in textile design. Through technical workshops and seminars you’ll have the opportunity to learn a wide range of techniques, from traditional printing and dyeing to CAD (computer-aided design) skills, laser cutting, and digital and sublimation printing. We encourage you to experiment with these, initially through set projects but with an increasing focus on independent practice. As the course progresses, you’ll work on your own ideas for your final project. You’ll also work as part of a group to plan and set up an interim exhibition of your work to date. 

You’ll spend the final months of the course working on your final project pieces in readiness for a photoshoot and major campus exhibition, which you’ll help to organise.

Throughout the year you’ll have access to workshops covering a range of skills and techniques, from primary research to developing a sketchbook and CAD (computer-aided design) to creating mood boards and a professional portfolio.  

Professional and academic skills

Alongside your studio practice, you’ll take two Professional and Academic Skills modules. These will ensure you have the necessary textile design-related research skills that you’ll need on the course. You’ll also develop professional skills that will help you to progress when you graduate, learning from industry-experienced academics about potential career paths and how to develop your portfolio and professional profile in order to achieve your career aims.

Optional module 

In semester two you’ll have the opportunity to broaden your studies and personalise your course by selecting an optional module. You might choose a topic that will support a particular career goal, such as marketing or entrepreneurship, or that enables you to explore issues such as sustainability, visual culture or digital cultures in greater depth. 

Outstanding facilities 

You’ll have access to an unrivalled range of facilities and equipment, enabling you to learn a range of techniques and take your work in any number of directions. Facilities include:

  • a Mimaki digital printer, heat-transfer printing and large hand screen-printing tables with adjoining screen exposing rooms and dye labs
  • computerised Shima Seiki knitting machines across three gauges, a variety of single and doublebed Dubied knitting machines, linkers and manual knitting machines
  • a state-of-the-art jacquard loom, a variety of computerised AVL dobby looms, and manual table looms
  • the WSA library, which houses comprehensive collections of textiles books, journals and magazines as well as a wide range of other arts-related materials

Dedicated librarians and technical staff will help you get the most out of these resources.

Industry connections 

The MA Textile Design is taught by staff who are either current practitioners or have considerable experience working within the industry. They bring with them a wealth of knowledge and experience that will feed directly into your learning

  • Programme leader Louise Gilbey is an experienced printed and embroidered textile designer with over 20 years of industry experience. She has also worked as a lecturer for as many years at a number of colleges in the UK. Louise co-ran a successful design studio, Gilbey & Cheyne Design, for 14 years, which created and sold designs for fashion, home and packaging across the world. She works as a textile designer (freelance and in house), designing bedlinen and accessories for stores such as The White Company, Debenhams and House of Fraser, liaising directly with factories in the Far East and working closely with sales and buying teams. Louise is also a sales and marketing consultant for a new textile design studio, which produces designs for the home market.
  • MA coordinator Reem Alasadi has presented her womenswear collections in London and Tokyo and specialises in highly innovative design, specialising in artisanship and hand-crafted excellence. She brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise in retail, design, visual marketing and merchandising to the course, She also has considerable expertise in sustainable and ethical design, and has led many workshops in non-waste design. 

Industry links and employability 

Staff use their contacts to ensure you are exposed to industry opportunities that will enhance your knowledge and your employability.

  • Take part in live industry projects – Winchester School of Art alumnus Justin Thornton, founder of Preen by Thornton Bregazzi, recently set a live brief and offered internships to students with the most impressive portfolios.
  • Arrange an internship – tutors are happy to consult their contact books in order to help you apply for work experience opportunities. Recent students have worked with Saderson, Samson Soboye, and Preen.
  • Visits to studios and to textiles shows in London, such as the New Designers fair.
  • Design pieces for external public events such as the Winchester Hat Fair, and Winchester Fashion Week.
  • Hear from industry speakers – we invite external professionals and industry influencers to share their insights into contemporary textile design. Recent speakers include Paul Alger, Director of the UK Fashion and Textile Association.
  • Gain experience by working on externally facing events – students from the School’s fashion, textile and marketing courses recently teamed up to work on a catwalk show in Southampton for International Women’s Day.
  • Showcase your work and make industry connections at exhibitions on campus and in London, and at major textile events such as Country Living and Texprint. You could also sell your products at a pop-up shop during Winchester fashion week.
  • Hear from industry experts at the annual Fashion and Sustainability Forum – this year’s guest speakers included broadcaster, fashion commentator and activist Caryn Franklin, The Ethical Fashion Forum and Orsola de Castro, founder of sustainability movement Fashion Revolution.

Key Facts

Take your design and hand crafting skills to a high level while exploring creative ideas, underpinned by robust research and reflective practice and learn practical techniques.

Learn from academics with professional textile design experience and extensive industry contacts.

Exposure to industry through live project briefs, guest lectures, visits to trade events in London and internship opportunities.

Dedicated studio space and unrivalled facilities, including state-of-the-art print and weave equipment, on a peaceful campus less than one hour from London.

A supportive and personalised approach to learning; staff will get to know your individual strengths and help you achieve your potential.

A focus on developing your employability, with tailored support to help you develop a professional profile and consider your career options.

Tutors’ specialist knowledge of sustainability in the textile and fashion industry will inform your learning.

Entry Requirements

Typical entry requirements

Selection process

The admissions policy for MA Textile Design is based on students having a good honours degree in a relevant subject (2.2 or above) or an equivalent standard in other qualifications approved by the University.

MA Textile Design at Winchester School of Art is both practice and theory based. It is important that you demonstrate your artistic ability in a portfolio, as this will be the determining factor for entry. Your portfolio should include evidence of the processes behind final work (e.g. drawing and sketches; try to include observational drawings and Computer Aided Design (CAD) work), examples of processes and techniques (e.g. dyeing, screen printing, digital printing, woven textiles or special finishing techniques), and images of your final work (e.g. either exhibitions or photo-shoots). Please include a variety of projects in your portfolio. Your portfolio should not exceed ten megabytes in size.

If you have professional experience, or credit through prior learning at another institution, you may be eligible to use this experience against some of the programme requirements for period of study. You will need to present evidence that you have met the learning outcomes of the programme. Full details can be found in the University’s Policy on the Recognition of Prior Learning .

English Language Requirements

International and EU students applying for this programme are required to have a minimum IELTS score of 6.0 overall with 5.5 in each component or equivalent, prior to starting the programme. For a full list of English language tests accepted please see here

The University also runs a number of English language courses to prepare students for study, details can also be found here for more information about the WSA pre-sessionals.

This page contains specific entry requirements for this course. Find out about equivalent entry requirements and qualifications for your country.


Typical course content

You will work in a creative environment in which students from other programmes will be studying. You will work on projects set by your discipline and be taught by staff specific to your programme. The work which you produce will be manifested through media appropriate to your discipline and you will experience workshops specific to your programme.

Year 1

Semester One
ARTD6148Credit: 40
Semester Two
ARTD6151Credit: 20
ARTD6153Credit: 20
ARTD6154Credit: 20
ARTD6155Credit: 20
ARTD6157Credit: 20
ARTD6158Credit: 20
ARTD6149Credit: 40

Summer period

Please note: This specification provides a concise summary of the main features of the programme and the learning outcomes that a typical student might reasonably be expected to achieve and demonstrate if s/he takes full advantage of the learning opportunities that are provided. More detailed information can be found in the programme handbook (or other appropriate guide or website).

Fees & funding

Tuition fees

Fees for postgraduate taught courses vary across the University. All fees are listed for UK, EU and international full-time and part-time students alphabetically by course name.

View the full list of course fees


Scholarships, bursaries, sponsorships or grants may be available to support you through your course. Funding opportunities available to you are linked to your subject area and/or your country of origin. These can be from the University of Southampton or other sources.

Explore funding opportunities

Costs associated with this course

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

There will also be further costs for the following, not purchasable from the University:

EquipmentApproved calculator: The University approved models are Casio FX-570 and Casio FX-85GT Plus. These may be purchased from any source and no longer need to carry the University logo.
StationeryYou will be expected to provide your own day-to-day stationery items, e.g. pens, pencils, notebooks, etc). Any specialist stationery items will be specified under the Additional Costs tab of the relevant module profile.
BooksWhere a module specifies core texts these should generally be available on the reserve list in the library. However due to demand, students may prefer to buy their own copies. These can be purchased from any source. Some modules suggest reading texts as optional background reading. The library may hold copies of such texts, or alternatively you may wish to purchase your own copies. Although not essential reading, you may benefit from the additional reading materials for the module.
EquipmentArt equipment and materials: Drawing paper, painting materials, sketchbooks Students on the Studio programmes will be required to purchase Sketchbooks the cost of which will vary.
EquipmentArt equipment and materials: Fabric, thread, wool Students taking the Studio based Fashion Design and Textile Design Programme will be required to purchase their own materials, the cost of which will vary. A student can choose the quality.
EquipmentDesign equipment and materials: Standard construction/modelling materials will be provided where appropriate, unless otherwise specified in a module profile. For customisation of designs/models calling for material other than standard construction/ modelling materials, students will bear the costs of such alternatives.
Printing and copyingWritten coursework: In most cases, written coursework such as essays; projects; dissertations are submitted online and by hard copy. The costs of printing a hard copy for submission of such coursework will be the responsibility of the student. The cost of photocopying will also be the responsibility of the student.
Printing and copyingPortfolio: Printing for the collation of a student’s portfolio will be the responsibility of the student.
OtherOptional visits (e.g. museums, galleries): Some modules may include optional visits to a museum, galleries, or industry. You will normally be expected to cover the cost of travel, admission and food unless otherwise specified in the module profile.
OtherParking costs: Free parking is not normally available on campus to students.
TravelThe Student’s Union provide a mini free bus service which runs every 2 hours between the Winchester Campus and the Highfield Campus. Students are responsible for all other daily travel expenses.

In some cases you'll be able to choose modules (which may have different costs associated with that module) which will change the overall cost of a programme to you. Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at

Career Opportunities

Our graduates have gone on to pursue a broad variety of careers such as designing for textile design agencies, becoming in-house designers for design houses or suppliers, or greeting card design. Past students have also set up their own design labels, have become design tutors or continued their studies at PhD level.

Learning & Assessment

Study locations

Winchester campus

Winchester campus

Winchester School of Art is set in pleasant, green surroundings close ...Find out more

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