Contemporary Textiles BA (Hons)

UCAS code W231
Information line 01463 279190

What is special about this course?

Do you want to study contemporary textiles in a unique setting? Come to Shetland and be inspired by the rich design heritage and stunning landscapes.

Here you will develop your practical skills in a range of textile areas, such as knit, weave and surface effects, including silk-screen and designs for digital printing.

Our vibrant course aims to harness your talent and equip you with the skills that will help you sustain a career in this sector. Professional practice will be integral to your training and there is a strong emphasis on contemporary design and awareness of market trends.

We offer well-equipped, modern studios and expert tuition from a team of practising artists and designers. You will also benefit from individual and small group tuition.

Live project work and attendance at textile trade fairs is also part of the course. Previous students have attended the Shetland International Textile Festival, Premier Vision in Paris and Berlin Fashion Week, and have worked with the Shetland Textile Museum and for Shetland Wool Week.

Special features

  • You will learn through a combination of practical workshops in art and textile techniques, face to face tutorials and video conference lectures
  • Flexible course that you can exit at various stages with a valuable qualification
  • Excellent knit and weave facilities with a Textile Facilitation Unit, run by an experienced textile technician and equipped with Shima Seike knitting systems.  The unit creates fabrics for designers and SMEs in Shetland and UK
  • Regular visits to local and national studios, firms and galleries will ensure that you keep up-to-date with current practice and strengthen your understanding of contemporary and historical art and design
  • You will learn highly sought-after practical, professional and computer-aided design (CAD) skills
  • You can study full-time or part-time to suit your personal circumstances


We can provide information on local accommodation options on request to help you find a place to stay

Entry requirements

  • 3 Scottish Highers at grade C or above OR
  • 2 A levels at grade C or above
  • These must include English
  • Alternatively, the completion of an Art Access course with evidence of ability in written coursework, for example a unit in Art History or contextual study
  • You will be required to submit a portfolio of visual work which clearly demonstrates your capacity to cope with the demands of the BA (Hons) Contemporary Textiles

Access routes

If you do not have the required qualifications you could take the National Certificate (NC) in Art and Design, or portfolio access courses available at:

  • Inverness College UHI
  • Lews Castle College UHI
  • Moray College UHI
  • Orkney College UHI
  • Perth College UHI
  • Shetland College UHI

Year 1 - CertHE

Core subjects are:

  • Textile skills 1: knit
  • Drawing
  • Critical and contextual studies level 1
  • Textile skills 2: weave
  • Textile skills 3: material form and context
  • Printed image

Year 2 - DipHE

Core subjects are:

  • Creative design practice 1
  • Creative design practice 2
  • Professional practice 1
  • Critical and contextualised studies 2: textiles

You will also choose two option modules which may include:

  • Introduction to psychology
  • Images of Scotland
  • What is culture?
  • Art and social practice

Year 3 - BA

Core modules are:

  • Theory and practice: design
  • Creative design practice 3: textiles
  • Research project: design
  • Creative design practice 4: textiles
  • Professional practice 2

You will also undertake a textile investigation project in which you will participate in UK or international competition briefs.

Year 4 - BA (Hons)

Your final year will allow you to develop your design and art skills in-depth, with emphasis on practical studio work. You will also complete a dissertation, degree show and exhibitions.

How will I study my course?

  • Full-time
  • Part-time (structured)
  • Part-time (unstructured)
  • You will learn through a combination of practical workshops in art and textile techniques, face-to-face and video conference lectures and tutorials, and online study via the university's virtual learning environment (VLE), with support from your tutors

How long will my course last?

  • Full-time: 4 years @ 40 hours per week
  • Part-time (structured): 8 years @ 18 hours per week
  • Part-time (unstructured): negotiable

Number of hours per week indicates the total number of hours you should dedicate to the course, which includes time spent in lectures and your own time spent on individual study and research.

Where can I study my course?

Start date

  • September
  • January (part-time study only)


For students normally domiciled in Scotland or the European Union/EEA (outside of the UK) and with a term time address in Scotland, the following fees apply:

Full-time (120 credit modules) per year £1,820 £1,820
Part-time (structured) (3 x 20 credit modules) per year £645 £645
Part-time (unstructured per module) (per 20 credit module) £215 £215

Rest of UK students

For students normally domiciled in the rest of the UK (England, Wales and N. Ireland) and with a term time address in Scotland studying this course full time, the following fees apply:

    Full-time Full-time
Year 1 CertHE £8,000 £9,000
Year 2 DipHE £8,000 £9,000
Year 3 Degree £8,000 £9,000
Year 4 Honours free* free*

*4th year free only for students studying full-time who have paid for the previous 3 years at the University of the Highlands and Islands.

Part-time (per 20 credit module) -  £1,340 (2017-18) and £1,500 (2018-19).

Fees are payable in advance each academic year unless otherwise agreed.

There are a number of funding options available to UK and EU students to help you pay for your studies and your cost of living whilst studying.

International students

For students who do not normally reside in the UK or European Union and with a term-time address in Scotland, the following fees apply:

  2017-18 2018-19
Full-time (120 credit modules) per year £10,500 £11,100
Part-time (structured) (3 x 20 credit modules) per year** £5,250 £5,550
Part-time (unstructured per module) (per 20 credit module)** £1,750 £1,850

**There is no part-time study option for Tier 4 sponsored international students.

Further information on international course fees.

A no fee increase guarantee is available for self-funding full-time and structured part-time RUK and International undergraduate students for continuous and contiguous study for the same award, up to the permitted standard time limit for the relevant award.


External scholarships and financial support may be available. Contact Shetland College UHI for more information.

What can I do on completion of my course?

As the BA (Hons) Contemporary Textiles course combines practical, professional and computer-aided design (CAD) skills, you will be prepared for a number of diverse employment opportunities. You might like to consider:

  • establishing your own practice in textile design
  • work in community arts
  • teacher training
  • marketing

Can I progress into further study?

You can progress to the MA Art and Social Practice.

Is there more information available online?

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What our students, graduates and staff say

When I did the NC Art and Design here at Shetland College UHI, I got the chance to experience an ERASMUS exchange programme and spent a month in Norway working for a business which specialised in making the Norwegian national costume, the Bunad. I loved it - I learned so much, and that is when I realised that textiles was definitely the type of degree I wanted to pursue.

I want to start my own knitwear business. It would be challenging, of course, but with the support of the Shetland College Textile Facilitation Unit — which produces knitted textiles for both students and business — it could be a plausible prospect.

Rhea Kaye is in her third year of the BA (Hons) Contemporary Textiles at Shetland College UHI.

I did consider courses at Dundee and Galashiels but the facilities and unique curriculum at the university, as well as the heritage of Shetland itself, swayed me towards this contemporary textiles course.

Nicole Taylor is in the third year of the BA (Hons) Contemporary Textiles. She has recently won a design competition with Prickly Thistle, a company based in the Black Isle.

Apply for Contemporary Textiles BA (Hons)

I want to start in Aug/Sep 2018 or Jan/Feb 2019

We are delighted that you are thinking about studying at the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI). UHI operates a fair and open admissions system committed to equality of opportunity and non-discrimination. We consider all applications on merit and on the basis of ability to achieve, without discrimination on grounds of gender, age, disability, ethnicity and socio-economic background. We welcome applications from all prospective students and aim to provide appropriate and efficient services to students with disabilities.

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