Hand Embroidery BA (Hons)

Why choose this course?

Royal School of Needlework logo

This highly-specialist BA (Hons) Hand Embroidery course is taught at the prestigious Royal School of Needlework (RSN), based at Hampton Court Palace.

Study is in small year groups. The average intake is just 20 students per year, enabling a high level of student / tutor contact time. Attendance is full time and all students may be required to engage with weekend and evening work throughout their academic year.

Hand embroidery techniques taught in the first and second year at the RSN, are unique; no other provider in the world offers such teaching and learning. Students are expected to engage with experimental approaches to visual research and design, which underpins and informs all hand embroidery practice.

The course provides a learning environment where the knowledge, views and values of all students help to shape the learning environment. Studio-based learning is by project, with individual and group tutorials and reviews enabling the individual views and knowledge of each student to be valued equally. Students are encouraged to challenge their creative ideas and individual outcomes through our supportive tutorial feedback process.

We encourage students to become creative problem-solvers and to share their knowledge and expertise through participation in external enhancement projects. Students are expected to engage with experimentation and enquiry to inform their theoretical and creative practice. The design of the curriculum connects the theoretical and practice-based learning through thematic projects and learning opportunities. 

A programme of tutorials, lectures and seminars, facilitates experiential learning through the investigation of objects, materials, making and creative risk-taking. Our specialist technical team guide students through the materials, processes and equipment necessary to build their specialist knowledge throughout the course.

Visit our Hand Embroidery BA Instagram to see some of the great work we are doing.

Attendance UCAS code Year of entry
3 years full time W237 2023
Location Royal School of Needlework, Hampton Court Palace

Reasons to choose Kingston University

  • This is the only full-time BA (Hons) degree programme specialising in hand embroidery in Europe.
  • All students will develop the knowledge, vocabulary and skills of hand embroidery through thematic projects, developing discipline-specific skills of RSN hand embroidery techniques.
  • The programme teaches students in small groups to enhance the quality of their educational experience.
  • A programme of external speakers, as well as museum and gallery visits, is scheduled each year and made available to all year groups.

Book a place at an Open Day

Visit the Royal School of Needlework at Hampton Court Palace – the perfect way to experience the setting where you would undertake your Hand Embroidery BA (Hons) degree.

What you will study

Practical studio modules are delivered through thematic projects and workshops which are tailored to each specific group. Project themes are reviewed annually to ensure the programme maintains its contemporary context. Projects allow individual students to explore their own creative response to a specific question or theme of enquiry.

All students are introduced to methods of reflective practice and critical analysis. Contextual studies are taught through a critical engagement with the material culture of hand embroidery, through workshop sessions, lectures and seminars.

Year 1 (Level 4)

Year 2 (Level 5)

Year 3 (Level 6)

First year study is experiential; building upon skills and processes to equip you with the vocabulary to develop your own personal creative voice. Teaching and learning styles may vary according to the module content: however thematic projects ensure that skills learned are transferable across modules.

Core modules

Drawing for Design

credits

Hand Embroidery Practice

credits

RSN Technical Hand Embroidery

credits

Contextual Studies: Hand Embroidery

credits

Core modules

Advanced Drawing for Design

credits

Advanced Hand Embroidery Practice

credits

Advanced RSN Technical Hand Embroidery

credits

Contextual Studies: Textiles

credits

Core modules

Research for RSN Graduate Collection

credits

RSN Graduate Collection

credits

RSN Graduate Portfolio

credits

Professional Practice in Context

credits

Practical studio modules are delivered through thematic projects and workshops which are tailored to each specific group.

Project themes are reviewed annually to ensure the programme maintains its contemporary context. Projects allow individual students to explore their own creative response to a specific question or theme of enquiry.

Please note

Optional modules only run if there is enough demand. If we have an insufficient number of students interested in an optional module, that module will not be offered for this course.

Gallery of student work

Entry requirements

Typical offer 2023

  • From A-levels: 112 new UCAS tariff points
  • Foundation Diploma: Pass (Level; 3 or 4)
  • BTEC Extended National: Distinction / Merit
  • Access to HE Diploma: Distinction / Merit

Plus four GCSE passes at grade A*-C and/or grade 4-9 including English (or Functional Skills English/Key Skills Communication Level 2).

Transfer from a similar course is NOT possible due to the specialist nature of the course and teaching undertaken in Level 4.

Additional requirements

Entry onto this course requires submission of a portfolio.

All applicants to the course are interviewed with their portfolio.

All applicants to the course are guaranteed an interview – either onsite or online with their portfolio of work. This is a formal application requirement to the course.

International

All non-UK applicants must meet our English Language requirements. For this course it is Academic IELTS of 6.0 overall, with no element below 5.5.

Make sure you read our full guidance about English language requirements, which includes details of other qualifications we consider.

Applicants who do not meet the English language requirements could be eligible to join our pre-sessional English language course.

Applicants from a recognised majority English speaking countries (MESCs) do not need to meet these requirements.

Country-specific information

You will find more information on country specific entry requirements in the International section of our website.

Find your country:

Typical offer and UCAS points explained

Like most universities, we use the UCAS Tariff point system for our course entry requirements.

Find out more about UCAS Tariff points and see how A-level, AS level, BTEC Diploma and T-level qualifications translate to the points system.

Teaching and assessment

Teaching and learning styles may vary according to the module content: however thematic projects ensure that skills learned are transferable across modules.

All students are introduced to methods of reflective practice and critical analysis. Contextual studies are taught through a critical engagement with the material culture of hand embroidery, through workshop sessions, lectures and seminars.

Students are taught in small groups to enhance the quality of the educational experience. An experiential learning and teaching strategy is applied across all modules. ·

  • Attendance is full time for a minimum of four days per week and all students may be required to engage with weekend and evening work throughout their academic year. ·
  • The curriculum is inclusive and outward facing, adaptive to opportunities which build connections with external clients and live projects. The design of the curriculum connects the theoretical and practice-based learning through thematic projects and learning opportunities.

Guided independent study (self-managed time)

When not attending timetabled sessions you will be expected to continue learning independently through self-study. This typically will involve reading journal articles and books, working on individual and group projects, undertaking preparing coursework assignments and presentations, and preparing for exams. Your independent learning is supported by a range of excellent facilities including online resources, the library and CANVAS, the online virtual learning platform.

Dedicated personal tutor

When you arrive, we'll introduce you to your personal tutor. Each student engages with written reflective practice to compile an agreed action plan with their tutor.

Your workload

Your study time is approximately 75% Practice and 25% Theory across each year of the course. Your practice and theory are closely aligned throughout the course with the opportunity to access the RSN Handling collection and Library to inform both theory and practice.

Each year group has dedicated studio space and the Studios are open from 9am daily with one late evening until 7.30pm.

This is a full-time course and due to the specialist nature of the practice of hand embroidery, we encourage 4.5 days a week attendance.

Workshops, demonstrations and lectures require full attendance but there will be the opportunity for study visits and independent / directed study throughout your year.

How you will be assessed

All modules have a Formative and Summative Assessment point.

Feedback summary

Feedback and feed forward take place using several formats – including weekly tutorial forms which introduce you to reflective practice and hone your time management key skills.

Your timetable

Studios are open from 9am and all taught sessions commence at 10am prompt. Formal taught workshops run from 10am to 4pm.

Attendance is full time for a minimum of four days per week and all students may be required to engage with weekend and evening work throughout their academic year.

Class sizes

There is an average intake of 20 students per year, enabling a high level of student / tutor contact time.

Who teaches this course?

This course is taught by a team of RSN-trained tutors plus a hand embroidery technician.

The RSN staff team holds nationally recognised accreditation within staff members' individual areas of expertise. Academic staff are recognised for the quality of their teaching and learning, as part of the Higher Education Academy and hold positions as External Examiners for other Universities.

The academic team has active researchers with established, internationally-recognised career profiles. The team brings strong research and industry connections to the teaching experience, which contribute to the external profile of the course.

Facilities

Onsite teaching takes place in studio spaces using the RSN specialist art and design library, IT Suite and handling collection. Offsite learning occurs through a bespoke series of visits to galleries, exhibitions and collections, online tutorials and the opportunity to follow hand embroidery techniques online.

All students have the unique opportunity to access and engage with the RSN's extensive collection of historic textiles and paper-based materials. As an adjunct to the physical collection, students engage with digital collections as part of their learning to make comparative analyses of objects. We are proud to offer an annual lecture programme of visiting speakers, which contributes further to the contextual learning environment.

All students also have access to Kingston School of Art's wide range of facilities.

View of Hampton Court Palace gardens

After you graduate

RSN students have access to the wide support network of the Careers and Employability Service team at Kingston School of Art.

Links with business and industry

Employability and work-based learning is embedded within the programme, at each level of the course. Students learn from established practitioners and from their first day onsite, embroidery becomes their future career. Find out more by selecting the boxes below, and from the Royal School of Needlework's website.

Placements

Work placements are actively encouraged but not mandatory; although it is the responsibility of individual students to source and secure such placements at times which do not impact on their learning. Through participation in this professional context, students are encouraged to reflect upon their own personal experience of working in an applied setting and focus on key aspects of this experience to inform both their theory and practice

Links with business and industry at Level 4

At Level 4, students have the opportunity to participate in external competitions to build their awareness of the potential application of embroidery to design. they develop transferable skills and learn the challenges of working to an external timescale and design brief. Previous examples have included, The Worshipful Company of Glovers – Glove Competition and working with artists Musson+Retallick to create embroidered illustrations for a hot air balloon installation in Thamesmead.

Level 4 students have also worked to create bespoke embroideries for London Fashion Week for E.Tautz menswear. Students work to create digital portfolios throughout the programme to showcase their practice and level of attainment. At Level 4, students start to compile their own CV and prepare an introductory letter to potential employers for summer placement opportunities. By working with our technical team, students develop an awareness of materials, suppliers and costings.

Links with business and industry at Level 5

At Level Five, students develop more advanced professional skills through working on high profile design competitions and with external clients. Opportunities for live projects are embedded in the curriculum when possible. Recent examples include Bradford Textile Society and Society of Dyers and Colourists where students have received named awards and commendations. Students have also had the opportunity to make work for external exhibitions including the Fashion & Textile Museum for the Royal School of Needlework 150th Anniversary and the Devon Guild of Craftsmen. This advanced level of practice supports the student to make informed choices as to the potential direction of their practice at Level 6 as well as reinforcing transferable skills such as timekeeping and quality of finish.

Links with business and industry at Level 6

By Level 6, students are directing their practice towards a defined context as indicated by their proposal and outcomes for the RSN Graduate Collection module. The module RSN Graduate Portfolio is focussed on their intended career route, through the creation of an expanded portfolio of experimental and technical hand embroidery sampling. This outcome provides the student with a showcase of their creative ability and in a format to present to a future employer. The theoretical module, Professional Practice in Context enables the student to present an in-depth body of research exploring the context for their practice alongside the preparation of a bespoke graduate employment plan / report with artist statement, costing and pricing, business models and the development of professional communication skills to prepare them for interviews and presenting their work to a new audience.

Course fees and funding

2023/24 fees for this course

Please see the Royal School of Needlework course page for details on tuition fees for the course, bursary awards available and additional costs to be aware of.

Need to know more?

Our undergraduate fees and funding section provides information and advice on money matters.

Key information set

The scrolling banner(s) below display some key factual data about this course (including different course combinations or delivery modes of this course where relevant).

Course changes and regulations

The information on this page reflects the currently intended course structure and module details. To improve your student experience and the quality of your degree, we may review and change the material information of this course. Course changes explained.

Programme Specifications for the course are published ahead of each academic year.

Regulations governing this course can be found on our website.