West Thames College London

Makeup Design and Hairstyling - Level 3

This one-year course for 16-18 year olds is equivalent to 1.5 GCE A Levels. You can progress to a second year to earn the full Diploma which is equivalent to 3 A Levels. The course covers a wide range of hair and makeup skills, such as day and evening, character, period, fantasy, special effects, body painting, traditional hairstyling, and wigs. This is supported by studies in art, photography, costume and theatre. You will work in our newly refurbished, fully-equipped hair and makeup studios.

Key course features


BTEC Level 3 90-credit Diploma in Production Arts

Level: Level 3

Mode: Full-time

Start Date: 07 September 2017

Who is this course for?

Academic students aged 16-18 years old who want a career as a makeup artist for retail, theatre or makeovers. This course is also suitable if you wish to go on to higher education.

About the course

You will study:

  • Day makeup
  • Period makeup
  • Makeup for performers
  • Special effects such as accidents and ageing techniques
  • An introduction to facial hair attachments, wigs, prosthetic pieces and body painting
  • Theory workshops
  • Skills development and functional skills.

You will be taught by highly qualified professional tutors who specialise in hairdressing and media makeup.

Additional opportunities

There will visits to local and West End theatre productions. You will have the opportunity to compete in national makeup competitions including World Skills and you will attend the International Makeup Artist Trade Show at Alexandra Palace. These visits will incur additional costs but financial assistance may be available.

You may wish to attend work placements in hair salons in your first year, and in theatres or with makeup artists in the second year. Communication between the college and industry enables employers and tutors to work together, enhancing your progression and quality of training.

How will I be assessed?

You will collate a makeup portfolio. There will be joint assignments covering more than one unit, and your portfolios will be continually assessed by your assessor and the internal verifier. The course is delivered in units; you can be assessed at any stage of the course when you feel competent. There are no final examinations. Your practical, oral and written work will all be assessed and feedback given at the end of each assessment.

Where next?

You can progress to the Diploma (120 credits) or Extended Diploma (180 credits) on a second year of study. After this you may wish to go on to our HND or HNC in Specialist Makeup, gain employment in retail makeup for MAC, Space NK or Bobbi Brown Cosmetics, or work in makeover studios or as a bridal makeup artist.

Entry requirements

At least 4 GCSEs at grade A*-C / grade 9-5 (including English and maths), or a relevant Level 2 qualification at merit or distinction plus functional skills in English and maths. If you need advice before you apply, please call 020 8326 2020 or email info@west-thames.ac.uk.


This course is free for students under 19 years, however you will need to purchase kits and a uniform (£535.30). Financial support may be available to help with these costs. Please see our Fees and Concessions page or call 020 8326 2015 for further details.

How to apply?
Please click the apply now button and fill out the online application form. An adviser will be in touch regarding interview dates.


  1. Ashley Zac Coyle

    HND Specialist Makeup

    Ashley Zac Coyle

    “The tutors are industry professionals and their knowledge of the makeup industry is incredible. Throughout the two years on the course, I’ve built up lots of confidence and learned so much about makeup. I’ve also had the opportunity to be part of the makeup team for the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games and was selected by Greg Cannon for the United Makeup Artists Expo.”



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