West Thames College London

Production Media Makeup - Higher National Certificate (HNC)

This one year intensive higher education course enables you to develop awareness of the media industry, learn the technical skills required to work as a specialist hair and makeup artist and build a professional portfolio. You will have practical sessions and theory through business and production management. The course focuses on working in the media industries of fashion and live performance, including aspects of the film and television industry. You will study current trends makeup and editorial hair, character theatre makeup, body painting and special effects.

Key course features


  • BTEC (EdExcel) Higher National Certificate
  • JACS Code: 4J56
  • Institution Code: W65

Level: Level 4

Mode: Full-time

Start Date: 25 September 2017

Who is this course for?

Dedicated students who want to become professional makeup artists.

About the course

You will develop specialist hair and makeup skills whilst building a professional portfolio. This is a vocational study programme with an emphasis on practical learning in hair and makeup.

You will study:

  • Current Trends in Hair and Makeup
  • Preparation, Process and Production in the Creative Arts (Theatre Makeup)
  • Design Exploration for Makeup in Performance Arts (body painting & final project)
  • Mask Design and Construction (final project)
  • Creative Arts Professional Practice (theory)
  • Managing a Creative Business (theory)
  • Production Management in the Creative Arts (theory)
  • Creative Arts Research Skills (theory)
Additional opportunities

There will be study visits to museums, galleries and West End theatre productions. You will have the opportunity to compete in international makeup competitions including the World Body Painting Championships and the International Makeup Artist Trade Show at Alexandra Palace. These visits will incur additional costs.

How will I be assessed?

Assessment is continuous throughout the academic year and is in the form of photographic work, log books and research.

Where next?

The HNC equips the graduate with the skills and knowledge required for a career path into the fashion, film, television, media and retail industries. Recent graduates of West Thames have worked as freelance makeup artists for BBC productions such as Waking the Dead, The Pre-Raphaelites, Emma and Strictly Come Dancing and films including Harry Potter, St Trinians 2 and Cinderella. Graduates have found work as Wig assistants at the English National Opera, the Royal Opera House and the National Theatre, and for West End theatre productions such as Phantom of the Opera, Hairspray, Billy Elliott and Dirty Dancing. Graduates have become successful retail makeup artists for top cosmetics companies such as MAC, Bobbi Brown and Illamasqua Cosmetics.

West Thames students have also won prestigious international makeup artist competitions such as the World Body Painting Championship in 2007 and 2009 and the International Makeup Artist Trade Show competition in 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010.

Please note that this course is a one year intensive programme and it does not offer a direct progression route to the HND programme.

Entry requirements

Demand for places is extremely high. You will need to have at least one A level, BTEC or VTCT Level 3 or Foundation Diploma in Art and Design, or an equivalent qualification in hair, makeup, and/or art. Mature students with a suitable background will also be considered. You will be required to bring a portfolio of your work to the interview. If you need advice before you apply, please call 020 8326 2020 or email info@west-thames.ac.uk.


This fee is for one year of study and may be subject to change in subsequent years. The course fee is usually covered by your student loan and you will not need to pay this back until you have completed this course and when you are earning over £21,000 a year. Home students may receive a bursary of £600 to help towards expenses (usually in February, subject to satisfactory attendance and progress on the course).

Please note that if you have already achieved a degree, you will be liable to pay a higher fee (£7,000 in 2014-15).

The fee for international students for 2014-15 was £8,000 and the 2015-16 fee is to be confirmed.

How to apply?
Please apply via www.UCAS.com or click the "apply now" button below 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.”



  1. Home
  2. About Us
  3. Courses
  4. Higher Education
  5. Apprenticeships
  6. Courses for Business
  7. News
  8. Events
  9. Jobs
  10. Contact Us

Return to top

Top toolbar

Return to top

Search website form

Return to top

  1. Twitter
  2. Facebook
  3. Youtube
  4. RSS
Back to top
Mobile site / Standard site