What you will Study

The Royal School of Needlework runs the only full time BA (Hons) Degree programme specialising in hand embroidery in Europe, so to study with us is a very unique opportunity. The RSN Degree has been developed to provide an academic learning experience which connects creative practice, textile and design theory with a technical skills base of hand embroidery.

The course will inspire you to develop your career in hand embroidery and to design and make contemporary textile work using your knowledge of hand embroidery practice.

Hand embroidery is a specialist discipline and offers many diverse career routes for you as a graduate. These include:- freelance embroiderer working for the fashion and interiors market, designer-maker, craft writer, postgraduate researcher and workshop facilitator in galleries and schools.

During your studies, you will be taught specific RSN hand embroidery techniques by RSN trained Tutors. We use the term ‘learning through making’ which puts into context how we teach you on the Degree. The ‘making process’ refers to your creative practice: whether you are stitching, drawing or developing your design work for your collection. Your practical units are all underpinned by this methodology. The Contextual Studies units use a Material Culture methodology which connects your theoretical learning to your design work.

Meet the RSN tutors

You will be expected to develop your hand embroidery skills from the traditional techniques through to experimental approaches to stitch, for a range of products and outcomes. We will teach you through a series of projects, workshops and tutorials which are structured within each practical Unit. There is also the opportunity for you to enter associated competitions and to participate in external events and exhibitions to broaden your experience within the textile world.

The RSN Degree is validated by the University for the Creative Arts (UCA) and forms part of their portfolio of courses in the School of Craft and Design.

Year 1 – Level four

Year 2 – Level five

Year 3 – Level six

Work Placements and Industry Collaboration

There isn’t a mandatory work-placement unit but the RSN works with many industry providers on high profile live projects and collaborations. As part of the Live Project unit in second year, there may be the opportunity to undertake a period of work placement within fashion, interiors, textile art or other area relevant to your career ambitions. This can be realised in a number of ways as the timetabling of this unit allows for a flexible response. The aim of the work placement is to enable you to maximise your opportunities within this learning environment. You will be required to present an illustrated 1000 word report on your work placements opportunity, learning and experience. Throughout your course, you may have the opportunity to be selected to participate on a range of external projects. These may include: Fashion and Interior Collections, Textile shows and Gallery exhibitions to showcase your work and that of your peers.

Hours of study

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.

RSN term dates 2019-20

What When Duration
Enrolment and Introduction 23 Sept 2019 – 27 Sept 2019 1 week
Term 1 30 Sept 2019 – 13 Dec 2019 11 weeks
Christmas Vacation 14 Dec 2019 – 5 Jan 2020 3 weeks
Term 2 6 Jan 2020 – 3 Apr 2020 13 weeks
Study Week 8 Feb 2020 – 16 Feb 2020 1 week
Easter Break 4 Apr 2020 – 19 Apr 2020 2 weeks
Term 3 20 Apr 2020 – 29 May 2020 6 weeks
Notification of results w/c 15 June 2020
Graduation June 2020
Resit period 22 Jun 2020 – 17 Jul 2020 4 weeks
Notification of Resit results w/c 3 Aug 2020

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For further information please view the full programme specification

* Please note the syllabus content is for the academic year indicated and is provided as a guide. The content of the course may be subject to change.


QAA Review

RSN response to QAA 2018 Review.  View here.

Student Protection Plan

Read information on the Student Protection Plan here.