The RSN provides a unique educational experience to Degree level. We offer the only specialist BA (Hons) degree course in hand embroidery. Through the teaching of traditional and contemporary hand embroidery techniques, this course is your springboard to a creative career in fashion, interiors or textile art. We offer small teaching groups in bespoke studio apartments with a specialist library and textile handling collection – all based in the beautiful setting of Hampton Court Palace.
Thanks to generous supporters, the Royal School of Needlework is able to make bursary awards available to its undergraduate students. Between 2009 and 2017 we have awarded 138 bursaries to 83 students totalling £147,500. This year 60% of students have received a bursary of between £500 and £2,500. This means a higher percentage of RSN Degree Students are awarded bursaries than at any other UK University.
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.
The academic staff comprises – 2.6 fte Academic staff, RSN Technical Stitch Tutors with 2 p/t Degree administrators.
We have an extensive programme of visiting Lecturers who contribute to your academic experience throughout the degree programme.
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.
The RSN Degree – year by year
Year One The first year of your RSN Degree study introduces you to a range of art and design practices and includes specialist technical skills in hand embroidery, taught by RSN-trained Tutors and practitioners.
Year Two The second year of your degree programme is an opportunity to direct your embroidery practice towards your chosen area of specialism: fashion, interiors, textile art. In your second year we will continue to teach you RSN technical hand embroidery stitches but you will progress onto the more advanced techniques of Whitework, Advanced Goldwork and Raised work. There is also the opportunity for you to work on Live Projects and work placement in conjunction with designers, galleries and the textile industry.
Year Three The RSN Degree, BA (Hons) Hand Embroidery for Fashion, Interiors, Textile Art – third year is an exciting and challenging year and an opportunity to take your work to new and innovative levels of production. It is a synthesis and culmination of your learning on the course. Your Dissertation / Critical Reflection Unit spans terms one and two and is divided into two sections: firstly – Dissertation and secondly – Critical Reflection. This Unit also aligns with the works that you are producing for the Major Project. The third year culminates with the Degree Show which takes place at Hampton Court Palace. This is a showcase for your work with a Private View whereby family, friends and potential employers are able to view your work in context and visit the amazing location where you have studied.
Hand embroidery is a specialist subject but the application of this skill is very diverse. You will experience opportunities within the areas of fashion embroidery, hand embroidery for interiors and textile art / gallery based works.
Our graduates have developed careers as freelance embroiderers for fashion and interiors. There is the opportunity to work for fashion houses and design studios. Some graduates chose to undertake teaching qualifications to work in schools and colleges. Others choose to progress onto postgraduate MA study.
The Live Project in second year is the ideal time to focus on working to industry led projects.
The RSN has extensive industry links; directly through the RSN Studio and also through collaborative partnerships with fashion houses and designers.
Visit UCA careers pages for further information about careers in the creative industries.
Undergraduate term dates – 31 weeks (29 taught weeks)
Enrolment and Introduction
11 Sept 2017 – 15 Sept 2017
18 Sept 2017 – 15 Dec 2017
28 Oct 2017 – 5 Nov 2017
16 Dec 2017 – 07 Jan 2018
08 Jan 2018 – 23 Mar 2018
17 Feb 2018 – 25 Feb 2018
24 Mar 2018 – 08 Apr 2018
09 Apr 2018 – 25 May 2018
Notification of results
w/c 11 Jun 2018
18 Jun 2018 – 13 Jul 2018
Notification of Resit results
w/c 30 Jul 2018
How to apply
We look forward to receiving your application to the RSN Degree, BA (Hons) Hand Embroidery for Fashion, Interiors, Textile Art, but firstly you need to register with UCAS who will process and administer your application to the RSN Degree. For more information about go to the Apply section of our site.
To answer some of the questions you may have about being a Degree student at the RSN, take a look at the FAQ’s section of this site.
RSN and Quality
The RSN was reviewed by the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education in 2014. It met all requirements and, more than that, was awarded one commendation and four points of good practice were recognised. To read the full report click here.
In response to the review the RSN has produced its action plan for future development. The RSN is continually working to enhance the quality of its course and the experience for students.
In 2016 QAA published a booklet to share case studies of good practice sourced from UK institutions who underwent the Higher Education Review in 2014-15. It features the Royal School of Needlework on ‘Enhancing students’ employability’.
Student complaints policy
Information about the RSN and UCA complaints policy can be found here.