NIDA acknowledges the Traditional Owners and Custodians of the lands on which we learn and tell stories, the Bidjigal, Gadigal, Dharawal and Dharug peoples, and we pay our respects to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders past and present.

CRICOS: 083698G

BFA (Costume)

Home Study Undergraduate BFA (Costume)


3 years full-time on campus

Fees 2025

$17,400 / year AUD (domestic)

Semester Dates 2025

Semester 1: 10 February – 20 June
Semester 2: 21 July – 21 November

Applications for 2025 intake

Open Monday 3 June 2024

Contact Admissions

+61 (02) 9697 7686

BFA (Costume)

Course Overview

NIDA’s BFA Costume provides you with the skills and knowledge required to pursue a career in costume construction and management for a range of performance contexts including theatre, film and digital media. NIDA’s industry-focused teaching in the Costume program leads to extremely high employment outcomes for graduates.

With full access to NIDA’s world-class facilities, you will gain a solid background in all aspects of costume making for performance. You will learn from nationally and globally recognised tutors and guest practitioners who are specialists in opera, theatre and film costume.

Working in small, dedicated classes of six students, you will practise and develop skills in costume cutting (pattern making), fitting and construction, fabric dyeing, art finishing and new technologies, corsetry, leatherwork, tailoring and millinery. Throughout the three years, you will undertake projects that will develop and hone your skills in pattern cutting (pattern making) and draping, bespoke costume making and tailoring techniques, as well as in-demand digital skills.

  • Apply the creative, technical and organisational skills appropriate to a costume production professional in the screen, live performance and entertainment industries.
  • Use research skills to access information from a range of sources and apply critical reasoning in the evaluation and implementation of decisions that inform practice.
  • Collaborate effectively and flexibly at all stages of the costume development and production processes in a range of creative contexts
  • Demonstrate an awareness and commitment to innovative, ethical and sustainable practices in the choice of the materials, methods and techniques required for contemporary costume practice.
  • Apply entrepreneurial and management knowledge and practices to diverse collaborative and self-directed projects.

You will have opportunities to put your new skills to practical use while collaborating with students from other disciplines and departments, as part of the student production season.

As a first-year student, you will work as a costume assistant and develop practical skills in backstage roles and responsibilities, including dressing, costume maintenance and alterations.

In second year, you will work to hone your pattern-making, fitting and construction skills, and strengthen your knowledge of tailoring and art finishing, as well as costume history, to create more complex costumes for performers.

In third year, you will work as a costume supervisor, which will allow you to develop project management skills in a costume context, as well as developing the entrepreneurial skills required to manage a freelance career. In this final year, you will work on an independent research project that will give you the experience of autonomously investigating an element of costume practice through a structured practice–led research framework.

To complete your degree, you will put the skills you have learned into practice on an industry placement with leading theatre, opera and dance companies, and major film and television studios. The strong networks you develop at NIDA will support your career when you graduate.

Students are at NIDA from 9am to 6pm from Monday to Friday. During production terms students may also be required for rehearsals after hours and on weekends.

Additional time also needs to be allocated to library work, research, preparation for classes and private study. For this reason it is difficult for NIDA students to maintain regular part-time jobs. Studying at NIDA is a big commitment so students need to manage their time and resources carefully.

All NIDA Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees are three-year full-time courses. All NIDA Master of Fine Arts courses, except for Cultural Leadership, are 18-month full-time courses.

2025 Semester Dates

Semester 1: 10 February – 20 June 2025
Welcome Week: 3 – 7 February 2025 (First years & MFA only)
BFA Term 1: 10 February – 11 April 2025
Mid-semester break : 14 – 25 April 2025
BFA Term 2: 28 April – 20 June 2025

Semester 2: 21 July – 21 November 2025
BFA Term 3: 21 July – 12 September 2025
Mid-semester break: 15 – 19 September 2025
BFA Term 4: 22 September – 21 November 2025

Term dates exclude public holidays. View 2025 NSW public holiday dates.

Year One

  • Interdisciplinary Collaboration
  • Costume Making Techniques
  • Costume Cutting and Construction
  • Performance and Ideas
  • Performance Makers
  • Professional Practice
  • Clothing Cultures and Histories

Year Two

  • Interdisciplinary Collaboration
  • Costume Cutting and Construction
  • Clothing Cultures and Histories
  • Costume Technology and Art Finishing
  • Contexts of Performance
  • Professional Practice
  • Student Led Project

Year Three

  • Interdisciplinary Collaboration
  • Professional Practice
  • Clothing Cultures and Histories
  • Independent Research Project

Download 2024 Course Outline


Meet the Team

All of our regular tutors have industry experience in main-stage performance, independent performance, film and/or television. Guest lecturers also have industry expertise in the areas of tailoring, leatherwork, headwear, costume supervision, draping and costume cutting.

Open Day 2024

Learn more about the Bachelor of Fine Arts in Costume program from Open Day course information session on Saturday 15 June.

Admissions Criteria

Domestic students with overseas qualifications must supply certified translations of their qualifications.
International students with academic qualifications that are not in English will need to attach a certified, official translation in English in application portal.

For more information, read our Admissions Transparency Statement.

Entry is by merit selection.

General entry requirements for accredited courses are as follows:

  • Have completed a Higher School Certificate or equivalent qualification at the end of high school for undergraduate courses.
  • Be 18 years of age by 31 March in the first year of enrolment for domestic students in undergraduate programs.
  • Be proficient in written and spoken English.
  • Have skills and knowledge appropriate to the level and discipline into which the applicant is seeking to gain admission.
  • Have an evidenced interest in the performing arts.

Applications are encouraged from domestic applicants who:

  • Have previous higher education study.
  • Have vocational education and training.
  • Have work and life experience (having left school more than two years ago).
  • Are recent secondary education applicants.
  • Identify as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander.

Applications are encouraged from international applicants who:

  • have successfully completed a Genuine Temporary Entry (GTE) interview.
  • have completed the equivalent of a Year 12 or final year of high school qualification
  • have an English language proficiency equivalent to IELTS 7.0 with no band score less than 6.0 (IELTS 8.0 for BFA Acting).
  • Are 18 years of age at date of enrolment for international students.
  • Have skills and knowledge appropriate to the level and discipline into which the applicant is seeking to gain admission.
  • Have an evidenced interest in the performing arts.

Recognition of Prior Learning is an assessment process that involves assessment of an individual’s relevant prior learning (including formal, informal and non-formal learning) to determine the credit outcomes of an individual application for credit.

NIDA may grant credit for:

  • Formal study undertaken in recognised education institutions in Australia, including universities, colleges, TAFE and other post-secondary education institutions and for study at recognised overseas institutions.
  • Credentialed courses provided by recognised professional bodies, employers and other authorities, where appropriate certification is available; and
  • Prior learning, where such learning can be sufficiently evidenced.

The principles underlying the assessment of credit transfer/Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) applications are that the policy and procedures are:

  • Aligned to the Higher Education Standards Framework and the Vocational Standards for RTOs.
  • Designed to maintain the integrity and reputation of NIDA’s accredited courses for which credit or RPL is applied and support the collaborative nature of NIDA’s conservatoire training model.
  • Consistent, equitable, transparent, and accountable.
  • Based on processes of comparable standard and integrity to those used to assess the relevant subject.
  • That students are not disadvantaged in achieving the expected learning outcomes for the course of study or qualification.

NIDA Recognition of Prior Learning Policy

Apply for RPL/Credit Transfer

Domestic students with overseas qualifications must supply certified translations of their qualifications.

NIDA encourages applications from students from diverse backgrounds, with different levels of experience in theatre, film, television or other areas.

We select students who:

  • Demonstrate commitment and motivation in relation to the arts, entertainment and related industries, to their chosen discipline, and to the course of study.
  • Provide evidence of their capacity to work creatively and imaginatively.
  • Demonstrate an aptitude to collaborate with peers as part of a creative process.
  • Demonstrate a range of knowledge, skills, technical abilities and/or problem-solving techniques relevant to their discipline.
  • Demonstrate cultural and contextual awareness.
  • Articulate and communicate ideas clearly.

How to apply

Applicants MUST apply online via the NIDA website.

Entry to the BFA Costume is by interview. Applicants will need to prepare a project prior to their interview. See below for details.

The application process for Bachelor of Fine Arts (Costume) consists of two rounds:

  • Round One – Online application; submission of garment and portfolio
  • Round Two –  Online written response and interview

Only applicants who are successful in Round One will be invited to complete the online written response and attend an interview.


Download 2024 Application Guide


You will need to prepare and submit the following as part of the application:


Your portfolio may include photographic or video examples of your best art/craft/sewing and costume-related work; documentation of the development process of some items; and documentation of the inside of finished garments would be appreciated. Portfolios should be no more than 15 pages long and only include your best work.

Please provide these as links in your PDF. The max file upload size is 80Mb.

Please title your digital Portfolio submission as: fullname_portfolio_BFACOSTUME_2024

You will upload your Portfolio in the ‘Course Specific Application Requirements’ attachment section of your online application.


Make a garment for yourself, a friend or family member using one of the following commercial patterns OR a pattern you have of your own that includes a collar and set-in sleeve:

Please contact NIDA if you are having difficulty obtaining a pattern:

Please note the following in preparing your garment:

  • Make the pattern as it exists. Do not alter the basic pattern unless it is for the purpose of a better fit. You may use any fabric or combination of fabrics, decoration and finish that you wish.
  • Please do not spend a great deal of money on your materials. We will be looking at your creativity and technical skills rather than the value of the materials themselves. Interpret the design in any way that you wish within the limits of the given shape.
  • Photograph the garment being worn by the person for whom it was made; styling is encouraged.

The garment project is an important point of discussion at your interview. NIDA is particularly interested in viewing the finished quality of what you present, but remember, skills can be developed by practice and guidance, and NIDA will provide these if your application is successful.


Your garment project must be sent to arrive at NIDA in advance of your interview.

Please send your garment to:

Student Services (Applications)
215 Anzac Parade
Kensington, NSW Australia 2033

NIDA will post your garment back to you after we have completed our selection.


You will be asked to write a short response to images of a costume provided through a link, which will be emailed to you after applications have closed. We ask that you complete this at a time of your convenience before your interview.

How to prepare for your interview

If you are successful in Round One, you will be invited to an interview via Microsoft Teams. Applicants will be interviewed for approximately 30 minutes. During the interview, we will discuss your garment project, your portfolio and costume-related work to learn more about your background, abilities, interests, aspirations, and why you wish to study Costume at NIDA. Please have a couple of other examples of your work to discuss.

Interview tips:

NIDA recognises that interviews can be stressful, but every effort will be made to ensure your experience will be as relaxing and enjoyable as possible.

Remember, the more time and effort you put into the project in advance, the better prepared you will be and the more you will benefit from the interview and discussion.

The interview process is friendly, informal and open, and is designed to give you the very best opportunity to indicate your potential and readiness to study at NIDA. However, should you have any concerns with the interview process or what is said to you during the course of the interview, please express your concern immediately, or talk it over with a member of the interview panel before you leave.

  • Preparation is key. The more time and effort you put into the project and interview preparation in advance, the more confident you will be and the more you will benefit from the interview and discussion.
  • Come with a clear idea of why you want to study Costume at NIDA.

Fees and Scholarships

Domestic and international students are required to pay tuition fees by the due date each semester.

The tuition fees are reviewed each year and if you enrol you are liable for the additional tuition costs if the tuition fees rise during the course of your enrolments.

Domestic Students

Domestic tuition fees overview

Domestic students are Australian citizens, Australian permanent residents and New Zealand citizens.

Degree Course duration 2025 Annual tuition fee $AUD* Estimated total course tuition fee*
Bachelor of Fine Arts (Costume) Three years $17,400.00 $52,200.00

2024 Domestic Undergraduate Student Fee Schedule

2023 Domestic Undergraduate Student Fee Schedule

International Students

International tuition fees overview

Fees and financial assistance vary for international students, please read full details here.

Degree Course duration 2024 Annual tuition fee $AUD* Estimated total course tuition fee*
Bachelor of Fine Arts (Costume) Three years $34,920 $104,760

2024 International Undergraduate Student Fee Schedule

*The tuition fees are reviewed each year and if you enrol you are liable for the additional tuition costs if the tuition fees rise during the course of your enrolments.

** EFTSL – Effective Full-Time Study Load: indicates the relative study load of a subject against a full-time study load of 1.0 for an academic year. For consistency, the EFTSL have been rounded to 3 decimal places. This is not indicative of the full value of the EFTSL but represents an accurate load for fee calculations.

Australian citizens and holders of permanent humanitarian visas are eligible for an Australian Government FEE-HELP loan for all or part of their tuition fees. For more information about FEE-HELP please read the information below and visit Study Assist.

What is FEE-HELP?

FEE-HELP is the Australian Government loan scheme that assists eligible students to pay their tuition fees, so that students do not have to pay tuition fees up-front. FEE-HELP can cover all or part of a student’s tuition fees.

In 2024, the FEE-HELP loan limit is $121,844 for most students.

A loan fee of 20% applies to FEE-HELP loans for undergraduate courses of study. The FEE-HELP limit does not include the loan fee.

The Government pays the amount of the loan directly to NIDA. Students repay their loan through the tax system once their income rises above the minimum threshold for compulsory repayment.

For more information go to

Who is eligible for FEE-HELP?

  • You are eligible for a FEE-HELP loan if you are either:
  • an Australian Citizen; or
  • hold a permanent humanitarian visa

Those NOT eligible for FEE-HELP are:

  • New Zealand citizens – refer to the Study Assist website
  • Australian permanent residents
  • Overseas students

Financial Assistance

Eligible students, who are Australian residents, can apply to Centrelink for financial assistance through Youth Allowance, Austudy or ABSTUDY. Visit Centrelink or call 132 490 for more information.

NIDA is committed to making its education and learning more accessible to the most creative and talented individuals across Australia with a range of scholarships aimed to remove financial barriers, providing students with the opportunity to study at NIDA while being relieved of some of the cost of living, relocating and study expenses.

NIDA scholarships are made available by the generous support of donors, sponsors, corporate partners, trusts and bequests, through the NIDA Foundation Trust, and enable a significant increase in financial assistance to ongoing and students commencing study in 2025.


Further Information

The table below gives an indication of the educational backgrounds of the 2024 commencing undergraduate BFA peer cohort in all disciplines at NIDA.

It should be noted that as selection and admission to courses at NIDA is based on merit the statistics below may not be indicative of the educational backgrounds of commencing cohorts on a year-to-year basis.

L/N – Low numbers: the number of students is less than 5.

Applicant Background Number of students Percentage of all students
(A) Past higher education study 11 17.7%
(B) Past Vocational Education and Training study 22 35.5%
(C) Recent secondary education
Admitted on basis of other criteria and ATAR was not a factor
20 32.3%
(D) Work and life experience 8 12.9%
International students L/N L/N
All students 62 100%

NIDA’S Registration Status

Registered as a Higher Education Provider by TEQSA

Registration Renewal Date

25 June 2025

CRICOS Registration

Code: 00756M

This allows NIDA to enrol international students on student visas into CRICOS approved courses.

Self Accrediting Authority*

Yes – partial self accrediting

Registered Higher Education providers may be authorised by TEQSA to self-accredit courses of study.

Course Name Status CRICOS Code
Bachelor of Fine Arts (Costume) Self-Accredited by NIDA under TEQSA’s determination of Self-Accrediting Authority for NIDA. 083698G

Frequently Asked Questions

Looking for more info about NIDA courses, admissions and facilities? Check our FAQ page for answers to commonly-asked questions from future students.

This qualification is recognised in the Australian Qualifications Framework.

The Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) is the national policy for regulated qualifications in Australian education and training.
Read more information about the AQF.

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