Interior Design BA (Hons)

Full-time undergraduate (3 years)


September 2017


Learn to think about the spaces where we live, work and play. Come up with exciting solutions to create and modify them. We’ll turn your aspirations into the skills and knowledge you need to work as a professional interior designer in a dynamic industry.

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Full description


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Our course will prepare you to work with architects or in spatial design practices on residential, commercial, hospitality, health or furniture design projects – or as a self-employed interior designer in your own practice. Alternatively, with the creative skills you’ve developed, a career in the visual arts, film, television, event and theatre design, or exhibition and museum design could also beckon. Meanwhile, your management skills will be useful for project management roles on creative projects.

Our past students have taken up placements or other work experience with the likes of Alium Design, Robert Mathew Johnson Marshall (architects), Haley Sharp (global designers), Julia Johnson (interior designer), Monteith Scott (designers), Dalziel Pow, Penny Banks, Saunders Boston Architects, Loci Design, Blue Moon, Arkitektones, Two B Design, Mr Wolf and Amberth, Mineheart, Laura Ashley. Many of these connections have led to employment.

We’ll help you to foster professional relationships through Design Bench, a series of industry networking meetings. You can also get a broader taste of the creative industries at one of our Creative Front Futures events. As a student member of British Interior Institute of Design (BIID) and Society for British International (SBID) Design and Interior Educators (IE) you’ll have access to a wide variety of exhibitions and activities with practitioners and other design students.

We encourage you to join in study trips to exhibitions and events in London and in European cities, as well as collaborative projects with other design courses in Breda (Netherlands) and Sydney (Australia). To help you to gain more exposure to the world of design, your work can be shown in a variety of exhibitions such as Free Range, London, Cambridge Festival of Ideas and on our interior design blog, which is followed by many professionals.

Modules & assessment

Year one, core modules

  • Interior Design Studio 1
    This studio-based module will introduce you to the foundational design principles and communication techniques of Interior Design that you will develop in later modules. You'll explore the conceptual aspects of interior design using a range of key communication skills such as drawing as a creative process, developing three-dimensional awareness in design and developing the technical and aesthetic principles fundamental to the space, form and order of the built environment, using scale, proportion, colour, texture and spatial thinking. This introductory and exploratory module will be underpinned by a series of lectures on design theory meant to reinforce your understanding of theoretical principles in order to be able to develop a strong rationale.
  • Interior Design Studio 2
    On this developed studio-based module you will further explore the skills of technical and aesthetic principles that are fundamental to the space, form and order of the built environment, using scale, proportion, colour, texture and spatial thinking. You'll continue to focus on spatial design principles and design communication and explore freehand perspective drawings and advanced practice in hatching and rendering techniques. Your design communication will be developed through one-point and two-point perspective of objects, interiors and exterior spaces. The studio will introduce you to furniture design: its types, uses and history. You'll test their research through a furniture brief. The second design project continues to develop your critical 3D thinking in spatial design. You'll explore the relationship between people and the spatial environment through an exhibition/museum brief.
  • Digital Media 1
    This module will introduce you to key digital communication tools, developing your skills through a variety of discipline-specific projects, briefs and workshops. You'll explore image manipulation, image making and visual communication techniques that will contribute to your studio practice modules, while discovering the capabilities of the selected programmes. Your assessment will be based on a portfolio of work presented at the end of the semester, which will contain a selection of digital images or drawings, a learning log and a critical review of your group and individual working practices.
  • Building Technology in Interior Design
    This module will support your design project modules by informing you about construction and finishing materials to apply in your design work. You'll be introduced to the basic types of construction elements, materials and details, from foundations to primary and secondary interior structures. You'll explore different types of finishing materials, joinery and ironmongery, focusing on their properties and fitting details, as well as finishing touches on ceilings, walls, floors and other surfaces of interiors, and also fabrics and upholstery. You'll also discuss detailing and materials, so you'll be able to link these with your studio briefs. The module will cover basic information needed by interior designers on building services such as heating, ventilation, water supply and drainage. Spread of fire will be discussed, to make you aware of materials and design solutions required for fire safety in buildings. You'll also take part in a group research project, to prepare a material folder for future reference. Each group will be asked to conduct research on different types of interior finishes (for properties, types, cost, dimensions and construction details) and to bring samples for presentation. You'll then present this research in the studio. Visit/s will also be arranged to help you make contact with particular materials or various stages of construction. Your assessment will be based on two portfolios of outcomes: one that focuses on structure and services and another on materials and detailing. These will be submitted as uploaded presentations. Your presentations/portfolios may be conducted in groups.
  • Observational and Perspective Drawing
    This module will introduce you to drawing for designers, from freehand observational drawing through to the systematic development of functional perspective visuals. A series of workshop projects will allow you to explore observational drawing in both interior and exterior environments, investigating a range of methods and approaches to field work and reportage. In subsequent studio projects, you'll apply observational information to the development of technical perspectives. Initially, you'll address the use of appropriate drawing tools and of experimental mark making techniques, before going on to investigate the character of form, light, texture and colour and methods of rendering these observations. In the latter stages of the module, you'll be introduced to a range of approaches to perspective and projection and consider their relative appropriateness for different professional contexts. Presentations and case studies will allow you to consider and discuss examples of related work. You'll be assessed through a portfolio comprising a series of finished perspective drawings in a variety of media, sketches, workbooks and notes and a reflective commentary on the development process.

Year one, optional modules

  • English for Study 1 & 2
    You'll focus on the advanced writing and organisational skills necessary for essays and other written assignments, including planning, paragraphing, and developing an argument. Your studies will have a particular emphasis on the importance of good academic practice, especially accurate referencing and the use of bibliographies. You'll also practise extracting key points from a variety of spoken or written texts and writing summaries, and develop your discussion skills so as to contribute confidently to seminars and tutorials. You'll also receive guidance about independent learning using the wide range of resources available in our University Library and Language Centre. These two modules are worth 15 credits each.

Year two, core modules

  • Interior Design Studio 3
    You’ll develop your conceptual and problem solving skills by taking advantage of the opportunities for specialisation and by exploring of more complex design problems. You’ll continue to explore the role and responsibilities of the interior designer in the studio, by undertaking two interior design projects which investigate the challenges of public (as opposed to domestic) space; retail, leisure and working environments. Lectures are designed to enhance your knowledge and understanding of architectural construction, construction materials and domestic services, introducing you to technical processes and exemplary case studies that can then be applied to your own design practice. Special design concepts such as Universal Design, Eco design, green materials and way finding will be explored and incorporated into design solutions to support your understanding and implementation of user needs, requirements and expectations.
  • Interior Design Studio 4
    This module will introduce you to design aspects associated with public spaces of increasing scale and complexity. You’ll explore both the technical and conceptual issues involved in interior design practice across a range of public environments. Your work will continue to investigate the creation of unique and identity filled atmospheres for these public spaces. Safety and security issues will be discussed with a special focus on fire safety and evacuation in public buildings. Specific discussion will explore circulation, way finding, storage, natural & artificial lighting and task lighting are discussed in detail. You’ll also explore technical issues of construction and materials. Individual and group tutorials throughout the module will address the development of your creative practice and the progress of your projects.
  • Digital Media 2
    This module will develop your 3d modelling tools, rendering tools, and visualisation tools to aid in professional presentations and realistic previsualisations of their design concepts, developing the work you have already undertaken in Digital Media 1. As this is an advanced skill building module, you may bring design work from studio modules or from previous modules to work up to fully realised 3d rendered models. Learning logs will be part of the self-managed learning on this module.
  • Debates and Practices
    On this module, you'll explore the links between critical studies and practice, enriching your knowledge and developing your articulacy about your specialism, as well as drawing on wider perspectives in relation to your own work. You will focus particularly on debates about contemporary practice. Your studies will be seminar-based and, where appropriate and possible, held in the studio. In discussions, you'll engage with theory and history alongside your own developing ideas about contemporary production, with an open agenda that will respond to current events, work and interests.

Year two, optional modules

  • Design for the Screen
    You’ll determine how designers collaborate with directors, cinematographers and costume designers to visually portray character, period, place, mood and quality in order to support and develop visual storytelling for the screen. You'll also consider the responsibilities of different roles in pre-production and look at how designers communicate and document collaborative decisions, how they get information to set, and the chain of communication through the art department. During the module, you’ll give presentations, watch and discuss selected screenings covering the material, and practice using the elements of mise-en-scène for a selected script. You’ll also examine different sorts of design typologies that will assist in your visual decisions and, ultimately, your collaborations with key creative members of screen production. At the end of the module, you’ll undertake the breakdown of a script to identify design potential, manipulating the elements of design (colour, texture, scale, lens and stock choices) and the languages of genre.
  • Installation Practice
    On this module you’ll explore various approaches to installation, which as a discipline manifests ideas around context, physical space and the nature of the artwork itself. Work can be developed in a variety of ways including sculpture, paintings, mixed media work, film, video and sound, from collections of ephemeral materials to substantial assemblages. In groups, you'll explore the qualities of specific locations in relation to your practice. For each project, you must demonstrate intensive working practice, research and engagement with the problems, both in the sense of what your own work and ideas require, as well as a sensitivity to the individual space or context itself. You’ll contribute to seminars and critiques and learn about the history of installational practice from the early 1960s to the present. At the end of the module you will have contributed to the staging of your work within an installational framework in your chosen location. Assessment will consider both preparatory research and the final outcome, which will be presented in the form of an exhibition.
  • Business for the Creative Arts
    This module will introduce you to the practical tools needed to set yourself up in business in the creative arts, as a company, a partnership or a freelancer. You'll explore a sector of the creative industries, identifying potential opportunities within it and producing a basic business plan. Your emphasis will be on self-reflection, innovative thinking and communication skills, while the subjects that you'll cover include: the creative industries; developing and analysing a business idea; types of business model; assessing your market; ideas behind marketing; basic accounts; tax and legal issues; and planning for start-up. You'll be asked to translate these into practice by applying them to your own ideas, which will then become part of your own business plan.The module will be delivered through lectures, seminars, student presentations, critiques and workshops. Your formative assessment will involve presentations, while the summative assessment will be based on your critical evaluation of employment opportunities in a sector of the creative industries and your portfolio of work, including a business plan or employment strategy and supporting documents.
  • The Lit Environment
    You’ll look at using an interior space as a luminous environment, covering the theory and the application of knowledge of lighting interior environments and the documentation of creative decisions. You’ll explore the impact of lighting and how it is used to articulate both functional and aesthetic requirements of a design brief. You’ll build a strong foundation of technical knowledge, along with hands-on demonstrations of different light sources. You'll also undertake practical activities, which will allow you to design, visualise and document your own lighting intentions. Your assessment will comprise a written field report and a portfolio of outcomes, while your existing studio work will be used as a basis for the portfolio of outcomes.
  • Anglia Language Programme
    The Anglia Language Programme allows you to study a foreign language as part of your course. You'll take one language module in the second semester of your first year in order to experience the learning of a new language. You must select a language you've never learnt before from the following: Chinese (Mandarin), French, German, Italian, Japanese, and Spanish.

Year three, core modules

  • Research Project
    The Research Project will foster your independent study with the guidance of a tutor. You'll devise your own project which will reflect on/co-ordinate with/enhance your own studio work and interests, encouraging your self-reflexivity and critical distance. Seminars will give you a forum to learn from each other's research. You will also be supported by individual tutorials with a member of staff. The Research Project may include a variety of relevant topics, including reporting on your own work experience. You can illustrate it with photographs, drawings or video, discussing your approach with your assigned tutor.
  • Specialised Practice in Interior Design
    This module will allow you to prepare for and research your Major Project by producing a feasibility study that outlines your client, your site and your proposed subject. Lectures on professional practice and specification writing will accompany the project. Your main task will be to prepare a rationale for your project proposal that is a combination of your own theoretical and philosophical standpoint, as well as being an interpretive and analytical study of your client's identity and needs. The module will also focus on developing your presentation techniques to a professional standard, and will include a Personal Development Planning element.
  • Major Project
    The individual Major Project will allow you to undertake a substantial piece of individual research, focused on a topic relevant to your specific course. Your topic will be assessed for suitability to ensure sufficient academic challenge and satisfactory supervision by an academic member of staff. The project will require you to identify/formulate problems and issues, conduct research, evaluate information, process data, and critically appraise and present your findings/creative work. You should arrange and attend regular meetings with your project supervisor, to ensure that your project is closely monitored and steered in the right direction.


Our studio projects allow you to focus on your creative development. You’ll demonstrate your process and creative decisions through a combination of portfolio, written and practical studio work.

Where you'll study

Your department and faculty

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Cambridge School of Art has been inspiring creativity since 1858 when it was opened by John Ruskin.

Engaging with current debates surrounding contemporary practice and with the state-of-the-art facilities, Cambridge School of Art houses light, bright studios, industry-standard film and photographic facilities, and 150-year-old printing presses alongside dedicated Apple Mac suites. Our digital art gallery, the Ruskin Gallery, exhibits both traditional shows and multimedia presentations, from national and international touring exhibitions and our own students.

We are the only university in Cambridge offering art and design courses at higher education level. A tight-knit community of artists, academics and over 900 students, we collaborate across our University, the creative industries, and other sectors. Cambridge is a centre for employment in the creative industries and there are rich opportunities for collaboration with the city’s entertainment, technological, scientific, arts and heritage industries.

Our graduates have a history of winning national and international awards and an excellent employment record. They include Pink Floyd's Syd Barrett and Dave Gilmour, Spitting Image creators Peter Fluck and Roger Law, and illustrator Ronald Searle, the creator of St Trinian's.

We’re part of the Faculty of Arts, Law and Social Sciences, a hub of creative and cultural innovation whose groundbreaking research has real social impact.

Where can I study?

Lord Ashcroft Building on our Cambridge campus

Our campus is close to the centre of Cambridge, often described as the perfect student city.

Explore our Cambridge campus

Additional study information

Throughout your degree, there will be plenty of opportunities for work experience and internships. You’ll be able to work on live briefs, enter significant design competitions throughout Europe and the UK and establish important industry links by networking with professionals.

You can also take advantage of the design festivals and galleries in London, just an hour away from Cambridge by train.

Specialist Facilities

You’ll work in a dedicated Interior Design studio using specialist equipment to help you to communicate your ideas. You can practice hand skills such as drafting, model making and life-drawing, and you’ll also have access to computer labs equipped with suites of industry standard programs. This links with our fully equipped 3D workshop where you can prototype your ideas.

You’ll also have access to a technical reference library and our on-campus Ruskin Gallery, complete with state-of-the-art digital displays.

Fees & funding

Course fees

UK & EU students, 2016/17 (per year)


International students, 2016/17 (per year)


UK & EU students, 2017/18 (per year)


International students, 2017/18 (per year)


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For more information about tuition fees, including the UK Government's commitment to EU students, please see our UK/EU funding pages

Additional costs

Estimated costs of materials across three years £900.

London show £40 per semester (2x £20).

Optional field trips £150 per year.

Freerange magazine participation £140 (3rd years only).

How do I pay my fees?

Tuition fee loan

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Most English undergraduates take out a tuition fee loan with Student Finance England. The fees are then paid directly to us. The amount you repay each month is linked to your salary and repayments start in April after you graduate.

How to apply for a tuition fee loan

Paying upfront

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If you choose not to take out a loan you can pay your fees directly to us. There are two ways to do this: either pay in full, or through a three- or six-month instalment plan starting at registration.

How to pay your fees directly

International students

You must pay your fees up-front, in full or in instalments. You will also be asked for a deposit or sponsorship letter for undergraduate courses. Details will be in your offer letter.

Paying your fees
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Funding for UK & EU students

We offer most new undergraduate students funding to support their studies and university life. There’s also finance available for specific groups of students.

Grants and scholarships are available for:

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Funding for international students

We've a number of scholarships, as well as some fee discounts for early payment.

Entry requirements

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Portfolio requirements

You should submit a portfolio that contains any work of art, design and drawing, such as freehand drawings, conceptual sketches, technical drawings, coloured drawings/ representations, photographs, movies, paintings, collage, etc. We’ll also accept pictures of models or large pieces of work. All work presented in the portfolio must be your own original work. We are interested in seeing how you think about 3D spaces and in your creativity.

If you’re invited to interview you’ll receive a letter with more information about our portfolio requirements.

If you’re an international applicant, please host your portfolio online if possible and let us know the URL, or email it to us as a PDF. We’ll also accept CDs or hardcopy sent by post to our International Admissions Office, but please note that these will not be returned to you.

For more information, please download our digital portfolio pack.

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Important additional notes

Our published entry requirements are a guide only and our decision will be based on your overall suitability for the course as well as whether you meet the minimum entry requirements. Other equivalent qualifications may be accepted for entry to this course, please email for further information.

We don't accept AS level qualifications on their own for entry to our undergraduate degree courses. However for some degree courses a small number of tariff points from AS levels are accepted as long as they're combined with tariff points from A levels or other equivalent level 3 qualifications in other subjects.

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International students

We welcome applications from international and EU students, and accept a range of international qualifications.

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English language requirements

If English is not your first language, you'll need to make sure you meet our English language requirements for undergraduate courses.

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Improving your English language skills

If you don't meet our English language requirements, we offer a range of courses which could help you achieve the level required for entry onto a degree course.

We also provide our own English Language Proficiency Test (ELPT) in the UK and overseas. To find out if we are planning to hold an ELPT in your country, contact our country managers.

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01245 68 68 68

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+44 1245 68 68 68

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