• Overview
  • Awards and Modules
  • Start Dates
  • Entry Requirements
  • Fees
  • Careers
  • Student Discounts and Offers
  • Course Duration


ma iad overview

The Top Up Master’s allows you to achieve an MA qualification in under two years studying full-time or, if you wish to fit your studies around your other commitments, you can study part-time and complete the course in under four years.

Building on your existing qualifications and experience, studying for a master's degree can give you an edge over other designers in a highly competitive market. The MA is designed not only for those who wish to develop their existing professional practice, but also those aspiring to advance their career opportunities in an international context, as well as those wishing to develop the capabilities to manage or participate in complex professional projects.

Awards and Modules

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On completion of the Top Up Master’s you will gain two qualifications. You will initially study the honours level of the BA Interior Architecture and Design course before progressing on to the master’s level. You are required to achieve a 2:2 or above in order to progress on to this level.

You will graduate with an internationally recognised master’s degree in Interior Design and a BA (Hons) Interior Architecture and Design degree from the University of Hertfordshire.

MA Modules

On the master’s course, you will study core modules alongside students from other disciplines: Photography, Graphic Communication and Illustration. You are encouraged to approach these modules from the point of view of your own practice.

The core modules are:

  • Postgraduate Study in Context
  • Research and Practice
  • Creative Industries: Global Perspectives
  • Critical Studies
  • Creative Industries: Business Perspectives
  • Creative Industries: Professional Presentations

Click here for more information about these modules.

Throughout the course, you will build a foundation for your Major Study. You will also complete an outline or proposal and will develop the knowledge and skills required to implement your plans.

You will also undertake three modules centred on your discipline:

MA Module Descriptions

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Practice 1: Art and Design

In the Practice 1 module, you will develop a first exploratory portfolio of interior design work that identifies new directions for your creative practice to take forward into the Practice 2 and Major Study modules. Your theme and approach are expected to reflect an area of contemporary interior design and professional practice, and may investigate themes in contemporary interior design such as:

  • Spatial design and awareness
  • Materiality
  • Three-dimensional modelling or alternative representation techniques
  • New technologies
  • Environment and sustainability
ma iad modules

Practice 2: Art and Design

Building on the exploratory work from the Practice 1 module, you progress to developing a more in-depth portfolio of individual interior design postgraduate work, focusing on a negotiated site, location or context. Some typical interior design outcomes for Practice 2 include analysis of one aspect of a larger project, exploration of materials, a developed technical specification or a specific product or fixture. Areas for investigation may include: conceptual themes and debate, lighting, acoustics, material selection, environmental issues, recycled products, ecological construction, furniture development, ergonomic design, new material capabilities, accessibility issues, way-finding, design for impairments, and responses to the needs of a specific user group.

Major Study

In the Major Study you will negotiate a more fully realised, ambitious project that builds on the knowledge and ideas explored throughout the MA, demonstrating an advanced level of creativity and understanding of interior design. You will further explore ideas established in earlier parts of the programme and bring together practical, theoretical, commercial, and other contextual concerns to complete a sustained body of innovative interior design practice. This body of work will evidence creative autonomy, demonstrate professional excellence and an in-depth knowledge of the field. The realisation of this body of work is supported by work in progress online discussions involving students studying all disciplines of the Postgraduate Programme in Art and Design and one-to-one tutor dialogue.

The Major Study project will be the final submission for the master’s award, as the culmination of your postgraduate journey, demonstrating the communication, professional, conceptual and creative skills that you have acquired during the course. The project will also provide evidence of competence to an advanced level and readiness for employment to potential future employers and clients.

You will also need to submit a written reflective statement of around 3,000 words in which you will contextualise your own work and practice. The written submission aims to demonstrate your knowledge and understanding of theories of visual communication, specifically in relation to interior design, and critically appraise the aims of the project and the professional and commercial contexts in which it was developed. Writing this statement will provide you with insights into your own work, and develop the skills needed to express your ideas in a coherent and informed manner to potential audiences. As in the Practice 1 and 2 Art and Design modules, you will work with a specialist interior design subject tutor.

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Level 6: BA (Hons)

On the BA (Hons) programme, you will extend your creative and technical ability to reach a professional level. You will have the opportunity to define the scope of your work, beginning with two smaller briefs and concluding with a single Major Project. You will also establish a Design Manifesto, in which you will extend your knowledge and understanding of the interior architecture and design industry and how this will inform your career as you emerge as a skilled and qualified professional designer.

Level 6 Module Descriptions

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Design Studio 5: Generator

A key aspect of interior architecture and design involves the use of design to adapt, transform and improve existing buildings and spaces through enabling new uses and experiences.

In this module, you will investigate how interior architecture and design can take on a truly transformational role by undertaking the design of a residential property in line with the requirements set by a specific client.

For the brief, you are asked to design an environment based on food; for example, a noodle bar, cheesemonger or chocolatier. You will develop your own project proposal, research and development programme which will typically include three elements: a research investigation and analysis, a process of experimentation and testing, and an outline design proposal. Your project development proposal should be suitable to be taken through to detailed design development, resolution, and communication.

Critical and Cultural Studies L6: Degree Essay/Report (Design)

Designers are informed practitioners who engage critically with their discipline, its history, ideas which inform it, and how it is likely to evolve in the future. This module will enable you to conduct an in-depth study of an aspect of design culture of your choosing with the emphasis on the analysis of appropriate social, cultural, economic, technical, historical and aesthetic issues relevant to your chosen topic and creative work.

In this module, you will be able to bring your own interests into your work. Your independent research will be supported through discussion with your peers in the forums and other support materials. You will also develop skills in research, organisation and planning and critical analysis.

The assessed element of this module consists of a 6,000 word essay or negotiated equivalent.

Technology 3: Contemporary Technologies

This module aims to extend your knowledge and understanding of technical principles and methods which inform design development. It will provide the opportunity for self-initiated exploration of thematic cutting edge technologies relating to spatial practices explored in the studio projects. The aim is to encourage you to creatively engage with building technology and environmental considerations as part of an emergent design process.

In the brief, you are asked to design a stool, a table or a light which exploits the digital fabrication techniques of laser or CNC cutting. Your aim must be to minimise waste and employ minimal fixings or adhesive to assemble the design.

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Professional Development 2: Professional Practice and Employability

Throughout the module you will acquire the self promotion and marketing skills necessary to establish contacts, work experience, and employment within the interior architecture and design industry. In addition, this module will introduce you to legislation, tax issues, and grants; all factors that should be considered if you’re thinking about pursuing a career as a freelance designer, business owner, or if you’re looking towards international employment.

As part of your assessment, you will carry out selected research to identify and analyse three potential employers and employment opportunities within the interior architecture and design industry. You will also develop a design manifesto which will incorporate completed work from the module that expresses your creative skills and visions, and will promote your identity to a professional audience. Your manifesto will also provide evidence of your professional knowledge and the key principles of design practice, and will demonstrate the role of legislation and regulation in the design industry, and how the role of a professional designer meets these challenges.

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Design Studio 6: Augment

This module focuses on the development of a personal major project that is closely connected with design research and technological investigations. The project on this module will be a significant part of your portfolio and is intended to indicate your readiness for professional practice or postgraduate study.

At this level of study you will be expected to demonstrate an independent and professional approach to your project, in terms of time and project management and the presentation of your work at the conclusion of the module.

You are asked to develop specific approaches to agreed design problems for a self-selected site(s). The given design problems are intended to encourage an experimental approach to the process of inquiry into interior architecture and design. Your chosen sites should be of sufficient complexity to enable you to fully demonstrate your ability to integrate the different aspects of designing across practical, professional, and expressive requirements. The resultant portfolio of work should allow you to market yourself and enhance your potential to secure future employment.

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Start Dates

We have intakes in February, June and October. Depending on the course you choose, you may be able to start in any intake, but there could be some restrictions. You can apply directly on our website at any time for any future intake and your Admissions Advisor will be able to confirm when the next start date for your chosen course will be.

Even if you are unsure about when you would like to start, or which course is best for you, contact us and a member of our Student Recruitment Team will be able to advise you.

start dates

Entry Requirements

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We consider all applications on an individual basis and welcome applications from those with non-standard qualifications and from a variety of backgrounds.

We offer guaranteed entry onto the Top Up Master’s from a relevant HND or Foundation degree, or professional experience in interior architecture and design, or a relevant subject.

International Applicants

All applicants from non-majority English speaking countries need to provide proof of English language proficiency. One of the following qualifications (or equivalent) is required:

  • GSCE English Language grade A-C
  • IELTS 6.0 (with no less than 5.5 in any band)


Accredited Prior Learning (APL)

Accredited Prior Learning (APL) is the process for accessing and recognising prior experiential learning or prior certificated learning for academic purposes. This recognition gives the learning a credit value and allows it to be counted towards the completion of a degree or other award.

Credit is the common currency of university programmes. Each course module has a credit value and these credits are accumulated towards the full award. For example, an honours degree requires 120 credits at each of Levels 4, 5 and 6.

The APL process is intended to stop learners repeating learning that they have already achieved.

There are two types of APL:

Accredited Prior Certificated Learning (APCL)

Accredited Prior Certificated Learning (APCL) is learning that has been recognised previously by an education provider, evidenced by formal certification, and assessed and recognised for the award of credit.

If you have previously studied a course that has broadly the same learning outcomes as ones on an IDI programme, then you can apply to have these credited against your degree. However, if a qualification or credit is more than five years old, it could be considered out of date and may not be used towards a degree.


Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL)

Accredited Prior Experiential Learning (APEL) is learning that has been achieved through experiences outside the formal education and training systems, normally associated with a working environment, which has been assessed and recognised for the award of credit by the University. It is different from formal learning, as it is often unstructured and can be more personal and individualised.

APEL applicants can develop skills, strengths and knowledge from a range of experiential learning. Please be aware that learning must be at an equivalent level to that on the modules offered on our programmes and you must be able to evidence it. This is typically done by means of a portfolio. It is usual for this to involve some sort of reflective writing about your learning, but it might involve many other forms of evidence too.

It is important to remember that it is the learning from experience rather than the learning itself that is assessed for credit, which you will need to be able to articulate.

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  • Our standard fees for the Top Up Master's are £9,000



From £576.75 per month
  • Four instalments of £2,292
    Total payment of £9,168*
  • 16 instalments of £576.75
    Total payment of £9,228*


From £288.38 per month
  • Eight instalments of £1,146
    Total payment of £9,168*
  • 32 instalments of £288.38
    Total payment of £9,228*

*Please note these figures include a small administration fee.

Recommend a Friend

Increasingly our students are coming to us through personal recommendation and we’d like to recognise this. Whether you are a recent graduate, a current student, or even if you’ve just secured your place for the next intake; whenever you recommend IDI to a friend, colleague or family member, and they go on to enrol on a course, we’ll reward you both with £100. Find out more


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ma iad modules

The MA Interior Design award will prepare you for a career in interior architecture and design, as well as for other similar roles in the industry.

Potential Careers:

  • Interior Designer
  • Industrial/Product Designer
  • Interior Architect
  • Film/TV Set Designer
  • Spatial Designer
  • Theatre Set Designer
  • Furniture Designer
  • Design Project Manager
  • Industrial Designer
  • Space Planner
  • Visual Merchandiser
  • Exhibition Designer


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Student Discounts and Offers


Through partnerships and initiatives, we are able to offer our students institutional discounts on various products and services to help you gain access to quality materials at an affordable fee.

Adobe Creative Cloud

As an IDI student, you would be eligible for a discount of up to 65% off Adobe Creative Cloud* on production of an approved 'Proof of Student Status' letter.

*Adobe Creative Cloud is only available in selected countries. Find out if you can gain access from where you live by clicking here.

Graphics Direct

IDI students can also receive additional discounts. Enter ‘IDI’ at the Graphics Direct checkout and you will receive an extra 10% off, even on discounted and sale items.

Course Duration

The Top Up Master’s is available to study in the following modes, subject to minimum cohort numbers:

  • Part-time - Completed in ten semesters (three years and four months)
  • Full-time - Completed in five semesters (one year and eight months)

Expected minimum studying time commitment per study mode:

  • Part-time - 15 to 20 hours per week
  • Full-time - 30 to 35 hours per week

The hours per week indicate time spent on directed activities. However, you will also need to consider the additional time needed to read support materials and other resources, upload your work to the IDI-Study site, communicate with your tutors and interact with your peers within the forums.

If you begin studying and feel that the pace isn’t quite right for you, you can change your study mode within the first four weeks of study, or on completion of a level.