BA (Hons) Interior Architecture and Design
Fully supported distance learning online
Three levels over four years (twelve semesters)
Relevant qualifications and/or related work experience, creative work examples
One-off payment, monthly direct debits
£4,500 per level
BA (Hons) awarded by the University of Hertfordshire
What does the course involve?
On the BA (Hons) Interior Architecture and Design programme, you’ll be guided in developing your 3D design skills – improving a variety of interior spaces.
The course includes a number of practical tasks, including technical drawing by hand and using CAD software. You‘ll also learn to articulate your ideas in a professional manner on a number of theory-based activities.
Through our online study website, you’ll receive unlimited one-to-one tuition from tutors who are all experienced design professionals. This is also where you’ll discuss projects with your peers, and upload your work for assessment and feedback.
When you achieve your degree, you’ll be eligible to join the British Institute of Interior Design as an Associate Member, setting you on the path towards becoming a BIID registered interior designer.
You’ll complete the programme across twelve semesters, delivered over four years. All semesters consist of twelve weeks of study, followed by four weeks of assessment processes.
While studying, you’ll be expected to set aside a minimum of 15-20 hours per week for your directed activities. You should also consider the additional time needed to read supporting materials, upload your work to the site, and for discussion with your tutors and peers in the forums.
This course will prepare you for a successful career in interior architecture and design, and for many related roles. (Find out more about starting a career in interior architecture and design.)
For more detailed information about the course, you can download the Programme Specification here.
Next Start Dates: 16th October and 19th February
Levels and Modules
Level 4: Certificate of Higher Education
Level 4 aims to introduce you to the fundamental skills needed in the interior architecture and design industry. You will also be encouraged to critically examine how people occupy and use their environment to further your understanding of how places are designed for people.
Modules at this level are designed to equip you with a range of skills including the use of CAD, Illustrator, and Photoshop to create 3D models and develop your drawing techniques and maquette (scale model) building abilities. You will also be introduced to the basic design process, which will enable you to undertake investigation and analysis.
Design Studio 1: Anatomy of Space
This module will concentrate on developing your ability to understand how people occupy and use their environment and how the basis for the creation of good interior architecture is centred on the design of spaces for people.
For your assessment you will design a cube home for a family of four. You will consider how the interior space available can be organised and how the three dimensions can be utilised to establish a series of creative and functional spaces.
Communication 1: Visual Thinking
During this module you will study different ways of drawing, measuring and communicating the characteristics of material space and form. You will be introduced to architectural terms and orthographic drawing techniques and begin to develop skills in translating these into spatial configurations.
Throughout the module, there is a strong emphasis on research, idea generation, narrative and story-telling supporting the development and realisation of expressive visual outcomes.
You will explore and develop these skills through the brief, which asks you to create a contemporary kitchen and dining space; considering spatial layout, colour, materials, light fittings and furniture selection.
Design Studio 2: Learning to Design
This module will further develop your drawing, modelling and other investigative techniques. You will also begin to understand the issues of different design approaches and develop an understanding of, and practice in, recording and reflecting on your own design process.
You will become familiar with a range of modern graphic design and illustration practices and debates, and understand their role in contemporary culture. You will also explore a variety of theoretical, historical, professional, cultural and critical perspectives relating to these practices.
Your brief will require you to create a retreat space that provides inspiration for an artist. You will be given the freedom to create a profile for your own client and tailor the brief as appropriate. However, you will be required to select a real site to which you have access and on which you can undertake analysis.
Technology 1: Introducing Materiality
This module will introduce you to the almost limitless use of materials. You will investigate the visual, tactile and structural impact of material selection within interior architecture and design.
Through research and case studies, you will explore the work of other interior architects and designers to gain an insight into how structural elements, once considered mundane, can be used alongside contemporary thinking on materiality to create innovative and accomplished designs.
Your assessment for this module asks you to produce a contemporary staircase design and provide a successful circulation solution for a museum interior. Beginning with a clear concept approach, you will develop your design with a focus on model-making techniques. You will record your design process and explore visual and functional ideas.
Communication 2: Digital Skills
During this module you will study 2D and 3D CAD drawing. You will also be introduced to the key principles of CAD drafting and modelling and will begin to apply these skills in the communication of your design process and presentation work.
For the brief, you will be asked to design a new exhibition environment for a fictitious, emerging design company. Your spatial design should attract the attention of passers-by and encourage them to visit the exhibition, engage with the exhibitor and look at the products on display. Your exhibition will also display four furniture products from the company’s new ‘Native Collection’, which you will also design and present in an attractive and practical way.
Critical and Cultural Studies
Critical and Cultural Studies at Level 4 will encourage you to reflect on the relationship between art, photography, design, media histories and cultures and your own creative practices. Links to external sources and support materials will familiarise you with academic writing requirements and develop your skills in critical analysis. A series of activities will give you the opportunity to practise your skills in academic writing and receive feedback before you complete the final essay writing brief.
Level 5: Diploma of Higher Education
Level 5 enables you to explore opportunities for increasing specialisation within the field of interior architecture and design. At this level of study you will be given the opportunity to acquire professional skills and develop as an individual creative practitioner.
You will continue to develop your computer visualisation skills through the application of texture, lighting and sourcing of furniture and you will be introduced to external factors that impact interior architecture and design, such as sustainability and designing for destruction.
Design Studio 3: Close Up
This module sets the framework to enable you to develop inventive and appropriate approaches to the detailed reworking and transformation of existing built spaces. You will engage with materials and construction, and you will be introduced to the important issues of sustainability, maintenance and resource-effectiveness.
Your brief will focus on delivering a detailed design solution for a Nordic shoe company opening a series of unique retail environments within the UK. You have been appointed to deliver an innovative design concept for the first UK flagship interior space. You will also be required to analyse the project requirements, consider areas of investigation and plan a working process.
Communication 3: Digital Skills 2
During this module you will develop digital modelling techniques for the representation and communication of three-dimensional designs in the digital environment. You will be introduced to CAD animation and will begin to develop an understanding of the importance of narrative for representing and communicating design proposals.
You will explore these skills through the completion of your assessment brief, which involves the creation of an innovative seating and storage solution, which will be communicated through an online blog. You will design a unique element of free-standing furniture which combines both the opportunity to sit or rest, whilst providing storage for items such as books and other home/work media. You will also be required to keep an online blog of the project’s design and development.
Technology 2: Detail
This module examines design thinking with physical exploration, through continued research of selected interior spaces, supported with the study of lighting, acoustics, sourcing of specific pieces of furniture and other environmental conditions. You will also develop knowledge of structure, construction materials and sustainability within interior architecture and design.
You will use what you have learned in the module to design a workspace for a young, energetic and inventive design company, who are specialists in creative sustainable packaging. The company want their workspace to reflect their own ethos – to be functional yet flexible, easy to construct and easy to adjust, use materials simply and intelligently, and be sustainable and healthy. You must show consideration of these important elements within your design solutions and interpret these creatively.
Design Studio 4: Inside Out
This module considers the range of possibilities offered by interior architecture and design, from temporary installations and event-based work, to more permanent realisations. You will explore the ways interior architecture and design can act as a catalyst of social space and improve the built environment. You will be required to draw out conceptual ideas from a study of specific historical, social and physical aspects of this context.
Your brief will be to design an architectural pavilion for a film festival in a chosen city centre location. You will need to consider incorporating space for three screening spaces, a café/bar, a ticket office, retail opportunity and WC facilities. You will be expected to evidence your initial research, your spatial planning and design language, and your final design solutions.
Professional Development 1: Preparing for Industry
This module is designed to provide you with knowledge of career prospects and current industry trends and patterns within interior architecture and design. You will build professional networks, take initiative within agreed frameworks and apply business context to your own working practices.
For the module brief, you will design and create your own self-promotional materials, including a business card, compliments slip and letter headed paper. You will also create a professional persona that will help you to promote yourself effectively. You will be guided through the process of constructing your own PDF portfolio and CV; fundamental tools for your advancement in the industry.
Critical and Cultural Studies
At this level, you will be introduced to critical theories and methodologies relevant to your own discipline. You will learn how to critically engage with your own practice, as well as that of others. The use of links and references to external sources, as an integral part of the learning materials, will introduce you to independent research. Your tutor will guide and support you in the choice of research topic for the final essay brief through continuous feedback and discussion.
Level 6: BA (Hons)
Level 6 is the ‘portfolio level’ of your programme. The emphasis at this level is on building a portfolio of work in preparation for entering the design profession.
You will have the opportunity to enter national design competitions and to negotiate personal projects with your tutor in order to develop your own personal creativity.
As this is your final level of study before you begin to practise professionally, you will also build on and develop the self promotion and marketing skills that you learned at Level 5 to establish contacts, work experience and employment within the industry.
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.
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.
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.
Entry and Portfolio Requirements
We consider all applications on an individual basis and welcome applications from those with non-standard qualifications and from a variety of backgrounds.
Education, skills and work experience
With all applicants, we like to see either some evidence of previous study within art and design or visual (skill) evidence of art and design experience.
(UCAS have introduced a new points tariff for 2017, you can find out more and calculate your own UCAS points here.)
For UK applicants, we require either 96 UCAS points from GCE A Levels (or equivalent), including art related subjects, and English Language and Mathematics at grade 4 or above (grade C and D or above if prior to 2015), or a relevant level of equivalent skills and experience.
You will normally have completed either a pre-degree course in visual arts, which may be a Foundation or equivalent course leading to a BTEC National Diploma/Certificate or equivalent international qualification.
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)
You can find more detailed information on our entry requirements page.
If you have a previous qualification in interior design, architecture or a closely related field, or extensive industry experience (at least five years), you may be considered for advanced entry onto either Level 5 or 6 of the degree programme.
Find out more about advanced entry, and see if you could be eligible.
To be eligible to enrol on the programme, we are looking for work that shows an interest in, and aptitude for, visual communication. It is often sufficient to provide a few examples that demonstrate your design skills, but you can also include examples of any work you have done in illustration, photography, painting, printmaking, digital media, text based pieces, and other art and design media.
Your portfolio should show evidence of the design cycle, from generating ideas, through development, to a completed outcome. Including examples from your sketchbook or journal is a good way to showcase this. Above all, we want to see evidence of your enthusiasm for creativity and your eagerness to learn more.
For more information see our portfolio guidelines page.
Fees and Discounts
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*Please note these figures include a small administration fee. If you choose to pay with a payment plan you need to pay your first instalment to secure your place. Your next payment is due approximately one month after your start date.
Employers and self-employed discounts
We offer a discount to employers who are supporting their employees to study with IDI. Students who are self-employed can also benefit from this discount.
We can also arrange a group price for employers who want to support a number of employees.
For details of payment options and to find out how this could benefit you and your business please contact Danielle Gray on 0131 777 9321 or Freephone 0800 917 1118 or by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Future Finance student loans
IDI is partnered with Future Finance to offer current and prospective students on the following courses the opportunity to apply for loans:
- All MA courses
- All BA (Hons) courses
To find out more about fees, funding and Future Finance student loans, please click here.
Should our fees be subject to an increase at any time during your studies, your fees will be fixed at the level you paid at the start of your course, as long as you follow your original pattern of study.
All of our tutors are professionals with first class educational experience. We guarantee our students a consistently high standard of tuition, guidance and support across all of the online art and design courses that we deliver.
Click on the images below to find out more about their practice and experience: