Course specification and structure
Undergraduate Course Structures Postgraduate Course Structures

UDINDEDE - BA Interior Design and Decoration

Course Specification

Validation status Validated
Highest award Bachelor of Arts Level Honours
Possible interim awards Bachelor of Arts, Diploma of Higher Education, Certificate of Higher Education, Bachelor of Arts
Total credits for course 360
Awarding institution London Metropolitan University
Teaching institutions London Metropolitan University
School The Sir John Cass School of Art, Architecture and Design (The Cass)
Subject Area Design
Attendance options
Option Minimum duration Maximum duration
Full-time 3 YEARS 7 YEARS
Part-time 6 YEARS 7 YEARS
Course leader Kaye Newman

About the course and its strategy towards teaching and learning and towards blended learning/e-learning

The BA(Hons) Interior Design and Decoration course focuses on the manipulation or treatment of single volume spaces or a sequence of spaces, where the emphasis of the designer’s response to a space’s use and function is on the surface of the environment. Changes to the space are made through the application of colour, light, texture and the addition or subtraction of material, objects, art and furniture. The objects and finishes that make up the interior can be either bespoke or specified from existing designs.

The course operates within a unique programme of related Interior Design undergraduate awards, allied to both Architecture and Design Schools, bringing together best practice from related fields. Three cognate BA awards (Interior Architecture and Design, Interior Design, Interior Design and Decoration) enable students to explore the fundamental aspects of design for interiors, through the particular lens of the built environment, the client, and/or decoration/ detailing.
The course enables you to embrace material exploration for decorative interior scenarios. It will draw upon the wide range of contexts within the interiors industry, covering domestic, retail, exhibition, hotel, leisure and public spaces. Through design projects that investigate private, civic, commercial and sustainable interior environments, you will consider the spatial and material relationships within a building envelope of surface, furniture, artefacts and textiles. You will develop both graphical and applied decorative making skills to enable the testing, sampling and representation of your ideas. Using the CASS excellent workshop facilities and expertise, you will work with different fabrics (hard and soft), materials and mark-making approaches to both experiment and collaborate with students and experts across a range of related disciplines (including furniture, upholstery, textiles and fashion) utilising a breadth of material techniques, including both traditional and digital workshop processes.

Historically, decorative designers have expressed through their work the latest technological and/or fashion advances, developing vogues and trends that colour our material culture and vernacular history. Important archives are kept with institutions such as the V&A, Geffrye Museum and RIBA which allow us to research methods and approaches for contemporary practice.

The learning and teaching on the course is rooted in a studio structure that allows students to engage with different design projects within contemporary multidisciplinary design positions. The studios provide opportunities of live briefs and real settings. These will provide the context for students to develop material, graphic, tactile and proportioning skills and attributes. Meanings for pattern, applied decoration (2D and 3D), properties and performance of materials and components of both the ephemeral and the permanent structural built environment will be investigated and researched.

Each student will have the opportunity to explore and develop ideas for historic and modern contexts, acquiring knowledge of graphic skills and composition, fabrication techniques, manufacturing processes mark-making, material exploration and practice through the intimate, private or decadent, public scale of interior decoration. As the designer you will recognise, conceive of and develop sensory, intellectual and aesthetic decorative environments that communicate culturally, socially and physically with their audiences. Through sensorial responses, cultural languages, aesthetic vocabulary, socio-economic quality and intrinsic material values, pattern, proportion and scale creating impact, atmosphere and experience.

All significant materials will undergo a sustainable evaluation relating to national and European associations, governing environmental and ecological processes and material specification. Students will be asked to explore material libraries, taking into account a circular economy through ideas of using sustainable resources, recycling, upcycling and reuse. Graduates will be able to articulate a clear personal position in relation to sustainability and other ethical considerations attaching to the industry.

The decorative interior designer typically works closely with other designers (furniture, upholsters, textiles, ceramic, architectural etc), manipulating the qualities and effect of surfaces, commissioning and/or designing furniture and artefacts, to create meaningful, impactful and significant spatial experiences, augmenting and amplifying the atmosphere and presence within the space. The studio system will simulate this context, encouraging students to explore and collaborate with relevant design professionals to secure comprehensive and assured design outcomes.

Throughout the course, you will be asked to position yourself and your skills and interests in relation to the industry to develop a portfolio that expresses your individual practice.

Course aims

The course aims are to provide a high quality, specialist undergraduate education in design as applied to, commercial and public interiors including retail, exhibition and residential interior decoration practice. It seeks to ensure its graduates are knowledgeable, creative, culturally and environmentally aware, technically able and of value to future employers, as a part of the design team. The course fosters curiosity and a sense of enquiry, competence in research, analysis and presentation, independence of thought, self-reliance, confidence and openness to professional development. The course aims are aligned with the qualification descriptors within the Quality Assurance Agency’s Framework for Higher Education Qualifications. The undergraduate award aims are to:

• Promote an exploratory and creative strategy to designing applied 2D and 3D decoration for spatial environments and their narrative, function and experience.
• Develop technical skills; traditional, digital, haptic, conventional and emergent.
• Develop intellectual rigour and competence relevant to the interior design and decoration profession that will enhance practice and workshop based understanding and develop career opportunities.
• Develop skill and strategies for research and analysis, raising awareness of the ethical, cultural, environmental, material, global and commercial needs of peoples and practices.
• Develop presentational skills suitable for both promotion to the audience and visual communication of complex ideas, encouraging a multidisciplinary approach and realisation.
• Support the growth of the individual, developing skills for self-directed study, generic transferable skills and design related attributes, design practice positioning and responsibility in relation to personal and professional development and to working and interacting with others.

Course learning outcomes

On completion of this course, students will be able to:

Knowledge and Understanding
1. Recognise the relationship existing between design, culture, environment, manufacture and the economy both historically and contemporaneously and its relevance to choice, decoration, pattern, symbolism, design motives and theories.
2. Describe, explore and challenge a range of theoretical positions associated with the interior, design and the design process.
3. Know and assimilate into practice, the necessary professional and disciplinary principles, codes and ethics of practice that apply

Cognitive Intellectual skills
4. Employ a range of intellectual skills that contribute to both convergent and divergent forms of thinking, observation, investigation, research and analysis, independently appraising and articulating reasoned arguments to select, organise, structure, reference and formulate responses developing researched and evidence based reports, briefs and developmental narratives.
5. Develop and challenge ideas by understanding the context and critical issues that surround them and make decisions based upon social, ethical, environmental and economic issues.
6. Consider the needs and views of the client, user, brand, community, culture and wider public and assimilate them in relation to specific projects, investigating the physical, practical, functional, experiential and sensory needs of people within interior spaces.

Transferable skills including those of employability and professional practice
7. Independently and collaboratively present and communicate ideas and design proposals through the use of appropriate oral, visual, material and written skills and techniques to your design team and associated industry professionals, to the client and invested community as well as to the greater general public.
8. Exercise self-directed management skills, including time management, team negotiation and collaboration, employing reflective practices and self-promotion.

Subject-Specific Practical skills
9. Generate concepts, design narratives and proposals, expressing ideas relating to spatial, interior, furniture and other multi-disciplinary design projects, through drawing, material sampling and modelmaking using both traditional and digital techniques.
10. Develop industry led and entrepreneurial skills and effectively communicate, present, publish and exhibit project work used within the interior design profession understanding the roles and expertise of the extended team within the design and construction industries.

Principle QAA benchmark statements

Subject Benchmark Statement: Art & Design

Assessment strategy

A variety of assessment methods are used within the course, ranging from formative, summative, diagnostic, peer and self-assessment, through studio based work, workshops, projects and exercises. These methods are aligned to the faculty and University assessment strategies in tune and with the course learning outcomes and curriculum.

The strategies support students’ understanding of their learning, by providing timely feedback promoting a deeper learning approach to their studies. Assessment methods such as critiques, presentations, modelmaking, digital and studio portfolio reviews, blog and website evaluations, allow for differing learning styles whilst encouraging reflective and reflexive approaches.

Each assessment point builds students’ confidence to become independent learners, by providing relative and pertinent advice for all aspects of learning, encouraging students, as they work through their studies, to take an autonomous approach.

The course and its tutors provide opportunities within the course for scheduled drop in sessions, email and WebLearn, the University’s virtual learning environment, offers students opportunities to discuss their assessment strategies. Further pastoral support is given to students requiring additional learning support within the University’s Student Services and through the relevant personal academic tutor.

Organised work experience, work based learning, sandwich year or year abroad

Work experience improves professional understanding, increases confidence and makes the design process relevant. Work placement is not an assessed outcome, however the course maintains close associations to interior design practices, designer/maker guilds and material associations and provides many opportunities for contact with them for students.

• Industry professionals mentor and lecture regularly at many points within the course.
• Internships and work experience opportunities are developed through competitions and continuing and valued associations with design practices.
• All students will undertake a mandatory work placement with associated preparation, feedback, assessment and evaluation
• Collaborative workshops and charrettes are organised to give the students concentrated occasions to focus at certain intervals.

Students are encouraged to attain work experience throughout the course in order to enhance their professional knowledge and attributes.

Career opportunities

As an interior decoration specialist, you’ll have the skills and expertise to work in all sectors of the interiors industry, from private clients to high-end residential, hotel and retail work. Following graduation, many of our students have gone on to work for some of the best interior design, furniture and architecture practices in London.

To boost your practical skills, experience and contacts, you’ll also have the opportunity to undertake a work placement at a leading London design practice. In 2016 students were placed at 50 design companies including Foster + Partners, Gensler and turnerbates.

Entry requirements

In addition to the University’s standard entry requirements, you should have:

  • a minimum of grades BBC in three A levels one of which comes from a relevant subject area such in the arts, humanities or social sciences (or a minimum of 112 UCAS points from an equivalent Level 3 qualification in relevant art and design subjects) plus a portfolio review
  • English Language GCSE at grade C (grade 4 from 2017) or above

We encourage applications from international/EU students with equivalent qualifications. We also accept mature students with diverse backgrounds and experiences.

Suitable applicants living in the UK will be invited to a portfolio interview. Applicants living outside the UK will be required to submit a portfolio of work via email.

If you do not have traditional qualifications or cannot meet the entry requirements for this undergraduate degree, you may still be able to gain entry by completing the Art and Design Extended Degree (with Foundation Year).

All applicants must be able to demonstrate proficiency in the English language. Applicants who require a Tier 4 student visa may need to provide a Secure English Language Test (SELT) such as Academic IELTS. For more information about English qualifications please see our English language requirements.

Portfolios and interviews

Your portfolio should be selective but have enough work to show the range of your interests and talents. We are interested in seeing how you develop a project from beginning to end, not only finished work.

Your portfolio should have a range of 2D and 3D design and material sampling, and demonstrate a keen interest in working directly with materials within workshops, and visualising and problem-solving techniques.

If there are elements you can't bring to your portfolio interview, take photographs and include them.

We always want to see traditional drawing whether observational, life or concept generating, so please include this, even if you already have good CAD skills.

Finally, be ready to talk about your work and how you see your future as an interior designer.

Official use and codes

Approved to run from 2014/15 Specification version 1 Specification status Validated
Original validation date 24 Jun 2014 Last validation date 24 Jun 2014  
JACS codes K120 (Interior Architecture): 100%
Route code INDEDE

Course Structure

Stage 1 Level 04 September start Offered

Code Module title Info Type Credits Location Period Day Time
CP4015 Critical & Contextual Studies 1 (Interiors) Core 30 CITY SPR+SUM    
DN4003 Manipulation of Space Core 30        
DN4008 Interior Materials and Technologies Core 30 CITY AUT+SPR TUE AM
          CITY SPR+SUM    
DN4009 Design Principles for Interiors Core 30 CITY SPR+SUM    

Stage 2 Level 05 September start Offered

Code Module title Info Type Credits Location Period Day Time
CP5015 Critical & Contextual Studies 2 (Interiors) Core 30 CITY AUT+SPR THU PM
DN5002 Human Scale Core 30 CITY AUT+SPR TUE AM
DN5004 Design Details Core 30 CITY AUT+SPR TUE AM
DN5010 Interior Technologies and Production Core 30 CITY AUT+SPR THU AM

Stage 3 Level 06 September start Offered

Code Module title Info Type Credits Location Period Day Time
CP6015 Critical & Contextual Studies 3: Dissertation (... Core 30 CITY AUT+SPR WED AM
DN6019 Major Project Realisation: Interior Design and ... Core 30 CITY AUT+SPR TUE AM
DN6020 Project Design and Development for Interiors Core 30 CITY AUT+SPR TUE AM
DN6029 Integrated Design Practice Core 30 CITY AUT+SPR FRI AM