Course specification and structure
Undergraduate Course Structures Postgraduate Course Structures

UDINDDFY - BA (Hons) Interior Design and Decoration (including foundation year)

Course Specification

Validation status Validated
Highest award Bachelor of Arts Level Honours
Possible interim awards
Total credits for course 480
Awarding institution London Metropolitan University
Teaching institutions London Metropolitan University
School School of Art, Architecture and Design
Subject Area Design
Attendance options
Option Minimum duration Maximum duration
Full-time 4 YEARS 8 YEARS
Part-time 6 YEARS 8 YEARS
Course leader  

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

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.

Consideration has been given to the following: the Subject Benchmark Statement (Art and Design 2017), the HE Qualification Framework, the University’s Strategic Plan and Student Charter, the University’s Undergraduate Regulations, the views and feedback of students, external examiners and employers/ clients, developments within the subject area, and the changing needs of the cultural/ commercial sectors and professions. Due consideration has also been given to inclusivity in course and assessment design, and specifically to the transition from the Level 3 year to the Level 4 – 6 BA programme.

Embedded in the Cass School of Art, Architecture and Design, the course draws on the strengths of teaching staff from across the School and the wide circle of academic and cultural contacts and collaborators attached to the School and University.

The course seeks to provide and foster:

• learning through direct experience, connecting academic and creative studies;
• student choice in subject and style of learning;
• a culture of independent and critical thought, encouraging the challenging of received ideas and practice;
• employability attributes, through live projects engaging with external partners, institutions and companies that create a realistic environment of professional expectations for students, preparing students for graduate-level employment;
• engagement across the School and University, providing opportunities for collaborative project work during study;
• individualised learning and study support opportunities, that cater for different learning styles;
• awareness of the duty of all to understand the impact of their decisions and actions as interior designers and to strive to act responsibly.

The course operates within a programme of related interior design undergraduate awards, bringing together best practice from related fields. The cognate BA awards (Interior Architecture and Design, Interior Design, Interior Design and Decoration, Retail Design) enable students to explore the fundamental aspects of design for interiors, through the particular lens of the built environment, the client, and/or decoration and detailing. The foundation year provides a programme of study in widely applicable and design-specific skills, knowledge and contextual awareness that prepares students for level 4 study, including expectations of assessment and preparation for assessment in higher education. The foundation year offers a safe and managed transition from the directed learning of secondary education and regular contact with the staff and students of the level 4-6 cohort through workshops, critiques, exhibitions and cluster and School-wide events.

The course enables you to embrace material exploration for decorative interior environments. 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, community, 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 graphic and applied decorative making skills to enable the testing, sampling and representation of your ideas. Using the Cass workshop facilities and expertise, you will work with different materials (hard and soft), materials and mark-making approaches to experiment and collaborate with students and experts across a range of related disciplines (including furniture, upholstery, textiles and metals) utilising a breadth of material techniques with traditional and digital workshop processes.

Historically, decorative designers have expressed through their work the latest technological and fashion advances, in step with 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 sources, methods and approaches for contemporary practice.

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. The effect and impact of pattern and applied decoration (2D and 3D), and the 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 for the intimate and private, or public scales of interior decoration. As developing designers students will use this knowledge to develop sensory and aesthetically sophisticated decorative environments that communicate emotionally, culturally, socially and physically with their audiences.

All significant materials will undergo a sustainability 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 (in furniture, upholstery, textiles, ceramics, architecture etc.), manipulating the qualities and effect of surfaces, commissioning and/or designing furniture and artefacts, to create meaningful, impactful and significant spatial experiences, creating, manipulating or augmenting the extant atmosphere of the space. The studio system will simulate this context, encouraging students to explore and collaborate with relevant design professionals to secure coherent and assured design outcomes.

Throughout the course, students will be asked to consider and position themselves and their skills and interests in relation to the industry to develop a portfolio that expresses their individual practice.

Students work through assignments and projects, steadily building on existing skills, developing and realising new ideas and concepts. This approach ensures that the student is guided through the acquisition of key knowledge, skills and critical development, as the course progresses.

Each year in levels 4 - 6, the course comprises four year-long modules in the areas of design concept and realisation, interior technologies and production, and cultural and contextual studies and professional practice. Throughout the preparatory foundation year, students are prepared with the skills and knowledge in research and development for design, a range of realisation techniques and contextual awareness to enable a secure and confident transition to level 4. The foundation year is designed as three stages.

Stage 1 introduces and establishes a common ground of new experiences, values and practical skills. It lays the foundation for the course and serves as a base from which more independent work can be developed. Classes, workshops, inductions and tasks are relatively short and focus on substantial production and skills acquisition.

Stage 2 is more open-ended, with a series of longer projects and more choice and decision making for the student who is encouraged to apply, reinforce and develop effective practices from Stage 1 to establish a personal perspective, responsibility for time-management, self-knowledge and a sense of direction for their own creative practice. Direct experience of possible choices for subject-area of study ahead are through Cass subject-area tutors involvement in Stage 2 studio projects generally and from specific subject-area studio projects run by Cass undergraduate subject-area tutors that include use of subject area studios, workshops, technical facilities and expertise. Students experience what is shared across creative practices as well as what is specific to a subject-area’s culture.

Stage 3 helps the student undertake a sustained, focussed and resolved study with a longer, final project that is perceived as ‘under their control’. The emphasis is on increasing/focussing their subject-area knowledge - testing their commitment, and the production and organisation of coherent and resolved work - as they devise the brief, manage the process and outcome, and are participants in the process of evaluating their work.


Course aims

The course aims are aligned with the qualification descriptors within the Quality Assurance Agency’s Framework for Higher Education Qualifications.

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 a 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 to:

1. promote risk-taking, exploratory and innovative strategies for designing decorative spatial environments and control their narrative, function and experience, through evidence-based design;
2. encourage penetrating research and analysis, developing a rigorous and professional approach to the practice and challenges of the interior design/ decoration profession that will develop entrepreneurialism and career opportunities;
3. ensure responsible ethical practice in relation to cultural, environmental, material and social circumstances and the needs of peoples and communities;
4. develop understanding of the working practices, roles and regulatory environment of the sector;
5. foster critical enquiry and understanding of the cultural, psychological, emotional, political, technological and economic factors related to the design, production, and use of aspects of the built environment and its component artefacts;
6. develop curiosity, independent enquiry and capacity to reason, critique and reflect upon practice through an integrated approach to practice and theory, research and analysis;
7. through working with 2D and 3D material/s in both traditional and digital processes and platforms, develop design and realisation skills for professional practice aligned with sector requirements;
8. combine intellectual processes, personal creative vision and technical skills in detailed design resolutions to test proposals for interior spaces with peers, clients and agencies;
9. develop confident and persuasive presentational and communication skills utilising multidisciplinary approaches and production techniques;
10. produce graduates who can work independently, manage their own time and tasks and those of others, reflect objectively on their own performance, and plan effectively for the future, including for their careers;
11. support the growth of the individual; fostering self-reliance and commitment to personal and professional development, ensuring that graduates remain well-informed about current and developing thought and practice, and therefore maintain their employability.

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 (CA5,6);
2. describe, explore and challenge a range of theoretical positions associated with the interior, and the design process (CA1,2,5);
3. know and assimilate into practice, the necessary professional and disciplinary principles, codes and ethics of practice that apply (CA3,4).

Cognitive Intellectual Abilities
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 (CA 2,6,8);
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 (2,3,8);
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 (3,8).

Transferable skills
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 other designers and associated industry professionals, to the client and invested community, as well as to the wider public (7,9,10);
8. communicate ideas, principles and concepts effectively by oral, written and visual means with clarity and confidence (CA 4,9);
9. exercise self-directed management skills, including time management, team negotiation and collaboration, employing reflective practices and self-promotion (10,11).

Subject-Specific Practical Skills
10. 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 (CA1,7,8);
11. develop industry-led and entrepreneurial skills to 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 (CA2,9);
12. exhibit understanding of the roles and expertise of the extended team within the design and construction industries and work effectively in that context, enabling continuous self-development (CA 4,10,11).

Course learning outcomes / Module cross reference

Module Title Module Code Learning Outcomes

Project AA3001 LO7, LO8, LO9, LO10, LO11
Techniques AA3002 LO7, LO8, LO10
Formats AA3004 LO4, LO6, LO7, LO8, LO10
Critical and Contextual Studies: Foundation CP3010 LO1, LO2, LO4, LO5, LO7, LO8

CCS 1 CP4015 LO1, LO5, LO8
Interior Materials and Technologies DN4008 LO3, LO4, LO7, LO8, LO12
Spatial Design Development DN4015 LO1, LO2, LO4, LO7
Design Principles for Interiors DN4009 LO1, LO2, LO7, LO10, LO11

CCS 2 CP5015 LO1, LO5, LO6, LO8,
Interiors Technologies and Production DN5010 LO2, LO3, LO4, LO6, LO7, LO8, LO12
Human Scale DN5002 LO1, LO2, LO3, LO5, LO9, LO10
Design Details DN5004 LO3, LO9, LO10, LO11, LO12

CCS 3: Dissertation CP6015 LO1, LO5, LO8, LO9
Integrated Design Practice DN6029 LO3, LO4, LO6, LO8, LO12
Project Design and Development for Interiors DN6020 LO1, LO2, LO4 ,LO5, LO6, LO9, LO10
Major Project Realisation: Interior Design and Decoration DN6019 LO2, LO3, LO6 , LO7, LO9, LO10, LO11

Principle QAA benchmark statements

Subject Benchmark Statement: Art & Design (2017)
Subject Benchmark Statement: History of Art, Architecture and Design (2017)

Assessment strategy

The assessment strategy for the course has been designed holistically, to ensure manageable timing, workloads and clarity of expectations for students, and to avoid duplication of assessment of learning outcomes.

The assessment regimes for the modules and tasks are designed together with the briefs, prior to the start of the year, taking into account student, external examiner, professional collaborator and colleague feedback from previous instances. The requirements of briefs and their components, the assessment criteria, grading scheme and descriptors are published and explained to students at the start of the year and are designed to be used as consistently as possible, to avoid unnecessary complication. Assessment is related to the achievement of learning outcomes; qualification frameworks and subject benchmark statements are consulted to ensure clear language that is appropriate to level of study. Students are informed of the procedures for first, second and parity marking, and external examiner scrutiny of the assessment process and marks, to ensure that they understand and have confidence in the probity of the process and security of the final marks.

In every case, there is required formative assessment and feedback prior to summative assessment at set points. This is recorded so that it can be used by both students and staff to track further progress and engage support where it is required. Feedback follows good pedagogic practice in that it is constructed as ‘feed-forward’, with a focus on specific actions and strategies as to how to improve, not only on what requires improvement. Challenge to students is managed, so that students performing well in-year are encouraged to strive for excellence, while those performing less well experience clear, targeted and structured guidance, including notice of where they are doing well or are showing potential.

The course adheres to the University’s requirements for assessment and feedback turnaround times and to academic regulations for marking and second making sampling. Additionally, the course engages in Subject and School parity exercises to ensure that assessment standards are consistent. This is especially important in relation to studio delivery through which students on the same modules will be undertaking differing projects.

• Assessment and feedback practices are informed by reflection, consideration of professional practice, and subject-specific and educational scholarship.
• Staff and students engage in dialogue to promote a shared understanding of the basis on which academic judgements are made.
• Students are provided with opportunities to develop an understanding of, and the necessary skills to demonstrate, good academic practice.
• The volume, timing and nature of assessment enable students to demonstrate the extent to which they have achieved the intended learning outcomes.
• Formative assessment supports students in developing for summative assessment
• Feedback on assessment is timely, constructive and developmental.
• Processes for marking assessments and for moderating marks are clearly articulated and consistently operated by those involved in the assessment process.

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

Work- related learning is embedded in the course both formally in a level 5 work-related learning module and throughout the course through live projects, industry visits, visiting speakers and events such as ‘Making a Living’ and ‘Celebration’ weeks.

Work-related learning is an integrated and mandatory part of the course, in line with the University’s policy of securing a work related learning opportunity for each undergraduate student during their studies, with at least 70 hours working on live projects for real organisations delivered through placement, live briefs, real entrepreneurial activities or short in term work placements built into the course. Students will experience a competitive recruitment process or pitching for opportunities, and they will be required to reflect on their experience of the project or placement and undertake forward career action planning.

The majority of tutors and lecturers on the course are practitioners and share their knowledge and experience with students throughout their course of study. The studio delivery of the course means that opportunities for work related learning through collaboration with external companies, agencies, institutions, competitions and professionals can be taken up as they arise, if appropriate to the programme of study.

Studios function as simulations of professional workplaces, with expectations of professional standards, conduct and delivery building as the students progress from level to level. During their final year, students are expected to work independently towards completion of professional portfolio of projects, culminating in exhibition of these in the annual summer show and associated events.

Course specific regulations

ACADEMIC PROGRESSION: As a condition of progressing from level 3 to 4, level 4 to 5 and level 5 to 6, students are required to have gained 120 credits per level, that is, by achieving pass marks (40%) in all four modules in the preceding level of study.

Level 6: In order to achieve an honours degree award on this course, students must have completed and passed each Level 6 module at 40% or above.

Part-time study is defined as 60 credits per year. Consequently, in part-time mode, the duration of study for a 480-credit degree will be 8 years. The pattern of study shall be as follows:

Year 1 – AA3001 & AA3002 or CP3010 & AA3004
Year 2 – AA3001 & AA3002 or CP3010 & AA3004
Year 3 – DN4015 & DN4009
Year 4 – CP4015 & DN4008
Year 5 – DN5010 & DN5002
Year 6 – CP5015 & DN5004
Year 7 – DN6020 & DN6019
Year 8 – CP6015 & DN6029

Modules required for interim awards

All modules are core and compulsory for students to qualify for an award of BA (Hons) Interior Design and Decoration (there is no flexibility in choice or in the order in which modules may be taken). The part time route is prescribed (section 25).

• Critical and Contextual Studies: Foundation
• Project
• Techniques
• Formats
• Spatial Design Development
• Interior Materials & Technologies
• Design Principles for Interiors
• Critical and Contextual Studies 1 (Interiors)
• Interior Technologies & Production
• Design Details
• Critical and Contextual Studies 2 (Interiors)
• Human Scale
• Project Design & Development for Interiors
• Major Project Realisation: Interior Design and Decoration
• Critical and Contextual Studies 3: Dissertation (Interiors)
• Integrated Design Practice

Arrangements for promoting reflective learning and personal development

Applicants living outside the UK will be required to submit an e-portfolio of examples of their own creative work.
We encourage applications from International/EU students with equivalent qualifications. We also accept mature students with diverse backgrounds and experiences.

Other external links providing expertise and experience

British Institute of Interior Design Code of Conduct and Professional Ethics

Career, employability and opportunities for continuing professional development

Careers advice is integral to the course. Design related employment agencies are invited to lecture and support the review of student CVs and portfolio surgeries are carried out through which the student is given encouraging and specific advice in regards to their presentational focus. Students are mentored by industry professionals throughout their final year and students are encouraged and supported to seek internships and work experience. Competition, exhibition and publicity opportunities exist throughout the course and external exhibitions and trade fairs enable students to develop further career opportunities. Students are supported throughout to reflect upon their own practice so that they are able to progress successfully to their chosen field within the professional interior design sector.

Successful completion of the course offers enhanced career opportunities in the design industry. Students leave with a high quality portfolio of work and a range of practical, professional and academic skills, providing an excellent base for both work and further study. Most of our graduates go on to practice in interior architecture and interior design, design more generally or are employed within architectural practices or progress to postgraduate study. Graduating from the BA (Hons) Interior Design and Decoration is the start of lifelong learning and an exciting and varied career in design. It provides graduates with core and transferable knowledge and skills that enable individuals to seek work in a wide variety of areas connected to the built environment and other related professions.

Students can also benefit from support and guidance from the Careers and Employability services and the University’s business incubator unit, ‘Accelerator’.

Career opportunities

On graduation you’ll become an interior design and decoration specialist, equipped with knowledge, skills and work experience to make you competitive within the creative practices sector.

Entry requirements

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

  • at least one A level (or a minimum of 32 UCAS points from an equivalent Level 3 qualification, eg BTEC Subsidiary/National/BTEC Extended Diploma)
  • English Language GCSE at grade C/4 or above (or equivalent)

You will need to attend an interview with your portfolio of creative work. If you live outside of the UK, you will be required to submit a small portfolio of work via email.

Official use and codes

Approved to run from 2019/20 Specification version 1 Specification status Validated
Original validation date 15 Aug 2019 Last validation date 15 Aug 2019  
JACS codes
Route code INDDFY

Course Structure

Stage 1 Level 03 September start Offered

Code Module title Info Type Credits Location Period Day Time
AA3001 Project Core 30 CITY SPR+SUM WED AM
AA3002 Techniques Core 30 CITY AUT+SPR FRI PM
AA3004 Formats Core 30 CITY AUT+SPR WED PM
CP3010 Critical & Contextual Studies: Foundation Core 30 CITY AUT+SPR WED AM

Stage 1 Level 03 January start Offered

Code Module title Info Type Credits Location Period Day Time
AA3001 Project Core 30 CITY SPR+SUM WED AM
AA3002 Techniques Core 30 CITY SPR+SUM MON PM
AA3004 Formats Core 30 CITY SPR+SUM FRI PM
CP3010 Critical & Contextual Studies: Foundation Core 30        

Stage 2 Level 04 Not currently offered

Code Module title Info Type Credits Location Period Day Time
CP4015 Critical & Contextual Studies 1 (Interiors) Core 30        
DN4008 Interior Materials and Technologies Core 30        
DN4009 Design Principles for Interiors Core 30        
DN4015 Spatial Design Development Core 30        

Stage 3 Level 05 Not currently offered

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

Stage 4 Level 06 Not currently offered

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