BA Interior Design
UCAS code: W250
Duration: 4 years
School: Edinburgh College of Art
College: Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences
Introducing BA Interior Design
Interior design is the study and design of interior spaces in a range of public and private environments.
At Edinburgh College of Art (ECA) we research, investigate and challenge the practice of interior design.
We encourage you to explore:
- issues within design
- ideas and approaches to address the diversity of building users
- the creation of interiors of different scales and timeframes
- opportunities for new designs of existing spaces
- ways of developing sustainable design practice
Our programme emphasises the need to create environments that impact positively on people's day-to-day experiences and interactions.
Learning in the studio
Much of our teaching and learning is studio-based. The Interior Lab acts as our space where design ideas are developed, grown, evolved and shared.
The studio helps to:
- replicate elements of a professional design studio environment
- encourage students to work as a team
You will develop your skills through innovative design projects. This will enable you to explore the design potential of contemporary interventions, bringing new life into existing buildings.
Many of our projects are based in Edinburgh using real buildings and situations to generate briefs. We often work on live projects with real clients.
We support you to be:
- questioning of design
We encourage solutions that are beyond the ordinary or obvious, by the application of interior, architectural and spatial theories to a particular brief.
Technical skills and theory
It is very important to us that you also gain a good technical understanding of interior design to prepare you for work in industry following graduation.
Integrated with the practical studio work, courses in Design and Screen Cultures provide a contextual and theoretical understanding of contemporary design.
You will be introduced to the theoretical and practical concepts of interior design. Through a series of spatial projects, this will lead to more focused, subject-specific outcomes.
You will learn to:
- understand and interpret 3D space
- produce orthographic drawings of your proposals
In Design and Screen Cultures, you will address the key histories and theories of design.
You will be able to take up to 40 credits of option courses this year. These can be courses from ECA or across the wider university. Your choices will be subject to availability and discussion with relevant course organisers.
This offers you the flexibility to construct a suite of courses that reflects your interests and enhances your main study.
Set projects and exercises will introduce areas of interior design, including:
- basic principles
- working practices
- technical instruction
You will also study:
- Design and Screen Cultures courses
- up to 40 credits of option courses, subject to availability
The focus of this year is to develop your design solutions to more complex buildings, on a larger scale.
You will investigate in greater depth:
- the technical detailing aspects of interior design
- architectural lighting strategies
- architectural material properties and specification
In Year 3, you will:
- develop your ideas and explore a range of techniques through set projects
- establish an individual approach to your work
- study Design and Screen Cultures courses
- have opportunities for study abroad, which will help broaden an understanding of the discipline
In Year 4, you will feel confident about your ability to express ideas, opinions and concerns through your practical and theoretical work.
You will complete a:
- self-generated design project throughout the year
- written dissertation
These will be focused towards your own area of interest in relation to the wider field of interior design.
Designing your career
Year 4 is structured to enable you to start designing your future career. It is an integrated experience that will take you through:
- brief writing
- detailed design
- into professional practice
It will involve mandatory participation in dissemination of your coursework outcomes. You may also be selected to participate in design publications.
Find out more about the compulsory and optional courses in this degree programme.
To give you an idea of what you will study on this programme, we publish the latest available information. However, please note this may not be for your year of entry, but for a different academic year.
Design students benefit from studio-based learning, along with the exhibitions and events associated with a vibrant art college.
Option courses may be taught outside the School across the wider university campus. You will also have access to the University's extensive:
- studio spaces
- computing hardware and software
- technical facilities
Investing in our learning environment
The University is investing in the Edinburgh College of Art estate and facilities. This will further develop our supportive, stimulating and sustainable learning and research environment.
You can find out more on the ECA website.
We support and encourage you to explore internships during your holiday period.
You will have the option to study abroad in Year 3, semester 2.
How will I learn?
Most design teaching and learning is through involvement in a range of experiential courses situated in a studio environment.
Conceptual, material and technical issues are explored through:
Your development is influenced by research and critical thinking, as well as the following contexts that shape creative design practice:
These elements are taught through Design and Screen Cultures courses and involve participation in:
- live industry projects
How will I be assessed?
We use continuous formative assessment throughout your study. This helps give meaningful feedback and encourages experimentation in the studio and beyond.
Formative assessment for compulsory courses can include:
- essays against course learning outcomes
There is a mid-session review, usually at the mid-point of any course you study.
Summative assessment at the end of all courses is informed by your:
- your academic progress
- creative progress
- performance throughout
Your course grades are calculated through this summative assessment plus a moderation process.
Our graduates find work in various related design offices, including:
- interior designers
- lighting designers
- other parts of the industry such as sales or product and material manufacture
In recent years, other career destinations include:
- film and TV
- computer game design
- theatre set design
Many of our graduates also go on to postgraduate design education and teaching.
Standard entry requirement
The standard entry requirement is:
- SQA Highers: ABBB by end of S5 or AABB/ABBBB by end of S6. BBB must be achieved in one year of S4-S6.
- A Levels: ABB.
- IB: 34 points with 655 at HL.
Minimum entry requirement
The minimum entry requirement for widening access applicants is:
- SQA Highers: ABBB by end of S6. BBB must be achieved in one year of S4-S6.
- A Levels: ABB.
- IB: 34 points with 655 at HL.
The grades used to meet our entry requirements must include:
- SQA: Highers: no specific Higher subjects required. National 5s: English at C.
- A Levels: no specific A Level subjects required. GCSEs: English at C or 4.
- IB: HL: no specific subjects required. SL: English at 5.
Applicants will be asked to submit a digital mini-portfolio to provide evidence of artistic aptitude and potential, this will form an important part of the selection process.
- 1 December 2022: mini-portfolio submission site opens.
- 25 January 2023: Deadline for all applicants (including international applicants).
- 7 February 2023 at 12 pm (midday) GMT: mini-portfolio submission deadline.
Applicants studying Pearson BTEC Level 3 Nationals in Art and Design will be considered for entry with the following:
- Pearson BTEC Extended Diploma with DMM.
- Pearson BTEC Diploma with MM plus one A Level at A (or DM plus B at A Level).
- Pearson BTEC Extended Certificate / Subsidiary Diploma with D plus two A Levels at B (or M plus AB at A Level).
Applicants studying the University of the Arts London Level 3 Extended Diploma in Art and Design will be considered with Merit.
We welcome applications from students studying a wide range of international qualifications.
International Foundation Programme
If you are an international student and your school qualifications are not accepted for direct entry to the University you may be eligible for admission to this degree programme through our International Foundation Programme.
We welcome applications from mature students and accept a range of qualifications.
Entry to the second year is available. Successful completion of a Foundation Diploma (at Merit grade), a relevant HND or equivalent is required. Applicants with a Foundation Diploma will normally be expected to have undertaken these qualifications in addition to having met the first year entry requirements (Highers, A Levels, IB, relevant HNC, etc). In some of our less competitive degrees it may be possible to consider applicants presenting ABC (or equivalent) or above at A Level. These must have been achieved in one set of exams, at first attempt.
A list of accepted HNDs, along with further information for adult returners, can be found on our adult returner page:
You must demonstrate a level of English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies, regardless of your nationality or country of residence.
SQA, GCSE and IB
For SQA, GCSE and IB students, unless a higher level is specified in the stated entry requirements, a pass is required in English at the following grades or higher:
- SQA National 5 at C
- SQA Standard Grade at 3
- GCSE at C or 4
- Level 2 Certificate at C
- IB Standard Level at 5 (English ab initio is not accepted for entry)
English language tests
We accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified:
- IELTS Academic: total 6.5 with at least 5.5 in each component.
- TOEFL-iBT (including Home Edition): total 92 with at least 20 in each component. We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
- C1 Advanced (CAE) / C2 Proficiency (CPE): total 176 with at least 162 in each component.
- Trinity ISE: ISE II with distinctions in all four components.
- PTE Academic: total 62 with at least 54 in each component.
We also accept a wider range of international qualifications and tests.
English language qualifications must be no more than three and a half years old from the start date of the degree you are applying to study, unless you are using IELTS, PTE Academic, TOEFL or Trinity ISE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.
This information is part of a government initiative to enhance the material that higher education institutions provide about their degree programmes.
It is one of many sources of information which will enable you to make an informed decision on what and where to study.
Please note that some programmes do not have Discover Uni data available.
In Years 1 to 3, you may be required to print out architectural drawings, presentation and submission information. We will also ask you to purchase:
- tracing and layout paper for draft drawings
All projects have a requirement for basic card model making materials. Whilst we encourage material reuse we estimate that model making and drawing equipment will cost £150 per semester.
This relates to compulsory interior design courses.
In Year 1, you will need to purchase basic drawing equipment and model making materials. These items will be used throughout the programme and cost around £70.
In Year 4 you may, as part of your final submission, produce large-scale prints for exhibition and a design book. We estimate your Year 4 physical printing will cost at least £600.
Computing facilities are available on-campus. However, you may wish to purchase a laptop to use for:
- coursework presentations
- watching lecture recordings
- uploading submissions
We offer opportunities for a study trip to a European city when possible. This is usually for three or four days in February.
We estimate this will bring an additional cost of around £500 to cover your:
- travel costs
- entrance fees
- subsistence costs
Exhibiting your work
In Year 4, students you have opportunities to participate in design student exhibitions in the UK.
For these, you must cover your:
- travel costs
It is possible that the University will cover the entry ticket price.
For more information on how much it will cost to study with us and the financial support available see our fees and funding information.
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