Undergraduate study - 2020 entry

BA Interior Design

UCAS code: W250

Duration: 4 years

Delivery: Full-time

School: Edinburgh College of Art

College: Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences

Study abroad

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 develop ideas for a range of different scales of building size, intervention and time frames. It is about creating environments that impact positively on peoples’ day to day experiences and interactions.

The focus of our teaching and learning is our studio, which we call the Interior Lab, because for us our studio space is a laboratory of design where ideas are developed and grown, and shared and evolved. This allows us to replicate elements of a professional design office environment, and encourages students to work as a team.

You will develop your skills through innovative projects that enable you to explore the design potential of contemporary interventions into existing buildings that bring new life and functions to old structures. Most of our projects are based in Edinburgh using real buildings and situations as the generators of the brief. Often we work on live projects with real clients.

We encourage our students to be creative, inventive and questioning of design. In all projects we encourage solutions that are beyond the ordinary or obvious, by the application of interior, architectural and spatial theories to a particular brief. 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, Design & Screen Cultures courses provide a contextual and theoretical understanding of the holistic nature of contemporary design.

Year 1

You will be introduced to the theoretical and practical concepts of interior design, initially through a series of spatial projects, leading to more focused, subject-specific outcomes. This will result in an ability to understand and interpret 3D space and produce orthographic drawings of your proposals. In Design & Screen Cultures you will address the key histories and theories of design.

You will be able to take up to 60 credits of option courses, either within ECA, or across the wider College, offering you the flexibility to construct a suite of courses that reflects your interests and enhances your main study.

In Year 1, 20 credits of these must be taken outwith ECA. The remaining 40 credits can be taken from within ECA, the College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences, or from the wider University, subject to availability and discussion with your Personal Tutor and relevant course organisers.

Year 2

Basic principles, theories, working practices and technical instruction will be covered in set projects and exercises that offer a wide-ranging introduction to the areas that comprise interior design.

Again, alongside Design & Screen Cultures courses, you will be able to choose up to 60 credits of option courses, subject to availability. 

Year 3

The focus of this year is to develop your design solutions to larger scale, more complex, buildings. You will investigate in greater depth the technical detailing aspects of interior design, and gain a strong understanding of materials properties and specification.

Through set projects you will develop your ideas and explore a range of techniques, thereby establishing an individual approach to your work.

In Year 3, alongside Design & Screen Cultures courses, you will be able to choose up to 40 credits of option courses from the wider College, subject to availability. Opportunities for study abroad help broaden an understanding of the discipline.

Year 4

You will feel confident about your ability to express ideas, opinions and concerns through your practical and theoretical work. You will undertake a self-generated design project throughout the year, along with a written dissertation. These will be focused towards your own area of interest in relation to the wider field of interior design.

Year 4 is structured to enable you to start designing your future career. It is an integrated experience which will take you from brief writing to detailed design, and onward into professional practice.

It will involve mandatory participation in a public exhibition of work as part of the Degree Show, and possible selection to participate in the Interior Educators Free Range public interior design exhibition in London in July.

Programme structure

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.

Programme structure (2019/20)

Our facilities

Design students benefit from studio-based learning at our Lauriston Place campus, along with the exhibitions and events associated with a vibrant art college. Some Design & Screen Cultures teaching takes place off the Lauriston campus, across the Central Area of the University, depending on room availability.

Option courses are usually taught outside the School across the wider university campus. You will also have access to the University's extensive libraries, computing and technical facilities.

The University is investing in the Edinburgh College of Art (ECA) estate and facilities to further develop our flexible, stimulating, supportive and sustainable learning and research environment for students and staff.

Further information is available on the ECA website.

Facilities and resources at ECA


You will be supported and encouraged to explore internships during your holiday period.

Study abroad

Study abroad is optional in Year 3.

What are my options for going abroad?

How will I learn?

The majority of 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 seminars, workshops, lectures, tutorials and critiques.

Research, critical thinking and study of the visual, intellectual, social and professional contexts that shape creative design practice are regarded as essential to your development, elements of which are taught through Design & Screen Cultures courses. This also involves participation in exhibitions, competitions, collaborations and live industry projects.

How will I be assessed?

Formative assessment is continuous throughout the year, aiming to give you meaningful feedback against learning outcomes, and to encourage experimentation in the studio and beyond.

Formative assessment for compulsory courses is through a mix of verbal and written modes such as portfolio, presentations and essays against course learning outcomes. There is a mid-session review, usually at the mid-point of any given course you study.

Summative assessment at the end of all the courses you take is informed by your academic and creative progress and performance throughout. Your course grades are arrived at through this summative assessment plus a moderation process.

Graduating students have found work in various related design offices, for example with architects, interior designers, lighting designers, and with other areas of the industry, such as product and material manufacturers and sales. 

In recent years Film, TV and computer gaming design, as well as theatre set design have also been destinations, as has postgraduate education and teaching.

Standard entry requirement

The standard entry requirement is:

  • SQA Highers: ABBB by end of S5. If you haven’t achieved this by the end of S5 we may consider your application based on a strong performance in S6. A minimum of BBB must be achieved in one year of S4-S6.
  • A Levels: ABB.
  • IB: 34 points (grades 655 at HL).

Minimum entry requirement

The minimum entry requirement for widening access applicants is:

  • SQA Highers: ABBB by end of S6, with a minimum of BBB achieved in one year of S4-S6.
  • A Levels: ABB.
  • IB: 34 points (grades 655 at HL).

More information for widening access applicants

Required subjects

The grades used to meet our entry requirements must include:

  • SQA: no specific Higher subjects required. National 5: English at grade C.
  • A Levels: no specific A Level subjects required. GCSEs: English at grade C or 4.
  • IB: HL: no specific subjects required. SL: English at grade 5.

Additional requirements


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. The deadline for mini-portfolio submission is 12 pm midday GMT on 28 January 2020 and late mini-portfolio submissions will not be accepted.

Portfolio guidance

Important dates

  • 2 December 2019: mini-portfolio submissions site opens

  • 15 January 2020: UCAS deadline for Home/EU applicants

  • 28 January 2020 at 12 pm (midday): mini-portfolio submission deadline

  • 30 June 2020: final deadline for UCAS applications from applicants from outside the EU.

BTEC/UAL Diplomas

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 grade A (or DM plus B at A Level).

  • Pearson BTEC Extended Certificate / Subsidiary Diploma with D plus two A Levels at grade 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.

Find out more about entry requirements

International applicants

We welcome applications from students studying a wide range of international qualifications.

Entry requirements by country

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.

International Foundation Programme

Mature applicants

We welcome applications from mature students and accept a range of qualifications.

Mature applicant 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 will normally be expected to have undertaken these qualifications in addition to having met the entry requirements (Highers, A Levels, IB etc). In some of our less competitive programmes it may be possible to consider applicants presenting ABC (or equivalent) or above at A Level. These grades must have been achieved in in one set of exams, at first attempt.

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.


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 Grade C

  • SQA Standard Grade 3

  • SQA Intermediate 1 Grade A

  • SQA Intermediate 2 Grade C

  • GCSE Grade C or 4

  • Level 2 Certificate Grade C

  • IB Standard Level Grade 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 module overall 6.5 with 5.5 in each component

  • TOEFL-iBT 92 or above with 20 in each section

  • Cambridge English: Advanced or Proficiency overall 176 with 162 in each component

  • PTE Academic: Total 61 with at least 51 in each "Communicative Skills" section

  • Trinity ISE: ISE II with a distinction in all four components

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 programme you are applying to study, unless you are using IELTS, TOEFL, PTE or Trinity ISE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.

English language requirements

(Revised 05/06/2019 to provide more accurate/comprehensive information.)

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.

Tuition Fees

Tuition fees for BA Interior Design

Additional costs

In Years 1 -3, you will be required to print out various presentation and submission information - usually in A4 or A3 paper format. Alongside this, all projects have a requirement for model making predominately using cardboard, although sometimes other materials such as timber and cloth may be required. It is estimated that this incurs a cost of approximately £150 per semester. This relates to compulsory interior design courses,

In Year 1 the purchase of basic drawing and model making materials is around £50, but these items will be used throughout the programme.

In Year 4 there is a requirement, as part of your final submission, to produce a degree show and design book. At present, it is estimated that Year 4 will incur costs of around £600 for these as a minimum.

A study trip is offered each year, usually in February, to a European city for around three to four days. You will be responsible for your own travel, accommodation and subsistence costs – estimated at around £400. Entrance to galleries and public transport within the city would be additional, but is usually at a reduced rate on presentation of your student card. It could be estimated at around £100 depending on what is visited.

For Year 4 students selected to participate in the Interior Educators Free Range exhibition in London, accommodation, travel and subsistence costs will have to be met. It is possible that the entry ticket may be covered by the University.


For more information on how much it will cost to study with us and the financial support available see our fees and funding information.

Fees and funding