Undergraduate study - 2021 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 - the Interior Lab - so named as it acts as a laboratory of design where ideas are developed and grown, shared and evolved. The studio 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. This will enable you to explore the design potential of contemporary interventions into existing buildings, bringing new life and functions to old structures. Most of our projects are based in Edinburgh using real buildings and situations to generate briefs. 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 and 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. Through a series of spatial projects, this will lead 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 and 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. This is subject to availability and discussion with your Personal Tutor and relevant course organisers.

This offers you the flexibility to construct a suite of courses that reflects your interests and enhances your main study.

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 areas of interior design.

Again, alongside Design and 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 more complex buildings, on a larger scale. 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 and Screen Cultures courses, you will 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 as part of the Degree Show. There is also the potential for 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 (2020/21)

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 and 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. We aim 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. These elements are taught through Design and 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 courses is informed by your academic and creative progress and performance throughout. Your course grades are calculated through this summative assessment plus a moderation process.

Programme details

Find out more about this programme's aims, what you will learn, how you will be assessed and what skills and knowledge you will develop.

To give you an idea of what to expect from 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 details (2020/21)

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. Some of our graduates also continue to postgraduate 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.

More information for widening access applicants

Required subjects

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.

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.

Portfolio guidance

Important dates*

  • 1 December 2020: mini-portfolio submission site opens
  • 29 January 2021: UCAS has extended their application deadline to 6pm UK time on Friday 29 January. We have therefore moved our deadline for all UK applicants to the 29 January as well.
  • 9 February 2021 at 12 pm (midday) GMT: mini-portfolio submission deadline. This deadline has been extended in line with the UCAS date.
  • 30 June 2021: final deadline for UCAS applications from applicants from outside the UK and Ireland.

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 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.

*(Revised 25 September 2020 to add mini-portfolio deadlines. Revised 12 January 2021 to extend application and mini-portfolio deadlines.)

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 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.

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 at C
  • SQA Standard Grade at 3
  • SQA Intermediate 1 at A
  • SQA Intermediate 2 at C
  • GCSE/IGSCE at C or 4
  • Level 2 Certificate Grade 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 module overall 6.5 with 5.5 in each component.
  • TOEFL-iBT (including Special Home Edition) 92 or above with 20 in each section. We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
  • Cambridge English: Advanced or Proficiency overall 176 with 162 in each component.
  • 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 degree you are applying to study, unless you are using IELTS, TOEFL, or Trinity ISE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.

English language requirements

*(Revised 27 April 2020 to include TOEFL-iBT Special Home Edition.)

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. Occasionally 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.

Study trips

A study trip to a European city is offered each year, usually in February, 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 is additional, but is usually at a reduced rate for students. This may be estimated at around £100 depending on what is visited.

For Year 4 students, there may be opportunities to participate in design student exhibitions in the UK. Costs for accommodation, travel and subsistence must be met by the student. It is possible that the entry ticket price will 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