Undergraduate study - 2024 entry
Edinburgh. Extraordinary futures await.

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 challenge the practice of interior design.

We encourage you to explore:

  • social and sustainable issues within design
  • ideas and approaches to address the diversity of building users
  • the creation of interiors of different scales and time-frames
  • opportunities for the adaptation and re-use of existing spaces
  • architectural design processes, design thinking and methodologies

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 studio is a 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 and get involved in peer to peer learning


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:

  • creative
  • inventive
  • 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, optional courses provide a contextual and theoretical understanding of the broader field of design.


We support and encourage you to explore internships during your holiday period.

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.

You will learn to:

  • understand and interpret 3D space
  • produce orthographic drawings of your proposals

    Optional courses

You will be able to take up to 40 credits of optional 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.

You will be able to select a range of courses that reflect your interests and enhance your main study.

Year 2

You will complete set projects and exercises that introduce areas of interior design, including:

  • basic principles
  • theories
  • working practices
  • technical instruction

You will also study up to 40 credits of optional courses, subject to availability.

Year 3

The focus of this year is to develop design solutions for 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
  • explore a range of techniques through set projects
  • establish an individual approach to your work
  • have the opportunity to study abroad, which will help broaden your understanding of the discipline

Year 4

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
  • professional practice

It will involve mandatory participation in dissemination of your coursework outcomes. You may also be selected to participate in design publications.

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 (2023/24)

Our facilities

You will benefit from studio-based learning, along with the exhibitions and events associated with a vibrant art college.

Optional courses may be taught outside the School across the wider university campus. You will also have access to the University's:

  • libraries
  • studio spaces
  • computing hardware and software
  • technical facilities

Investing in our learning environment

The University is investing in Edinburgh College of Art's 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.

Facilities and resources at ECA

Study abroad

You will have the option to study abroad in Year 3, Semester 2.

What are my options for going abroad?

How will I learn?

Most design teaching and learning involves experiential courses situated in a studio environment.

Conceptual, material and technical issues are explored through:

  • seminars
  • workshops
  • lectures
  • tutorials
  • critiques

Your development is influenced by research and critical thinking, as well as the following contexts that shape creative design practice:

  • visual
  • intellectual
  • social
  • professional

Your courses may involve participation in:

  • exhibitions
  • competitions
  • collaborations
  • 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:

  • portfolio
  • presentations
  • 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:

  • 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:

  • architects
  • 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.

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 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 2023: portfolio submission site opens.
  • 31 January 2024: deadline for all applicants (including international applicants).
  • 6 February 2024 at 12 pm (midday) GMT: mini-portfolio submission deadline.

(Revised 30 August 2023 to add portfolio guidance and important dates.)

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.

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 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:

Adult returner applicants

Regardless of your nationality or country of residence, you must demonstrate a level of English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies.


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
  • 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.

(Revised 29 August 2023 to remove PTE Academic Online)

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.

English language requirements

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 to 3, you may be required to print out architectural drawings, presentation and submission information.

We will also ask you to buy:

  • sketchbooks
  • tracing and layout paper for draft drawings

All projects have a requirement for basic card model making materials. While we encourage reusable material, 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 buy a laptop to use for:

  • coursework presentations
  • watching lecture recordings
  • uploading submissions

Study trips

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 pay for your:

  • travel costs
  • accommodation
  • entrance fees
  • subsistence costs

Exhibiting your work

In Year 4, you have opportunities to participate in design student exhibitions in the UK.

For these, you must pay for your:

  • travel costs
  • accommodation
  • subsistence

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.

Fees and funding