Course details

Study options

Full-time: 3 years

UK/EU fee

£9,250 per year* (2020/21)

International fee

£14,045 per year (2020/21)

UCAS points

112 (September 2020 entry)

UCAS code


Course level



BA (Hons)

Start date



Britannia Mill, Derby Campus

Course description

The course is for anyone who is inspired and moved by interiors and inquisitive enough to find out how to realise these technically. Studying interior design at Derby will help you develop your design skills to create functional and unique spaces with strong spatial identities. You’ll learn how to best use specific spatial qualities, i.e. forms, texture and materials, lighting, colour, architectural components, objects and placement of these, enabling you to make your ideas become a reality. You’ll be inspired to work in a way that is environmentally responsible, memorable and experiential.

Preparing you for a career in interior design

The roles and responsibilities of an Interior Designer will see you become involved from the initial brief to the final build of a project which could be an existing building, an urban interior or a self-standing entity such as an exhibition or set-stage. The course is dynamic and co-creative, in that it welcomes students’ own voices/cultures and values risk-taking and experimentation. It further aims to equip students with all the relevant skills and knowledge ready for the ‘real’ world upon graduation.

You will gain exposure to the wide field that is interior design, exploring various spatial typologies such as residential interiors, commercial interiors i.e. retail, corporate, set-stage and exhibition design and hospitality, as well as exploring adaptive reuse/regenerative design to name but a few, with a focus on employment opportunities open to an interior design graduate. You will also learn how to collaborate nationally/internationally, and design bespoke artefacts and furniture to compliment your interiors and generate the appropriate visual documentation required for each stage of the design. You will also get to understand how people relate to space and objects, by being exposed to ergonomics, and learn to design spaces that are functional and in accordance to building regulations and health and safety legislation.

BA (Hons) Interior Design student, Iga

I wanted to better understand interior and exterior spaces and be able to communicate my design projects. I've learnt the vital skills to represent interior spaces through our 2D and 3D sketches and projects.

Iga Mackowiak
Interior Design student

Networking and collaboration opportunities

This course sets itself apart from other interior design courses by offering unique collaborating opportunities with other disciplines in national/international partners. Collaboration with design disciplines may include working with other programmes in the university such as Textile Design through the design and manufacturing of interior artefacts or Product Design in the creation of bespoke interior products. International collaboration will be through international vertical studio projects (joint projects between Level 4 to Level 6 cohorts). We are also affiliated with Interior Educators and BIID (British Institute of Interior Design) to ensure we stay up to date on current events taking place in the country.

Wool attached to a sewing machine
BA (Hons) Interior Design student, Prince

The course gives you the freedom to be creative and pull in inspirations - whether it be from the experience or emotion you want to evoke or the colour or style you pictured.

Prince Rosales
Interior Design student

Real world learning

In addition to your lectures and seminars, you will take part in live projects which build upon your ‘real’ world learning and will contribute to your credibility as an interior designer. Live projects to date include: Repurposing of an old barn to a contemporary wedding venue for Victoria Brown; design of Bohn’s restaurant interior now located in Nottingham; design of 1st Crack coffee shop and the design of S.H.E.D. a mobile transforming shed that is travelling the country for the next two years. You will also be able to obtain Building Information Modelling (BIM) training by your second year and construct an online portfolio in readiness for DPP and/or final year and graduation.

Digital illustration of a light and modern cafe with a wooden floor and lots of plants
Digital illustration of a converted brick industrial building for use as a restaurant
Digital illustration of a modern pink and green cafe with table seating and a bar area

What you will study

Year 1Year 1Year 2Year 2Year 3Year 3

Code: 4ID500

Visual Studies for Interior Design

The module introduces a basic range of design industry communication skills and techniques for the representation and communication of space, objects and ideas for Interior Design. You will study the different ways of drawing, measuring and communicating the characteristics of material space and form and become familiar with the standard drawing conventions used within the design profession.

Using both analogue and digital approaches, you will develop basic proficiency in 2D sketching and in the use of 2D computer-based programmes. From these activities you will start to develop a good level of skill in the development of 2D sketched based work and in the production of orthographic drawings.

The skills learnt in this module will be built upon and enhanced throughout the course, culminating in the production of professional standard orthographic and 3D visualisations in your final year major project.

More information
20 Credits

Code: 4ID501

Space Exploration and Representation

Interior Design is about the objects and spaces that make up our everyday lives. In this introductory module, you will begin to analyse the inter-relationships between inhabitation and design through a series of studies of domestic interiors and activities, both real and imagined.

You will use a variety of techniques to map how individual elements and activities interact with the material, environmental, sensual, emotional, functional and cultural qualities of a specific space and situations so that you start to appreciate the underlying principles and elements that underpin interior design practice.

The module teaches a number of research and communication skills that allow you to become articulate and comfortable in the delivery to peer groups of your research and design brief projects.

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40 Credits

Code: 4ID502

Positioning Context

The Positioning Context module enables you to investigate contextual references and develop knowledge appropriate for an interior designer. Positioning Context introduces a history of interior design. We will consider how practitioners have shaped interior design in relation to various socio-political and cultural contexts. We will also begin to identify theories that are useful in aiding the analysis of design and visual culture.

Learning will take place in the contexts of slide-lectures, seminars and tutorials and we will focus on the close study of images. You will be given written assignments as well as an oral seminar presentation.

More information
20 Credits

Code: 4ID503

Toolkit: Technology and Materials

This module provides you with the vehicle for the application of all that you have learnt this year, within an interior design project with numerous expertise developing outcomes.

You will engage in two related aspects of interior design practice:

  1. The technology that underpins interior design and 3D design development (basic 3D CAD modelling and use of RP)
  2. Materiality, essentially, how materials and their form influence the design and use of a 3D space.

The sessions look to introduce basic 3D modelling skills and the importance of basic visualisation and representation of 3d space through CAD. Various forms of 2D and 3D digital representation and development are explored so that you are able to communicate their ideas using a range of digital tools and physical models. The sessions will seek to link a number of technology options (2d drafting with laser cutting and RP) in the production of 3d physical models.

Materiality will consider structure/detailing and how materials influence architectural design and how, as an interior designer you can maximise the potential of a space through both the use and exploitation of structural and aesthetic materials.

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40 Credits

Code: 5ID500

Ethics, Ideas and Contexts

The module will introduce you to theoretical approaches relevant to the study of interior design. We will consider how “critical theory” and intellectual approaches can help us to analyse interior design and related fields, with a higher level of understanding. We will consider the ways in which design produces and reproduces ideologies of culture, society, politics and economics.

The module teaches a number of research and communication skills that allow you to become articulate and comfortable in the delivery to peer groups of your research and design brief assignments.

More information
20 Credits

Code: 5ID501

Communication: Form, Function and Feeling

Interior design provides creative ideas and solutions that transform peoples’ lives and environments; and interior designers are required to communicate their ideas and proposals to a whole range of diverse people and organisations that can include clients, statutory authorities, financial institutions, project design team members/professions (architects, structural and services engineers), the media, stakeholders; using a range of appropriate skills and techniques.

Having previously recorded a simple existing space and produced basic 2D orthographic record material as a platform for design works; for this module you will further develop your 3D CAD skills and knowledge; and the integration of these within a set design task that seeks to develop ‘meaning’ within a designer’s thinking and approach so that substantive and meaningful solutions can be developed.

This project will utilize a more complex existing space and allow you to further develop and demonstrate proficiencies in design process and concept development, project visualization, contextual understanding and the role of narrative within a design task.

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40 Credits

Code: 5ID502

Transforming Space: Connections

This module is concerned with two aspects: the ‘transformation’ of an existing space; and the ‘connections’ and benefits that these links into related discipline areas (such as interior textiles and furniture product), can bring to Interior Design practice.

To transform a space you will learn the benefits of investigating the impact of a new identity or use on an existing space. To do this effectively you will learn to record the existing space in order to provide a sound platform of information from which to progress your transformation ideas.

The second aspect of the module requires you to consider the connections between these discipline areas and to negotiate a design brief with your tutor requiring you to develop a proposal that draws together your research into a defined object or artifact.

You will then be required to articulate your methodology and outcomes to others for critical evaluation.

Additionally, this module will provide you with the opportunity to relate your academic knowledge and vocational skills to the professional work environment.

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20 Credits

Code: 5ID503

Interrogating Space: Inside out/Outside in

This ‘Inside out/outside in’ module challenges you to define what interior design means to you. The module will require you to define your own personal approach to the discipline for interior design with a view that this understanding will support the transition into Level 6 studies

The module considers the range of possibilities available to interior designers from alternative installation solutions that can encompass temporary, possibly events-based work and living, to more permanent realisations, particularly if set within an urban context.

A challenging design brief can be considered an opportunity to think outside the box and provide creative impetus that can act as a catalyst and driver for the development of alternative social space and improvement of the built environment.

As designers we are required to develop design responses that can trigger change and on occasion these responses question and even challenge the standard conventions of interior space.

More information
40 Credits

Code: 6ID500

Your voice: Your context

In this module you will identify and research an appropriate topic of your choosing which addresses some aspect of the history and theory of interior design. The aims here are that you develop a more sophisticated and intellectual understanding of your discipline, alongside developing Level 6 skills in critical analysis, research and communication.

In this module you will produce an extended essay on a topic determined by you with the support of your tutor. While the topic will be of your own choosing, it should relate to your own practice interests and concerns. Your topic should be honed and should lead to a sophisticated intellectual understanding of your discipline and practice. The topic selected should offer enough depth to allow you to identify issues for research, investigation and analysis. You will be encouraged to build on and apply the theories and historical knowledge explored in the modules Contextual Studies 1 & 2.

Your tutor will help guide you in refining your approach and in establishing your title for the extended essay.  You will identify, negotiate and assume responsibility for conducting your research and producing the extended essay.

You will work towards developing a coherent argument, informed by your research, which will drive the structure and logic of the extended essay. You will work towards producing coherent academic writing, which adopts the scholarly conventions of referencing according to Harvard procedures.

You will be expected to apply a sophisticated level of knowledge and understanding of the cultural, contemporary and historical contexts which relate to your topic selected.

More information
20 Credits

Code: 6ID501

Design: Investigation and Identify

A key focus of interior designers is to use their knowledge and understanding to adapt, develop and improve existing buildings or spaces. Interior designers challenge existing uses or experiences in order to transform the use of a space or the experiences found within an existing space.

Part of the underlying driver of this module is that by undertaking a detailed research and investigation exercise: and through the production of a self-generated brief; on completion of the module you will have further refined and developed your own personal direction and approach to interior design in readiness for the final major project.

The module provides further opportunity for you to investigate related discipline areas of textiles and furniture product and there are opportunities for collaborative practice as appropriate. Where possible and in discussion with your tutor, you should consider how work you undertake for completion of this module could be of assistance to the completion of your final major project.

More information
40 Credits

Code: 6ID502

Vision: Impact and Scope

This module runs in parallel with the Major Project (The Project: The Solution). The module is designed as a framework that is sub-divided into two parts: ‘The competitive pitch’ supports the development of the major project, providing space to critically review and reflect on the major project’s scope and methodology. 'Self-promotion’ aims to instil in you an ability to reflect upon your strengths and areas of interest in readiness and to further equip you for employment within the creative industries.
20 Credits

Code: 6ID503

The Project: The Solution

This module focuses on the development of a personal major project that is closely connected with the student’s personal design research and investigations undertaken on the course. Building on and extending the student’s earlier work, the outcome will form part of the student’s graduate portfolio in readiness for employment or postgraduate study. Through negotiation and agreement with your tutors, you will develop their own major design project brief appropriate at the end of their L6 study.

The major project will consist of a sustained critical and creative analysis of and engagement with, a space or context with the intention that the designated environment is transformed or possibly even created, via a process of considered interventions.

Your responses may explore the connections with the related discipline areas considered earlier in the course.  As such, project submissions may address issues in response to interior space from a textiles perspective, with a significant and appropriate textile component; or interior responses considering the use and development of furniture product, with a significant and appropriate furniture component; both being fully integrated into the transformational or new creation submissions expected from the core interior submissions.

More information
40 Credits

Please note that our modules are subject to change - we review the content of our courses regularly, making changes where necessary to improve your experience and graduate prospects.

University of Derby student drinking coffee

How you will learn

You’ll learn in well-resourced, professional design studios at Britannia MillResources include ISKN tables, Macbook Pros, large format scanners, drawing boards, as well as the arts and design library. 

You will also be able to make full use of the traditional 3D workshop facilities (wood and metal) at Markeaton Street and the latest 3D computer software. You’ll have access to specialist textiles equipment and machinery in the Digital Design Hub such as the laser cutter and digital fabric print facilities in the textiles department.  

We also showcase at Free Range in London along with 50 other Interior Design institutions giving you the opportunity to display your work at one of the largest graduate shows in Europe.  This valuable experience will help you to prepare for a career in interior design. 

How you will be assessed

Assessment is 100% coursework based including practical production and oral presentation work, along with written assignments. In your final year, you’ll have the opportunity to write a dissertation on a subject of your choice and work on self-negotiated and independent creative projects. 

Degree Show

Every year students from the School of Arts celebrate their time at University by showcasing their work at an end of year Degree Show at Markeaton Street and across the City of Derby. The Show usually runs throughout June and is a fantastic opportunity for potential employers, friends, family, industry and members of the public to see exciting creations by the next generation of artists, designers, creators and makers from Derby. The Show takes the form of:

Take a look at highlights from the 2019 Degree Show.

Entry requirements

September 2020 typical entry requirements

RequirementWhat we're looking for
UCAS points112 (up to 16 from AS-levels)
Specific requirements at A-level

No specific subject requirements

Specific requirements at GCSEGCSE Maths and English Grade C/Grade 4 (or above) or equivalent qualification
IELTS6.0 (with 5.5 in each skills area)
Interview / AuditionYes - see interview details

Alternative entry qualifications:

We usually consider an A-level in General Studies as a supplementary qualification. A good application/performance will be taken into account if you do not meet the criteria/offer conditions.

Our entry requirements for this course should be read together with the University's general entry requirements, which details subjects we accept, alternative qualifications and what we're looking for at Derby.

Fees and funding

2020/21 Fees


£9,250 per year*



£14,045 per year


* The fees stated above are for the 2019/20 academic year; fees for 2020/21 have not yet been confirmed by the UK government. We will update this information as soon as it is available.

Further information about our fees and support you may be entitled to.

Additional costs and optional extras

How to apply

UK/EU students

Full-time students applying to start in September should apply for this course through UCAS or you can apply directly to the University for an undergraduate course if you’re not applying to any other UK university in the same year.

Apply through UCASApply directly to the University

Guidance for EU students post-Brexit

International students

Full-time students applying to start in September should apply for this course through UCAS or you can apply directly to the University for an undergraduate course if you’re not applying to any other UK university in the same year.

Apply through UCASApply directly to the University

Guidance for international applicants applying for an undergraduate degree


A key aim of this programme is to prepare you as a graduate for the professional world of interior designers and we would anticipate that a number of you will seek to pursue your career through either freelance or consultancy practice drawing on the opportunities presented through the curriculum to collaborate with other design-related disciplines.

This course will provide you with an opportunity to examine different sectors within the commercial and residential interior design, enabling you to gain an understanding and appreciation of the many facets and opportunities that are open to an interior design graduate. 

After graduation you’ll be prepared for a career in interior design with endless opportunities to choose from such as:

Contact us

If you need any more information from us, eg on courses, accommodation, applying, car parking, fees or funding, please contact us and we will do everything we can to help you.

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Additional information about your studies

Download programme specification

Teaching hours

Like most universities, we operate extended teaching hours at the University of Derby, so contact time with your lecturers and tutors could be anytime between 9am and 9pm. Your timetable will usually be available on the website 24 hours after enrolment on to your course.

Additional costs and optional extras

We’re committed to providing you with an outstanding learning experience. Our expert teaching, excellent facilities and great employability prepare you for your future career. As part of our commitment to you we aim to keep any additional study costs to a minimum. However, there are occasions where students may incur some additional costs.

Included in your fees

Mandatory costs not included in your fees

Optional costs not included in your fees

Please note: Our courses are refreshed and updated on a regular basis. If you are thinking about transferring onto this course (into the second year for example), you should contact the programme leader for the relevant course information as modules may vary from those shown on this page.

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