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

What you will study

All modules are designed to support the design module which is the heart of the course. You are taught about journeys through narrative spaces, using a variety of mixed mediums which may include workshops, outings, formal and informal lectures and guest lectures. Rich collaborative and interdisciplinary connections may happen at national/international level. Lecture content comprises a global to local perspective of interior design to ensure you understand what it means to be an interior designer of the 21st century. All analogue skills are taught through exercises and mini projects to ensure you develop confidence in each of these. Computer skills are taught using methods of blended learning. Technical aspects are introduced at a basic level in your first year and are built upon each year to ensure you have the proper foundation, skills and knowledge to make it out there in the ‘real’ world upon graduation.

This marks the beginning of your journey into the world of Interior Design. Part of your induction is acquiring the language and codes consistent with the interior designer’s way of being. The studio will come to represent the forum for exploring and communicating interiors and spatial narrativesYou will learn what constitutes spatial narratives in interior design and how to go about creating these using form, colours, light, texture and movement. You'll gain an insight into various materials and drawing techniques by which to communicate your design proposals using 2D and 3D communication techniques. This level encourages a culture of risk-taking and experimentation.

You'll study modules such as:

  • Critical Context: Exploring Global Context and Spatial Typologies
  • Visual and Professional Practice: Imagination to Visualisation
  • Designing Spatial Narratives: Introduction and Exploration
  • Toolkit: Structural Layers and Materials

This stage continues to develop experimentation and deals with spatial narratives in public or commercial environments. Various spatial typologies are investigated and explored to offer you wider exposure to the field of interior design. The modules hone in to the practical solutions of interior spaces from initial conceptualisation to planning and zoning, 3D design development and the integrated technical and construction knowledge of all proposals. You are required to demonstrate an understanding of branding/corporate identity and develop functional, aesthetic and hazard-free interior spaces. In this year your projects may include retail, hospitality, exhibition stands and/or furniture design, as well as the repurposing of existing spaces to new functions.

You'll study modules such as:

  • Critical Context: Context Specific Investigations
  • Visual and Professional Practice: Development
  • Designing Spatial Narratives: Contextualised Interventions
  • Toolkit: Technical Services and Drawing Systems

This level further develops your personal voice. You may engage in collaborative and competition projects along with international partnering institutions. The design module comprises of two projects, one focused towards sustainable design and the other your own self-negotiated brief. For your final project you will have the opportunity to select an historically significant building in a setting of your choice. An emphasis on Research Methodology requires you to submit a research document framing your selected building in terms of the macro and micro environmental contexts and develop a justifiable argument regarding the need for readaptation as well as to conceptualise the function needed to ensure financial viability. As a result, the level of performance at this level requires conceptual and technical relevance. You are encouraged to demonstrate social, sustainable and economical relevance by demonstrating the design implications in terms of the feasibility of the proposed design concept and its functioning.

You'll study modules such as:

  • Critical Context: Probing and Interrogating Multi-Contexts
  • Visual and Professional Practice: Networking Strategies
  • Designing Spatial Narratives: Reimagining Existing Space
  • Toolkit: Sustainable Strategies and Innovation

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

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

Yes - see portfolio 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.

Contact us Contact us

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.