Interior Design BA (Hons)

Full-time undergraduate (3 years, 4 years with foundation year)





Develop your creative vision and get a fresh perspective on design by studying our full-time Interior Design degree at Cambridge School of Art, ARU. Choose to take part in field trips and get ongoing support to find work placements. Discover the relationships between design, experience and narrative to become a unique interior designer with a distinctive creative voice.

Full description


Our BA (Hons) Interior Design will prepare you to work with architects or in spatial design practices on residential, commercial, hospitality, health, lighting, entertainment or furniture design projects. You might decide to set up your own interior design practice after you graduate, as Bogdan Burcui did with Two B Design.

The creative skills you develop will also help you find a career in the visual arts, film, television, event and theatre design, or exhibition and museum design, while the management skills will be useful for project management roles on creative projects.

Work placements

We work with employers to make sure you graduate with the knowledge, skills and abilities they need. They help us review what we teach and how we teach it – and they offer hands-on, practical opportunities to learn through work-based projects, internships or placements.

Our past students have taken up placements or other work experience with organisations such as Alium Design, Robert Mathew Johnson Marshall (architects), Haley Sharpe Design Ltd (global designers), Julia Johnson (interior designer), Monteith Scott (designers), Dalziel & Pow, Penny Banks, Saunders Boston Architects, Arkitektones, Mineheart, and Laura Ashley. Many of these connections have led to employment.

Find out more about our placements and work experience, or the faculty's employability support.

Study trips, collaborations, exhibitions and awards

You’ll have opportunities to visit exhibitions and events in London and other European cities, as well as collaborate in projects with design courses in Breda (Netherlands) and Sydney (Australia). To gain more exposure to the world of design, you can show your work in exhibitions such as Free Range, London, Cambridge Festival of Ideas and also on our interior design Instagram page, which is followed by many professionals.

Our past students have won significant prizes, allowing them to set up their own businesses and develop prototypes, such as Lucy Tushingham’s Major Project proposal, 'Flat Pack House'.

Modules & assessment

Level 3 (foundation year)

  • Foundation in Art and Design
    This module will provide students with the necessary skills to begin studying at level 4 in art, design and related courses. Students will be introduced to the core skills necessary to succeed in higher education, including researching and referencing appropriately, demonstrating appropriate ICT skills, and communicating effectively verbally and in writing. Students will be introduced to practical art and design skills including developing skills of visual storytelling, image-making both in traditional and digital media, visual language and communication, formulating an independent creative response to a broad range of subject matter. Students will also be introduced to the fundamentals of design from a creative perspective, and to some of the key ideas/movements dominating art, design and culture, during the past few centuries. Students will work extensively in groups and collaboratively, with students from art and design, architecture and engineering pathways. The module is made up of the following eight constituent elements: Interactive Learning Skills and Communication (ILSC); Information Communication Technology (ICT); Composition and Style; Creative Workshops 1; Approach to Design; Critical and Contextual Studies; Creative Workshops 2; Specialist Project.

Year one, core modules

  • Design Context and Technology
    In this module we will consider the question what it is it is to be human in a designed environment and approach it from the point of view of text and practice. You will begin by exploring significant design language and how we make use of it, through annotated case studies, physical testing and examples, supported by social and cultural theory. You will examine some significant concepts such as suspension, cantilever, tension and compression, thermal massing, environmental concerns within the building industry, and vertical studies. To explore these ideas, we will conduct physical experiments, build small scale models and undertake a field trip. You will generate regular reports based on your findings and contextualise these with case studies where these concepts have informed design and environmental decisions. Your experimentation and case studies around design and the body will be supported with social questions, which will ask you to develop your thinking and consider how we may perceive particular design decisions and how these decisions inform the quality of our use. This work will include text-based and project-based analysis drawn from the languages of environmental psychology.
  • Studio Culture 1
    This first studio in your degree will help you develop your creativity, design tools and foundational culture of working as a designer. It will inform your subsequent creative development and your design process within your degree. Working to agreed milestones that reflect industry phases of generating a project, you will be encouraged to experiment within given design questions, then test ideas using various design tools, engage in discussion and evaluate your work. The projects will include individual and collaborative elements with other designers, in which you will reflect on both your own development and that of your peers. In this studio, we will consider the complicated relationships between space and our bodies. You will be given a series of design questions to explore in 2D and 3D to help you to think about the body; its choreography and interaction with various scaled spaces; and the three-dimensional elements within various organising sites and narratives. Feedback will be provided at pivotal moments of the design process, with indicative grading provided on specific tasks, reflecting professional practice and the way that, as designers, we may meet with clients. At the completion of each project, you will present this work in an evaluative and supportive learning format, giving your own clear rationale and providing written reflections on projects within your community.
  • Visual Communication
    Designers make use of hand drawing as part of their developmental design process and to communicate their resolved ideas. This module will form the foundation of your ability to test and communicate your ideas in both 2D and in 3D. Drawing is a large part of how we find out, test and then communicate what we think. It is a process we repeat and refine to clarify our ideas. Going through this process gives us confidence to know that our creative decisions can work and assists our creative growth. Within industry, these skills are highly valued. As drawing is a process in itself, you will learn progressively, beginning with some elementary skills of setting up a drawing, visual language, use of tools and materials, how we can think through the use of different scales. You will learn to create measured drawings such as plans, sections, elevations, which you will then develop into 3D drawings, making use of some design tools such as testing through layering of drawings. You will apply these skills using industry-standard computer software, with outcomes demonstrating your learning through your completed portfolio of hand-generated projects, which show each stage of your process: research; experimentation; and final portfolio. As your skills develop, you will demonstrate clear and compelling construction detailing of your live studio projects.

Year two, core modules

  • Contemporary Issues and Debates
    This module builds on the histories, contexts, and ideas introduced at Level 4, and will enable you to begin building a critical framework in which to situate yourself and your own developing practice. We aim to produce creative, socially aware and critically-informed professionals, and this module will engage you with the ethical considerations and responsibilities that are increasingly important for professionals today. You’ll explore contemporary issues and debates within creative practice through examples that address, complicate and solve some of the problems we face globally today. The module content will respond to current issues. To reflect this, your learning activities will be open and flexible, responding to current events, discourses, exhibitions and emerging debates, and you’ll be encouraged to identify your own areas of research throughout. Having engaged with the issues that impact on the contemporary practice of your discipline, and reflected on the role of artists and designers globally today, you’ll apply this critical insight to your own future. You’ll be briefed on how to identify and develop plans for your final year research assignment by either: a) planning for a work placement by researching and identifying possible roles and opportunities in relevant industries/organisations; or b) identifying and developing a proposal for your Level 6 Research Project.
  • Digital Media in Application
    This module will help you address your design communication from two perspectives: developing your own creative voice in 3D visual presentation, and then developing the clarity of your thought and communication through your detailing of live studio projects. Developing your previous work from the Visual Communication module, you will explore how to manipulate analogue and digital skills to develop your own visual vocabulary and support the design narratives within your studio. You will examine various methods of image building, initially through small explorative exercises and then by applying these to your own studio projects, to help you generate compelling visuals. As part of your design process and professional communication, you will also refine furniture and lighting elements through your examination of the material and connection in order to communicate these details confidently. The results of this work will contribute to your understanding design communication, presentation, construction, materiality and professional practice. Outcomes will be based on your completed portfolio of projects, showing each stage of your process of research, process of experimentation and final portfolio. You will demonstrate your mastery of specific industry-based software and associated equipment, as well as your visual research, experimentation and their application to generate compelling 3D visuals. Your developed outcomes in this module will expand on these to include clear and compelling construction detailing of your live studio projects.
  • Studio Culture 2
    Developing as a designer requires us to collaborate effectively and communicate efficiently with confidence, personality and clarity. This second studio module will help you to build on your creative speculation, expand your design tools and process within larger scaled, socially challenging projects, live projects and collaborative projects. You will incorporate questions of sustainability and inclusivity through your design. The studio seeks to help you expand your understanding of how and where design may be applied professionally, so challenging projects of various scales and contexts will be offered. With a focus on human activities and the narratives generated from your exploration, the projects will incorporate interior spaces and connecting exterior spaces, exhibition, interpretive installation, exhibition furniture, design for performance, and lighting. Your outcomes will be based on a completed portfolio of projects showing each stage of your process of research, process of experimentation and final design decisions, and will usually be exhibited, broadcast or screened, with the work contributing to discourses around social concerns. If your work is exhibited, you will design the mode of exhibition and demonstrate, with guidance, the construction of clear visual narrative contexts. The studio will make use of live projects and follow an arc of research, process, design iteration, prototyping, refinement, detailing and installation within public spaces. Part of your work will be realised at human scale and installed at various sites for public use. This will help you develop skills around project management, professional communication, budgeting and specification skills which are significant within industry. Feedback will be provided at pivotal moments of the design process, with indicative grading provided on specific tasks, reflecting professional practice and the way that, as designers, we may meet with clients.

Year three, core modules

  • Studio Culture 3
    This final studio will build on your skills, clarity of process and communication to help you to prepare for your entry into industry. The projects you undertake will have greater complexity and will be driven by larger cultural questions. The outcomes will enrich the development of your own confident visual language, detailing and presentation. The studio will help you, in a supported manner, bring together the skills and complex creative processes and practices you have undertaken during your degree. There will be an overarching proposition for you to research and respond to. You can use this to generate a unique and often personal set of design questions which, through research, process and experimentation, will culminate in the keystone project of your degree. As in industry practice, the projects are broken into various research modes, process and communication phases with each one offering specific aspects and scales to help you develop the management of your workflow and a creative overview. Each project will connect to the last, with the sum contributing to a substantial portfolio of work, supported by a research report that demonstrates the context of the project and a technical file showing developed detail and material culture. You will research site/s, case-studies, activities, culture/s, and needs, and generate a clear rationale, set of narratives for the site and a refined spatial program. Your outcomes will indicate the quality of the spaces, the human choreography and will situate the proposal within a social context that you set up through your rationale and social context. Feedback will be provided at pivotal moments of the design process, with indicative grading provided on specific tasks, reflecting professional practice and the way that, as designers, we may meet with clients. Your final project will be partially assessed in the context of public exhibition.


Modules are subject to change and availability.

Our studio projects will allow you to focus on your creative development, while you’ll also demonstrate your process and creative decisions through a combination of portfolio, written and practical studio work.

Where you'll study

Your department and faculty

At Cambridge School of Art, we combine the traditions of our past with the possibilities afforded by the latest technologies.

Using our expertise and connections in Cambridge and beyond, we nurture creativity through experimentation and risk-taking to empower the makers and creators of the future.

Our academics excel at both practice and theory, making a real impact in their chosen fields, whether they are curating exhibitions, designing book covers or photographing communities in Africa. They are also regularly published in catalogues, books, journals and conference papers, their research classed as being of ‘international standing’, with some elements ‘world-leading’, in the most recent Research Excellence Framework.

Where can I study?

Lord Ashcroft Building on our Cambridge campus

Our campus is close to the centre of Cambridge, often described as the perfect student city.

Explore our Cambridge campus

Field trips

You'll have the chance to take part in field trips to other locations to experience different types of interior space. Our most recent trip was to Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Specialist facilities

You’ll work in dedicated Interior Design studios using specialist equipment to help you communicate your ideas. You can practice hand skills such as drafting, model making and life-drawing, and you’ll have access to computer labs equipped with suites of industry standard programs. This links with our 3D workshop, where you can prototype your ideas.

You’ll also have access to a technical reference library and our on-campus Ruskin Gallery, complete with digital displays.

You can get full training on any of our industry-standard art facilities from a dedicated team of technical officers

Find out more about Cambridge School of Art's facilities

Fees & funding

Course fees

UK & EU students starting 2020/21 (per year)


International students starting 2020/21 (per year)


UK students starting 2021/22 (per year)


International students starting 2021/22 (per year)


Additional costs

Estimated costs of materials across three years £900.

London show £40 per semester (2x £20).

Optional field trips £150 per year.

Freerange magazine participation £140 (3rd years only).

How do I pay my fees?

Tuition fee loan

UK students (and EU students in the 2020/21 academic year) can take out a tuition fee loan, which you won’t need to start repaying until after your graduate. Or there's the option to pay your fees upfront.

Loans and fee payments

International students

You can pay your tuition fees upfront, in full or in two instalments. We will also ask you for a deposit of £4,000 or a sponsorship letter. Details will be in your offer letter.

Paying your fees


We offer a fantastic range of ARU scholarships, which provide extra financial support while you’re at university. Some of these cover all or part of your tuition fees.

Explore ARU scholarships

Funding for UK & EU students

Most new undergraduate students can apply for government funding to support their studies and university life. This includes EU students starting a course in September 2020 or January 2021.

Government funding includes Tuition Fee Loans and Maintenance Loans. There are additional grants available for specific groups of students, such as those with disabilities or dependants.

We also offer a range of ARU scholarships, which can provide extra financial support while you’re at university.

Funding for international students

We offer a number of scholarships, as well as an early payment discount. Explore your options:

Entry requirements

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Portfolio review

It is essential that you send us a digital portfolio for review.

For full information on how to prepare and submit your portfolio please visit our Cambridge School of Art portfolios page.

Important additional notes

Whether you're studying entirely online or through a blend of on-campus and online learning in September 2020, you'll need a computer and reliable internet access to successfully engage with your course. A small number of our courses require additional technical specifications or specialist materials. Before starting the course, we recommend that you check our technical requirements for online learning. Our website also has general information for new students about starting university in September 2020.

Our published entry requirements are a guide only and our decision will be based on your overall suitability for the course as well as whether you meet the minimum entry requirements. Other equivalent qualifications may be accepted for entry to this course, please email for further information.

We don't accept AS level qualifications on their own for entry to our undergraduate degree courses. However for some degree courses a small number of tariff points from AS levels are accepted as long as they're combined with tariff points from A levels or other equivalent level 3 qualifications in other subjects.

International students

We welcome applications from international and EU students, and accept a range of international qualifications.

Whether you're studying entirely online or through a blend of face-to-face and online learning in September 2020, you'll need a computer and reliable internet access to successfully engage with your course. Before starting the course, we recommend that you check our technical requirements for online learning.

English language requirements

If English is not your first language, you'll need to make sure you meet our English language requirements for postgraduate courses.

Improving your English language skills

If you don't meet our English language requirements, we offer a range of courses which could help you achieve the level required for entry onto a degree course.

We also provide our own English Language Proficiency Test (ELPT) in the UK and overseas. To find out if we are planning to hold an ELPT in your country, contact our country managers.

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