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 study abroad for one semester, go on 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

  • Interior Design Studio 1
    This studio-based module will develop your foundational design language and visual communication. You can then apply this in studio design questions, some of which can be live projects. Key ideas of this studio include drawing as a creative process, three dimensional awareness in design, form and order of the built environment, using scale, proportion, colour, texture and spatial thinking in a both residential context and a small scale commercial context. you will be assessed by portfolio.
  • Spatial Drawing
    This skills-based module will introduce you to drawing as a designer. You’ll develop freehand observational drawing through to measured perspective drawing and explore some alternate ways of drawing into a site. You’ll learn to survey a site, document this and then use this work to develop studio projects in Interior Design Studio 2. You will be assessed by portfolio.
  • Interior Design Studio 2
    This studio-based module will build on your previous skills and help you to develop technical skills and three dimensional thinking using a site you have previously surveyed and drawn. You’ll explore the multi-functionality of furniture and how this can help you create innovative spaces in a gallery context. You will be assessed by portfolio.
  • Digital Media 1
    This skills module will support your design communication and introduce you to a key set of digital communication tools used in industry. This work is undertaken by class exercises and through your drawing project where you will refine the previous work from your Spatial Drawing module. You will be assessed by portfolio.
  • Building Technology in Interior Design
    This skills module will support your design thinking by informing you about construction and finishing materials to apply in your design work. You'll be introduced to the basic types of construction elements, materials and details, from foundations to primary and secondary interior structures and apply this to a design question which is often a live brief. The module will cover basic information needed by interior designers on building services such as heating, ventilation, water supply and drainage. Spread of fire will be discussed, to make you aware of materials and design solutions required for fire safety in buildings.

Year one, optional modules

  • Design Contextual Studies
    In this module, you’ll explore the history and theoretical questions of why objects and spaces look as they do. This strengthens your design knowledge and language, and helps you to place your design decisions in context. You will be assessed by essay.
  • English for Study 1 & 2
    These two modules are only available for International Students, and are worth 15 credits each. You'll focus on the advanced writing and organisational skills necessary for essays and other written assignments, including planning, paragraphing, and developing an argument. Your studies will have a particular emphasis on the importance of good academic practice, especially accurate referencing and the use of bibliographies. You'll also practise extracting key points from a variety of spoken or written texts and writing summaries, and develop your discussion skills so as to contribute confidently to seminars and tutorials, as well as receiving guidance about independent learning using the wide range of resources available in our University Library and Language Centre.

Year two, core modules

  • Interior Design Studio 3
    In this studio module you’ll develop your conceptual and problem solving skills with wider and more complex design questions. You’ll undertake two interior design projects to investigate public spaces. The design questions will involve retail, leisure and working environments often in non-traditional spaces. The studio runs on a commercial studio model where you will work on several projects at once in small project teams, developing key skills of professional communication and project management required in industry. You will be assessed by portfolio.
  • Digital Media 2
    This skills module will build on Digital Media 1 and further support your design communication ability. You’ll use palettes of relevant industry software and develop one of your related studio projects to portfolio standard. You will be assessed by portfolio.
  • Debates and Practices
    On this module, you'll explore the links between critical studies and practice, enriching your knowledge and developing your articulacy about your specialism, as well as drawing on wider perspectives in relation to your own work. You will focus particularly on debates about contemporary practice. Your studies will be seminar-based and, where appropriate and possible, held in the studio. In discussions, you'll engage with theory and history alongside your own developing ideas about contemporary production, with an open agenda that will respond to current events, work and interests.

Year two, optional modules

  • Identities
    How do we define ourselves? How do we define others? How do images perpetuate stereotypes, and how do artists and film makers unpick these and explore alternatives? How fluid, open and multiple are our identities? These questions are at the root of this module. It’s an opportunity to explore identity-formation from psychoanalytic, sociological or philosophical perspectives. You may select the image of the artist or film maker as a topic, exploring notions of body image and role-play, as well as the connections between memory and history. Gender, sexuality, ethnicity, nationhood, class are all important aspects of identity that you will consider, while feminist theories and postcolonial studies are major contributions to debates about identities. How have artists and film makers explored these issues? This is an opportunity for you to decide on a focus of study that links into your own interests in the studio.
  • Design for the Screen
    You’ll determine how designers collaborate with directors, cinematographers and costume designers to visually portray character, period, place, mood and quality in order to support and develop visual storytelling for the screen. You'll also consider the responsibilities of different roles in pre-production and look at how designers communicate and document collaborative decisions, how they get information to set, and the chain of communication through the art department. During the module, you’ll give presentations, watch and discuss selected screenings covering the material, and practice using the elements of mise-en-scène for a selected script. You’ll also examine different sorts of design typologies that will assist in your visual decisions and, ultimately, your collaborations with key creative members of screen production. At the end of the module, you’ll undertake the breakdown of a script to identify design potential, manipulating the elements of design (colour, texture, scale, lens and stock choices) and the languages of genre.
  • Installation Practice
    On this module you’ll explore various approaches to installation, which as a discipline manifests ideas around context, physical space and the nature of the artwork itself. Work can be developed in a variety of ways including sculpture, paintings, mixed media work, film, video and sound, from collections of ephemeral materials to substantial assemblages. In groups, you'll explore the qualities of specific locations in relation to your practice. For each project, you must demonstrate intensive working practice, research and engagement with the problems, both in the sense of what your own work and ideas require, as well as a sensitivity to the individual space or context itself. You’ll contribute to seminars and critiques and learn about the history of installational practice from the early 1960s to the present. At the end of the module you will have contributed to the staging of your work within an installational framework in your chosen location. Assessment will consider both preparatory research and the final outcome, which will be presented in the form of an exhibition.
  • Business for the Creative Arts
    This module will introduce you to the practical tools needed to set yourself up in business in the creative arts, as a company, a partnership or a freelancer. You'll explore a sector of the creative industries, identifying potential opportunities within it and producing a basic business plan. Your emphasis will be on self-reflection, innovative thinking and communication skills, while the subjects that you'll cover include: the creative industries; developing and analysing a business idea; types of business model; assessing your market; ideas behind marketing; basic accounts; tax and legal issues; and planning for start-up. You'll be asked to translate these into practice by applying them to your own ideas, which will then become part of your own business plan. The module will be delivered through lectures, seminars, student presentations, critiques and workshops. Your formative assessment will involve presentations, while the summative assessment will be based on your critical evaluation of employment opportunities in a sector of the creative industries and your portfolio of work, including a business plan or employment strategy and supporting documents.
  • The Lit Environment
    You’ll develop one of your studio projects and develop a creative lighting scheme supported by the documentation using the language of lighting design. The module covers the theory and the application of knowledge of lighting interior environments and the documentation of creative decisions. You’ll explore the impact of lighting and how it is used to articulate both functional and aesthetic requirements of a design brief. You’ll build a strong foundation of technical knowledge, along with hands-on demonstrations of different light sources. You'll also undertake practical activities, which will allow you to design, visualise and document your own lighting intentions. Your assessment will comprise a written field report and a portfolio of outcomes, while your existing studio work will be used as a basis for the portfolio of outcomes.
  • Site-specific Work
    On this module you’ll take part in a project geared towards researching a specific site and finding ways and means of interacting with that site. Your previous experimentation from other modules (for example Installation Practice) may also be relevant for this module, but these are not pre-requisites. The given site will most likely be the grounds of the Institute of Astronomy, University of Cambridge, and you’ll be encouraged to think of ways of relating and researching ideas relevant to the site. This might include reflecting upon the physical locations within the grounds, or thinking more obliquely about the kinds of practice and research that takes place within the Institute itself, and the corresponding issues of 'space' and 'place' in connection with these issues. You’ll receive tutorial guidance that focuses on your ideas and research and aims towards a practical outcome or intervention within the site, as well as critiques of your projected pieces at earlier stages.
  • Interior Design Studio 4
    On this studio module, you’ll undertake two design projects, one of which will be a live project with multiple needs and clients in multiple locations. The second project will help you to develop your three dimensional research and material application. It is possible in this studio to undertake a live collaborative film project if you have previously undertaken the Design for the Screen module. You will be assessed by portfolio.
  • Short Fiction Film
    Whilst the feature-length fiction film remains the dominant format in cinema, priorities in television and online lie elsewhere. Television series, TV advertisements, viral commercials, YouTube and its future derivatives, networking sites all utilise the short form. The ever-growing competition for the viewer's attention requires the filmmaker to produce stories that are well told, aimed at a specific target audience, original in content and style, unpredictable but not illogical, and short. To succeed in the market the filmmaker has to be ultra efficient and this module is designed to bring you closer to this ideal. On this module you will explore a range of styles, conventions and methods of addressing audiences. Working in small production groups you devise, develop and produce short fiction films. You will receive technical support, opportunities for critical and technical discussions, briefings, critiques, reviews and tutorial support. For assessment you will submit the completed film in which you played a major role, accompanying documentation on the production planning, a production analysis and reflection on the production process and team contribution. The module will include an element of Personal Development Planning.

Year three, core modules

  • Interior Design Studio 5
    You will utilise the feasibility study you make in your Research Project to propose and develop two speculative projects related to the site and your selected client. There is an emphasis placed on prototyping elements from your speculative thinking. This speculation will develop through your studio practice to resolved design proposals which will lead to your Major Project. You will be assessed by portfolio.
  • Major Project
    The individual Major Project will allow you to undertake a substantial piece of individual research, focused on a topic relevant to your specific course. Your topic will be assessed for suitability to ensure sufficient academic challenge and satisfactory supervision by an academic member of staff. The project will require you to identify/formulate problems and issues, conduct research, evaluate information, process data, and critically appraise and present your findings/creative work. You should arrange and attend regular meetings with your project supervisor, to ensure that your project is closely monitored and steered in the right direction.

Year three, optional modules

  • Research Project
    The Research Project will foster your independent study with the guidance of a tutor. You'll devise your own project that will reflect on/co-ordinate with/enhance your own studio work and interests, encouraging your self-reflexivity and critical distance. Seminars will give you a forum to learn from each other's research. You will also be supported by individual tutorials with a member of staff. The Research Project may include a variety of relevant topics, including reporting on your own work experience. You can illustrate it with photographs, drawings or video, discussing your approach with your assigned tutor. (30 credits)
  • Research Assignment
    The Research Assignment module will foster your independent study with the guidance of a Supervisor. You will negotiate a topic with your supervisor, and devise your own project to reflect on / co-ordinate with / enhance your studio work and interests, relying on your self-reflexivity and critical distance. Classes will provide a forum for all students to learn from each other's research, but you will also have opportunities for individual tutorials with a member of staff. Your Research Assignment may be illustrated with photographs, drawings, and video. You will be assessed by way of a 3000-word written assignment. (15 credits)
  • Working in the Creative Industries
    Gaining work experience enhances your employability, and work based learning offers you the chance to gain industry knowledge, skills, contacts and networking opportunities. This module gives you the opportunity to explore a working environment relevant to the industry you hope to build a career in. The module will encourage your self-managed learning, and aims to develop your personal organisation, team-working, and networking skills, thereby increasing your self-reliance and confidence. You can use the experience as a basis for directing and focussing your career plans, as well as inspiration for your final year projects. In association with your module tutor, you will identify, negotiate and agree with an employer (or employers) the terms of your placement, ensuring that the module learning outcomes can be achieved. You will also create a reflective report on your work experience, including: the application procedure you have conducted (CV, letter and portfolio); market and background information on the employer; your role(s) on the placement(s); an academic and vocational analysis; skills and experiences (opportunities, advantages, constraints, aptitudes and interests). You will also be asked to include a workplace diary that logs activity and supports an analysis of the learning achieved. On completion of the placement, the employer will be asked to complete a Student Feedback package. The work placement(s) may be carried out in a variety of settings depending upon your requirements, areas of interest and availability of opportunities. The minimum period of the placement will be 100 hours, and you can undertake more than one placement for the module.


For a full breakdown of module options and credits, please view the module structure (pdf).

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

Study abroad

You can apply to study abroad for one semester, and get funding to help you cover the cost

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 2019/20 or 2020/21 (per year)


International students starting 2020/21 (per year)


Fee information

For more information about tuition fees, including the UK Government's commitment to EU students, please see our UK/EU funding pages

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

You can take out a tuition fee loan, which you won’t need to start repaying until after your graduate. Or alternatively, there's the option to pay your fees upfront.

Loans and fee payments


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

International students

You must pay your fees upfront, in full or in instalments. We will also ask you for a deposit or sponsorship letter. Details will be in your offer letter.

Paying your fees

Funding for UK & EU students

Most new undergraduate students can apply for government funding to support their studies and university life. This 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 fantastic range of ARU scholarships, which provide extra financial support while you’re at university. Find out more about eligibility and how to apply.

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

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.

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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UK and EU students

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UCAScode: W250

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International students

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