Interior design: 'You will be motivated to learn and want to stretch your design capacities'

Click to follow
The Independent Online

What are the entry requirements for this course?

Prospective students normally hold five GCSE passes at grade C or above and will have progressed to further education. Further education courses normally include an appropriate BTEC national diploma, a VCE 12-unit Double Award or a foundation diploma in art and design. Entry onto an interior design degree course will normally require 160 Ucas points.

Further education studies in related courses are a great advantage, building a portfolio of work that demonstrates spatial awareness and original design from early stages of study. This is a valuable chance to define your strengths.

Who applies?

A degree in interior design is perfect for young creatives who dream of a career in design, people who cannot walk into a space without stopping to examine, imagine and improve the environment. You will be motivated to learn and want to take risks to innovate and stretch your design capacities.

How people interact with the things that shape their closest environments is a fundamental question for interior designers. With a degree in interior design you will design interiors for daily activities and explore how spaces reflect and establish lifestyle and culture, examining the role of designers in their cultural context and looking at histories and theories of design relating to the interior environment.

What does the course involve?

Though a designer's work often involves making proposals, interior design offers the chance to experiment in real time and in existing spaces. Students are encouraged to take an experimental and individual approach, directed by a team of interior architects, designers and architects. In addition to working in studios with students studying architecture and interior architecture, you will benefit from initiatives with students and staff from other departments, such as shared lectures, projects and trips.

Interior design courses will vary in focus from college to college; at the University College for the Creative Arts, courses are broken into three stages. In the first stage, students explore the principles of spatial design. Studies are backed by the in-depth exploration of the contexts of interior design.

In the second stage these core principles and studies are put into practice and field studies form the basis of a major personal design project. Students have the opportunity to travel and study abroad at this stage too.

By the third stage students have developed a signature style and attitude to the subject. Projects are self-directed with tutor support. A dissertation on a topic of a student's choice counts for a large portion of the year. The degree is completed by an entirely self-motivated thesis design and final exhibition.

How would I be assessed?

Over the three years work is continuously assessed; there are no exams as the degree is coursework-driven, for which pathways and percentages give the weight of set projects allowing students to plan and structure the working year to gain the credit necessary.

How long does it last?

Three years.

Are there opportunities available for further study?

Many students will choose to take further studies and may do a Masters.

What are the career options once the course is completed?

The career opportunities for graduates are vast and varied; students from the University College for the Creative Arts have found work in leading practices in the UK and overseas, for example. Some set up their own practice or even translate their degree to work in building design or installation and landscapes.

Sarah Hammond, product officer at the University College for the Creative Arts,

Helena Dowsett, 20, is studying 3D design at the University of Plymouth

"I chose interior design because I wanted to do something creative. I have always wanted to run my own business and interior design requires the multiple skills of design and marketing as well as challenging you to think of new and innovative solutions.

We have a mixture of tutorials, workshops and group discussions. We're entirely coursework assessed, which is good because you don't have to revise for exams but it does means the pressure is regularly on to meet deadlines.

I have decided to apply to study architecture at university following my current course. I have become fascinated with the principles of spatial design, and I want to explore this further."

Jennifer Smith, 27, is the head interior designer at Susan Llewellyn Associates in London

"Discovering art and realising there was a career in something that I have naturally done since I was a child and strong enough to move my bedroom furniture was great!

I have progressed to running projects on my own and developed enough trust with Susan to be left alone with her company so she can continue to teach future interior designers.

I plan to be with Susan Llewellyn Associates for a while because I feel it is the best place to learn and develop into a great interior designer and project manager. I have started my own company called Clear Horizon Interiors Ltd, but it is at the dormant stage until I am ready to fly the nest."


The British Interior Design Association

Promotes and supports the interior design and decoration professions

Interior Design Today

For up-to-date information on the industry

The Architecture Centre

Close collaborators with universities and businesses in the South-East