Interior Architecture and Design - MA

  • Level: Postgraduate Taught
  • Starting: September 2020
  • Study mode: Full Time
  • Course cost: £7,400 per year for UK/EU Full Time 2020 entry (view all fees)
  • Location: City Centre

Please note

This course and the information on this page is indicative based on the 2019/20 academic year. The final details for this course starting in 2020/21 may be subject to change and will be confirmed by the end of September 2019.

Through encouraging and promoting experiential learning, the MA Interior Architecture and Design course embraces the truth that designing is a creative adventure.

This twelve-month programme will enable you to form an understanding and appreciation of theoretical, practical and professional issues that are informing the evolution of contemporary interior architecture and design professional practice.  

What's covered in the course?

On the MA Interior Architecture and Design programme you will explore the distinctive qualities associated with the interiors of inhabited architecture. 

By looking at the cultural, practical and atmospheric aspects of interiors created by architects, artists and designers, as an innovator you will be able to strategically develop creative interfaces and determine how users will perceive and behave in the spaces that your are conceiving. 

Making speculative work is an important aspect of the programme. As individuals you will establish your professional identity as autonomous creative practitioners by blending philosophy, artistry and practicality in order to compose an interior design scenario that is future-focused and personally and culturally meaningful. By exploring innovative practices embedded within your own design process, this reflective practice will act as a stimuli for you to challenge existing assumptions about interior design and push the international platform for the profession forwards into new and versatile directions.

A key aspect of the course is that it will encourage a spirit of 'internationalisation', which will contribute to the establishment of a culturally rich, vibrant and diverse learning studio environment. Fostering the ambition of ‘life long learning’, you will create a dynamic continual development plan. This will allow you to draw on the expertise and global networks associated with the institution, reflecting the full spectrum of opportunities that can help you to enrich and nurture your career. Previous postgraduate students on the programme have been employed at leading international architectural practices as architects, interior designers, or as design lecturers in further and higher education institutions, with the pathway to postgraduate Doctoral PhD study also opened up as a result.

Why Choose Us?

  • The programme is dedicated to providing you with a dynamic range of quality postgraduate experiences and opportunities.
  • Situated in the renowned Birmingham School of Architecture and Design, the MA Interior Architecture and Design postgraduate course offers a practice-led, transformational learning journey.
  • Choice enables you to independently self-select modes of study within each of the modules that make up the programme.
  • Interior architecture and design learning plans can be tailored to meet your academic and creative aspirations.
  • The trans-disciplinary approach of the course allows you to pursue different orientations as designer, from the re-ordering and refurbishment of existing architecture to generating spatial interventions through creativity.  

Latest course news

  • MA Interior Design course results for 2017 were “outstanding” with every student rating the course at the highest possible level in all of the categories associated with the survey.  These students have said that the course has exceeded their expectations.

  • This year, we are particularly proud of our alumni - Dr Mohammad Mullaali , who has recently been awarded his PhD and is now mentoring three other alumni who are engaged in their own doctorial research at BCU.  Mohammad is passionate about teaching and when he graduated from the MA Interior Design programme in 2010 and became a lecturer in Interior Design.

  • In terms of their career journey, in June 2017, 100% of the fulltime students (that graduated in Sept 2016), posted on linkedin pages that they had each managed to realise their unique career goals and had secured full time employment as designers, art directors or senior managers.

Students outside Millennium Point

Open Days

Our next Open Day for this course will take place on Sunday 24 November. Register your interest and we'll send an email update nearer the time. Visit us to see our facilities and speak to our staff and students.

Book your place

This course is open to International students

Concerns Cover

Read our Annual Review

Concerns is an annual publication by Birmingham School of Architecture and Design. In this issue, you can view final year student work and read more about the activities within the School.

Read the Annual Review 

Speak to an expert

If you’ve got any questions about the course, we’d love to hear from you. Please email the Course Director: Delia Skinner.

Email Course Director

Alternatively, you can register for our next postgraduate open day.

Our mission

The MA Interior Architecture and Design Programme empowers students to:

  • Radically review interior architecture and design processes, practices and theory.
  • Consider the global and ethical impact of interior architecture and design decisions.
  • Question the existing boundaries of the interior architecture and design.
  • Realise interior design employability opportunities through live projects.
  • Explore the connectedness of different design disciplines at A.D.M.

Entry Requirements

Essential Requirements
Essential
Applications are welcomed from designers that have already achieved a high quality degree in Interior Design or a closely related three dimensional design discipline, or equivalent qualifications.

Applications from European or International mature students (+21) with alternative qualifications and/or substantial work experience will be considered individually on their merits/portfolio.

As a minimum, applicants should have a portfolio demonstrating their critical thinking, technical abilities and creative process in a range of media.

Extra information for EU/International students
Essential foundations

Advanced English Skills are essential as this is a taught MA and all project work requires accurate and appropriate communication in English language.

Non-English speakers should have IELTS 6.0 in the following categories - reading, speaking, listening and writing.

However, applicants may apply with lower IELTS if they successfully participate in our pre-sessional English Language courses that are delivered just before the main programme begins.

International Students

Entry requirements here

We ask that you bring your passion and enthusiasm for interior architecture along with an open disposition and an evident commitment to your own development.

These characteristics will help you to develop your capacity to create, inspire clients and your peers. As a practice-led programme, it is a requirement that you will already have a degree level qualification and or a body of professional experience in the architecture, interior, spatial or exhibition design domains.

International Students

Don't meet our entry requirements? You could apply for courses at our International College.

Apply now

UK or EU students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
MA Sep 2020 FT 1 year £7,400 per year Register your interest

International Students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
MA Sep 2020 FT 1 year £12,800 per year Register your interest

The University reserves the right to increase fees in line with inflation based on the Retail Prices Index or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament up to a maximum of five per cent.

Portfolio Guidance

Your portfolio will form the basis of your application’s evaluation and should include the following:

  • Final project from your undergraduate course. This work must include your design development and critical analysis – to demonstrate how you have evolved your initial ideas into interior design concepts and technical details.
  • Other projects from final year or second year undergraduate programme.
  • An outline of your written dissertation or final year essay.
  • Selected excerpts from sketchbooks and workbooks.
  • A range of work form any of your work placements/practical training or architectural employment (this may include technical work as well as design and presentation work).

You will also be asked to prepare a Personal Statement. This is a self-appraisal, which should be 1-2 sides of A4 and include the following: 

  • A summary of your education since leaving school.
  • An analysis of your portfolio and working methods whilst on your undergraduate course.
  • Your relevant work experience to date.
  • Strengths and weaknesses both as a student and in the workplace.
  • Any interior or architectural issues you are particularly interested in.
  • Your reasons for applying to this particular course.

Typical Field Trip Costs

You may choose to participate in a number of European and other design field trips during the year. Our students love their trips and have found Barcelona, Edinburgh, Berlin, Paris, Oslo, Amsterdam and Rome very exciting from a design perspective. The cost of the trip varies depending on destination but as a guide for a short three day visit, flights are circa £200, predicted accommodation of £200, please allow extra for living expenses.

The typical five day New York study trip usually costs around £650 – £700 for flights, accommodation and some exhibition entry, please allow extra for living expenses.

Laptops and Digital Technology

You are encouraged to have your own laptop for working on and off campus and for digital presentations in studio. This is very much dependent on personal budget but you are advised to get a dedicated graphics card for architectural rendering work. The University also has desktop computers available on campus and some laptops that you can take out on short-term loans.

Portfolio Production in 2D and 3D

Studio projects will require three-dimensional work to be made in our workshops and printing for presentations. Printing and making costs will depend on your particular module and approach but as an indication of these costs you should budget around £150 per Trimester.


Personal statement

Students are required to submit a personal statement as part of their application for this course.

Your postgraduate personal statement is going to shine a light on your personal experience, academic success, personal skills and any other factors that will support your application for further study.

Here are the key areas you’ll need to address:

Your passion and motivations

Studying a postgraduate course usually means you want to specialise in something. So what’s driving you?

Why this course?

Show that you’ve researched the course offering. What is it about this particular course that appeals to you? Is it the lecturers? The modules? Etc.

What makes you a good postgraduate candidate?

Tutors want to know that you can handle postgraduate study, so show them how your undergraduate experiences or work life has equipped you for a more advanced level of study. Key areas to address are research and group work but this can vary depending on your chosen course.

Relevant academic or work experience

Add anything relevant that relates back to your chosen course and shows how your skills will contribute towards your learning. What extra-curricular activities have you taken part in? What awards have you won? What employment or voluntary experience do you have that has helped you develop transferable skills? How do these specifically relate to the course you are applying for?

You should also mention your future plans and how a postgraduate qualification fits in. Try to look beyond your postgraduate study – do you plan to jump straight into a specific career or follow your studies with a research degree? Lastly, use plain, professional English and, where possible, utilise the language of your chosen industry.

Get more information on writing personal statements

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Additional costs

Our courses include activities such as performance, exhibitions, field trips and production of works or artefacts which may require you to purchase specific equipment, instruments, books, materials, hire of venues and accommodation, or other items. Many of these activities are essential and compulsory parts of your learning experience.

The link below gives you an estimate of the possible costs associated with key activities on your course. Please bear in mind that these are only estimates of costs based on past student experience and feedback. The actual costs could vary considerably (either greater or lower than these estimates) depending on your choices as you progress through the course.

All our students are provided with 100 free pages of printing each year to a maximum total value of £15.

The additional costs listed here are to be used for indicative purposes only and are based on the additional costs for the 2018/19 academic year. The additional costs for 2019/20 will be published as soon as possible.

View additional costs for this course

If you're unable to use the online form for any reason, you can complete our pdf application forminstead.

Financial Support

We offer further information on possible postgraduate financial support. This includes the type of loans, grants and scholarships available both from the government and from Birmingham City University.

Did you know that you can apply for a postgraduate loan of up to £10,906 for some courses and options?

Postgraduate loans

Modules

In order to complete this course you must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 140 credits):

Design Systems
40 credits

This module will provide you with both academic and creative opportunities to engage with different perspectives on; commercial markets, design processes and design practice. These inter-related elements are often cited as essential factors in the evolution of the dynamic ‘Design Systems’ that are associated with design projects. By focusing on contextually specific architecture sectors, you will use a combination of theoretical and practical analysis, to define, examine and hone your own appreciation of the Design System within which you are working. In doing this, you will define alternative theorems and strategies relating to the construction and deconstruction of design ideas, mechanisms, and processes as part of your own interior architecture and design practice.

Appreciative Design Inquiry
40 credits

This module will engage you in Experiential Learning. Taking as a starting point that “There are two goals in the experiential learning process. One is to learn the specifics of a particular subject, and the other is to learn about one’s own learning process.” (Kolb & Kolb, 2008: 58). The Experiential Learning Model (ELM) developed by Roger Fry and David Kolb, presents a systems view in which learning is composed of four ‘concrete’ elements, namely:

  • Concrete experience
  • Observation and reflection on the concrete experience
  • Formation of abstract concepts based on the reflection
  • Testing new concepts
Major Project
60 credits

The purpose of the module is to enable you to undertake a sustained, in-depth and theoretically informed research project exploring an area that is of personal interest to you. It is important that we can support you appropriately, so you will be guided towards choosing a research topic which is relevant to your discipline and in which your lecturers have expertise. The outcome may take the form of a written dissertation or a practical outcome with accompanying reflective, critical and contextual material. The main consideration when choosing your topic is that it must be relevant to your programme and you should consider the relevance of this topic to your future academic or professional development.

In order to complete this course you must successfully complete the following SHARED SUBJECT module.

Design Cultures
20 credits

Taking an internationalised stance, this module is concerned with the meaningful context of design practice and considers the cultural, aesthetic, political, economic and social factors that influence designers. By focusing on how these macro conditions effect an individual designer’s decision-making processes and Praxis, the development of specific design ‘cultures’ can be evaluated at an individual, corporate, national and global level. By focusing on a design precedent, you will consider how the designer’s outputs are utilized, valued and absorbed by the design industry at large – including curators, journalists, bloggers, businesses, brands, retailers and the general public. By applying practice-led research, you will form a better understanding about the international and local influences that impact on your own respective design specialism and the resultant design cultures that are emerging within this industry sector.

In order to complete this course you must successfully complete at least the following OPTIONAL module.

Co.LAB
20 credits

The module is an opportunity to learn and critically reflect on the skills of collaboration. Collaboration is a vital employability skill within the Creative Industries and this module allows you to develop these skills, making use of University facilities, with the support of academic staff. Within this module framework, several kinds of collaborative opportunities are available. Your supervisor may set you a predetermined live project, to enable you to work with other students in a way that is appropriate to your subject area; or there may be opportunities for you to collaborate with staff on research projects. In all cases, you must apply your subject skills to a project which will be agreed in advance with your supervisor.

 
Core modules are guaranteed to run. Optional modules will vary from year to year and the published list is indicative only.

The course is structured into three ‘Trimester’ periods that are designed to both build your confidence and improve your level of ability across a range of design and academic contexts.

Each Trimester has been carefully designed to enable you to explore your potential and chart your unique learning curve. During each period, the staff team and your peers will help you to reflect on your practice and recognise when you have developed professionally as you make the transition towards your enhanced career prospects. 

Phase 1: Building a foundation of knowledge and skills

This is the most instructional phase of the programme, with a rich timetable of theoretical, practical and interactive sessions. Transitional activities are embedded into the design of each module. This phase ensures core sector knowledge and the development of the required skills needed for you to become independent learners and be successful at later stages of the course.

Phase 2: Experience through practical application

During this phase you will have the opportunity to work on self determined briefs and/or ‘live’ projects on an individual or interdisciplinary group basis. The focus is on learning by doing (experiential learning), putting into practice the knowledge and skills developed during phase one. You will be given greater independence to communicate, argue, problem-solve and rationalise. Tutors will provide milestone reviews and facilitated peer-to-peer discussion to support your professional practice.

Phase 3: Personalised learning and independent study

During this phase you will be given greater autonomy to direct your learning journey by engaging in external partnerships that align with your particular interest and through establishing your own goals. There is no taught content and support is available via scheduled tutorials. 

Further Study

During your studies, you might want to investigate the broad platform of Masters programmes and research degrees that are available at the University. This may include a Doctorate of Philosophy.

Within Birmingham School of Architecture and Design there is an evolving research collective that now includes a cluster of scholars that are actively pursuing Interior Design PhD research interests.

As an international hub, we interrogate the most vibrant, diverse and ambitious research and professional practice activities in the subject area. This research focuses on the advancement of scholarship, creative innovations and applied professional practice across a breadth of architecture and interior design related creative practice. 

Our extensive connections include professional organisations, designer makers and curators, academics and research fellows, as well as exchange and overseas students. As an early stage emerging researcher and member of this team you would become increasingly engaged with activities such as delivering at leading academic and industry-specific conferences, events, seminars, symposia, exhibitions and access innovation events.

Trips and visits

You might use the assignments to help you to determine places to visit and people to meet.

In 2015 our students toured Italy as a team and visited the ‘Milan Expo’ and the 'Venice Architecture Biennale'. Other cities that have been visited include Paris, Barcelona, Edinburgh, Berlin, Amsterdam and Lisbon.

Module Reviews

Our students consistently rate our taught modules as ‘Excellent’ and report that the experience of teaching and learning on the programme has exceeded their expectations.

Enhancing your employability skills

The MA Interior Architecture and Design programme aims to foster postgraduates with a set of attributes, which prepare them for their future careers and see that they are:

  • Professional and work-ready
  • A creative problem solver
  • Enterprising 
  • Have a global outlook 

Links to industry

As a postgraduate student at Birmingham School of Architecture and Design you will be encouraged to prepare for employment by engaging with a range of supportive activities and events including:

  • Continuing Professional Development (CPD) sessions that focus on employability skills and action planning
  • Focused architecture sector lectures
  • Alumni /employment and interview surgeries hosted by 'Superstudio'
  • Interaction with the careers service advisors and careers events hosted at the University
  • Friends of Birmingham School of Architecture and Design – An extensive network and broad spectrum of connections and industry partners that create opportunities for our students. These are introduced via your staff team, signposted on Moodle or published on noticeboards around the School and on social media platforms
  • Design competitions
  • Design bursaries and scholarships
  • Creative exhibitions
  • Collaborative Practice - Live and collaborative projects
  • Volunteer organisations connected to the School
  • Architecture and design conservation projects
  • Industry events and awards ceremonies
  • Work experience, internships and employment opportunities 

OpportUNIty

OpportUNIty Student Ambassador

OpportUNIty: Student Jobs on Campus ensures that our students are given a first opportunity to fill many part-time temporary positions within the University. This allows you to work while you study with us, fitting the job around your course commitments. By taking part in the scheme, you will gain valuable experiences and employability skills, enhancing your prospects in the job market.

It will also allow you to become more involved in University life by delivering, leading and supporting many aspects of the learning experience, from administration to research and mentoring roles.

Graduate jobs

Birmingham School of Architecture and Design boasts an extensive global network of collaborative partners offering exciting employment opportunities. Whether working in industry or research, our Alumni are employed in a range of careers that are connected to the creative industries. Our successful graduates have gone onto a range of international careers including:

  • Interior Design - GSA - Sydney (Amerjit Siyan)
  • Interactive Design - Birmingham City University (Tom Teby)
  • Project Management - Chrysalis Design - Litchfield  (Jordan Williams)
  • Lecturing - University of Bahrain (Tamdher Alfahal)
  • Academic Research - Heritage Research Officer - Leeds (Dr Jennie Gadsby)
  • Design Journalism – PClady Digital Design - - Beijing (Dongman Zhu)
  • Exhibition Designer – EDG Design - Shenzen (Hao Chen)
  • Architecture – Glenn Howells Architects – Birmingham (Maria Paula Echevmp Jurado)

Student stories Tamadher Al Faha

Lecturer, University of Bahrain 

After completing a degree in Interior Design at the University of Bahrain, Tamadher came to Birmingham City University to complete her MA. She returned home to teach on her previous course, while also building up her reputation as a practising artist. Read more 

Where our students go

Employers of our Alumni have included:

  • BDP London
  • Gold Mantis - Suzhou China 
  • Suzanne Barnes Birmingham 
  • Atlas Industries Saigon, Fosters and Partners London, 
  • Dynasty Design Taipai Taiwan
  • Glen Howell Architects Birmingham
  • Steve Leung – Hong Kong
  • The Institute of Music, Dalian
  • Birmingham City University

Roles our students take

The types of posts that the MA Interior Architecture and Design Alumni have secured are both varied and exciting and include:

  • Interior Design or Architect
  • Design Lecturer
  • Design Project Manager

Birmingham City University is a vibrant and multicultural university in the heart of a modern and diverse city. We welcome many international students every year – there are currently students from more than 80 countries among our student community.

The University is conveniently placed, with Birmingham International Airport nearby and first-rate transport connections to London and the rest of the UK.

Our international pages contain a wealth of information for international students who are considering applying to study here, including:

Our international students

The course will encourage a spirit of 'internationalisation', which is a key aspect that contributes to the establishment of a culturally rich, vibrant and diverse learning studio environment.

Fostering the ambition of ‘life long learning’, you will create a dynamic continual development plan. This will allow you to draw on the expertise and global networks associated with the institution, reflecting the full spectrum of opportunities that can help you to enrich and nurture your career. This may include international employment as architects, interior designers, or as design lecturers in further and higher education institutions, or you may progress onto postgraduate Doctoral PhD study.

Over the last six years, the MA Interior Design programme has established a credible reputation. The course has increasingly attracted a globally diverse group of students from across the world. In recent years students have joined us from Bahrain, China, Columbia, Dubai, Germany, Greece, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Malaysia, Romania, Spain, Taiwan, Tanzania, Thailand and the UK.  

Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC)

International students who have a serious interest in studying with us but who perhaps cannot meet the direct entry requirements, academic or English, or who have been out of education for some time, can enter Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC) and begin their degree studies.

BCUIC

BCUIC is part of the global Navitas Group, an internationally recognised education provider, and the partnership allows students to access the University’s facilities and services and move seamlessly through to achieving a Bachelor’s degree from Birmingham City University.

Learn more about BCUIC

Popular home countries

Our students come from around the world but our interior design course is most popular with international students from:  

Parkside and Curzon Buildings

Our Facilities

When you join Birmingham City University, the first thing you will notice is the high standard of our campuses. With an investment of £340 million across our buildings and facilities, we are committed to giving you the very best learning environment to help shape your experience.

You’ll be based in the multi-million pound Parkside building – part of our City Centre Campus – with technology and facilities that reflect advanced professional practice. We offer facilities which will accurately reflect the work environment you will enter after graduating. These include Computer-Assisted Design (CAD) and a computer-generated Virtual Building Site, creating real life scenarios for you to work on.

While based in The Parkside Building, you will get sharpen your CAD and digital visual communication skills, prototyping and digital production, while also having access to a range of specialist software, workshops, computer and project learning laboratories, and a social learning space.

You’ll also benefit from:

  • Design studios
  • Computer and project laboratories
  • Social learning space
  • Café
  • Meeting point

From industry-standard software, to our workshops and studio spaces, everything you need will be at your fingertips from day one. Working with our expert technicians, you'll be supported from concept through to completion. 

Meet our staff

Our postgraduate team of lecturers are leaders in their design fields. On the MA Interior Architecture and Design course you will be taught by experts who specialise in:

  • Design Communication
  • Creative Processes
  • Sustainability
  • Brand Development
  • Hospitality
  • Strategic Design Management.

Delia Skinner

Programme Director

Delia joined Birmingham City University in 2004 as a Senior Teaching Fellow/Senior Lecturer. She has been the Programme Director for the MA Interior Design programme since 2010. Delia loved working with the students on this programme, and has embraced this aspect of her work with international student community with joy and respect.