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Interior Architecture and Design - MA

Currently viewing course to start in 2023/24 Entry.

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

  • Level Postgraduate Taught
  • Study mode Full Time
  • Location City Centre
  • School Birmingham School of Architecture and Design
  • Faculty Faculty of Arts, Design and Media

Overview

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.  

This course is open to International students.

What's covered in this 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.

Moments of inspiration cannot be pinned down to one or two; it was everywhere around me! It was in Graham’s lectures and his morning chats. It was within my colleagues, their design approaches and how they see things different than the way I do. It was in my course director, Delia and her encouraging tutorials and constant encouraging talks. Inspiration was the soul of the course, was ongoing until the end.

Tamadher Alfahal, MA Interior Architecture and Design graduate

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.  
  • Two-thirds of the impact of our research was judged to be very considerable (3*) or outstanding (4*) - REF2021

Similar Courses

Studying with us during the Covid-19 pandemic

The University has put in place measures in response to Covid-19 to allow us to safely deliver our courses. Should the impact of the pandemic continue in future years, any additional or alternative arrangements put in place by the University will be in accordance with the latest government public health advice, health and safety legislation, and the terms and conditions of the student contract.

Open Days

Our next Postgraduate Open Day will be an online event. Booking isn’t open yet. Register your interest below and we’ll email you as soon as booking goes live.

Next Open Day: Wednesday 25 January 2023

Register your interest

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.

Applicants with substantial work experience will be considered individually on the merits/portfolio.

Applicants will also need to submit a good portfolio.

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.

Portfolio guidance

You will be required to submit a digital portfolio to complete your application. This can be submitted via your applicant portal. Please see our portfolio guidance page for tips on putting your portfolio together.

Fees & How to Apply

Please select your student status to view fees and apply
  • UK Student
  • International Student

UK students

Annual and modular tuition fees shown are applicable to the first year of study. The University reserves the right to increase fees for subsequent years of study in line with increases in inflation (capped at 5%) or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament. View fees for continuing students.

Award: MA

Starting: Sep 2023

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Full Time
  • 1 year
  • £8,500 in 2023/24
  • Full Time
  • 18 months (including Professional Placement - see below*)
  • £9,350 in 2023/24

International students

Annual and modular tuition fees shown are applicable to the first year of study. The University reserves the right to increase fees for subsequent years of study in line with increases in inflation (capped at 5%) or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament. View fees for continuing students.

Award: MA

Starting: Sep 2023

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Full Time
  • 1 year
  • £16,870 in 2023/24
  • Full Time
  • 18 months (including Professional Placement - see below*)
  • £18,557 in 2023/24

If you're unable to use the online form for any reason, you can complete our PDF application form and equal opportunities PDF form instead.

Access to computer equipment

You will require use of a laptop, and most students do prefer to have their own. However, you can borrow a laptop from the university or use one of our shared computer rooms.

Printing

You will receive £5 print credit in each year of your course, available after enrolment.

Access to Microsoft Office 365

Every student at the University can download a free copy of Microsoft Office 365 to use whilst at university and for 18 months after graduation.

Key software

You will be able to download SPSS and Nvivo to your home computer to support with your studies and research.

Key subscriptions

Subscriptions to key journals and websites are available through our library, including: Frame, Elle Decoration, Cereal, Wallpaper and Icon Eye magazines..

Free access to Rosetta Stone

All students can sign up to the online learning language platform for free through the Graduate+ scheme.

Project materials (mandatory)

This course includes project work that requires you to develop and produce a portfolio and in some instances architectural models. You'll be expected to provide the materials for use in your individual projects; costs will vary depending on the materials selected. We suggest you budget about £300 for 3D modelling, laser cutting and portfolio folders for each project. An average budget of about £200 should cover the purchase of your own tools: good quality pencils, scale ruler, a cutting mat, crayons, colour wheel and masking tape.

Specialist equipment (mandatory)

This course requires the purchase of specialist equipment.

Excess printing (optional)

Once you have spent your £5 credit, additional printing on campus costs from 5p per sheet.

Books (optional)

All module key texts will be in the University library, but in limited numbers. You may choose to purchase a copy, in which case we suggest budgeting approximately £300 for this.

Placement expenses (optional)

If you choose to undertake a placement, you'll need to budget for accommodation and any travel costs you may incur whilst living or working away from home.

Field trips (optional)

This course includes the option of additional trips that may enhance your experience, at extra cost.

Subscriptions (optional)

You may wish to purchase subscriptions to additional journals and websites.

Memberships (optional)

You may wish to join a union or professional body related to this course.

Software (optional)

Essential software will be provided but additional software may incur license costs. As a BCU student, you are entitled to educational discounts on these additional software where available.

Personal equipment - laptop (optional)

Whilst not essential is it reccommended you purchase a mid-high spec Windows based laptop due to the hardward requirements of the specialist software we use. If you wish to use an Apple product, please ensure that it meets the minimum specifications and the minimum storage capacity of 256GB so that Windows can be installed. Typical costs range from £650 to £2000.

Personal equipment - digital camera (optional)

You may want to purchase your own digital camera to use during the course, which is likely to be in the region of £300. We also recommend insuring your camera which can cost £40 to £80 per year.

Personal equipment - computer peripherals (optional)

We recommend you purchase a 1TB remote hard drive (approximately £50) and wireless mouse.

Accommodation and living costs

The cost of accommodation and other living costs are not included within your course fees. More information on the cost of accommodation can be found in our accommodation pages.

*Professional Placement option

The Professional Placement version of the course is optional and is offered as an alternative to the standard version of the course.

This will allow you to complete a credit bearing, 20 week Professional Placement as an integral part of your Master’s Degree. The purpose of the Professional Placement is to improve your employability skills which will, through the placement experience, allow you to evidence your professional skills, attitudes and behaviours at the point of entry to the postgraduate job market. Furthermore, by completing the Professional Placement, you will be able to develop and enhance your understanding of the professional work environment, relevant to your chosen field of study, and reflect critically on your own professional skills development within the workplace.

You will be responsible for finding and securing your own placement. The University, however, will draw on its extensive network of local, regional and national employers to support you in finding a suitable placement to complement your chosen area of study. You will also benefit from support sessions delivered by Careers+ as well as advice and guidance from your School.

Placements will only be confirmed following a competitive, employer-led selection process, therefore the University will not be able to guarantee placements for students who have registered for the ‘with Professional Placement’ course. All students who do not find a suitable placement or do not pass the competitive selection process will be automatically transferred back to the standard, non-placement version of the course.

Portfolio guidance

If you receive an offer to study this course, you will be required to submit a portfolio. We ask that this is submitted within four weeks of receiving your offer.

Please see our portfolio guidance page for tips on putting your portfolio together.

Portfolio guidance

If you receive an offer to study this course, you will be required to submit a portfolio. We ask that this is submitted within four weeks of receiving your offer.

Please see our portfolio guidance page for tips on putting your portfolio together.

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.

Course in Depth

Modules

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

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

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

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

Download course specification

Download now

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.

Employability

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 

Our Graduates

Jack Elsom
Interior Designer at Harrison, Sutton Coldfield
Graduated 2021

Graduate profile picture and workplace - Jack Elsom Interior Designer at Harrison Sutton Coldfield

“Over the course of the Interior Architecture and Design MA, I feel that I was regularly encouraged to question my role as a designer and to continuously reflect on my individual approach, philosophy and design praxis.

For me, this was one of the greatest strengths of the course, since it allowed me to evolve and adapt my own design processes, whilst pushing myself to experiment with new methods and techniques, integrating new theories from different academic disciplines including Architecture, Interior Design and the field of Design Thinking.”


Sebastian Demus
Interior Designer at Gensler, Birmingham
Graduated 2021

Graduate profile picture and workplace - Sebastian Demus Interior Designer at Gensler Birmingham

“The MAIAD course has been so insightful. It has allowed me to challenge my assumptions and develop new perspectives about Designing. In particular, the Co.LAB module was an unforgettable experience. I gained my design sensitivity during this module.

My design approach has become more human centred, and with respect, I now put ‘experience’ at the heart of my design process. By collaborating with others, I have realised that ‘we’ can empathise and design together, as the way to understand what the project mission ‘should be’, and what the Interior ‘could be’.”


Catherine Abdelshahid 
Interior Designer at Foster + Partners, London
Graduated 2021

Graduate profile picture and workplace - Catherine Abdelshahid Interior Designer at Foster + Partners, London

“Having graduated from the BA Interior Architecture and Design programme, I made an unnerving decision, during the COVID lockdown in the UK… to progress onto the MA Interior Architecture and Design course at Birmingham City University. On reflection, I can say it was the best decision I ever made. On this creative journey, I have enjoyed so many rewarding experiences and managed incredible achievements, which I am so proud of.

The course has been an eye-opener, helping me to apply new Design Thinking strategies, and be more reflective about the transformation of my own design approach, process, and practice. The tutors have helped each of us to become more confident, by questioning our design moves and challenging our design frames.

Our tutors, mentors, and industry champions have also reinforced our determination to channel our unique mindsets and design styles, towards our individual employment goals. In this regard, I have benefitted from a paid teaching role, which enabled me to be paid as a Studio Assistant with the BA and MA teaching Teams. In 2022, whilst working as a Graduate Studio Assistant on the MAIAD course, I was given the chance of a life- time…an interview to work at the ‘Best Architect in the World’ according to the Architects Journal. After a period of preparation and ‘Practice, Practice, Practice’, I successfully secured my dream job, and I have been working as an Interior Designer at Foster + Partners since October 2022.”


International

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.  

Facilities & Staff

Parkside and Curzon Buildings

Our Facilities

When you join Birmingham City University, the first thing you will notice is the exceptional quality 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 will be based in our multi-million pound Parkside building – a state of the art facility located within our City Centre Campus. Here you will have full access to our recently upgraded, high spec CAD (Computer-Aided-Design) workstations situated within our dedicated computer labs and open access areas. We also provide access to leading edge digital design software, enabling you to explore technical drawing, graphics, 3D modelling, visualization, animation, computation, simulation, and virtual reality.

The Parkside Building is also home to our digital fabrication labs, where you will be able to explore 3D printing, laser cutting, water-jet cutting, CNC machining, ceramics, glass and traditional model-making, guided by our team of expert technicians with access to our on-site material store, and professional printing facilities.

You’ll also benefit from:

  • Design studios
  • Physical and digital library
  • Loanable laptops
  • Dedicated social spaces
  • Café’s

Take a look around on our virtual walkthroughs

Photo Gallery

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

Our staff

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.

More about Delia