Interior Architecture and Design with a Foundation Year - BA (Hons)
Do you want to learn how to transform spaces? This innovative Interior Architecture and Design degree course covers a broad range of design possibilities, ranging from reordering to transforming space....
Studying with us in 2021/22
It is possible that the 2021/22 academic year may be affected by the ongoing disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Any arrangements put in place by the University for the 2021/22 academic year will be in accordance with the latest government public health advice, pandemic-related/health and safety legislation, and the terms and conditions of the student contract.
Do you want to learn how to transform spaces? This innovative Interior Architecture and Design degree course covers a broad range of design possibilities, ranging from reordering to transforming space.
Situated within Birmingham School of Architecture and Design, our course will provide you with the facilities and education that you’ll need to succeed within the industry, as well as excellent opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration and networking with industry partners.
About foundation courses
This four year programme has been specifically designed to allow you to undertake additional level 3 study designed to ensure you are successful on your chosen degree course.
After successful completion of your foundation year, you will have the flexibility to switch (should you wish to change direction) onto a number of related undergraduate degree courses within Birmingham School of Architecture and Design.
What's covered in this course?
Our BA (Hons) Interior Architecture and Design course provides you with the skills to transform or give new life to spaces, as well as teaching you how to plan and design creative interiors.
You will look at hierarchies and relationships between different spaces, describing these relationships in new ways. This industry-aligned degree course offers you the opportunity to study and practise the adaption and re-use of space within new and existing building stock, while also addressing aesthetics, human needs, materiality and more, as well as the ephemeral qualities of atmosphere, character, colour, light and shade.
Alongside the regeneration of existing space, you will discover new interior environments, in a broad range of industry sectors, such as hospitality, retail, leisure and residential, using an experimental approach to design to develop the refined techniques required for effective space planning, conceptual design, development, visualisation and the refurbishment of space.
Why Choose Us?
- You will work with our industry connections, including London-based design consultants Imagination, whose portfolio includes Ford, Jaguar, BT, and Global Colour Research. You’ll have the chance to enter international design competitions and join our past students who have been successfully shortlisted for the Janine Stone Young Designers of the Year.
- During each year of study you will be working closely with our team of Industry Professionals that dedicate time each week to working alongside you as students, helping to align all projects and work output with the industry standards, and in context of present day projects.
- Interior Design is a field that draws on many other fields to inform itself, such as the arts, literature, film, photography, fashion, etc. and so, by its nature, touches many disciplines. One of our objectives is to provide our students with an interdisciplinary approach to the discipline of Interior Architecture and Design through different collaborations with lecturers and students of other schools within the University. These collaborations will enable you to explore different strategies to face an Interior architecture/design project based on transferable skills from different disciplines.
- You will benefit from study trips, which could include visiting The Guggenheim Museum in New York, and other design-focused European Cities, and/or The London Design Festival.
We accept a range of qualifications, the most popular of which are detailed below.
88 UCAS tariff points.
|LEVEL 2 QUALIFICATIONS|
|IELTS||Minimum overall score of 6.0, with no less than 5.5 in each band.|
|Plus one of the following Level 3 (and above) Qualifications|
|A Level and Advanced VCE||
|AS and AS VCE||Considered with a maximum of 3 other Level 3 qualifications (AS Levels must be in different subject to A-Levels) to obtain 88 pts|
|Access to HE Diploma||
|Foundation Studies (Art and Design, and Art, Design & Media)||
|IBO Certificate in Higher Level||
|International Baccalaureate Diploma||Obtain a minimum of 24 points overall|
|Irish Leaving Certificate (Highers)||Pass the Irish Leaving Certificate with a minimum of 88 tariff points, achieved in five Higher level subjects.|
|OCR Cambridge Technical Extended Diploma||MMM|
|Scottish Advanced Higher||
|UAL Extended Diploma in Art & Design||Merit overall|
|UAL Extended Diploma in Creative Media Production & Technology||Merit overall|
|UAL Extended Diploma in Performing and Production Arts||Merit overall|
If you have a qualification that is not listed in the table please refer to our full entry requirements on UCAS.
Further guidance on tariff points can be found on the UCAS website.
Additional information for EU/International students
Please see your country page for further details on the equivalent qualifications we accept.
addition to the academic entry requirements listed above, international and EU students will also require the qualifications detailed in this table.
|EU/Non-EU (International) Qualifications||Requirements|
Minimum overall score of 6.0, with no less than 5.5 in each band.
If you do not meet the required IELTS score, you may be eligible for one of our pre-sessional English courses. Please note that you must have a Secure English Language Test (SELT) to study on the pre-sessional English course. More information.
|International Baccalaureate Diploma (or equivalent, including internationally accredited Foundation courses).|
International students who cannot meet the direct entry requirements can begin their degree studies at Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC).
Applications from mature students (21+) with alternative qualifications and/or considerable work experience will be considered on their merits.
Fees & How to Apply
- UK students
- International students
Award: BA (Hons)
Starting: Sep 2021
- Full Time
- 4 years
- £9,250 per year
- Apply via UCAS
Award: BA (Hons)
Starting: Sep 2021
- Full Time
- 4 years
- £13,200 per year
£150 free credit (home/EU students only)
For 2021 entry, all new home/EU undergraduate students will receive £150 worth of free credit to spend in a host of ways, on books and a range of learning materials.
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.
You will receive £5 print credit in each year of your course, available after enrolment.
All essential field trips and associated travel costs will be included in your course fees.
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.
You will be able to download SPSS and Nvivo to your home computer to support with your studies and research.
Subscriptions to key journals and websites are available through our library.
Free access to Rosetta Stone
All students can sign up to the online learning language platform for free through the Graduate+ scheme.
Free access to LinkedIn Learning, which offers over 5,000 in-depth and bite-sized courses.
Free Adobe Creative Cloud licence
Students studying on this course can request a free licence to install the entire suite of applications on up to two personal devices.
Project materials (mandatory)
This course includes project work that requires you to develop and produce a portfolio or collection. You'll be expected to provide the materials for use in your individual major projects; costs will vary depending on the materials selected.
Clothing and safety equipment (mandatory)
This course requires the purchase of safety equipment in order to use the workshop facilities, including safety boots at an estimated cost of £40.
Media consumable items (mandatory)
This course requires the use of consumables, including a basic 'art kit' of pens, pencils, sketchbook, craft knife/scapel, scale ruler and compass.
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.
Field trips (optional)
This course includes the option of additional trips that may enhance your experience, at extra cost.
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.
Guidance for UK students
UK students applying for most undergraduate degree courses in the UK will need to apply through UCAS.
The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) is a UK organisation responsible for managing applications to university and college.
Applying through UCAS
Register with UCAS
Login to UCAS
Complete your details
Select your course
Write a personal statement
Get a reference
Pay your application fee
Send UCAS your application
You are not required to submit a portfolio for this course.
Course in Depth
In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 120 credits):
This module focuses on developing the 2D design skills and techniques required to communicate and visualise design concepts around space and form. You will work on a series of mini projects using predominantly manual techniques such as freehand sketching, technical drawing, and physical model-making. You will also be introduced to some digital techniques such as Photoshop and Desktop Publishing via InDesign.
This module is designed to develop your academic skills and make the transition to degree level study. It specifically focuses on your ability to critique, reflect and verbalise your thoughts and concepts through channels such as presentations, blogs and live journals.
You will learn how to use research methods to inform your practice and have the opportunity to advance your academic writing and referencing skills.
This module is designed to give you an introduction to the design processes used by the various disciplines and includes appraisal of design briefs, understanding context, design drivers, and the development of concepts and visuals through design feasibility studies. You will begin to understand how to turn your ideas into designs and the level required to reach a professional standard.
Underpinning the practice, you will explore and discuss fundamental concepts, particularly relating to human scale, ergonomics and anthropometrics, looking at design and its relationship to the physical aspects of the environment.
This module is designed to encourage you to make connections between theory and practice and engage further in critical analysis. You will explore the historical aspects across the two design disciplines (a major and minor) and scales and current practices.
You will further explore the use of precedent studies, which will provide you with the tools to respond to the challenges and changes in different environments and habitations.
This module focuses on developing presentation skills, from visual and graphic presentation techniques to pitching and presenting ideas.
You will have opportunities through workshops and online tutorials to learn Adobe Creative Suite and 3D software such as Sketch-up.
Hands on workshop practice will be introduced across a range of materials.
The aim of this module is to develop a concept design within your chosen discipline. You will document the design process, reflect on the experience and the final outcomes and the reasons for selecting your chosen field. The project will culminate in a comprehensive presentation, which will capture the whole design process via a design portfolio.
In order to complete this course you must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 120 credits):
This module enables students to [re]order spatial activities and space planning to design creative and innovative interiors by exploring spatial concepts, their design and representation. These are key components in the repertoire of the interior architect and designer. This module focuses on your understanding of the relationships between adjacent spaces/activities, spatial hierarchies, and the more ephemeral qualities of light, shade, and colour.
This design and make module seeks to embed an understanding of human physicality and the manipulation of space, which will enable you to design with user centred considerations in mind and appreciate and develop awareness of the interface between products/artefacts/environments and users. This module explores and challenges the physical, psychological and emotional factors that influence user responses to their environments and actions in their everyday life.
This module is the first one of a series that will culminate in your final major project. You will be asked to develop an interior design project within a given brief. On this first level of the Transforming Space series, you will be approaching the design of a single-function space.
You are expected to undertake research on a programme you are not familiar with and integrate and articulate it within a given site. You will also have to demonstrate the ability to apply relevant knowledge presented through specialised seminars, workshops and lectures to your interior design project.
This module engages with the key design ideologies of the 20th Century. The History of Western Architecture has an on-going complex relationship with Modernism. Despite having moved beyond Modernism and post-modernism, at the beginning of the 21st Century, the designed environment; buildings, furniture, interiors and the public realm, still holds traces of and responds to elements of the Modernist ideologies. This Module will enable you to engage with design precedents from the 20th Century through a series of lectures and seminars. You will learn about their history and the social, political and cultural context that gave rise to specific design movements within this period.
This module builds on the introduction you have had to communication approaches within the discipline of interiors and will provide you with a deeper awareness and understanding of a variety of industry relevant communication methods, while also developing the breadth and depth of your visualisation language. This will include ways in which design concepts are demonstrated through appropriate portfolio techniques, leading toward you becoming a design aware and industry aware student.
In order to complete this course you must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 100 credits):
This module will enable you to approach the challenges that the discipline of Interior Architecture and Design present from an interdisciplinary perspective.
Interior Architecture and Design is a young discipline that draws its language mainly from the discipline of Architecture. It has yet to define its own distinctive methods. It is also a field that draws on many other fields to inform itself, such as the arts, literature, film, photography, fashion, etc. and so, by its nature, touches many disciplines.
This module is the second in a series of Transforming Space modules that will culminate in your final major project. You will be asked to develop an interior design project within a given brief. On this second level of the Transforming Space series, you will be approaching the design of a mix-use space.
You are expected to undertake research on a programme you are not familiar with and integrate and articulate the spatial functions set on the brief. At this level you will be asked to make a critical choice amongst several options that can involve several sites, spatial functions... etc., to further explain the brief.
The main focus of this module is to enable you to develop more advanced CAD skills (SolidWorks) and use these in relation to the design process. As your skills develop you will be expected to utilise and correctly synthesise the SolidWorks program in line with industry recognised production methods and techniques. This will enable you to develop and realise designed concepts using digital technologies and to effectively communicate design intentions within the context of manufacturing and industry.
In order to complete this course you must successfully complete at least 20 credits from the following list of OPTIONAL modules:
The purpose of this module is to enable you to develop professional attributes and subject skills through experience in the work place or a live case study, and to critically reflect upon your learning and future options in that context. You will normally be expected to arrange your own placement, with support from academic staff and BCU Careers. Typically, the placement duration is 1 or 2 weeks. This should be achieved in one block where possible. It is also possible to fulfil this module through a case study, via physical interview of a current practise if placement becomes unattainable.
The module is an opportunity to learn and critically reflect on the skills of collaboration by enabling you to create an interdisciplinary project with students from complementary disciplines, or with academic staff. Collaboration is a vital employability skill within the Creative Industries and this module allows you to develop these skills, making use of University facilities and with the support of academic staff. Within this module framework, several kinds of collaborative opportunities are available. For example, with the approval of your supervisor, you can determine a project based on your own interests; your supervisor may set you a predetermined 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 an interdisciplinary project which will be agreed in advance with your supervisor.
This module provides an opportunity for you to apply your knowledge and skills to an external, professional brief. The brief will be set by an external client/ agency, in consultation with your supervisor, and it could be a ‘real life’ problem to be solved, or a simulation. It is an opportunity for you to engage in a professional manner with an aspect of your subject area, which contributes to the development of employability skills within the supportive infrastructure of the University. Where appropriate, the project may involve interdisciplinary collaboration with students from other courses. In this way, it reflects the collaborative, flexible nature of employment within the Creative Industries.
Core modules are guaranteed to run. Optional modules will vary from year to year and the published list is indicative only.
In order to complete this course you must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 120 credits).
Showcase your work to industry leaders looking for new talent, such as Free Range London, presenting yourself as a design aware industry ready interior designer.
The combination of applied contextual research & preparatory analysis is at the forefront of the developmental procedures of design. Often the in-depth investigation and critical analysis of contextual factors not only outlines opportunities for the advancement of design practice, but further defines the constraints of any practical applications in design methods & techniques. In all senses the planning and preparation of relevant materials to support the design process is essential, along with the ability to self-manage individual activities.
This module will enable you to discover the challenges of exploring design feasibility related to multiple projects within the discipline of Interior Architecture and Design from a professional perspective. Taking 2-3 project titles as potential outline briefs, alongside specific existing sites, objectively interrogate them by exploring the potential of design, technology, structure and professional practice. With objectivity you will synthesise each outcome, leading to an emergence of one stronger feasible project.
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 practice-based portfolio.
In the first year, you will gain invaluable skills in drawing, model-making and concept modelling in our industry-standard studios and workshops.
Taught by experienced practising designers, our interior design course mixes practice with theory, so you can create links between concepts and materials while strengthening your design skills across key industry sectors.
Computer simulation and design is covered by using software such as the Adobe Design Suite, VectorWorks and other 3D rendering tools.
The flavour of your second year is all about creativity and employability. You’ll have the opportunity of internships and live project work, giving you excellent industry connections and experience.
You’ll learn about design and its application while enjoying study trips, the chance of overseas study, international design competitions, and working with clients on real world industry projects.
In your third year you’ll have the opportunity to showcase the skills you have obtained throughout this degree course by embarking on an in-depth design project in an area of personal interest to you, combined with an opportunity to exhibit at our graduate show. Emerging as a design aware and employable graduate.
- Interdisciplinary Workshops – such as Fashion collaboration: building inhabitable expanded costumes. Film-making; learn how to design and edit video as a method of communication. Landscape & Interiors: designing the inside outside.
- Real-life projects, with real local sites to transform and manipulate within the perimeters of your project briefs.
- Opportunities to work with other students of different disciplines to enhance your understanding of design as a team and accommodate different approaches.
This degree course is a member of interior educators. Interior Educators (IE) is an organisation established by academics representing well-established Interior design courses from across the UK. It is a unique group in that it provides a forum for debate and the exchange of ideas and practice effecting the education of designers of interior space. IE has created Interior Educators Student (IES), represents students on a national level, to graduation and employment. Through IES students can build their own online portfolios, view Interiors specific jobs as well as receiving advice from leading practitioners.
Enhancing employability skills
Our expert staff will help you stand out from the crowd by developing your competitive and transferable interior design skills.
Through our work in live project collaborations, networking and competition success, we have developed strong links with organisations including: RBS Ltd, Tektura, Hartman, Petainer, Hi Macs, Yorkshire Water and the Environment Agency, Orangebox, KI, & Herman Miller to name a few.
Our graduates also have the chance to take part in training programmes as a Designer in Residence, or enjoy an international exchange opportunities.
You will learn how to confidently present your skills to employers as a designer in interior or architectural practices, and illustrate your strengths working in exhibitions, events design, or as a set designer for theatre or film.
During your second year there is a work placement opportunity, which is designed to enable you to develop professional attributes and subject skills through experience in the work place or a live case study, and to critically reflect upon your learning and future options in that context.
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.
Student stories Katarzyna Slopiecka
Freelance Designer and Painter
When I was looking for a university I was already 23, so I didn’t want to waste my time with bad choices. I did precise research about universities I could apply to, and chose Birmingham City University because it had a good reputation and I had read a lot of positive opinions from students.
I enjoy everything about the course – I have a passion for design and creating new spaces, I like to explore things, and I love to work with people with similar attitude.The tutors are really helpful and every time I need advice or help I receive it. English is my second language but I never felt any different – any doubts, questions or problems, the staff were there to help.
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:
Facilities and Staff
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-Aided 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
- 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.