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Interior Design

BA (Hons)
Interior Design
3 years (full-time)

We promote the understanding and subsequent remodelling of existing spaces, in order to create meaningful interventions.  We are concerned with the occupation of space, how it used and importantly, how it is experienced.

We view Interior Design as a distinct, rigorous practice that celebrates collaborative creative adventures to enhance human interaction with their environment.

This can be applied at an architectural scale whilst appreciating the detail and fabrication of objects, surfaces and materials.

The course advocates the synthesis of this ideology as a creative, rigorous and intellectual process. We value ideas, invention and practical resolution in the creation of new, and often unconventional interior identities.

We can create experiential, experimental or functional spaces. We shape environments, generate identities, question programmes, detail objects, design or specify materials and furniture. 

Ultimately, we place human involvement with space at the centre of all our endeavors.

Special Features

  • Regular live projects throughout the course which have included exhibition design with Urbis Museum and Crosby Land Lease Developers, furniture design for The Design Council, office design for McCann Erickson and the design of a reception for City Inn Hotels.
  • Opportunities to undertake study trips to key design cities, recent trips have including Berlin, Rotterdam, Chicago, Venice and New York.
  • Students have previously participated in exchange visits to Australia, Canada, the USA and Europe.
  • Visiting designers and lecturers assist in the course team via lectures, projects and workshops.

Course Content

The uniqueness of the BA(Hons) Interior Design at Manchester School of Art lies in it’s passion for collaborative and entrepreneurial ventures which are supported and embedded through the Art Schools’ award winning Unit X.

As an Interior specialist, you will more often than not collaborate with a number of like minded practitioners to manifest your ideas and we believe the Art School environment is the perfect setting to nurture these endeavours, which allow students to network and professionalise their practise throughout their time on the course.

As well as the core Interiors curriculum which is underpinned by Contextual lectures, students on each Level of the course undertake Unit X.  Students have taken part in a number of highly successful Live projects with clients such as Urbis, the Manchester International Festival and the Royal Northern College of Music, in collaboration with our contemporaries in Creative Multi Media, Graphics, 3D, Textiles and Fashion.  We further embrace this opportunity for collaboration on an International level, having collaborated with Institutions abroad for example ESAD, Portugal, on Interventions and Installations for the Lisbon Design Biennale, or hosting events with International visitors in our Stirling Prize nominated building.  The course also runs regular optional study trips to key cultural cities such as Berlin and New York or to deign/architecture festivals such as Venice Biennale, Lisbon Design Biennale, Milan Furniture Fair and Amsterdam for Dutch Design Week. 

The core elements of the course are taught by practising designers and architects, touching on all aspects of Interior Design such as Interior Architecture, Exhibition Design, Scene/Set design or Object/Element design.

Year 1

The First year of the course fosters creative, divergent and critical thinking from the view point of the Interior, allowing students to fully engage and explore the Experience and Atmosphere of spaces.  Students learn to express their ideas, primarily through freehand drawing and model making and communicate their ideas through digital software such as Photoshop, In Design and Sketch Up.

Inside (Out)

An introduction to the subject of Interior Design emphasising creativity, intellectual curiosity and the acquisition of basic skills.  Studio and workshop based projects which explore fundamental ideas of interior design; mapping, concepts, form and scale through drawing and model making. You will work in groups and independently to respond to briefs through a variety of media.

Object and Place

This unit continues to build a foundation of experience in Interior Design by applying creativity and intellectual curiosity to given spaces.  Analogue skills will be further developed here, and technical drawing and digital technologies will be also be introduced. Studio and workshop based projects will be undertaken which support the development of design concepts and give reference to specific spaces, elements and objects.  Ideas are expressed through freehand drawing, model making, technical drawings and digital compositions.

Unit X

This unit provides an opportunity to explore collaborative and interdisciplinary art and design practice by undertaking work alongside students from Design/Art programmes within Manchester School of Art. The unit covers set project(s) which encourage collaborative, interdisciplinary practice and shared experience. You will engage in lectures and talks from key research staff and students, tutorial group meetings and presentations. The set projects will vary from year to year and are designed to be responsive to creative opportunities.

Contextualising Practice 1

You are allocated to one of four pathways addressing programme-based clusters of cognate practice areas. Lectures, seminars, guest speakers, visits around cultural contexts and professional issues.

Contextualising Practice with Language 1

You are allocated to one of four pathways addressing programme-based clusters of cognate practice areas. The unit includes lectures, seminars, guest speakers, visits around cultural contexts and professional issues.

Year 2

The Second year of the course deals with the pragmatic requirements and materiality of the discipline, teaching students to investigate narrative and occupation of spaces through technical CAD drawing, model making, freehand drawing and material investigations.  Projects are underpinned by the disciplines regulatory requirements such as Building Regulations and prepare students for a professional audience, with a number of Live projects and appraisals with studios such as Sheppard Robson, 5 Plus and Start JG.  Students may undertake a work placement at the end of 2ndyr.

In Detail

Building upon skills acquired in the Occupations Unit, In Detail explores specific aspects and occupations in Interior Design with greater emphasis on technical issues, materiality and detailing.


Building upon skills and approaches introduced in Year 1 units, this unit explores specific aspects and occupations in Interior Design. It includes studio, workshop and live projects which investigate specific narratives, programmes and occupations.  This is evidenced through peer and client presentations, design development drawings, model making, technical, material and object investigation.

Unit X

This unit explores collaborative and interdisciplinary art and design practice.  You will have the opportunity to engage in a range of external facing learning opportunities which will encourage collaborative, interdisciplinary practice and shared experience; this may take the form of spending time outside of the university and working within the creative community and the public domain.

Contextualising Practice 2

Delivery of critical, historical and professional issues to enhance your development within practice-based clusters. Delivery to clusters of cognate practice areas. Content consists of selected thematic options in critical and historical areas plus cluster-wide professional and employability issues, facilitating and enhancing the development of both studio-based work and identity as a practitioner.

Contextualising Practice with Language 2

Delivery of critical and historical issues to enhance the student's development within practice-based clusters.  Content consists of selected thematic options in critical and historical areas facilitating and enhancing the development of both studio-based work and identity as a practitioner. Modes of delivery include lectures, seminars, tutorials, guest speakers, visits and placements.

Year 3

The Third year of the course starts to bring together the poetics of 1styr and the pragmatics of 2nd yr to develop a students’ own practice in preparation for their future career.  Students undertake one or two self-initiated major studio projects, which are underpinned by a theory based extended essay and the collaborative Unit X.  Students have project appraisals from studios such as Johnson Naylor and HMKM, and undertake studio visits and portfolio surgeries in preparation for future employment. They also take part in the final Degree Show, which is the culmination of their three years of study and the course takes part in the Free Range Graduate exhibition in London.

Site and Agenda

This unit comprises the formulation, research, gestation, design development and presentation of a major project based on personal design related interests, possibly related to the extended essay.  Main components include exploration of host building, development of appropriate design programme, feasibility exploration and consideration of building regulations, element detailing, material and furniture specification and professional presentation.

Unit X

On the third year Unit X, there is a student authored final project leading to a showcase of finished work. The unit includes a brief generated by the student, which leads to the presentation of a significant body of final work. Collaborative and interdisciplinary work can be incorporated into the project in relation to the professional context and ambition of the student.

Contextualising Practice 3

Programme of research and critical analysis of cultural and professional issues related to a student's individual practice interests.

Contextualising Practice with a Language 3

Programme of research and critical analysis of cultural and professional issues related to a your individual practice interests. A negotiated project focused around an individually defined area appropriate to your aims and ambitions.


Continuous formative and summative assessment with feedback and discussion on completion of all units. The programme ends with a School of Art exhibition.


Professionalism is embedded in all aspects of the course through visits from respected Professional Critics from industry, Live projects and Unit X. Students are also supported and encouraged to seek self-directed work experience in vacation periods. Students have undertaken work experience in Manchester for companies such as Stephenson-Bell, Ian Simpson Architects, Start Judge Gill and Sheppard Robson, and in London for Imagination, Johnson-Naylor, Conran+Partners, Casson-Mann, Virgile+Stone to name a few. Many enterprising students use the vacation to seek work experience abroad and opportunities have arisen in Japan (Klein-Dytham) and Dubai (Paul Bishop Design), Australia and the US.

You can find further details about the curriculum in the Programme Specification Document

Student Work

Visit our online galleries to see examples of work by Interior Design students.

Interior Design students recently participated in Mise en Scène, a collaboration between the Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM) and the Manchester School of Art to create a unique sensory experience.



Graduates from the course go on to work all over the world and have gained successful employment for companies such as Johnson Naylor, Sheppard Robson, Fosters, Imagination, Casson Mann, HMKM, Start JG and 20.20 Design.  Because of the wide and diverse skill set of an Interior designer, graduates have also gone onto Curating, strategic design, project management, Architecture, teaching and postgraduate study.

Making an Application

How to Apply

Apply through UCAS.

If you meet our criteria we will invite you to an Interview and ask you to show us a Portfolio of your work.

You will be notified of our decision through UCAS.

Entry Requirements

UCAS Tariff Points/Grades Required

280 at A2 or equivalent (such as BTEC National Extended Diploma DMM at Level 3 or Advanced Diploma). If applying using Foundation Diploma in Art and Design a minimum of a Merit is required depending on other Level 3 qualifications. A Level General Studies is not accepted.

Learn more about MMU's Foundation Diploma in Art and Design.

Specific GCSE Requirements

GCSE Grade C or above (or acceptable alternative) in English Language

Non Tariffed Qualifications

A relevant Level 3 Access to HE Diploma with 30 Level 3 credits at merit or above will be considered for entry to this course.

International Baccalaureate26 Points

International Students

A minimum IELTS score of 6 with no element below 5.5 is required.

Check our MMU International site for further information if you are applying with non-UK qualifications.

Fees 2016 Entry

UK and EU full-time student fees: £9,000. Non-EU full-time international student fees: £12,650.

See Money Matters for further information and advice.