BA (Hons) Interior Architecture and Design - University of Portsmouth
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BA (Hons)

Interior Architecture and Design

UCAS codeK120

full time3yrs

placement option1yr

Develop your creative skills and learn to think like a designer

Course Overview

Why take this course?

This course enables students to develop a strong design identity through creative investigation of the interior. The focus of studies is on both the adaptation of existing buildings by manipulating the architectural fabric and occupying new spaces through designing atmospheric environments.

You will be provided with the opportunity to work within the commercial, social and historic contexts of Portsmouth on both imagined and ‘live’ projects with real clients, in connection with our Project Office. The course is recognised for this unique approach to professional practice.

You will learn the skills and develop values that enable you to contribute to the creation of our built environment with imagination, sensitivity, confidence and professionalism.

What will I experience?

On this course you can:

  • Develop concepts and designs in a lively studio environment, conversing, making and drawing alongside others
  • Critically debate history, theory, contemporary interior architecture and design
  • Develop technical skills and an understanding of the rigours and ethics of professional practice
  • Take a placement year in practice
  • Work on real-life projects in our Project Office
  • Please view the School of Architecture blog

European Field Trip Included for BA1 Students

First year Architecture and Interior Architecture and Design students will visit a European city in Teaching Block 1. Flights, transfers in Europe and accommodation are fully included. Transfers to and from UK airports, subsistence and spending money are not included.

What opportunities might it lead to?

This undergraduate degree provides access to a diverse range of future careers in the creative industries and higher levels of education. Our graduates have found work in a number of fields and practice types, which include:

    • multi-disciplinary architectural design practices
    • small and large commercial and retail practices
    • brand consultancies
    • film studios
    • as model-makers
    • as visual merchandisers
    • as computer visualisers

Graduates have also found work in other fields such as education, events planning and retail management and many of our students also go on to study subjects at MA level.


Jenny Brown, BA (Hons) Interior Design student

The skills I acquired while studying gave me a fantastic basis for starting my master’s degree; the most important thing I learnt while studying at Portsmouth was how to interpret a building and un-pick all the layers to understand a building’s story

Jenny Brown, BA (Hons) Interior Design student


Architecture, Civil Engineering and Surveying

Find out what our students say about studying at Portsmouth, including:

  • Vocationally-focused courses which concentrate on both the practical and theoretical
  • An exciting environment to work in, with excellent facilities including technical labs and studio space
  • Enthusiastic, friendly tutors who bring the subject to life

Browse all courses in Architecture, Civil Engineering and Surveying

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Structure & Teaching

Year one

The first year of the course, is a joint programme for both BA (Hons) Architecture and BA (Hons) Interior Architecture and Design students. We will introduce you to all the essential skills knowledge and understanding required by spatial designers and also develop your ability to work independently and with your peers.

Core units in this year include:

  • Design: Introduction
  • Interior: Introduction
  • Interior: Application
  • History and Theory: Introduction
  • Representation and Communication: Introduction
  • Technology: Introduction

Year two

Engage in experimental and analytical approaches to interior architecture and design, making connections with other art and design practitioners. You will develop your theoretical knowledge and conceptual thinking skills and create experiential designs for imagined contexts such as retail, exhibition or event spaces. You will also develop your understanding of reading and adapting existing, historic buildings and generate a design brief that responds to a social need. Throughout the year you will improve and apply a greater level of technical knowledge and representational skills to the presentation of your work.

Core units in this year include:

  • Interior: Investigation
  • Interior: Intervention
  • History and Theory of the Interior
  • Interior Technology

Options to choose from in this year currently include:

  • Representation and Communication
  • Professional Experience
  • Student Enterprise

Year three*

The final year is seen as an opportunity for you to clarify and express your design identity by choosing your own design brief and project site. Also you will identify a topic for a sustained piece of research and writing, which is presented in the form of a dissertation. You will also have the opportunity to engage with live projects or to work collaboratively with our post-graduate students.

The design projects are underpinned by other units where you will be encouraged to position yourself within theories and practices of interior architecture and design, and to complete a rigorous professional studies course, which supports you in finding work and prepares you for practice.

Core units in this year include:

  • Interior: Integration
  • Interior: Major Project
  • Interior Communication and Professional Studies
  • Interior Identity
  • Dissertation

We use the best and most current research and professional practice, alongside feedback from our students, to make sure course content is relevant to your future career or further studies.

Therefore, some course content may change over time to reflect changes in the discipline or industry and some optional units may not run every year. If a unit doesn’t run, we’ll let you know as soon as possible and help you choose an alternative unit.

*This course is also available as a 4-year sandwich (work placement)

Placement year

Between the second and third years of study you will have the option to undertake a work placement year. There are two exciting options for the placement year:

We offer a range of salaried professional placements as part of your degree.  You can gain invaluable work experience to help you prepare for your graduate employment.  The University can provide you with advice on how to secure a work placement that matches both the needs of your degree and your future career plans, as well as giving you useful links and contacts.

Interested in running your own business instead? We also offer students the chance to start-up and run their own company for a year as an alternative to the traditional work-based placement. Students who choose this option often start-up their companies with fellow, like-minded students, working together, as a bona fide operation, in an attempt to build a successful venture. The Faculty and University provide mentoring and support throughout the year.

To find out more visit our Employability and Enterprise page.


We have a dedicated and inspiring group of staff that have experience in professional design practice (architecture, interior, furniture and product) and also in history, conservation and museology. In addition, visiting practitioners from the region and from London add to the professional rigour of our course and represent the diversity of design practice.

You will be taught through a combination of lectures, seminars, workshops and studio tutorials, and you will work on both individual and group projects.

The time you spend in teaching activities may depend on the units you select. As a guide, students on this course last year typically spent their time as follows:

  • Year one students: 27% in lectures, seminars and similar learning activities, 73% studying independently and 0% on work placement
  • Year two students: 28% in lectures, seminars and similar learning activities, 72% studying independently and 0% on work placement
  • Year three students: 22% in lectures, seminars and similar learning activities, 78% studying independently and 0% on work placement


Frequent tutor feedback will be provided to help you monitor your progress and you will also participate in peer-review and peer-feedback. This will help you to develop your own critical skills and learn from the work of other students.

You will be assessed in a variety of ways including:

  • Digital reviews of design projects
  • Design portfolios
  • Reflective journals and sketchbooks
  • Technical journals and models
  • Essays
  • Dissertation (5000 words)

The way you’re assessed may depend on the units you select. As a guide, students on this course last year were typically assessed as follows:

  • Year one students: 0% by written exams, 0% by practical exams and 100% by coursework
  • Year two students: 0% by written exams, 0% by practical exams and 100% by coursework
  • Year three students: 0% by written exams, 7% by practical exams and 93% by coursework

Tutor's view


Rachael Brown
Tutor Interior Design

Learning to think like a designer is a challenging, inspiring and very rewarding experience. At Portsmouth we provide a lively, creative environment in which you will be encouraged to develop your knowledge, skills and design identity...we hope you will enjoy being part of our community.

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Facilities & Features

Included Field Trip

First year Architecture and Interior Architecture and Design students will visit a European city in Teaching Block 1. Flights, transfers in Italy and accommodation are fully included. Transfers to and from UK airports, subsistence and spending money are not included.

Design Studios

The School of Architecture benefits from dedicated studios and a postgraduate centre. These are located in the excellent facilities of the new Eldon West building designed by Penoyre and Prasad Architects. The studios are light and airy, include kitchenettes and contain dedicated computer and digital projection facilities. The studios are both used for teaching and as social learning spaces augmented by extensive breakout gallery spaces.

Design Workshops

The workshops include:

  • Dedicated workshop for working with, wood, plastics and metalwork including specialist equipment:
    • Laser cutters
    • 3D printer
    • Large wall saw for cutting sheet timber
    • Forge and welding
    • Painting spray booth
    • Digital fabric printer
  • TV studio
  • Animation studios
  • Fabric printing and sewing
  • Screen printing
  • Photography and film loan store
  • Art shop
  • Printing facilities
  • Exhibition spaces

We are currently purchasing a CNC milling machine, 3D scanner and a number of large touch screens for displaying work digitally.

Other Facilities

We are located within the University’s creative campus, which has a large central courtyard and we are lucky to enjoy large roof terraces with views of the sea. In addition, these proximities bring access to a wealth of facilities including;

  • Large IT suites with Macs and PCs
  • 400 computers available with a wide range of CAD software including BIM modelling and environmental evaluation software
  • University Library

Budgeting for your studies

There are extra costs associated with studying, which you will need to consider when planning your expenditure.

Recommended texts:
If you wish to purchase recommended texts, rather than borrow from the University Library, the average price is £50-£60. You may be studying up to 6 units a year, each with a standard recommended text.

General costs:
We recommend that you budget £75 a year for costs of photocopying, memory sticks, DVDs and CDs, printing charges, binding and specialist printing.

Final year project:
If your final year includes a major project, there could be cost for transport or accommodation related to your research activities. The amount will depend on the project you choose to develop.

Other costs to consider

We will supply you with a printing allowance but you will incur additional printing costs on portfolio work of between £50 - £200. You may incur material costs on a project which will vary from £20 - £100.

Optional study trips abroad will cost in the region of £300 - £700.

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Careers & Opportunities

Career prospects

Career prospects
Where next?

Now is an exciting time to practice interior architecture and design. Owing to environmental and economic pressures, buildings are frequently being reused rather than rebuilt and interior designers are recognised as having the skills to make a sensitive intervention within an existing building or create entirely new interior spaces.

We have a very high percentage of graduates who are employed within 6 months of graduating and who have careers in:

  • Retail design
  • Workplace design
  • Public sector architecture and design
  • Project Management
  • 3D Visualisation
  • Visual merchandising
  • Part 1 Architectural Assistant
  • Film studio props designer
  • Historic Building Conservation

An example of what one of our graduates has gone on to do:

  • Gensler, Junior Interior Designer – project management and design work for clients

Work experience

Work experience
Employment boosting opportunities

Here at the CCI’s Creative Careers Centre we are committed to improving your employability. Whether it’s placements, self-employed placements, internships, short-term work experiences, freelancing opportunities and volunteering, we will help you find valuable and relevant work experience to complement your degree. The experienced team is always on hand to offer advice on everything from producing high-quality applications through to preparation for a company assessment day.

Career planning

Career planning

To make sure you take the right steps on your career path, we’re here to give you help, support and advice throughout your study. Even after you’ve graduated, we continue to give you support for up to five years.

Employers tell us that they want graduates to be able to demonstrate certain skills when they come out of university. Our courses take account of this. We make sure we prepare you for employment through work-related learning, projects, placements and working in simulated environments that are designed to prepare you for the working world.

Gajan Panchalingam, BA (Hons) Interior Design graduate

I am working for Jack Morton Worldwide as a Junior Designer in Munich. Jack Morton are a brand experience company, for which the exhibits department (for which I work) is one of many. My role includes architectural designing for trade-shows, installations, concept development, storyboarding and visualisation.

Gajan Panchalingam, BA (Hons) Interior Design graduate

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Apply now or visit us

Apply for 2018 entry

To apply, you'll need this course's UCAS code, which is at the top of this page, and the University of Portsmouth institution code – P80.

Apply now

After you apply, we'll invite you to an Applicant Experience Day where you’ll get to speak to lecturers and meet your future classmates.

Open Days for courses starting in 2019

Come to an Open Day and explore our course facilities, tour the campus and have a look around our halls of residence.

Book your Open Day

Admissions terms and conditions

When you accept an offer to study at the University of Portsmouth, you also agree to our terms and conditions as well as the University’s policies, rules and regulations. You should read and consider these before you apply.

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