Architectural student modelling a building

Design meaningful and purposeful spaces, and develop creative skills that are highly valued by employers

Urbanism, landscape, sustainability and culture. With a BA (Hons) Interior Architecture degree, you’ll influence the world around you to shape cities, communities and the way people live.

Nigel Simkins, Course Leader for Interior Architecture and Design at the University of Portsmouth, explains what an Interior Architecture degree is and why it’s an exciting long-term career path.

What is an Interior Architecture degree?

If you can imagine it, you can create it. An Interior Architecture degree is a hands-on course that focuses on the design of interior spaces.

Bridging the visuals of Interior Design and the built environment of Architecture, you’ll fuse all kinds of thinking and making to create places that are imaginative, inclusive and purposeful. On your course you’ll immerse yourself in vibrant and collaborative studios to practice skills like drawing, model-making, multimedia and computer visualisation, re-imagining spaces for different contexts and experiences.

An Interior Architecture degree will also prepare you for jobs in the industry. The core of your learning will be designing projects for clients that are both conceptual and practical. Understand client needs and apply your skills in lively design studios, similar to what you’ll experience in your career. At our Architecture Project Office, you’ll take real client briefs to develop concepts, designs and project timelines.

You could do a placement year to get invaluable work experience. Our students have worked as Interior and Architectural Designers, Assistant Concept Designers and Design Managers in companies like L’Oréal, Waitrose & Partners and Morgan Sindall.

Interior Architecture Design student smiling

I have always had a passion for art and wanted to pursue a degree so that I could translate what I love into a practical career. Interior Architecture allows you to be creative and hands-on with materials, whilst developing the knowledge to become a purposeful designer.

Jessica Burton, BA (Hons) Interior Architecture and Design

What exactly does an Interior Architect do?

As an Interior Architect, you’ll design interiors and spaces. That includes everything from psychology and social conditions, to sustainability, material design, sound and light. You’ll be blending art and science to create beauty and practicality.

More than just making things aesthetically pleasing, you'll interpret environmental conditions and create solutions to make the world a better place to live and work in.

Why study an Interior Architecture degree?

Work anywhere

An Interior Architecture design degree gives you the skills to work in any company that creates living and working spaces for people. That could be for an architectural construction company, exhibition and event management centres and in the artistic world of theatre, TV and film. You could either work in-house for consultancies that provide services to a range of clients, or on a freelance basis.

Whatever industry you choose, you’ll use the skills from your Interior Architecture degree, to take inspiration from art, science and sociology, then transform your creative ideas into real, tangible interiors.

Build greener spaces

The built environment accounts for around 40% of the UK’s carbon emissions, according to the UK Green Building Council. But the global green building industry also has the potential to cut energy usage by 50% or more by 2050.

Architects are taking centre stage in the push for sustainable living. So, an Interior Architecture degree will prepare you to help tackle climate change, as you become a pioneer of sustainability.

You’ll consider waste, maximise urban greenery and maybe even lobby for change. You’ll use approaches like reversible design, to make buildings easier to deconstruct in an eco-friendly way. Or non-extractive architecture, to find alternative resources for things like sand, water, stone and steel. Or even rewilding, to make nature the centre of your design.

"Architects are addressing the impact of the built environment on the planet through grassroots initiatives such as climate action groups, in which they raise awareness and share knowledge about climate change."

Dezeen, 2021

Develop skills valued by employers

An Interior Architecture degree will help you thrive as a professional. Gain workplace skills like project management, client management, and specialist techniques, such as drawing, visualisation and concept development.

These transferable skills are highly valued by employers, as they combine theory and principles that underpin the construction of space. Projects on your course will involve working around real issues on real sites, preparing you for the workplace.

There is outstanding graduate employability for Interior Architecture Designers in the field, with an average earning potential of £34,098 in the UK, according to Glassdoor  – over £7,500 above the national average.

Nigel Simpkins is the Course Leader for Interior Architecture Design in the School of Architecture at the University of Portsmouth. An expert design educator and experienced practitioner, Nigel is developing research on the Body and the Interior that continues to inform his approach to understanding and teaching about the interior.