Contemporary Design for Interiors BA (Hons) (Top Up)

This course is validated by: Lancaster University
Location: University Centre at Blackburn College
UCAS Code: W23Y
Code: IA3550C16
Fees: View fees and financial information
Validated by: Lancaster University
Study Mode: Full Time
Start Dates: september 2019
Term Dates: View term dates

This Contemporary Design for Interiors (Top Up) BA (Hons) course is for those who have studied FdA Contemporary Design for Interiors at University Centre at Blackburn College. It allows you to turn your foundation degree into a full BA (Hons) qualification. The course focuses on Interior Design rather than Interior Decoration - its aim is to develop your architectural awareness and knowledge of space, structure, form and design. It can include aspects of interior space, materials, environmental design, representation, construction and professional practice - set within the creative backdrop of the School of Arts & Society.

Our exciting Contemporary Design for Interiors (Top Up) BA (Hons) course puts the emphasis on finding creative solutions to challenging interior design concepts. You'll build on the experience already gained in the Foundation Degree, but at this higher level will be able to specialise much more in a particular area of interior design - be that renovation, construction, mood boards or the redesign of existing spaces. This final year is your opportunity to practice at a high level in an area that interests you, building on the skills and knowledge that you have acquired throughout your Foundation Degree.

Rather than following a core scheme of work, the course offers a great deal of flexibility. Small course numbers mean that you will be able to choose a particular area of interest, with personal directed support from your tutor. This approach is unique locally. With the support of our highly-qualified team, you'll be able to identify the direction for your own particular career path; this may be art, craft or industry-related and then explore the area relevant to you.

What will I study?

You'll study four modules in order to complete your top-up programme. In the module Creative Business Studies you'll develop further business skills and knowledge in order to function as a professional interior designer and practitioners in a competitive environment. You will be expected to identify your own career goals and personal development as a graduating designer. The module highlights the core themes of Creative Business Initiative setups, entrepreneurship, technological advances in social media and marketing to facilitate integration into an established business environment or to set up your own business. In the Dissertation module you'll have the opportunity to produce a body of written work focussing on an area that really interests you. This will start with the production of an initial dissertation proposal. You'll be encouraged to approach the dissertation in a creative and individual way. It may take the form of a visual notebook with annotations and supplementary text, an extended essay or case study, or may also include video and oral presentations. During the Research Proposal module you'll produce a proposal negotiated with the Course Leader. In preparation for the Final Integrated Assignment, you will be required to plan, negotiate and prepare your final body of work by submitting a written proposal and design brief that is supported by a practical and theoretical design portfolio. This process will help you learn about pitching areas, coming up with creative solutions and researching the direction for your artwork. Towards the end of the course, you'll complete the Final Integrated Assignment, the culmination of your programme. You'll work on design briefs (resulting from the Research and Proposal module). These will be industry-led and may take the form of national competitions, live projects or your own negotiated commissions. You'll then display your artwork in an exhibition context.

All students take a total of 120 credits per level.

Level 6 Modules (all modules are mandatory) include:

  • Academic Dissertation
  • Studio Practice 1
  • Professional Practice
  • Studio Practice 2


Entry Requirements

In order to join this BA (Hons) Contemporary Design for Interiors (Top Up) programme you will need to have successfully completed Contemporary Design for Interiors Foundation Degree FdA.

If you have received less than a Merit grade overall in your Foundation Degree you will be required to attend a guidance interview first to ensure you are fully prepared for the Top Up programme. Additional preparation for study at the Top Up programme may be required.

How will I be assessed?

You'll be assessed by through presentations, portfolio building, assignments/briefs, self-assessment, peer assessment, an assessment of your final exhibition and your dissertation.

Each module is formally assessed through, for example, examination, open-book test, individual and group presentation, essay, observation of practice, assessment of course work e.g. art portfolio, written report, reflective practice and portfolios of evidence.  This formal assessment will count towards your module mark and feedback is usually given within 3 weeks following the submission of your formal submission of work.

Additionally, some lecturers will provide informal feedback, for example, following an examination they may choose to work through the exam paper in a tutorial. It should be noted that feedback is part of the ongoing learning cycle which is not limited to written feedback. Other forms of feedback include one-to-one meetings with a personal tutor, dissertation and project supervision meetings, a lecturer responding to learner questions or responses during topic or situation discussions. 

Feedback is intended to help you learn and you are encouraged to discuss it with your module tutor.

Teaching and Learning

The learning environment and facilities could include lecture theatres, classrooms, technology suites, laboratories and workshops, library and skills labs, art and photography studios, small group and quiet zones. Learning methods will vary according to the programme of study but will include lectures and group tutorials. In addition, seminars, field trips, work placements, role play or scenario activities, laboratory and workshop practical, demonstrations, guest lectures, discussions and debates all contribute to the learning experience to support the acquisition of subject specific skills and knowledge and the development of transferable and employment related skills.

You should typically expect to have around 15 contact hours per week if you are studying full time.

In addition, you will have timetabled meetings with your personal tutor.  

You will be taught by an experienced teaching team whose expertise and knowledge are closely matched to the content of the modules on the course.  The team could include senior academics, professional practitioners with industry experience, demonstrators and technical officers.  You can learn more about our staff by visiting our staff profiles.


We endeavour to make timetables available one month before you start your course.  Please note that while we make every effort to ensure that timetables are as student-friendly as possible, scheduled teaching can take place on any day of the week.  Part-time classes are normally scheduled on one or two days per week. 

Overall Workload

You overall workload consists of class contact hours, around 15 hours of independent learning and assessment activity and any field trips which may take place.

Academic Support

We have a dedicated Student Engagement Team who will be able to provide support in the following areas;

  • Study Skills (including reading, note-taking and presentation skills)
  • Written English
  • Academic Writing (including referencing)
  • Research Skills
What can I do next?

Through first hand engagement with our extensive interior design industry contacts, you'll develop an awareness of this fast changing professional environment and the roles and opportunities that will become available after graduation. Career destinations may include work as an independent interior designer or work with a range of Interior Design companies. You will have the necessary skills to work as an interior designer for a design company or a small consultancy working on projects that can be implemented into retail, office, domestic or leisure spaces. As interior design combines a number of disciplines, there may also opportunities to work in product design, exhibition design or even furniture design and restoration depending on the route that you have chosen to specialise in on your course.

Supplementary Information

Download the Programme Specification for BA (Hons) Contemporary Design for Interiors (Top Up). The Programme Specification will give you further information about the course structure, learning outcomes and detailed information about the assessment you can expect during the course.

Career Options

Fashion Designer

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Fashion designers design clothing and fashion ranges. As a fashion designer, you could work in high fashion or designer ready-to-wear fashion. You could also work in high street fashion. You would often specialise in particular types of clothing - for example in men’s, children’s or sportswear. If you love being creative and you are passionate about fashion, this job could be perfect for you.

To be a fashion designer, you will need to have a good eye for colour and shape. You’ll need skills like pattern cutting and sewing. You’ll also need to able to spot trends.

You will usually need a relevant degree to do this job. A course that teaches both design and technical skills will give you the knowledge you need to work in the industry.

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Dressmakers create made-to-measure clothing such as dresses, skirts, trousers and blouses for their customers. They may specialise in a particular type of clothing like bridal wear. If you are interested in textiles and fashion, are practical and enjoy working with your hands, this job could be ideal for you.

In this job you will need to be able to imagine how a dress will look from the pattern design. You’ll also be using your great communication skills to deal with customers in a polite and tactful way.

There is no set entry route into this job. Courses in dressmaking, fashion and pattern cutting will help you to develop the skills you need. You may be able to get into this job through an Apprenticeship scheme.

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Footwear Designer

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Footwear designers create new designs and sample patterns for men's, women's and children's footwear, as well as sports and work shoes. They use computer design software and traditional drawing skills to create their designs.

If you have a keen interest in fashion, good drawing skills and can spot trends, this career may bring out the best of your creative side.

You'll normally need a higher education qualification like a degree in fashion or footwear design to get into this career. You may also be able to start as a designer's assistant and work your way up.

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Hat Designer Or Milliner

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  • 37-40 hours per week

As a hat designer or milliner you’ll be using your creative skills to design hats. You may create unique hand-made hats or design hats to be mass produced for designer shops or department stores.

You’ll need practical millinery skills and creative flair to produce fashionable designs that will appeal to your customers. Good marketing and promotion skills can be useful, especially if you wish to run your own business.

Many new hat designers have a foundation degree, HND or degree in a relevant subject such as fashion and design. You can also become a hat designer if you have practical millinery skills, a good understanding of the industry and can produce designs that people want to buy.

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Visual Merchandiser

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If you love making things look good and like being creative, this could be perfect for you. Visual merchandisers (also known as window dressers or display assistants) use their design skills to help promote the image, products and services of retail businesses and other organisations. They create eye-catching product displays and store layouts and design to attract customers and encourage them to buy.

To become a visual merchandiser, you would usually either have a background in design or work your way up through the retail industry. You could also gain a higher education qualification in display or merchandising.

A visual merchandiser needs to have a high level of attention to detail. They also need to be able to work to deadlines. The ability to work well as part of a team is also important.

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Retail Buyer

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  • 37-40 hours per week

A retail buyer is responsible for selecting products to be sold in retail outlets. Most buyers specialise in one product type, for example, clothes, homewares or food and drink.

To be a buyer, you’ll need to be able to recognise future trends and work out what people might want. You’ll also need excellent communication skills and ability to work under pressure.

Many people in this job start out as an assistant buyer, then go on to become a trainee buyer or junior buyer. Most buyers have a degree in retail though it’s possible to start without a degree and work your way up.

Job Opportunites in Lancashire

Jewellery Designer-maker

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  • 30-40 hours per week

As a jewellery designer you’ll plan the style and pattern of jewellery, silverware and other decorative products. If you are creative, can work accurately with your hands and would love to work with gemstones, metals and different materials, this job could suit you well.

Drawing and computer design skills will help you to visualise your ideas and share them with your clients and customers. You’ll also need to pay close attention to detail.

There is no fixed entry route to become a jewellery designer – your skills and experience can be more important than qualifications. However, many new jewellery designers have a foundation degree, HND or degree in a subject such as jewellery design.

Job Opportunites in Lancashire