Contemporary Design for Interiors Foundation Degree FdA

This course is validated by: Lancaster University
Location: University Centre at Blackburn College
UCAS Code: W250
Code: IA2540C16
Fees: View fees and financial information
Validated by: Lancaster University
Study Mode: Full Time, Part Time
Duration: Full time: 2 academic years
Part time: 4 academic years
Start Dates: september 2019
Term Dates: View term dates

If you want to be a successful interior designer you will also need a sound business head on creative shoulders. You will need to be able to develop a design that meets a client's brief -& within their budget - and see it realised. So, as well as drawing sketches and thinking about material and fittings, you have to calculate costs, recommend people to carry out the work and supervise its progress. You will study modules such as: Materials Techniques: Image and Colour, 3D Construction & Visualisation, Business Skills, Advanced CAD and Visualisation for Interiors, Regulation Framework for Interiors and more. Our Contemporary Design for Interiors (FdA) course helps you do all this and more.

This course should to appeal to you if you need to fit studying around other commitments or if you are looking to take your first step into higher education after a gap of study.

If you want to be a successful interior designer you will also need a sound business head on creative shoulders. You will need to be able to develop a design that meets a client's brief - within their budget - and see it realised. So, as well as drawing sketches and thinking about material and fittings, you have to calculate costs, recommend people to carry out the work and supervise its progress.

What will I study?

You'll study all the modules that form part of a foundation degree such as Personal Development Planning, Work-Based Learning and core Business Skills. You'll also then specialise in your chosen area of Interior Design.

You might sometimes produce design solutions to live project briefs commissioned by interior design companies. You also have the opportunity to develop your own ideas. The Business Skills module recognises that there is a real need for graduates with skills in business and an understanding of how businesses operate. If you leave and decide to embark on an independent career, this module will ensure you have an excellent grasp of how to promote yourself and thrive as a new business.

Work-Based Learning is integrated into the course.  In the past, companies such as Graham and Brown, the major UK Wallpaper manufacturer, have provided work-based learning placements in their design departments. Previous students have also worked in local design companies in various roles. Whatever your work-based learning choice, you can be sure that you will not only gain experience in a specific area but also learn about the bigger systems that operate within a large international company.

Work Placement

During the course you are required to spend at least 240 hours working in a relevant role in order to improve your knowledge and practice of the subject. This may be through paid employment or via a voluntary work placement in a relevant role. Your work placement is expected to have a focus on applying the knowledge from your degree programme in an employment context.

Please note: work placements are subject to availability.  You are also responsible for any costs in travelling to and from your work placements, for any accommodation costs and in some instances the cost of acquiring a satisfactory Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) report.

All students take a total of 120 credits per level.

Level 4 Modules (all modules are mandatory) include:

  • Contextual Studies
  • Processes and Practices
  • Drawing: Visual Enquiry
  • Surface Innovation
  • Construction and Visualisation – Design for Interiors

Level 5 Modules (all modules are mandatory) include:

  • Critical Studies
  • Experimental Research
  • Creative Futures
  • Refining Studio Practice
  • Materials and Techniques- Design for Interiors


Entry Requirements

You’ll need 48 UCAS points to join this programme (formerly 120 UCAS points).

All applicants must show that they have a good level of spoken or written English, and if English is not your first language you’ll need to demonstrate the ability to study in English.

Applicants who do not meet the standard entry criteria but have relevant work / life experience will be considered on an individual basis and may be invited to interview.

In addition, for this programme, you will be required to have a GCSE (or equivalent qualification) at grade 4 (grade C) or above in Maths and English. 


How will I be assessed?

You'll be assessed by essays, assignments/briefs, presentations, portfolio building as well as an assessment of your final studio exhibition.

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?

There are excellent and diverse career opportunities available in this sector from interior designer agency positions to working as an independent designer. The Interior Design industry is wide ranging and the course caters for different areas within this industry. Many graduates however choose to top-up their degrees to a full BA (Hons) Contemporary Design for Interiors through studying an additional year at University Centre at Blackburn College. You will need a commendation in your Foundation Degree in order to progress to this level.

Supplementary Information

Download the Programme Specification for FdA Contemporary Design for Interiors. 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.

Work Placement

Work placements are subject to availability.  You are also responsible for any costs in travelling to and from your work placements, for any accommodation costs and in some instances the cost of acquiring a satisfactory Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) report.


Career Options

Interior Designer

  • £
    + starting salary
  • Variable hours per week

If you love design and decorating, this job could be perfect for you.

A good interior designer has creativity and practical skills. They need to be a good communicator and have excellent organisational skills.

Interior designers plan and supervise the design and decoration of the inside of buildings. This can include private homes and buildings such as offices, hotels, restaurants and shops.

To be an interior designer you will need a high level of design skill, which means you usually need to have completed an art- or design-related foundation degree, HND or degree.

Job Opportunites in Lancashire

CAD Technician

  • £
    + starting salary
  • 35-40 hours per week

Computer aided design (CAD) technicians use software to create design plans for buildings and machinery. You could work in a wide range of industries, such as engineering, construction and manufacturing. If you are interested in industrial design and enjoy using software, this job could be just right for you.

To be a CAD technician, you will need to have good maths and IT skills. You will need to understand how things are made and built. You must also be a creative person.

You could become a CAD technician by starting as an apprentice with an engineering, manufacturing or construction firm. You could also train in CAD by taking a college course while looking for work.

Job Opportunites in Lancashire

Exhibition Designer

  • £
    + starting salary
  • 30-40 hours per week

If you have creative flair, lots of ideas and can visualise how exhibition plans might look, this could be the perfect job for you.

Exhibition designers work with organisations and individuals to turn their ideas into engaging displays that tie in with an overall theme or promote products in their best light. They use a combination of graphics, props, multimedia, lighting and sound to make the most of the exhibition space.

For this job, you will need to have excellent design skills, be a good communicator and the ability to work under pressure to tight deadlines. You will also need a relevant qualification at HND or degree level, although you may be able to start as an assistant and work your way up.

Job Opportunites in Lancashire

Set Designer

  • £
    + starting salary
  • Variable hours per week

Set designers create the overall look of a theatre, television or film production. In the film and TV industry they are often known as production designers and in the theatre as stage designers. If you are good at drawing and model making, and you want to work in film, TV or theatre, this job could be perfect for you.

You’ll need to be creative and imaginative. You’ll also need to be good at communicating with people, have good organisational skills and work well under pressure.

Many new set designers have an HND or degree in an art related subject like theatre design. You may also be able to get into this job without a degree if you have a high level of design skill and creative vision. A Creative and Digital Media apprenticeship can also offer you a route into this job.

Job Opportunites in Lancashire

Prop Maker

  • £
    + starting salary
  • Variable hours per week

As a prop maker, it would be your job to create realistic-looking objects for use in theatre, film and television. If you would like to work in one of these areas, and you have both practical and creative skills, this could be the job for you.

In this job you would need to be good at solving problems. You would also need to have a high level of attention to detail.

To get into this job, your talent and skills are more important than your formal qualifications. However, there are college and university courses in subjects like prop making, which could help you develop the skills you would need for this job. This is a job for which getting practical experience is very important. You could get this by entering as an assistant, working on a placement or by volunteering.

Job Opportunites in Lancashire


  • £
    + starting salary
  • 39 hours per week

As an upholsterer you would add padding and soft covers to furniture. You would work with textiles, design and colour to cover or re-cover items with materials such as leather, suede or cotton. If you enjoy practical, hands on work and have an interest in style and design, there could be opportunities for you in upholstery.

An eye for detail and the ability to work accurately will help you to measure materials and cut them to the right size. You’ll also need to be patient and persevere to make sure your furniture is finished to a high standard.

There is no fixed entry route to become an upholsterer. Employers look for upholstery skills and industry experience. You can work towards qualifications before you look for work. There may also be opportunities to get into this work through an Apprenticeship or by looking for work as a trainee upholsterer.

Job Opportunites in Lancashire