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The basics
Study abroad : Subject Guides

Why study interior design?

Use this guide to find out more about studying interior design at university and what you can expect from this degree.

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Are you creative, imaginative, and business-minded? If so, a degree in interior design might just be the perfect route for you. Or, if you’re not sure you’ve got the right skills at this stage, gaining a degree will equip you with the necessary knowledge you need for a successful career in interior design. In this guide, we explore what you can expect from an interior design degree and why it is a worthwhile investment.


What is interior design?


Interior design is often defined as the art and science of improving a space and making it more comfortable and aesthetically pleasing for the people within it. Interior designers possess a wide range of technical skills in addition to lots of creative flair. As an interior designer, you can expect to work with architects, homeowners, engineers, and even furniture dealers. 


Where can I study interior design?


You can study interior design in many parts of the world, with some universities having greater recognition for the subject than others, as is the case with all degrees. To become a qualified interior designer, you can choose to study for an undergraduate degree in interior design, usually accredited as a Bachelor of Arts (BA). Alternatively, you can choose a foundation degree or diploma. However, a degree is generally sought after by employergbps.


Want to study an interior design course in the UK?



Check out the following universities offering interior design courses in Canada:



What will I study during an interior design degree?


When comparing universities and programmes, it's important to consider the course modules offered by each institution as these can differ widely depending on the subject. On an interior design course, you can expect to cover the following topics at either undergraduate or postgraduate level:


  • Methods and processes in interior design
  • Design contexts
  • Public interior
  • Spatial design development
  • Design details
  • Design and technology
  • Visual communication
  • Creative analysis
  • Project management
  • Interior histories
  • Technology and sustainability


During this degree, you will develop skills in:


  • Drawing and sketching
  • Graphic design
  • Modelling 
  • Project planning
  • Attention to detail
  • IT competency
  • Creativity and imagination
  • Problem-solving
  • Effective communication
  • Visualization
  • Managing costs 


How long is an interior design degree?


Interior design courses generally take three to four years to complete. However, this depends on several factors including the university, country and whether you elect to do an exchange or placement year. You might also be able to choose to study the course on a part-time basis, but this will of course take a longer period to receive the qualification. 


If at the end of your undergraduate degree you find that you want to further your interests in interior design, you could choose to study the subject at the postgraduate level. 


This may be particularly suitable for students who studied a different subject at the undergraduate level but still wish to become an interior designer. You will need to have studied a relevant undergraduate subject or you may be eligible for a place if you can demonstrate evidence of work experience and an impressive portfolio. 


Find a postgraduate interior design degree now.


Entry requirements for interior design


At the undergraduate level, most interior design programmes will require students to study creative subjects in the arts and/or social sciences during high school. As with most degree-level subjects, you will need to have sufficient grades in English and maths to be considered. Specific entry requirements vary widely so refer to university websites for these details. 


You may also be required to present a portfolio either in an interview setting or via email depending on the university’s expectations. You will need to convey your passion for the subject and your future ambitions within the field. 


At the postgraduate level, you will stand a better chance of securing a place if you have a 2:1 or 1st class degree. As with undergraduate courses, you need to show a portfolio of your best work as part of your application. 


Don’t miss our guide on making the move from undergraduate to postgraduate study.


English language requirements


If you choose to study abroad, you will be considered an international student. As English is the predominant language of teaching in higher education, you will need to demonstrate your proficiency. This can be achieved by taking an English language test (IELTS/TOEFL) and hitting the necessary scores according to what is set out by the university. 


Want to find out more about what to include in your university application as an international applicant?


Check out the following universities for interior design courses in Australia:



What to do after an interior design degree?


An interior design degree would qualify you to work not only as an interior designer but also as an exhibition designer, stylist, textile designer, furniture designer, visual merchandiser and so on. The skills of an interior designer are highly valuable, and you can expect to be hired by:


  • Construction and architectural companies
  • Interior design agencies
  • Theatre
  • Film
  • TV


In the UK, 43 per cent of interior design graduates find employment within interior decoration design 15 months after graduating. Overall, 73.4 per cent were employed and 8.3 per cent were in further study (Prospects 2019). Interestingly, 5.8 per cent of interior design graduates were employed within the engineering and building sectors. So, you can see that this degree opens many doors with opportunities to work across a range of industries. 


What do interior designers earn?


Interior designers with minimal experience can earn a salary of GBP 18,000 to GBP 23,000. However, with experience, you can earn GBP 25,000 to GBP 40,000 per year. Once you have been in the industry for long enough, you can earn between GBP 45,000 to GBP 75,000. A lot of this depends on the contacts you make and your reputation, particularly if you choose to work as a freelancer. Where you choose to work will also impact your salary. 


If you’ve made it this far, you should now have a greater understanding of what to expect from interior design at university and why you should pursue it.


Next steps:


Check out our course matcher tool to find a programme and university tailored to your grades and preferences. Remember to stay up to date with our international student news section.


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