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Students and tutors are gathered at tables in a white studio with images on the walls. They are working on laptop and in sketchbooks. Some are using a cutting map. Image: Joseph Wilson

Interior Design - BA (Hons)

BA (Hons)


4 years
Study abroad


Interior Designers come from all walks of life but share a passion for people and places, with a desire to enhance both the lives of the user and wider society.  

The experience of interior space, and its inhabitation by people can be considered as both the primary driver and the ultimate test of successful building design. When buildings change from the inside out, they reflect both societal change and personal values, as the external envelope becomes subservient to the inhabited room and the activities it contains.

When we adapt, conserve, re-use and re-appropriate existing buildings, Interior Designers delicately balance a need to preserve, with the desire to renew, navigating the blurred boundaries between real and artifice, place and time, from room to city.

Our programme here at Edinburgh will introduce you to the study of Interior Design in our dedicated studio space. Experienced permanent staff are joined by visiting industry experts who will support and challenge you to create innovative and ambitious design responses. 

Learning facilitates experimentation, risk taking, and exploration of and around the subject. Students are encouraged to bring their own themes and agendas to the table, and to share and learn from our combined diversity.

A variety of design projects, offer students experience across many sectors including retail, hospitality, exhibition, and the public realm, each embedded with a focus on human activity and user experience. We consider the moral obligations of the designer, through multiple lenses of accessibility, inclusivity, introducing statutory legislation and technical requirements, alongside debate and consideration of environmental impact.

Your design education at ECA will include dedicated studies in material selection, interior construction detailing and lighting design; zooming in to focus at small scale on surfaces, finishes and junctions. We encourage thinking through making, and a hands-on approach, to enhance our understanding of how things go together. This explicit focus on the fabric of the built interior equips our students with specialist technical knowledge and enhanced professional skills, articulated through critical and reflective discourse, providing a platform for further intellectual debate.


A Degree in Interior Design provides opportunities not only in Interior Design practice, but also in the broader associated fields of lighting, architectural design, exhibition, brand, experiential and interactive experiences, and environments.  

Our programme includes focus on both the specialist professional skills of the Designer, alongside key transferable skills desirable in many allied disciplines and beyond.  

We have a proven track record of employability with former students taking on influential roles in Design studios around the world.  

In recent years, other career destinations include - Film and TV, Computer game design as well as theatre set design. Many of our graduates also opt to continue into Postgraduate Design education and teaching.

Why you should choose this programme


Interior Design is a well-established profession within the creative industries. At Edinburgh we have a proven track record in developing highly employable graduates, with alumni taking on influential roles in Design practice around the world.


Our studio-based learning environment offers a supportive inclusive environment where staff and students collaborate, building a community around shared interests and practice. It is the place where ideas develop, evolve, and are tested, replicating a professional design studio.


Courses and projects respond to emergent design agendas covering a variety of themes related to equality and diversity, accessibility, the environment, material understanding and future technologies.


As part of the wider university, unique opportunities exist to diversify and access incredible facilities. In your final honours’ year, your major project will reflect your own personal interests and design practice.


In year 3 students can opt to study abroad or take part in a work-placement. Academic staff and visiting industry tutors provide an extensive creative network of expertise. We host a range of events and presentations throughout the year and participate in UK competitions and exhibitions.

Widening Participation

ECA works with the University of Edinburgh Widening Participation (WP) team.

Widening Participation for undergraduates at the University of Edinburgh

Find out about Access to Creative Education in Scotland (ACES), a Widening Participation programme for eligible S4 to S6 students at state secondary schools in the south-east of Scotland.

ACES website

How to apply and entry requirements

If you'd like to study on an undergraduate programme at Edinburgh College of Art, you must apply through UCAS. You can find out how to do this on the University of Edinburgh website, where you'll also be able to: 

  • See the structure of the programme and what you will study each year
  • See detailed entrance requirements for each programme on the Degree Finder
  • Get information on what to expect after you apply
  • Find out about fees
  • Find out where to go for further advice and guidance.

Application process

The portfolio guidance listed below is for 2024 entry. Portfolio guidance for 2025 entry will be updated by September 2024. 

As part of your application, you are required to submit a digital portfolio as evidence of your artistic ability and potential. You should begin to plan your portfolio as soon as you decide to apply. 

Please ensure you allow time for the technical aspects of your portfolio submission such as preparing a template, scanning any drawings and leave sufficient time for upload. Photograph everything carefully, double check for contrast and legibility. When photographing any work consider the background carefully and ensure it is not distracting. Well photographed sketchbook pages can really demonstrate your thinking!  

Assessors are interested in how you have decided to put your portfolio together so your portfolio should be carefully planned and well presented. Add a brief line of text to each page, describing what the page shows and why you have included it.  

You will be judged on your ability to edit work, so be selective and strategic within your page allocations. Aim to show design ambition and outcomes but also your process. 

Portfolios are assessed anonymously by staff within the Interior Design programme. We are looking at four key areas for success: 

Visual research and enquiry:

What have you tried, tested, and explored, why? Have you used any interesting and creative materials/light/colour in your work? 

Idea development:

Show a project that includes design iteration, each stage of your process, tell us what changes you made and why? 

Selection and resolution:

Can you make appropriate design decisions? Show the final outcome of at least one design project (3D/spatial). Ensure it is not only resolved well but presented at its best. 

Contextual awareness:

Show us what current themes interest you and who inspires you in the field of Design - Interior Designers /Architects, graphic< textile, set, exhibition or furniture designers, films etc. 

Please try to include:

  • A design project, either 3D or spatial, from beginning concept and research to end resolution. 
  • A project that engages with people, other than yourself, and communicates the environment and atmosphere you have created to suit their needs. 
  • Hand drawings of spaces and places, preferably drawn in-situ, in a variety of interior environments in colour and/or black/white. e.g., café, gallery, library 
  • Include photographs of any paper models/maquettes/material studies that consider texture/colour/light/spatial options and/or idea development. Show us that you have explored the unfamiliar! 
  • Finally, provide a page with your design and designer influences and some notes on your selections noting why you chose them.

Get in touch

College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences Undergraduate Admissions Office
+44 (0)131 650 3565

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