Student loans (or tuition fee loans) are the most popular way for UK students to study, as they cover the entire cost of their degree. See UK student loans explained.

Who should do this course?

This course is validated and awarded by our partner Staffordshire University, the Certificate will state 'Staffordshire University' and the Graduation ceremony is part of the Staffordshire University Awards Ceremony. The course is delivered by the National Design Academy via part-time online distance learning.

Anyone who is serious about becoming an interior designer or seeking to work in design-related areas and who have relevant qualifications or experience. Mature students with extensive experience in the interior design profession can also receive recognition through this qualification.

Whilst some universities offer these qualifications as full time or part time on campus, you may prefer to fit your studies around family and work rather than the other way around. This also means that you can avoid the huge debt levels faced by todays graduates as you are able to continue to work. If you have to juggle family commitments, full-time or part-time work and want the flexibility offered by studying part-time by distance learning, then this is the course for you.

There are two steps to achieving a BA (Hons) Interior Design through NDA distance learning, and this Foundation Degree is the first of these steps. Once the Foundation Degree (equivalent to years 1 & 2 of a full time BA (Hons) ) has been successfully completed, you may enrol on to the BA (Hons) Interior Design top-up and complete your full degree. Both the Foundation Degree and BA (Hons) Interior Design are validated and awarded by Staffordshire University.

If you don't have the required entry qualifications or experience you may enrol on our access course 'Diploma in Professional Interior Design' which is a Level 3 qualification and gives you all the skills and neccessary entry qualifications required to begin your route to BA (Hons) Interior Design with the NDA.

The National Design Academy is listed within the 'listed bodies' of Recognised UK Degrees, ensuring your qualification is Nationally and Internationally recognised, please CLICK HERE for further information.

For student loan advice and information please visit Student Finance England.

Teaching and Learning

You can enrol at any time! The FdA is studied part-time, by distance learning through our specially created Virtual Learning Studio (VLS) via the internet using your computer.  Here you can access thousands of links to interior design information, mail your tutor direct, meet new friends and keep in touch through the Student Forum.

Everyone is different; most students take between 2-3 years to complete the FdA. However, some students finish the course earlier and some take the maximum study time of 5 years.

Employability & progression

The FdA is equivalent to years 1 & 2 of a BA Honours Degree (similar to a HND). However, the FdA is a separate degree qualification with a full cap and gown graduation ceremony. It is particularly relevant to Interior Design as Foundation Degrees have a practical element and are designed to qualify you to work in the vocational area. Completing this course will really open up the world of interior design.

  • Study route - All students successfully completing the (FdA) are guaranteed a route to the BA Honours Degree. (This will take approximately 12-18 months part-time).
  • Career route - You can become a freelance designer, start your own practice or work as a qualified interior designer within an interior design or architectural practice. Other options include: interiors home staging, window display, show home design, design journalism, exhibition design, lighting design or retail buyer for interior related areas.  

As the BA Honours Degree is studied part-time, you can combine both study and career routes.

Course details

For the Foundation Degree, you will study 8 Modules. Each Module is worth 30 credits, making up the 240 credits required to earn the Foundation Degree in Interior Design (FdA).

Each Module should take approximately three months to complete, although there is some flexibility. If you are able to attend workshops this will help speed your progress.

Module 1 - Research and Contextualisation (#1)

This Module introduces you to the elements of interior design across a range of contexts including Heritage and Retail. You will develop skills to research and reference and use these to explore a range of interior design features.

Module 2 - Space Planning (#2)

This Module develops your design communication, management and drawing techniques. You will examine inspirational examples of best practice from established designers to illustrate the importance of developing your own individual style.

Module 3 - Design in Historical Context

This Module looks at residential interior design through such fascinating influences as Elizabethan, Italian Renaissance, Baroque and many other historical movements and influences which continue to shape the society in which we live.

Module 4 - Creative Lighting & Technology (#3)

Good lighting is fundamental to the success of an interior design scheme. In this Module, discover the enormous range of lighting products, manufacturers and design effects - the tools of any designer. Apply specialist lighting techniques to kitchen design.

Module 5 - Sustainable Design & Technology

Within an interior design scheme, it is often necessary to remove walls, enlarge windows and doors or raise/lower ceilings. This Module will help you to understand the requirements for planning consent. Responsible and sustainable design is an increasingly sector of the interior design market. We look at the differing, sometimes contradictory, approaches to ethical and ecological design.

Module 6 - Home Staging & Show Home Design (#4)

This module looks at the factors affecting the design of residential environments for sale. The module examines the subconscious prompts that encourage purchases and looks at how houses can be re-designed on limited budgets to encourage sales.

Module 7 - Professional Practice

The Module focuses on starting your own interior business and looks at the marketing and management of a professional interior design practice. You will learn how to accurately cost and select products, tender for jobs and produce a business plan with financial forecasts. You will have the opportunity to observe the NDA 'Private Clients' interior design practice.

Module 8 - Furniture & Furnishings

Furniture is often the most visible element of any interior design scheme. Explore the rich history of furniture and furnishings and become familiar with the major international suppliers, designers and manufacturers.  Textiles are also a highly visible component of an interior design scheme. Discover how textiles have been used throughout history both practically and ornamentally.

Interim Exit Awards

#1  Certificate in Continuing Professional Development (CCPD)

#2  University Certificate in Interior Design (UCID)

#3  Certificate in Higher Education (CHE)

#4  University Diploma in Interior Design (UDID)

Essential Equipment

  • Laptop, PC or Mac to access the course online via the VLS
  • Broadband internet connection
  • Internet browser: Internet Explorer 7 (or above) or Firefox
  • Digital camera
  • Drawing pen and pencil
  • Scale rule with 1:10, 1:20 and 1:50 scales (approx £8)
  • Adjustable set-square (approx £16)
  • Pastels, crayons, watercolours, etc.
  • A3 paper
  • A2 drawing board
  • Recommended reading book list

All books, non-electronic equipment & other recommended equipment is available in our online Art Shop at special student prices.


Now you can afford to study for a degree.

Student loans (or tuition fee loans) are the most popular way for NDA students to study as they cover the entire cost of their degree. Loans are not based on income or means tested and most students in England & Wales will qualify. Repayments only start after four years - but if you earn less than £21,000 per year you will not have to repay.

 Student loans explained

Not using a Student Loan?

You can spread the cost and pay tuition fees by monthly instalments at no extra cost or you can pay your fees for each level in full and receive a discount.

UK student fees

£4750 per level*

Paid by monthly instalments

10 × £475

Pay in full today and save £250 per level!


*There are 2 levels for a Foundation Degree
(each level is equivalent to one university year)

International student fees

£5500 per level*

Paid by monthly instalments

6 × £916.66

Pay in full today and save £250 per level!


*There are 2 levels for a Foundation Degree
(each level is equivalent to one university year)

Enrol on this course

More information about this course

Entry requirements

One of the following qualifications is required to study this degree.

If you do not have suitable qualifications – you can study an NDA Level 3 Diploma course.

All successful NDA Diploma students are guaranteed a place on the degree.

  • Level 3 Diploma in Interior Design or Garden Design (AIM Awards, NOCN or equivalent)
  • Level 3 Diploma in Professional Curtain Making and Soft Furnishings AIM Awards, NOCN or equivalent ( 2 interior design Diploma units may be required to attain the correct skills)
  • NVQ Level 3 in Art & Design
  • One A Level in Art, Art & Design, Design Technology or equivalent
  • Successful completion of an Art Foundation Year at College or University
  • An equivalent qualification
  • Portfolio showing suitable experience in the design profession

If unsure, please contact us.


Foundation Degree in Interior Design (FdA) awarded by Staffordshire University


You will not have to take an exam! Your tutor will assess your assignments as you submit them throughout the course and your portfolio is moderated by a Staffordshire University External Examiner. The course assignments are mainly practical and will not involve extensive essay or thesis writing.

Each Module is self-contained, and has its own assessment, it has distinctive educational objectives and clearly defined content.

When can I start?

You can enrol at any time and set your own start date.

Our partners

Boston College
Staffordshire University
Leicester College
European Social Fund in England
AIM Awards
Association of Professional Interior Designers