BA (hons) Design for Outdoor Living | National Design Academy

BA (Hons) Design for Outdoor Living

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The BA (Hons) Outdoor Living degree course is the perfect pathway for students who aim to carve out a career as a professional interior designer with a specialist interest in outdoor spaces or alternatively anyone who enjoys expanding their knowledge of the skills and techniques required when looking to design an outdoor area. At NDA 'online flexible learning' means exactly that! Unlike other institutions, at NDA there are no terms or semesters, you can choose your own start date and study at your own pace – not the pace dictated by the institution or other students. At NDA we treat every student as an individual. Find out more.

About the course

The BA (Hons) Interior Design course offers students a more in-depth and professional approach to specific design projects as well as providing the student with an impressive qualification to add to a CV, an essential element when looking to build a career in the design market.

This course is the ideal next step for students that have already successfully completed the Diploma in Professional Interior Design Skills with the National Design Academy, hold a previous qualification in a relevant subject, or alternatively, have relevant industry experience.

This course covers a wide range of modules aimed at shaping the student’s mind set and knowledge base so that they can complete a design project in an accurate, creative and timely manner, whilst also satisfying the exact specifications of their client brief.

The modules for the full BA honours degree will cover a variety of core topics, whilst also offering students the opportunity to focus on a specific element of design such as hotel design or exhibition design.

Teaching and learning

This BA (Hons) degree is studied part-time, flexibly online through our specially created Virtual Learning Studio (VLS) via the internet using your computer. Here you can access numerous links to interior design information, and you can contact your personal tutor direct. The course is designed to fit around your work & home life. You will receive informative and timely feedback on your assignments from your personal Tutor; you will not have to take an examination. You can telephone the NDA Helpline at any time (Monday - Friday 9.00.a.m. - 5.00.p.m.) to receive an instant answer to your question from a member of our Tutor Team. You can make new friends and keep in touch with other students and alumni and share ideas and see examples of other students work, through our lively Student Forum.

The majority of NDA students will complete their BA (Hons) Degree online in just 3 years, others may take a little longer and a few may need the maximum study time of 8 years. Find out more

Employability & progression

Further education

Following the successful completion of the full BA (Hons) degree, many students opt to further enhance their CVs and knowledge of the interior design market by completing the MA Interior Design course with the National Design Academy. This qualification will help to add further value to a student’s CV whilst continually building on the skill set and knowledge of the design market as a whole.

Many students also opt to enrol on to an alternative diploma level course such as the Diploma in Garden Design or the Diploma in Curtain Making & Soft Furnishings. These additional qualifications on a CV will allow students to demonstrate that they have a broad knowledge of the design market and will aid their credibility in the market when pitching to clients.


The BA (Hons) Interior Design course offers students the opportunity to promote themselves to clients and employers as a professional interior designer with proven academic knowledge of the design world.

The interior design market is increasingly growing year on year and the demand for high quality interior designers is on the rise. Consequently, many of our degree level graduates will go on to work in high-end interior design practices, work on a freelance basis or alternatively set up their own design business.

Take a look through some of our case studies from past BA (Hons) Design for Outdoor Living students and see how they found the course.

No upfront fees

(If you are not a previous NDA student do not apply for Student Finance until you have been approved to join)

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 will qualify. Repayments only start after four years - but if you earn less than £21,000 per year you will not have to repay.

PLEASE NOTE: When paying by Student Loan, you are required to apply for the instalment fee amount not the full fee

Student loans explained

Not using a student loan?

You can spread the cost and pay tuition fees by monthly instalments at no extra cost.


100% Overall Satisfaction - NSS

Why choose the BA (Hons) Design for Outdoor Living course?

The NDA offers a unique and flexible way to achieve BA (Hons) degree.

  1. Students enrol and complete the Foundation of Arts (FdA) Interior Design degree (Levels 4 & 5 - equivalent to years 1 & 2 at university)
  2. Students then complete the BA (Hons) Interior Design Top Up degree course (Level 6 – equivalent to year 3 at university).

Studying for a BA (Hons) degree via the FdA route provides students with more options

  1. Students can transfer onto an alternative BA (Hons) *
  2. Students who need to exit their course early at the end of level 4 will still receive the university Certificate in Interior Design
  3. Students who need to exit their course early at the end of level 5, will be awarded a Foundation of Arts (FdA) in Interior Design degree instead of failing their BA (Hons) degree
  4. Students can ‘take a break’ before starting their final year
  5. Students may complete their BA (Hons) degree at a future date by direct entry onto the final year top up degree course

This successful NDA route to a full BA (Hons) degree doesn’t take any longer, tuition fees are the same, but it offers students many more options and flexibility than a typical route to BA (Hons) degree course.

* additional modules may be required

Level 4

Equivalent to university year 1


  1. Research and Contextualisation

    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.

  2. Space Planning

    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.

  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 which continue to shape the society in which we live.

  4. Creative Lighting & Technology

    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. 

Exit award

Certificate in Higher Education Interior Design
(The qualification you will achieve should you leave before degree completion)

Level 5

Equivalent to university year 2


  1. 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.

  2. Home Staging & Show Home Design

    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.

  3. 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. 

  4. 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.

Exit award

Foundation Degree in Interior Design
(The qualification you will achieve should you leave before degree completion)

Level 6

Equivalent to university year 3


  1. Design Technology and Materials

    Within this Module you will look at the principles that define outdoor living and transitional outdoor spaces with particular reference to materials and hard landscaping. The Module will commence with an overview or garden design and landscape architecture and an indication of current trends.

  2. Plants and Planting for Outdoor Living Space

    Planting design is the art of composing plants to create a design and within this Module you will learn how to create effective designs for an outdoor living space using planting in raised beds, containers and habit other defined areas.

  3. Independent Study

    This Module is a double-length Module (60 credits) which will be based upon clear proposals with specific criteria. The subject area for assessment will be established in discussion with your tutor in addition to fulfilling criteria set down by Staffordshire University and the National Design Academy. Within the course of the Independent Special Study Project you will be expected to develop innovative ideas in response to a clearly defined brief appropriate to design for outdoor living.

Final qualification

BA (Hons) Design for Outdoor Living
(The qualification you will achieve upon completion of the course)

Discover more about this course

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