BA (hons) Retail Design | National Design Academy

BA (Hons) Retail Design

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The BA (Hons) Degree in Retail Design is the ideal course for those wishing to pursue a career as a professional interior designer with a keen interest in retail design or alternatively anyone seeking to expand their knowledge and skill set of the interior design retail market. 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) in Retail Design course offers students the opportunity to specialise and focus on, their main area of interest; designing for the retail sector. This course offers students a more in-depth and professional approach to specific design projects with an emphasis on retail design. Not only will this course allow students to possess the unique and highly sought after skills of a retail designer, but will also provide them with a fully accredited BA (Hons) degree qualification to add to their CV, an essential element in such a competitive and growing market.

This course is the perfect academic progression for students who have already successfully completed the Diploma in Professional Interior Design Skills with the National Design Academy, a previous qualification in a relevant subject or alternatively substantial industry experience. It will allow students to build on their existing knowledge of interior design whilst specialising in retail.

This course covers a wide range of modules aimed at guiding students through the required processes in order to ensure that their design projects exactly match the specifications of a client brief. The modules for the full BA (Hons) Retail Design course will cover a variety of core topics, whilst also providing students with a solid background in business advice and practice, invaluable skills when looking to set up a business in the design market.

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) Retail Design course, 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 add further weight 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 Skills or the Diploma in Skills for Curtain Making and Soft Furnishings. These additional qualifications on a CV will allow students to prove 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) Retail Design course offers students the opportunity to promote themselves to clients and employers as a professional interior designer with a specialist knowledge of the retail space with proven academic knowledge of the design world.

Many of our students will go on to be employed in a design-based company, where they hold a specialist retail designer role. Alternatively, we have many students who have set up their own interior design practices that focus on the retail design market or alternatively those who choose to work on a freelance basis.

Take a look through some of our case studies from past BA (Hons) Retail Design 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) Retail Design 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) Retail 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 Skills & Contextualisation

    This Module includes an introduction to interior design, beginning with a guide to the history of interior design from the ancient world to the present day. This will also introduce you to the research skills you will need for the remainder of your degree course to help you to locate and obtain more information for each subject.

  2. Space Planning

    This Module investigates the way that interior space may be organised according to a particular set of requirements. These requirements vary according to the designated function of an interior. Whether a space is intended for residential or commercial use, appropriate space planning ensures that a space is used efficiently, comfortably and safely.

  3. The Customer Experience

    The development of retail environments and their expansion into the provision of a distinct retail experience is one of the most dynamic and exciting products of our culture. You will look at the methods used by retailers and retail designers to develop customer relationships and conclude the Module with a study of best practice and innovation within retail design and the significant effect that retailing has had on architecture and interior design.

  4. Branding

    Customer loyalty is vital to a successful retail business and branding is the single most important element in ensuring that loyalty. Branding is also directly responsible for the positioning of a product or company within the marketplace, directly impacting on the perception of quality, ethics and value. You will investigate the principles and components of brand development and how these findings directly affect the customer relationship.

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. Visual Communication & Merchandising

    Visual communication and merchandising are integral parts of the marketing process within a retail environment and are essential to the successful presentation of products or businesses to a retailer's customer base. Within this Module you will look at how these two interrelated aspects of retail design work together to attract customers into a store and direct them to particular areas of products.

  2. Sustainable Design & Technology

    Responsible and sustainable design is an increasingly important sector of the interior design market. You will be introduced to the choice of sustainable materials and construction methods used within interior design and their impact upon the aesthetic outcomes of a particular scheme designated as sustainable as well as acquiring foundation level understanding of the relevant Building Regulations and other relevant regulatory.

  3. Professional Practice

    This module focuses on starting your own business in interior design and explains the structure of a professional design practice. You will cover the business side of Professional Practice. This will include everything from day to day operations to how to accurately produce a financial forecast and prepare a thorough three-year business plan with cash flow projections and designated budgets.

  4. Final Project

    Within this Module you are encouraged to evidence your creativity through the research, development and completion of a specific major interior design project.

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. Retail Space in a Wider Context

    Within this Module you will look at specific factors which influence the design of those retail environments which are, in turn, located within other environments. Such locations may include; Hotel lobbies, Museums and art galleries, Exhibition venues and visitor centres, Railway station concourses, Airport lounges and concourses.


  1. Exhibition Design

    You will examine a broad variety of exhibition types; trade event stalls, gallery exhibitions and museum displays. The requirement of different types of clients will also be investigated. The Module builds on your knowledge and understanding and introduces you to the development of interpretation and management within the built environment including local and overall atmospheric conditions, sound and light levels.

  2. Research Project

    You will be considering your previous retail design experience and skills acquisition in order to plan a major project or dissertation that progresses your aspirations for your career development. You will research associated areas and evaluate the opportunities for generating original and innovative ideas within an area of Retail Design. It is envisaged that this project or dissertation will inform your Retail Design Independent Special Study Project.

  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 retail design.

Final qualification

BA (Hons) Retail Design
(The qualification you will achieve upon completion of the course)

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