Foundation Degree Retail Design | National Design Academy

Foundation Degree in Retail Design

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The Foundation Degree in Retail Design offers students the perfect introduction into the world of interior design with a specialist focus on the retail arena. 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 study methods.

About the 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.

Studying the Foundation Degree (FdA) in Retail Design, you will gain the knowledge and understanding to work in the commercial market to develop innovative and creative designs to encourage customers to experience different shopping concepts. This is the only UK FdA in Retail Design.

For many students, family commitments, employment or lack of relevant qualifications makes attending university impossible. Whilst some universities offer 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.

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) 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 visit the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS) website for further information

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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 Retail 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.

Further education

All students successfully completing the (FdA) are guaranteed a place on the BA Honours Degree. (This will take a minimum of 24 months part-time).


You can become a freelance designer, work in a range of industries as a qualified interior designer, within an interior design practice specialising in retail design, or work in-house for a retail company.

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

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.

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Foundation Degree in Retail Design course content

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)

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