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Equipment & Resources

What Will You Need To Study?

The equipment and resources you require may differ dependent on the level and subject that you study

Computer & Software

All NDA Diploma and Degree courses require access to a computer with an active internet connection in order to use the interactive learning resources on the Virtual Learning Studio (VLS).

This can be either a Windows or Mac OS X based machine.

N.B. In-Studio Diploma students will require access to a portable laptop computer for In-Studio sessions.

Computer Specifications

Operating System

Windows 7 (minimum); Windows 10 and above (recommended), Mac OS X 10.10 (minimum); macOS 10.13 (recommended)


64-bit Intel CPU (Intel Core Duo CPU, 2 GHz or faster recommended)


4 GB (minimum); 8 GB (recommended)

Hard Drive

12 GB free space (not including software installation)

Screen Resolution

1024 x 768 or greater


Latest versions of: Microsoft Edge, Google Chrome (recommended for VLS use), Firefox, Safari (macOS).

Software Suggestions

Diploma Students

An office package, such as MS Office or OpenOffice; which includes a word processor, a spreadsheet application and a presentation application (e.g., Word, Excel and PowerPoint).

Please Note: Diploma courses teach manual drafting techniques, therefore CAD software such as AutoCAD is not required to complete your course. AutoCAD is however, still free to access for all NDA students*.

Degree Students

A graphical editing application, such as Adobe Photoshop. A computer aided design application, such as SketchUp (free), AutoCAD (Free to all NDA students*) or VectorWorks.

Please visit the official software websites below for full minimum system requirements;

* As an active NDA student you will have access to an education version of AutoCAD provided by Autodesk with a maximum licence period of 1 year (Renewable for every year of study). When you complete your enrolment you will be provided with a confirmation of study letter that includes the date you started studying with NDA. Please be aware that AutoCAD is supplied by Autodesk, therefore licensing and download specifications are out of our control. However, if you are having problems accessing the software, please see the downloading guide available to all students in the VLS resources.

Design Equipment & Materials

In addition to your online study and use of computer software, students may/will also be required to complete work by hand. Please see below a list of recommended design equipment, materials and resources  for each NDA course subject.

The majority of recommended items are available to purchase online as a ‘kit’ from the NDA Art Shop, at student prices.

Interior Design

Recommended (to complete work by hand)

Optional (recommended for a professional finish)

All Recommended and Optional items are included in NDA’s Interior Design Kits available to purchase from the NDA Art Shop.

Soft Furnishings & Curtain Making

Essential (to complete your course)

Optional (recommended for a professional finish)

Fabric Requirements

Please view/download the Online & In-Studio Course Fabric Requirement List. This outlines the fabric and equipment needed for each Unit of your Professional Diploma in Soft Furnishings & Curtain Making.
Essential and Optional items (excluding sewing machines) are included in either the Essential Soft Furnishings Course Kit or Complete Professional Soft Furnishings Kit available to purchase online in the NDA Art Shop.

Garden Design

Recommended (to complete work by hand)

Optional (recommended for a professional finish)

All Recommended and Optional items are included in the Complete Professional Garden Design Kit available to purchase online in the NDA Art Shop.

Other Resources



Degree Students

Thanks to our partnership with De Montfort University, all NDA degree students have full use of the DMU library services and any other UK library under the SCONUL access scheme, either by post or online.

NDA Art Shop

Please visit NDA’s online Art Shop which provides bespoke Interior Design, Garden Design and also Soft Furnishing & Curtain Making Kits. These include the essential equipment you will need to study each specific NDA course plus optional items that will allow you to complete your work to a professional finish.

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