MA in Interior Architecture and Design


Program Description


There is currently a divide between what we regard as 'Interior design', and what we regard as 'Interior architecture'. However there is an on-going convergence of both fields, and an opportunity exists to fuse together the most influential elements of both; the creativity, process, and design thinking of designers, with the science, knowledge, and pragmatism of architecture.

The programme aims to fuse key aspects of both fields, to prepare graduates to enter and lead an evolving design industry. Heriot-Watt University is well known as a leader in STEM education and research and as such we aim to consider and combine the role of both science and design in informing interior architecture and design. Students are educated through a variety of studio projects, specialist subjects, and cross-disciplinary contextual and theoretical courses.

The programme attracts students primarily from art, design, and architectural background, and expects that each student develops his/her own project, and concepts, that test and challenge perceived norms or patterns.


  • 1 year of full-time, MA. This is a one-year programme consisting of three semesters (two taught, and one by research and supervision)
  • 2 years of part-time, MA. This is a two-year programme consisting of 5 semesters (including taught, and one by research and supervision).

Course content

The programme has been designed to be academically valuable and industry-relevant, yet also cater to each individual students own project development.

Key to this is four different strands that run through the programme:

  • Studios: Through Design projects and the final major project/collection students have an opportunity to develop their designs iteratively in a stimulating studio environment and culture, borrowing elements from other courses below.
  • Technology: Through subjects such as Design technology and innovation and Materials: Testing and exploration students gain a clearer insight into the role of technology, and materiality, in practice.
  • Professional practice: Through courses such as professional practice and business enterprise students learn more about the commercial, and professional, aspects of the design industry.
  • Context and research: Through Design Context and Research Methodologies students benefit from a greater sense of where their own practice and project is located and learn improved ways to conduct their own research and analysis.
    • Design Project
    • Design Context
    • Professional Practice
    • Design Technology and Innovation
    • Business enterprise
    • Materials: Testing and Exploration
    • Masters Design Collection


The assessment policies for this course incorporate a range of assessment types, with a specific emphasis on formative assessment, self-evaluation, debate and peer critique in all courses.

Summative assessment types include coursework, examinations, collaborative and individual problem-based projects and a self-directed Masters project with dissertation.

Learning and teaching

The overall approach in the course is centred around each individual learner, and their personal projects, with core information delivered via tutorials, lectures and embedded during seminars.

Key methods, theories and techniques will be introduced and discussed. Technical skills will be developed throughout each course and through independent practice.

Courses are designed to enable students to undertake a mixture of activities, often involving cross-disciplinary, and long-distance international collaboration


The MA Interior Architecture and Design programme is industry-relevant. All teaching and learning are usually delivered through collaborative working, which simulates the industry environment. The university has connections with a number of professional partners that often provide live projects.

Our graduates can look forward to working roles such as interior designer, design researcher, a strategy consultant, material and product designers, exhibition designer and specialised designer.

English language requirements

Where English was not the medium of instruction at secondary school, applicants must demonstrate English language proficiency equivalent to IELTS 6.5 (with all elements passed at 6.0 or above). Applicants who have completed secondary and tertiary education will need to provide documentary evidence. A minimum of one-year full-time study in English will be required.

Application deadline

Our Dubai Campus operates a rolling year-round admissions process: as soon as one intake has closed we begin accepting applications for the next one. It is also possible for you to defer your start date for up to a year.

Most students apply 6–10 months in advance of their chosen intake. We can accept applications up until 3 weeks before the start of each intake but you should note that a late application will almost certainly mean a delay in the provision of essential administrative services, such as your student matriculation card (without which you won't be able to access the library or online services).

Last updated Sep 2019

About the School

Pioneering British education in Dubai, with highly acclaimed degree programmes that meet the specific demands of local business and industry.

Pioneering British education in Dubai, with highly acclaimed degree programmes that meet the specific demands of local business and industry. Read less
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