100% of graduates from this course are in employment or further study after six months (National Student Survey, 2013).
Why choose this course?
You will have the opportunity to:
- work with a range of media including paper, plastic, ceramics, textiles, metal, wood and glass
- use the latest industry-standard digital software and machinery
- study in our dedicated studios and workshops, supported by expert technical staff
- gain commercial skills and business knowledge to help you set up your own business and establish yourself as a designer/maker
- complete short periods of work experience, helping you to gain professional experience and skills
- take part in industry competitions like the Society of Dyers and Colourists annual colour competition and Texprint
- go on international study trips to design capitals like Milan and New York
- apply to join a business development programme at The Hive, NTU’s purpose built centre for entrepreneurship and enterprise.
This course is accredited by the Chartered Society of Designers.
Student work gallery
Take a look at some final-year work from this course in our BA (Hons) Decorative Arts student work gallery.
Find out more
UCAS code: W170 BA/DA
Please see the Applying
Course length: Three years full-time
Study location: City site
Fees and funding:
Please see our applying and fees section.
How many places are available on this course?
50 places on Year One.
What will you study?
- Form, Structure and Surface Decoration (100 credits)
- Decorative Arts in Context (20 credits)
- Innovation: Creative Design (100 credits)
- Business and Professional Practice (20 credits)
- Creative Practice and Theory: Negotiated Project (120 credits)
Find out what you will cover in each module of our Decorative Arts course in more detail.
How will you learn?
You will be taught through a variety of teaching and learning experiences which will include:
- group tutorials
- technical surgeries
- educational visits
You will also be involved in self-directed project work where you will have the support of NOW, our virtual learning environment.
In all years of this course you will spend around 54% of your time in scheduled learning. This includes things like:
For the remaining time you will undertake self-directed independent study which may be spent researching or completing coursework, either at University or at home.
How will you be assessed?
Assessment for this course is 100% coursework.
You will be assessed at the end of each module and awarded a grade band (1st, 2.1. 2,2. etc). You will receive feedback through the module so you know what level you are working at.
How you are assessed will depend on the individual module, but may take the form of:
- presentations of your practical work
- research portfolio
- business plan
To progress through the course you must achieve 120 credits each year. Your final degree mark will be based 100% on your final year work.
In your final year you will exhibit your work as part of our Degree Shows Festival. This event includes all final-year students across NTU’s Art and Design based courses, and is a great platform for you to celebrate your studies and showcase your work to members of the creative industries.
You will also have the chance to be selected to exhibit your work at New Designers in London, another opportunity to have your work viewed by industry.
Is the course professionally accredited?
Our BA (Hons) Decorative Arts is one of only 10 courses in the UK accredited by the Chartered Society of Designers (CSD).
As a student on this course you will benefit from discounted CSD student membership. You will have access to CSD online careers advice, guidance and vacancies.
When you have successfully completed the course you will also be eligible for free, automatic entry to the CSD at Associate Member level and have continued access to discounted CSD student membership and its benefits, for one year.
Links with industry
This course is committed to offering you experiences that will enhance your understanding of the industry’s requirements.
Live projects and competitions and study trips are an important part of the course and this, together with support from course staff and NTU’s Careers Centre, will prepare you well for employment.
You will be actively encouraged and support to undertake work experience placements, which usually take place during holiday times, outside of term-time.
Trips and study visits
You’ll have the opportunity to go on overseas trips (optional) to design capitals such as Milan and New York.
Learn from expert staff
Our Decorative Arts team is made up of expert academic staff, who have extensive experience in both education and industry.
Course Leader: Lharne Shaw
What do the course fees cover?
Find out what is included in the course fees for our BA (Hons) Decorative Arts.
Where will I study?
You will study this course on NTU’s City site, based in Nottingham city centre.
Our Decorative Arts studios and workshops are based in the Bonington building, a dedicated Art and Design building. You may have some lectures in other buildings across the campus, including our recently renovated Newton building.
When does the course start?
This course starts in September. For more information take a look at our academic calendar for details of term start and end dates.
View the full course specification
Please note that course specifications may be subject to change
Our extensive Decorative Arts studios and workshops are based in the Bonington building, a dedicated Art and Design building.
Access to facilities
The Bonington building is open during term-time from:
- 8 am – 8 pm (Monday – Thursday)
- 8 am – 7.30 pm (Fridays).
During this time you can access workshops and studios.
Technical support in studios
Technical support in our studios is available:
- 8.30 am – 5. 30 pm (Monday – Thursday) (lunch break from 1 – 2 pm)
- 8.30 – 5.30 pm (Friday) (lunch break from 1 – 2 pm).
You can use the studio facilities outside of these times, but you won’t be able to use any machinery or equipment that needs power.
Decorative Arts facilities
- Glass kilns for glass work
- potter’s wheels
- a ceramic digital printer
- casting and moulding equipment
- metal workshops adapted for specialist metal usage
- woodworking workshop and equipment
- resin and plastics development equipment
- polymer 3D printer
- vinyl cutter
- hand screen printing, transfer printing, collograph printing.
Other Art and Design facilities
You will also have the opportunity to use resources from across the School of Art & Design and wider University, including equipment such as:
- embroidery machines: domestic, industrial and Barudan multi-head digital embroidery
- weave looms: Dobby and George Lloyd looms, Tapestry loom, Dracup Digital Jacquard loom
- 3D prototyping unit
- waterjet and laser cutting technology
- fabric laser cutting and engraving equipment and fabric dye facility
- digital fabric print facility: Mimaki TX2 digital fabric printers.
Books and library resources
In our library you will have access to an extensive and diverse range of books and periodicals that focus on specialist areas within many areas of traditional and contemporary Fine Art practice.
Bonington Art Shop
Our specialist in-house art shop is based in the Bonington building. Run by experienced and friendly University staff, the shop stocks a wide variety of arts and crafts materials.
The shop responds to the requirements of our students, and the stock on offer grows each year to support the courses offered within the School of Art & Design.
Bonington Colour Bureau
Located in the Bonington building, our Colour Bureau provides a range of in-house printing for NTU students and staff.
Specialising in graphic arts printing, the Colour Bureau offers high quality prints on a non-standard range of media in any size up to B0. It also operates a drop-off service so you won't have to queue, and aims to offer A4/A3 prints for same-day collection where possible.
Our IT resource rooms and PC clusters are distributed across the City site, with PCs providing access to Microsoft Office, email, web browsing, networked file storage and high-speed online printing services (with a free printing allowance for each student). Resource rooms are available 24 hours a day.
Your career development
Our graduates regularly feature in the UK's most influential style publications, including Elle Decoration, Vogue, Wallpaper, Neuglass and World of Interiors.
They work as designers, studio practitioners, illustrators and stylists with major names like:
Others transfer their skills into areas like:
- purchasing and consultancy
- moving into teaching with a PGCE.
Excellent placement opportunities
Although this course does not offer a formal placement year, students are encouraged to undertake informal work placements, and enter live industry competitions. All our courses are vocationally focused and benefit from strong links to industry.
Giving you competitive advantage
In today's competitive job market graduates often find that a degree is no longer enough to attract employers. A work placement is a valuable addition to your education. You'll gain real-life work experience that will make you stand out from the crowd and enhance your employability in your chosen field of work.
What are the benefits of a work placement?
Practical work experience has many benefits for you. It can help in your day-to-day studies and is often paid. It can enhance your commercial awareness and your ability to link theory and practice which will be an invaluable skill in your future career. Although a work placement is highly recommended, obtaining one is based on an individual's effort and is not guaranteed.
You will need:
- a minimum of 280 UCAS tariff points
- GCSE English grade C or above (Literature or Language)
- GCSE Maths or Science grade C or above, or equivalent
- a creative portfolio.
The 280 UCAS tariff points needed for entry to this course should be taken from a minimum of two full A-levels or equivalent qualification (such as a BTEC Extended Diploma). Additional tariff points obtained from AS-levels, where the subject was not continued to A-level, will also be accepted.
If you are unsure whether the qualifications you have, or are currently studying for, meet the minimum entry requirements for this course, please contact us before submitting an application through UCAS.
If you hold international qualifications, take a look at the alternative qualifications we accept for this course.
Are you an international student who does not meet the direct entry requirements for this course? You can prepare for it at Nottingham Trent International College. Their Foundation Certificate in Art and Design offers students a direct progression route to this degree on successful completion to the required level.
English language requirements and English support
Find out more about our English language entry requirements and English language support whilst you're studying with us.
We welcome applications from mature students (over the age of 21) for this course. We will assess applicants of this nature on an individual basis.
If you are a mature student, you will still need to apply to us by UCAS form, but you don't necessarily need to meet our minimum entry requirements. You must, however, have a portfolio to present at interview.
How to apply
Application for this course is through UCAS application form.
You can follow our step-by-step instructions when applying through UCAS. You can also find out more about the application process on the UCAS website.
Once you have applied, make sure you check your emails regularly, including your junk mail folder. We may need to contact you during this time. Good luck with your application.
To join this course in September 2013 you need to apply to us by 15 January 2013.
Applications received after this date will be marked as 'late', and only considered if places are still available, after all on-time applications have been assessed.
The admissions process
Selection for this course takes place through UCAS application form and, where invited, interview and portfolio.
- UK applicants
If you are invited to attend an interview at the University, you'll bring your portfolio with you for assessment. For more information about what we look for during an interview, and some useful tips for your portfolio, download our BA (Hons) Decorative Arts interview and portfolio information.
- Overseas applicants
If you meet the minimum entry requirements we will ask you to send us 12 examples of your practical work and a piece of written work (approximately 500 words) from your current or previous course. When we receive your UCAS application we'll contact you to tell you how to submit your work online. Overseas applicants are not expected to attend an interview at the University.
The UCAS application form requires you to write a personal statement as part of your application. For some tips on what to include, use our guide to writing an effective personal statement.
We are committed to ensuring that all UK students have access to higher education. We recognise the need to invest financially in the future of our students, and have introduced a system of scholarships aimed at enabling home students from lower income families to undertake a degree course.
For information about Nottingham Trent University scholarships please visit our fees and funding webpages.
To get a real taste of this course, why not visit us on one of our open days?
Please note the following information for applicants
Need help with your application?
For admissions related enquiries please contact us:
Telephone: +44 (0)115 848 4200
or Ask us a question
"I chose this course because I was interested in Textiles but wasn't sure, so I was looking for something that kept my options open but still had a focus on drawing.
"I most enjoyed the creative studio and workshop atmosphere. The course's strengths are its relatively small size, supportive and approachable tutors and the strong emphasis on the importance of drawing and colour in design.
"I would recommend NTU because of the brilliant facilities and technicians and the creative atmosphere in the Bonington building. I would recommend BA (Hons) Decorative Arts because of the varied practical skills you learn as well as the vital business skills and commercial awareness you leave with. All of this is in addition to the very supportive and inspiring atmosphere you experience working alongside your peers and tutors.
"My degree has given me a broad skill base which I think makes me a more adaptable designer. The Live Trading side to the course and my work experience has also helped me to have more market awareness and understanding of how a business is run.
"My advice to prospective students would be to get as much work experience as you can, as soon as you can. It is so important and really improves your employability. Also enjoy the course, make sure you try new things and take risks in the first two years, and travel - it's so inspiring!"
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