BA (Hons)

Decorative Arts

  • UCAS code(s): W170
  • Level(s) of study: Undergraduate
  • Study mode(s): Full-time
  • Location: City site
  • Starting: September 2016
  • Course duration: 3 year(s)
  • Entry requirements: More information
  • The entry requirements may be different while in clearing

If you want to become a designer-maker, creating and selling your own work, this course will give you the commercial skills and business knowledge you'll need to start your own business.

Accredited by the Chartered Society of Designers (CSD), the course is a combination of applied design, art and studio crafts. You’ll explore, develop and create, working with colour, print, ceramics, textiles, metal, jewellery, wood, glass and mould making. You’ll have the opportunity to embrace new technologies and more traditional methods of making. Live projects, study visits, international trips and work placements will support your studio work.

Key features

  • Work with a range of media including paper, plastic, ceramics, textiles, metal, wood and glass.
  • Use the latest industry-standard digital software and machinery.
  • Gain commercial skills and business knowledge to help you set up your own business
  • 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.
  • Work in our dedicated studios and workshops, support by expert technical staff.
  • Opt for a Live Trading module in your final year, where you could be part of team setting up a retail operation selling your products to the public.
  • Exhibit your work in your final year at our Degree Show in Nottingham, and at New Designers in London.
  • Apply to join a business development programme at The Hive, NTU’s purpose-built centre for entrepreneurship and enterprise.
  • This is the only Decorative Arts degree course in the UK which is accredited by the Chartered Society of Designers (CSD), giving you discounted membership during your studies.

Accredited by:

Chartered Society of Designers logo

What you'll study

  • Year One

    Form, Structure and Surface Decoration (100 credit points)
    This aim of this module is to provide you with an introduction to Decorative Arts through drawing, initial concepts and developing ideas, research and design skills, prototypes and finished products. You will explore a range of 2D / 3D media in addition to learning about the principles of colour theory.

    Workshops will introduce you to aspects of contemporary practice through material processes, techniques and skills relating to drawing, print, ceramics, embroidery, metal, wood, glass and mould-making.


    Decorative Arts in Context (20 credit points)
    This module will provide you with an introduction to the key movements, themes and issues within 20th and 21st Century design. It will introduce you to, and develop your skills in, research, visual analysis, writing and presentation. This module is designed to enhance your development as a designer-maker. You'll learn how to develop an independent approach to individual learning and working within a team, and you'll research, organise and produce written work, presentations and discussions.

  • Year Two

    Innovation: Creative Design (100 credit points)
    During this module you'll complete a variety of projects to help you develop skills that can be applied to the production of contemporary applied arts. This will include drawing, ideas generation, visual research, material exploration, presentation and visualisation. You will also explore the context, cultural and commercial, in which your work exists through visits, marketing research, costing, marketing and sustainability.

    Business and Professional Practice (20 credit points)

    This module provides you with an overview of business and professional development within the context of Decorative Arts. You will learn about setting up, product development, marketing, publicity, finance, sales and pricing. You will also learn how to develop an independent approach to individual learning and working within a group. You'll also research, organise and produce written work and presentations / discussions.

  • Final year

    Creative Practice and Theory (120 credit points)
    There are two elements to this module, which are marked separately. The first part is Creative Practice, which will count for 70% of your final mark. You will attend a mixture of lectures and tutorials where you negotiate, through discussion, a personal brief. You will develop, explore and analyse your ideas and go on to create a body of work which will lead to a professional portfolio and product collection.

    The second part is the theoretical element of the module and counts for 30% towards your final mark. You can choose to either complete a dissertation or a live trading business plan.

    For the dissertation you will negotiate a research topic which you will then refine for a dissertation submission.

    For the live trading business plan you will create a business plan to support your practical work and final collection. You will include information about setting up your workshop, studio production and practice, pricing, marketing, business development and the legal implications for a freelancer, sole trader or SME business.

Course specification

View the full course specification
Please note that course specifications may be subject to change

Work with a range of media including paper, plastic, ceramics, textiles, metal, wood and glass.

How you’re taught

You will be taught through a variety of teaching and learning experiences which will include:

  • lectures;
  • seminars;
  • briefings;
  • workshops;
  • group tutorials;
  • educational visits;
  • interim evaluations;
  • technical surgeries; and
  • presentations.

You will also be involved in self-directed project work where you will have the support of NOW, our virtual learning environment.

Assessment

Assessment for this course is 100% through coursework.

How you are assessed will depend on the individual module, but may take the form of:

  • presentations of your practical work;
  • essays;
  • reports;
  • presentations;
  • research portfolio;
  • business plan; and
  • dissertation.

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.

Trips and study visits

You will have the opportunity to go on optional overseas trips to design capitals such as Milan and New York.

You'll also go on study visits closer to home, such as visiting galleries in London in Year One.

Exchange opportunities

The University is part of the Erasmus programme and has agreements with a number of partner institutions throughout Europe.

If you're thinking about studying part of your degree abroad, Erasmus is a great way of experiencing a new culture, meeting new people, learning a new language and gaining a study experience which will enhance your CV. Exchanges usually take place during Year Two of your studies.

A recent destination our Decorative Arts students have visited on exchange includes Kalmar University in Sweden, a centre of excellence for glass blowing and design.

Degree Show

You will exhibit your work as part of our Degree Show. This event includes all final-year students across NTU's Art and Design courses, and is a great platform for you to showcase your work to members of the creative industries.

You will also have the opportunity to be selected to showcase your work to industry at New Designers in London, one of the UK's most important graduate exhibitions.

Have the opportunity to go on overseas trips to design capitals such as Milan and New York.

Careers and employability

The School of Art & Design has an excellent graduate employment rate, with 92% of our graduates in employment or further study within six months. (DLHE 2013-14)

Graduate from this course regularly feature in the UK’s most influential style publications, including Elle Decoration, Vogue, Wallpaper* and World of Interiors.

Many of our graduates have gone on to set up their own businesses as designer-makers, with recent success stories including:

  • Brittany Delaney (Brittany Delany Ceramics);
  • Esther Patterson (Curiousa & Curiousa);
  • Anna Collette Hunt (Anna Collette Hunt Contemporary Fine Crafts); and
  • Rosie Norman (Rosie Olivia Millinery).

Other recent graduates have gone on to work as designers, studio practitioners and stylists for companies including:

  • Paul Smith;
  • Vivienne Westwood;
  • Philip Treacy;
  • Hugo Boss;
  • Burberry;
  • Alessi;
  • the BBC;
  • Harrods;
  • Fired Earth;
  • Habitat;
  • Ikea;
  • Adidas; and
  • Next.

Some graduates choose to transfer their skills into areas like art direction, marketing, merchandising, purchasing and consultancy, and some move into teaching after completing a PGCE.

YouFirst – working with our Employability Team

Our friendly, experienced careers consultants will work closely with you at every stage of your career planning, providing personal support and advice you won't find in a book or on the internet. You can benefit from this at any time during your studies and up to three years after completing your course.

Links with industry

This course is committed to offering you experience that will enhance your understanding of the industry's requirements.

Live projects and competitions are an important part of the course, and this together with support from course staff and NTU's Employability Team, will prepare you well for employment.

Recent live projects include:

  • Johnson Tiles design challenge;
  • Hothouse Craft Council;
  • Open Gallery project with the Harley Foundation; an
  • a project with Nottingham's Creative Quarter.

Competitions our Decorative Arts students have been involved with include:

  • Texprint design competition; and
  • The Society of Dyers and Colourists Colour competition.

You will be actively encouraged and supported to undertake work experience placements, which usually take place during holiday times, outside of term time.

The University also hosts an annual Day of Colour which is run by the Society of Dyers and Colourists, and features guest lectures by prominent colour and creative professionals.

Work placement and internship opportunities

You will be actively encouraged and supported to undertaking informal work experience and professional practice in addition to your studies.

You will normally complete these placements during holiday times, but you will have the option of taking up to two weeks out of term time which you can negotiate with your tutor. Most students attach these two weeks onto the start of end of a holiday, so they can complete longer periods of work experience.

Our teaching staff, including part-time lecturers who are professionally active, help and support students in directing them towards work placement and professional practice opportunities. This can be through their own contacts, through graduates from the course, or through links with companies and practitioners which have built by the course over a number of years.

Companies and organisations that our Decorative Arts students have worked with on placement include:

  • Designers Guild;
  • Cath Kidston;
  • Philip Treacy;
  • Selvedge magazine;
  • Hand & Lock;
  • Society of Dyers and Colourists; and
  • a range of screenprinters, jewellery businesses and ceramics manufacturers.

Be actively encouraged and supported to undertake work experience placements.

Use the latest industry-standard digital software and machinery.

Entry requirements

What are we looking for?

  • 280 UCAS Tariff points achieved from a maximum of four qualifications (two of which must be A-level equivalent)
  • GCSEs - English and Maths or Science, grade C.

We will accept a BTEC Extended Diploma as equivalent to three qualifications. We will accept an Art and Design Foundation Diploma as equivalent to two qualifications.

Other requirements

What are we looking for?

  • 280 UCAS Tariff points achieved from a maximum of four qualifications (two of which must be A-level equivalent)
  • GCSEs - English and Maths or Science, grade C.

We will accept a BTEC Extended Diploma as equivalent to three qualifications. We will accept an Art and Design Foundation Diploma as equivalent to two qualifications.

Other requirements

If you hold international qualifications, take a look at the alternative qualifications we accept for this course.

Are you an international student whose qualifications don't meet the entry requirements? You can prepare for this course at Nottingham Trent International College (NTIC). The college is on our City site and NTIC can use all of the University's facilities.

English language requirements

If English isn't your first language, you need to show us that your language skills are strong enough for intensive academic study. You'll find our language requirements and list of accepted English language tests here. Your British Council office can tell you where you can take an International English Language Testing System (IELTS) test locally.

Next steps

Please also take a look at our International students page and our application guide for international students which are full of advice and information about to the University.

If you need any more help or information, please email our Admissions Team or call on +44 (0)115 848 4200. Alternatively, you can get in touch with our staff at the International Development Office, who are always happy to help. Or speak to one of our official NTU representatives in your country.

How to apply

Application for this course is through the UCAS application form.

Ready to join us? Then apply as soon as you can. Just click the Apply button at the top of the page and follow the instructions for applying. Make sure you check the entry requirements above carefully before you do.

Selection for this course takes place through UCAS application form and, where invited, online work submission, interview and portfolio.

If you are invited to attend an interview at the University, you will need to 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.

Application deadline

This course starts in September and applications should be submitted by the UCAS deadline, 15 January.

Applications received after this date will only be considered if places are still available, after all applications received by the deadline have been assessed.

Mature students

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.

Writing your application and personal statement

Be honest, thorough and persuasive in your application. Remember, we can only make a decision based on what you tell us. So include all of your qualifications and grades, including resits or predicted grades,

Your personal statement is a really important part of your application. It's your chance to convince us why we should offer you a place! You've got 4,000 characters to impress us. Make sure you use them to show how your skills and qualities are relevant to the course(s) you're applying for. For more hints and tips, take a look at our page on how to write a good personal statement.

Keeping up to date

After you've applied, we'll be sending you important emails throughout the application process - so check your emails regularly, including your junk mail folder.

You can get more information and advice about applying to NTU on our Your Application page.

Getting in touch

If you need any more help or information, please email our Admissions Team or call on +44 (0)115 848 4200.

Please read our notes on the University's commitment to delivering the educational services advertised.

Application for this course is through the UCAS application form.

Ready to join us? Then apply as soon as you can. Just click the Apply button at the top of the page and follow the instructions for applying. Make sure you check the international entry requirements above carefully before you do.

Selection for this course takes place through UCAS application form and, where applicable, online work submission, interview and portfolio.

If you are resident in the UK and invited to attend an interview at the University, you will need to 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.

If you aren't resident in the UK we'll ask you to make an online work submission. Download our BA (Hons) Decorative Arts work submission information.

Application deadline

This course starts in September and applications should be submitted by the UCAS deadline, 15 January.

Applications received after this date will only be considered if places are still available, after all applications received by the deadline have been assessed.

Mature students

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.

Writing your application and personal statement

Be honest, thorough and persuasive in your application. Remember, we can only make a decision based on what you tell us. So include all of your qualifications and grades, including resits or predicted grades,

Your personal statement is a really important part of your application. It's your chance to convince us why we should offer you a place! You've got 4,000 characters to impress us. Make sure you use them to show how your skills and qualities are relevant to the course(s) you're applying for. For more hints and tips, take a look at our page on how to write a good personal statement.

Keeping up to date

After you've applied, we'll be sending you important emails throughout the application process - so check your emails regularly, including your junk mail folder.

You can get more information and advice about applying to NTU on our Your Application page. Good luck with your application!

Please also take a look at our International students page and our application guide for international students which are full of advice and information about to the University.

If you need any more help or information, please email our Admissions Team or call on +44 (0)115 848 4200. Alternatively, you can get in touch with our staff at the International Development Office, who are always happy to help. Or speak to one of our official NTU representatives in your country.

Please read our notes on the University's commitment to delivering the educational services advertised.

Further information on how to apply

Need help with your application?
For admissions related enquiries please contact us:
Telephone: +44 (0)115 848 4200

Fees and funding

Preparing for the financial side of student life is important, but there's no need to feel anxious and confused about it. We hope that our fees and funding pages will answer all your questions.

Getting in touch

For more advice and guidance, you can contact our Student Financial Support Service.

Tel: +44 (0)115 848 2494

What's included in the course fees?

The annual fee for our undergraduate degree courses includes a number of items. In
addition to expert tuition and access to our first class workshop and IT resources,
you'll receive:

  • mandatory field trips, exhibitions and events required as part of your core studies;
  • £100 print/materials credit for each year of your course (maximum three years) for use
    within Bonington art shop, College workshops and College print facilities;
  • materials for induction workshops and activities within the workshops / laboratories;
  • Protective Personal Equipment (PPE) as required;
  • professional body course accreditation (where applicable);
  • infrastructure costs for final year Degree Shows within Nottingham (where applicable); and
  • £20 pre-paid printing allowance within NTU print shops and library photocopiers.

You are expected to purchase your own books, standard drawing and writing equipment and consumables.

Where optional overseas visits are offered, you will need to meet the cost of these.

Preparing for the financial side of student life is important, but there’s no need to feel anxious and confused about it. We hope that our fees and funding pages will answer all your questions.

You might be able to get a scholarship to help fund your studies. We award scholarships to those international students who can demonstrate excellent achievement, passion and dedication to their studies.

Please take a look at our International students page for information about fees, scholarships for international students, visas and much more.

Getting in touch

For more advice and guidance, you can contact our Student Financial Support Service.

Tel: +44 (0)115 848 2494

What's included in the course fees?

The annual fee for our undergraduate degree courses includes a number of items. In
addition to expert tuition and access to our first class workshop and IT resources,
you'll receive:

  • mandatory field trips, exhibitions and events required as part of your core studies;
  • £100 print/materials credit for each year of your course (maximum three years) for use
    within Bonington art shop, College workshops and College print facilities;
  • materials for induction workshops and activities within the workshops / laboratories;
  • Protective Personal Equipment (PPE) as required;
  • professional body course accreditation (where applicable);
  • infrastructure costs for final year Degree Shows within Nottingham (where applicable); and
  • £20 pre-paid printing allowance within NTU print shops and library photocopiers.

You are expected to purchase your own books, standard drawing and writing equipment and consumables.

Where optional overseas visits are offered, you will need to meet the cost of these.

Still need help?

+44 (0)115 941 8418