MA Interior Architecture and Design

The MA Interior Architecture and Design explores the emerging symbiotic relationship between 'interior design' and 'interior architecture' in comprehending, crafting, and implementing innovative interior spaces.

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 an art, design, and architectural background, and expects that each student develop their own project, and concepts, that test and challenge perceived norms or patterns.


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


Read more about the UAE Federal Accreditation.

Course content

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

Key to this are 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

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