Online BA (Hons)

Retail Design

Start Date

Enrol at any time & choose your start date. No term times or semesters.

Course Duration

Three years
flexible online study


No exams — Tutor assessment
of design projects & moderation
by De Montfort University

Affordable Fees

Low fees, and monthly payments for all self paying students (student loans available for UK students)

Course Summary

The BA (Hons) in Retail Design contains some of the core modules from the BA (Hons) Interior Design but also includes specialist modules about designing specifically for the retail sector. It takes you from the history of interior design to space planning, creative lighting and sustainable design & technology. Specialist modules include branding, visual communication and merchandising, the customer experience and in the final year a choice between exhibition design or retail space in a wider context.

The degree also provides you with a solid background in business advice and professional practice to prepare you for your future career as a specialist in the retail design industry. You will complete a final retail design project for your professional portfolio to help you enter your exciting career as a retail design specialist.

Who Should Do This Course?

If you are passionate about interior design and excited by the retail sector this course is for you. It is ideal for students who have successfully completed the Diploma in Professional Interior Design with the National Design Academy, hold an equivalent UK or international qualification in a design subject or alternatively, have a portfolio of relevant industry experience. Direct entry students, transferring students from other institutions, and international students are all welcome. There are no term times – so you can apply and start at any time.

Successful students completing this BA (Hons) will be offered a guaranteed place on the NDA online M.A Interior Design with a generous progression scholarship.

Background – NDA BA (Hons) Student Work

Learning Online

Study flexibly online through our bespoke virtual learning studio (VLS)

The VLS is our exclusive, online resource which replaces the normal lectures given in Colleges and Universities. This provides links to other online resources and may contain videos, images, quizzes and lectures.

Students can rewind and re-watch until they are sure they have understood. No frantic note taking and no missing an important lecture! Study when and where it suits you!

The majority of NDA students will complete their BA (Hons) Degree online in approximately 3 years, others may take a little longer and a few may need the maximum study time of 8 years.

Support & Guidance

Personal Tutors

Every NDA student has a Personal Tutor to guide them through their qualification. You have unlimited access to your tutor and can contact them by email, telephone, Skype or in-person as often as you wish.

Student Support Team

We also have a dedicated Student Support and Administration Team to help deal with any other queries such as payments, student loans advice and anything else you may need a helping hand with.

Our Student Helpline is available Monday–Friday from 9am–5pm.


You will not have to take an exam! Your tutor will assess your design projects as you submit them throughout the course and your portfolio is moderated by De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) who will award your degree.

Student Loans

UK Student loans are the most popular way for NDA students resident in the UK to study as they cover the entire cost of their degree. Loans are not based on income or means tested and most students in England & Wales will qualify (Scotland & NI have different arrangements).


The BA (Hons) Retail Design degree is awarded by our academic partner, De Montfort University Leicester (DMU).

What Will I Study?

You will study eleven modules for the BA (Hons) Retail Design

Research and Contextualisation

Interior design is a vibrant and exciting industry, and within this module you will be introduced to world leaders in both residential and commercial design. Research underpins all good design projects therefore this module will introduce you to the skills and methods needed to undertake this research. You will gain a comprehensive knowledge of interior design and its history through the ages; knowledge which you will be able to apply to future modules.

Space Planning

However beautiful a space, if it is not functional it will not work for the user. Form and function is essential for good design. In this module you will learn how to design a space to meet the requirements of its function. You will learn how to plan and design an efficient, comfortable and safe space within a number of different briefs for both residential and commercial interiors. You will also start to learn the importance of development work at the initial stages of a project and how a concept will aid the design process.

The Customer Experience

Ever wonder what makes for a good customer experience? In the first of the specialist modules you will be given the opportunity to explore this topic, considering the relationship between the retailer and the customer, and how this is affected by the lifestyle of the customer. You will undertake the development of a concept, using a selected target market and a space chosen by yourself. This is an exciting opportunity to tailor your portfolio towards the sector you wish to work within, creating presentation boards, drawings and rendered visual images.


Branding is one of the key considerations within retail design, and good branding can make or break a retailer, big or small. In this module you will focus on the development of branding and discover how this can be applied to a retail environment. You will also start to develop an understanding for the importance of branding when positioning a business within the market place.

Visual Communication & Merchandising

Another key consideration within retail design is visual communication and merchandising, as this will affect the way that the products are viewed by the customer. There are many elements that effect this, including layout, circulation and positioning of products. Within this module you will gain an understanding of how established brands use a range of methods and techniques within the retail environment, and explore these yourself through development sketches and drawings.

Sustainable Design and Technology

Regardless of the sector you decide to specialise in, you will need to understand how and when to use sustainable products, materials and technologies, as this is a growing concern among clients. As a designer you need to be able to offer your clients the same range of options whilst being conscious of current environmental issues. Within this module you will address these issues and discover a range of architects and designers who specialise in eco-friendly interiors, all whilst exploring the world of restaurant design.

Professional Practice

In this module you will be given the tools you need to create your own design practice and a marketing plan specifically tailored to you and your chosen career path. You will also explore the importance of branding to a business, and be given the opportunity to develop your own brand, which can form part of your portfolio and used to develop your future career prospects. You will also have the skills required to work within an existing practice at a professional level.

Commercial Project

This module will allow you to apply everything you have learnt so far to a specific retail space, and allow you to further tailor your learning by allowing you to select the types of products you display. Within this module you will research a retailer, develop branding, design visual communication and merchandising, all with a specific customer and experience in mind.

Exhibition Design

This module has two study options, which allows you to choose a project for your portfolio within the area of design that appeals to you most. Option 1 is exhibition design and within this you will explore the two main exhibition approaches; commercial trade shows and exhibitions within a gallery space. There are many elements to explore, including the visitor experience and branding.

Retail Space in a Wider Context

Within this module you will start to consider the design of a retail space within a wider range of environments. These may include; hotels, museums and galleries, exhibition venues, visitor’s centres, and airports. The same considerations need to be made, however on a much smaller scale. You will produce a design for a pop-up retail space, creating a range of sketches, technical drawings and visuals for your portfolio.

Research Study

It is at this stage of the course that you will truly get to choose the direction of the work you produce, starting with the research of a topic close to your heart. If there is an area of design that you are passionate about, then this is an exciting opportunity to incorporate this into your degree. Within this module you will write a dissertation, with the support and guidance of your tutor, who by now will have a great understanding of you and how you study. This dissertation will then feed into your final module; the independent study.

Independent Study

Building on the topic you have developed in the Research Study module, with the support of your tutor, you will be given double the amount of time of the previous modules, to focus on your chosen design based project. This will be the culmination of three years of hard work and will bring together all the skills you have learnt along the way. This module will provide you with visuals, presentation boards, development sketches and technical drawings to add to your portfolio.

Student Gallery

A sample of work completed by our talented retail design students

Entry Requirements


Applicants should hold one of the following:

English Language

The course is taught in English, so international students will require a good standard of written English to study. IELTS average 6.5 or TOEFL score of 550 is usually required, however all students are considered on an individual basis as we are aware that many international students have already been taught in English at school, college or university.

Don’t Meet the Requirements?

Don’t worry! If you do not have the required qualifications to study a degree you can study an NDA Diploma either online or in-studio, for a guaranteed place on one of our online Bachelor’s Degrees afterwards. Please view our Diploma course guide for more information about NDA Diploma courses.

What's Next?


Student Spotlights

The specialist retail design industry is growing year on year and the demand for specialist interior designers is on the rise globally. Have a look through our Student Spotlights to see what they have achieved.

BA (Hons) Tuition Fees

BA (Hons)
3 Year Degree
Tuition Fee £4,950* Year One
3 ways to pay
for UK students:

UK Student Loan

No Upfront Course Fees!

One Payment

£ 4,950 On Enrolment

10 x Monthly Payments

£ 520 Per Month*
  • £5,200 in total

* Fee per level/year subject to change after 1st August each year.

* Monthly payments include admin fee.

BA (Hons)
3 Year Degree
Tuition Fee $7,650* Year One
2 ways to pay for
International students:

One Payment

$ 7,650 On Enrolment
  • SAVE $600 by paying in full
Most Popular

10 x Monthly Payments

$ 8,250 In total*
  • $1,500 on enrolment
  • + 9 x $750 monthly payments
* Fee per level/year subject to change after 1st August each year.
* Monthly payments include admin fee.
All fees in US Dollars.

Ready to pursue your passion for Retail Design?

What Our Students Say...

Hear what past and present students have to say about studying at the NDA