For more information about Decorative Arts at Nottingham Trent University, please visit the webpage using the button above.

The award
BA (Hons)

How long you will study
3 years

Domestic course fees
GBP 9250 per year

How you will study

Course starts

International course fees
GBP 13450 per year

All study options

About Decorative Arts at Nottingham Trent University

On this contemporary design crafts course, you will be able to develop all the skills you need to become a designer maker, enabling you to produce 2D and 3D products for the interior, home, fashion sectors or for the gallery or luxury goods market.

“Unlock your creative drive and immerse yourself in making"

Decorative Arts at NTU remains one of the foremost 2D and 3D design craft-based degree courses in the UK and is accredited by the Chartered Society of Designers. The is a course that offers you a well-defined corridor into a career, in the interior, home, fashion and gift sectors.

Through material engagement, you can develop your design ideas and create new work, incorporating colour and print for ceramics, textiles, metals, wood, and glass. Working from your own studio area you'll also gain skills in drawing, mould making, kiln forming, and jewellery making. You'll embrace new digital technologies as well as more traditional methods of making.

This course is ideal;

  • If you're aspiring to launch a career within retail, buying, design, marketing, merchandising, art direction and consultancy.
  • If you want to become a designer-maker you'll gain the commercial skills and knowledge you need to start your own enterprise.
  • And is a firm grounding for those moving into a role teaching in art and design at all levels.

Key features

  • Work at the forefront of materials technology as well as develop hand-making skills currently used within Applied Arts and Crafts.
  • Develop your potential as an artist, turning your 2D designs into 3D outcomes.
  • Enhance and refine your drawing skills with the course's programme of drawing classes.
  • Work in our dedicated studios and workshops, supported by expert technical staff.
  • One of few courses of its kind to be accredited by the Chartered Society of Designers (CSD).
  • Learn commercial skills and knowledge to help you set up your own business, should you wish to do so.
  • Opportunity to be nominated for competitions such as the Society of Dyers and Colourists' annual colour competition and Texprint.
  • Be inspired by Nottingham's artistic community and creative places to visit, such as Nottingham Castle Museum & Art Gallery, Nottingham Contemporary and Lakeside Arts.
  • Engage with live projects, inspired by local and national businesses such as Denby and Nottingham Castle.
  • Opportunity to go on national and international study trips recent places have included The Design Museum, Tom Dixon and Heals in London.
  • Take part in the Erasmus+ exchange programme. Recent exchanges have included Czech Republic, Sweden, Denmark and Turkey.
  • Exhibit your work in our Degree Show in Nottingham, and be selected to exhibit at shows like New Designers in London, where recent graduates have won high-profile prizes, such as the Denby Associate Prize and the London Fair Associate Prize.
  • Apply to join a business development programme at The Hive, NTU's centre for entrepreneurship and enterprise.
  • Opportunity to exhibit and sell your work at our NTU Christmas Fair.
  • NTU is ranked in the top 20 universities in the UK for Art and Design (Complete University Guide 2018).
Find out what life as a Decorative Arts student is really like

Student work

  • Ceramics collection by Gemma Tavner, 2017
  • Hand embroidered collection by Olivia Smih, 2017
  • Interior window shutter by Shannon Simpson, 2017
  • Wallpaper collection by Athena Nichols, 2017
  • Print collection by Leannah Crowhurst, 2017
  • Surface designs by Emily Astbury, 2017
  • Ultraviolet Astronomy inspired glass work by Kathryn Harwood, 2017
  • Children's book, Leila & Lily by Sarah Levy, 2017
  • Wooden building block collection by Anna Manfield, 2017
  • Ceramics collection by Charlotte Moore, 2017
  • Botanical gardens inspired jewellery collecton by Emily Ovens, 2017
  • Lighting collection by Fumi Shimomura, 2017
  • South Coast inspired glasswork by Jessica Clifford, 2017
  • Glass collection by Becky Dennis, 2016
  • Hand cast ceramic light fixture by Charlotte Ball, 2016
  • Embroidery and embellishment specialist, Chloe Stevenson, 2016
  • Ceramic vessels by Jessica Moulsher, 2016
  • Surface and textile designs by Emily Griffiths, 2016
  • Decorative diffuser vessels by Sally Norman, 2016

How you're taught

On this course, you'll spend most of your time in a creative studio environment. Teaching and learning experiences will include:

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


Assessment is 100% through coursework.  You will receive feedback throughout.

Depending on the module, you may be assessed through:

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

Your final degree mark will be based 100% on your final year work.

Exchanges, trips and study visits

You'll have the opportunity to go on optional study trips to design capitals such as Milan, New York, and London.

The University is part of the Erasmus+ programme and has agreements with partner institutions throughout Europe. If you're thinking about studying part of your degree abroad, Erasmus+ is a great way to do this.

A recent exchange destination for our Decorative Arts students is Linnaeus University in Sweden – a centre of excellence for glass blowing and design.

Degree Show

In your final year 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 may also have the chance to exhibit your work to industry at New Designers in London, one of the UK's leading graduate exhibitions. At this year's event, final year Decorative Arts student Emma Lycett  won the Denby Associate Prize, whilst 2016 alumna Bethany Stafford was named winner of the London Design Fair Associate Prize. In 2014, NTU Decorative Arts student Karoline Healey won the Not on the High Street Associate Prize.

Assessment methods

  • Year 1 coursework (100%).
  • Year 2 coursework (100%).
  • Year 3 coursework (100%).

Contact hours

A full-time student on average can expect to spend 1200 hours a year learning which will typically be broken down as follows:

  • Year 1 lectures/seminars/workshops (30%), independent study (70%).
  • Year 2 lectures/seminars/workshops (28%), independent study (72%).
  • Year 3 lectures/seminars/workshops (20%), independent study (80%).

Careers and employability

This course has an excellent employment rate, with 97% of graduates in employment or further study within six months of graduating (DLHE Survey 2015/16).

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

Many 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)
  • Rosie Norman (Rosie Olivia Millinery).

Other recent graduates work as designers, studio practitioners and stylists for companies such as:

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

This course also prepares you for a career in teaching Art and Design at any level. After graduation you will need to complete a postgraduate teaching qualification, such as a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE), to enter the profession.

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 for up to three years after completing your course.

Connecting with industry

This course is committed to offering you experiences that will enhance your understanding of the industry's requirements. Live projects and competitions are key, and will help you to prepare for employment.

Recent live projects include:

  • the Johnson Tiles design challenge
  • the Craft Council's Hothouse programme; and
  • a project with Nottingham's Creative Quarter.

Competitions our Decorative Arts students have been involved with include:

  • Texprint design competition
  • the Society of Dyers and Colourists' International Design Competition.

NTU 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.

This is the only craft-based degree course in the UK that is accredited by the Chartered Society of Designers (CSD), giving you free membership during your studies. You will also have access to CSD online careers advice,

Work placement and internship opportunities

We encourage you to undertake work experience alongside your studies. Course staff will help and support you by directing you towards work placement and professional practice opportunities.

Our Decorative Arts students have recently gained work experience with companies and organisations such as Designers Guild, Cath Kidston, Selvedge magazine, Hand & Lock, and the Society of Dyers and Colourists.


Our Decorative Arts students are based in the Bonington building, a dedicated Art and Design building. Facilities and equipment include:

  • HOAF gas and electric 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
  • rubber, resin and plastics development equipment
  • 3D printers
  • vinyl cutter
  • hand screen printing, transfer printing, and collograph printing.

You will also have the opportunity to use resources from across the School of Art & Design and the wider University, including equipment such as:

  • embroidery machines – domestic, industrial, and Barudan multi-head digital embroidery
  • Dobby and George Wood looms, tapestry loom, and Dracup digital jacquard loom
  • 3D prototyping from polymer to powder printing
  • waterjet and laser cutting technology
  • fabric laser cutting and engraving equipment and dye facility
  • digital fabric print facility with Mimaki TX2 digital fabric printers.

Study options for this course

Notes about fees for this course

The tuition fee for UK home students joining NTU in 2018/19 on a full-time undergraduate/foundation degree programme, will be £9,250.

The fee for those who have a year-long placement as part of a sandwich course, or spend a year studying or working abroad will be published here once confirmed.

The University reviews its tuition fees each year. The fees for Home (UK / EU) undergraduate students for 2018-19 are £9250. As a guide and to enable you to plan your finances the current expectation is that the University’s current fee of £9250 per annum may increase for subsequent years of study in line with inflation and as specified by the Government.

Entry requirements

What are we looking for?

Other requirements

Non-standard applicants

We welcome applications from students who may not meet the entry criteria but hold relevant work experience. We will assess applicants of this nature on an individual basis. You must, however, have a creative portfolio to present at interview. If you are a non-standard applicant, you will still need to apply to us using the UCAS form.

The UCAS Tariff

In 2016 the UCAS Tariff changed. In the new tariff, the numbers awarded to qualifications are very different. So, whereas previously a B at A-level was worth 100 points, in the new tariff it is now 40 points. Sound confusing? Don't worry. We've created this calculator to help you work it out.

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 Campus, and NTIC students 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 can check our language requirements and list of accepted English language tests. 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 the University.

If you need any more help or information, please contact our International 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 for your country.

Don't meet the entry requirements?

Consider a Foundation or Pathway course at Nottingham Trent University to prepare for your chosen course:

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