University of Chester

Programme Specification
Design BA (Hons) (Single Honours)
2017 - 2018

Bachelor of Arts (Single Honours)


Design (FiDi)

University of Chester

Florence Institute of Design International

FIDI, Florence, Italy,

Undergraduate Modular Programme


Classroom / Laboratory,

3 years FT

7 Years

Biannual - January - September




17a. Faculty

17b. Department

Arts and Humanities Art and Design

Art and Design

Art and Design

Wednesday 1st May 2013

  • Provide higher education opportunities for a wide range of students, with diverse experience, qualifications, origins and abilities.
  • Provide professionally related study in design within a supportive multidisciplinary community.
  • Enable students to locate their practice and education within its theoretical, technical, ethical, social, professional, and historical contexts, both nationally and internationally.
  • Provide an environment which values lifelong learning, encourages student responsibility in their learning and that of their peers, stimulates personal enquiry, inspires intellectual rigour and develops a professional attitude in students in keeping with the practice of design.
  • Prepare students to start their life as a professional designer/practitioner at an entry level, for postgraduate study, or, for the variety of careers which value the transferable skills and qualities gained from an education in design.

This programme will enable students to develop skills and critical thinking methods when applied to design based problems. They will investigate a wide range of cultural, historical and contemporary practice in order to develop their own skills and methodologies in order to become design professionals.

Level 4

Identify through research and investigation the requirements necessary to realise and produce Interior and Graphic Design outcomes and place these in a cultural, historical or contemporary context. [AR4801, AR4802, AR4803, AR4804, AR4805, AR4811, AR4813]

Level 5

Demonstrate understanding of the design process, from client brief—prototyping and production,—discerning between aesthetic judgments and the requirements of functionality, suitability and sustainability. [AR5801, AR5802, AR5803, AR5804, AR5805, AR5811, AR5812, AR5813]

Level 6

Demonstrate through research and investigation (text, current trends, historical and contemporary materials and processes) the ability to respond to complex design problems through understanding of; market, targets and stakeholders. [AR6801, AR6802, AR6803, AR6811, AR6812, AR6813]

Demonstrate the ability to work with industry practitioners using professional level language and methodologies, understand the relationship between client and designer and exhibit the ability to solve design problems with sophistication and acuity [AR6804, AR6805]




Cognitive skills will develop and progress across the three years of study. Students will be given the opportunity to develop an understanding and increased levels of professionalism and independence. Though application of investigative and critical discourse, they should employ increasing levels of sophistication, articulation, analysis and argument. Reflecting on their own work and the work of other practitioners when placing their own work, concerns and interest in a wider historical and contemporary context.

Level 4

Demonstrate a burgeoning awareness of the requirement of applying research and investigation skills in order to effectively evaluate design concepts, ideas and theories. [AR4801, AR4802, AR4803, AR4804, AR4805, AR4811, AR4813]

Level 5

Demonstrate critical thinking evaluation and reflection through analysis of information and research, of the underpinning issues of concept, environment, ethics and culture and their affect on design decisions when placed in a broader and public context [AR5801, AR5802, AR5803, AR5804, AR4805, AR5811, AR5812, AR5813]
Level 6

Effectively utilise information to clearly demonstrate; understanding of the creative process and skills required for the development of their own discipline and self in order to become effective and independent practitioners. [AR6801, AR6802, AR6803, AR6811, AR6812, AR6813]

Demonstrate confident creative practices and understanding of the professional attributes and skills required to establish connections and industrial working relationships to become self-actuators and independent practitioners [AR6804, AR6805]


Across all three years practical, professional and theoretical skills are embedded in all aspects of this programme. Students will through observation and recording develop practical skills in observation, form, construction and function. These visualisation techniques will be used to develop ideas and concepts, underpinning and leading to increasing levels of sophistication in the use of materials, techniques, processes and prototyping specific to either the Graphic Design or Interior Design pathways

Level 4

Demonstrate an understanding of the tools, processes, technologies and materials available to create artefacts with in the frame work of historical, cultural and social contexts. [AR4801, AR4802, AR4803, AR4804, AR4805, AR4811, AR4813]

Level 5

Demonstrate a level of professional sensitivity and consideration when selecting; processes, practices, materials and their suitability and sustainability when responding to design problems and production [AR5801, AR5802, AR5803, AR5804, AR4805, AR5811, AR5812, AR5813]

Level 6

Demonstrate professionalism, entrepreneurship and originality in the deployment of skills and techniques in the pursuit of their chosen discipline and practice [AR6801, AR6802, AR6803, AR6811, AR6812, AR6813]

Demonstrate professionalism and competence in discourse when selecting and processing theories and methodologies in order to produce industry standard design artefacts. [AR6804, AR6805]


Communication is at the core of all design disciplines; the ability to engage a client or audience in a narrative that begins with visual awareness and extends beyond this to include culture, tradition, ethics, empathy and aesthetical considerations is the goal of any designer or design team. To achieve this goal designers should be able to articulate knowledge and understanding in order to make solid design judgments and outcomes. Based these judgments on an increasing awareness of research and developments within the design community. To become an effective practitioner designers should develop the ability to communicate these outcomes effectively to the client or audience. 

Level 4

Create a range of ideas and information, communicating intent and meaning through visual or written forms and to be able to verbally articulate and express their ideas and concepts. [AR4801, AR4802, AR4803, AR4804, AR4805, AR4811, AR4813]

Level 5

Effectively utilise a range of communication techniques and processes to communicate and articulate reasoned arguments and rationales in support of ideas, designs and concepts [AR5801, AR5802, AR5803, AR5804, AR4805, AR5811, AR5812, AR5813]

Level 6

Demonstrate skill and selection in utilising the most effective Information technologies’ and the correct tone of voice when presenting ideas and concepts to either industry specialists or to laypersons or consumers [AR6801, AR6802, AR6803, AR6811, AR6812, AR6813]

Demonstrate the ability to engage in professional level debate or argument using meta-language when dealing with professional design practitioners. [AR6804, AR6805]

The Design programme at Florence Institute of Design International aims to offer students a range of experiences that help to contextualise an ever-broadening view of Design practice. The programme intends to focus on delivering a full range of opportunities allowing students to develop knowledge and skill in:

  • visualisation and image making;
  • problem solving and the design process;
  • production;
  • business practice;
  • history and contexts of design practice;
  • appropriate design-based software;
  • written communication;
  • oral and written presentation;
  • research and investigation, and,
  • making defensible and persuasive judgements.


At Level 4, there are two pathways: Interior Design or Graphic Design. Students study two pathway specific modules together with core modules in Introduction to Design Principles, Art History and Analytical Drawing. These modules are:

The specialist modules in Graphic Design are

  • Introduction to Graphic Design (40)
  • Typography (20)

The specialist modules in Interior Design are

  • Introduction to Interior Design (40)
  • Computer Aided Design (20)

Core modules studied on both pathways are

  • Introduction to Design Principles (20)
  • Analytical Drawing (20)
  • Art History (20)

At Level 5 students in Interior Design and Graphic Design follow a similar pattern of specialist and core modules as follows:

The specialist Graphic Design modules are

  • Graphic Design Studio (40)
  • Interactive Media Design (20)
  • Moving Images (20)

The specialist modules in Interior Design are

  • Interior Design Studio (40)
  • Furniture Design (20)
  • 3D Visualisation (20)

Core modules studied on both pathways are

  • Digital Photography (20)
  • History of Italian Design & Symbols (20)


At Level 6 modules will further extend and challenge students' critical awareness as well as practice, and are principally designed to allow students to prepare for future employment. Level 6 students are expected to work more independently with minimum guidance. This structure is most clearly evident in the modules such as Design Research Project and Professional Practice modules, studied by both pathways. Students will study the following modules:

The specialist Graphic Design modules are

  • Digital Illustration (20)
  • Multimedia (20)

The specialist modules in Interior Design are

  • Lighting Design and Building Systems (20)
  • Advanced Computer Design (20)

Core modules studied on both pathways are

  • Design Research Project (40)
  • Professional Practice (20)
  • Experiential Learning (20)

Mod-Code Level Title Credit Single
AR4801 4 Introduction to Interior Design 40 Optional
AR4802 4 Introduction to Design Principles 20 Comp
AR4803 4 Computer Aided Design 20 Optional
AR4804 4 Art History 20 Comp
AR4805 4 Analytical Drawing 20 Comp
AR4811 4 Introduction to Graphic Design 40 Optional
AR4813 4 Typography 20 Optional
AR5801 5 Interior Design Studio 40 Optional
AR5802 5 Furniture Design 20 Optional
AR5803 5 3D Visualisation 20 Optional
AR5804 5 Digital Photography 20 Comp
AR5805 5 History of Italian Design & Symbols 20 Comp
AR5811 5 Graphic Design Studio 40 Optional
AR5812 5 Interactive Media Design 20 Optional
AR5813 5 Moving Images 20 Optional
AR6801 6 Lighting Design & Building Systems 20 Optional
AR6802 6 Advanced Computer Design 20 Optional
AR6803 6 Design Research Project 40 Comp
AR6804 6 Professional Practice 20 Comp
AR6805 6 Experiential Learning 20 Comp
AR6811 6 Digital Illustration 20 Optional
AR6812 6 Multimedia 20 Optional

Level 4: modules are either 20 or 40 credits. A candidate who successfully completes Level 4 will have accumulated 120 academic credit points, and will be eligible for the award of Certificate of Higher Education*. These 120 academic credit points can be carried forward cumulatively towards the award of an honours level undergraduate degree award.

Level 5: modules are either 20 or 40 credits. A candidate successfully completing Level 5 will have accumulated 240 academic credit points, and will be eligible for the award of Diploma of Higher Education*. These 240 academic credit points can be carried forward cumulatively towards the award of an honours level undergraduate degree award.

Level 6: modules are either 20 or 40 credits. A candidate successfully completing Level 6 will have accumulated 360 academic credit points, and will be eligible for the award of an honours degree*.
(*see the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education: The framework for higher education qualifications in England, Wales and Northern Ireland—August 2008).

For full details connected to University Admissions requirements and procedures, reference should be made to the current University of Chester Prospectus and/or the University and UCAS websites.

Strategy and Approach to Admissions.

The FIDI prospectus entry indicates that a typical applicant will have a minimum of 112 UCAS points from GCE A Levels or equivalent, inc A2 Level Art & Design, Fine Art or Photography.Normally, a successful portfolio review and interview is required for all applicants applying to Level 4 of the programme. Applicants with non-standard qualifications will be considered by the Institute in conjunction with the precepts and procedures set out in The University of Chester Handbook on the Admission of Students. Following a successful portfolio review and interview, candidates will be made a conditional offer that is tailored to their current mix of qualifications yet to be taken and the levels involved, generally but not exhaustively in line with 112 UCAS points or its equivalent. Opportunities for AP(e)L Claims are considered and will be granted in accordance with the University of Chester's procedures. As the modules for the first two levels of the programme are all cores or core options, APL can only be given for specific, matched modules. Students wishing to transfer between institutions cannot transfer to the next level carrying a fail in any module from their previous programme. Applicants who have previously successfully completed study evaluated as equivalent to a total of 240 credits at Levels 4 and 5 in an appropriate related subject will normally be eligible for admission with advanced standing to Level 6 of the programme, depending on their respective profile of achievement [i.e. the merit/distinction profile]. This could include completion of a Foundation Degree, HND or an Advanced Diploma from Florence Institute of Design International or Raffles College of Higher Education in subjects benchmark approved by the University of Chester.

Mature students are considered on an individual basis and where appropriate all relevant work experience will be taken into consideration. Students with non-UK qualifications should consult the FIDI admissions office in the first instance.

The Subject Benchmark Statement for Art & Design is available on the QAA website ( The University’s Undergraduate Modular Programme (UMP) scheme’s common outcomes of Knowledge and Understanding, Cognitive and Intellectual Skills are incorporated into the programme Learning Outcomes. The one additional Design specific ability/competence included is Visual Analysis and Enquiry. The modules and levels of study relate to the Framework for Higher Education (FHEQ):

The module learning outcomes have been carefully considered and mapped against the national benchmarks and level indicators. At each level the specificity of teaching and learning for each module enables the learner to develop skills and independent working practices that create a natural progression within their chosen disciplines. There are also at each level opportunity of interdisciplinary working and skills building via core modules that provide a greater depth of knowledge and understanding.

Level 4 is consistent with the FHEQ certificate level, where the holder “will have a sound knowledge of the basic concepts of the subject, and will have learned how to take different approaches to solving problems”.

Level 4 focuses primarily on skills and knowledge, during this level students will be introduced to a range of design discipline related issues requiring them to make basic design decisions based on research and exploration of materials, media, techniques, content and form

Students who successfully complete this level, but do not progress beyond Level 5 will be awarded a Certificate of Higher Education.

QAA benchmark statements

6.3 On graduating with an honours degree in art and design, students should be able to: 

  • Present evidence that demonstrates some ability to generate ideas independently and/or collaboratively in response to set briefs and/or as self-initiated activity
  • Demonstrate proficiency in observation, investigation, enquiry, visualisation and/or making
  • Develop ideas through to outcomes that confirm the student's ability to select and use materials, processes and environments
  • Make connections between intention, process, outcome, context, and methods of dissemination.

Level 5 is consistent with FHEQ intermediate level, where the holder “will have developed a sound understanding of the principles in their field of study, and will have learned to apply those principles more widely.”

Level 5 studies will afford the students the opportunity to further develop knowledge, understanding and skills begun in the previous level. This level, module choices and the work undertaken will provide them with the opportunity to investigate, refine and finesse their skills and understanding, specifically in those areas that are relevant and necessary to the development of the own theory and design practice. Students who successfully complete this level but do not attain a degree will be awarded a Diploma of Higher Education.

QAA benchmark statements

6.4 At the threshold standard, a student's work will have been informed by aspects of professional practice in their discipline(s). This will be evidenced by some knowledge and understanding of:

  • The broad critical and contextual dimensions of the student's discipline(s)
  • The issues which arise from the artist's or designer's relationship with audiences, clients, markets, users, consumers, and/or participants
  • Major developments in current and emerging media and technologies in their discipline(s)
  • The significance of the work of other practitioners in their discipline(s). 

Level 6 is consistent with FHEQ honours level, where graduates “will have developed an understanding of a complex body of knowledge, some of it at the current boundaries of an academic discipline. Through this, the graduate will have developed analytical techniques and problem-solving skills that can be applied in many types of employment. The graduate will be able to evaluate evidence, arguments and assumptions, to reach sound judgements, and to communicate effectively. An Honours graduate should have the qualities needed for employment in situations requiring the exercise of personal responsibility, and decision-making in complex and unpredictable circumstances.

At level 6 students are expected to demonstrate independent and autonomous working strategies and practice, in support of these expected outcomes students would also undertake during this time a period of internship working alongside industry professionals. Students who successfully complete this level will be awarded a BA Honours degree in Design. The subsequent programme outcomes have been distributed across all the modules in each level so that on successful completion of all module-specific assessment tasks and activities in each level, all the full programme outcomes have been achieved.

6.5 At the threshold standard, an honours degree in art and design confirms that the holder has acquired technical knowledge and practical skills. The student will be able to use materials, media, techniques, methods, technologies and tools associated with the discipline(s) studied, and will be familiar with good working practices.

6.6 On graduating with an honours degree in art and design at the threshold level, students will have demonstrated that they have some ability to: 

  • Exercise self-management skills in managing their workloads and meeting deadlines
  • Accommodate change and uncertainty
  • Analyse information and experiences, and formulate reasoned arguments
  • Benefit from the critical judgements of others and recognise their personal strengths and needs
  • Apply interpersonal and social skills to interact with others
  • Communicate ideas and information in visual, oral and written forms
  • Present ideas and work to their audiences
  • Apply information skills to navigate, retrieve, and manage information from a variety of sources
  • Select and employ communication and information technologies.

The methods of learning and teaching on the programme are activity-based and recurring in order to support the development of these attributes/skills. They enable students: to become independent learners; to take responsibility for their learning as well as support the learning of their peers; to help students understand what is needed in order to improve their work/practice; and, to offer a variety of learner experiences that help students to develop skills in research, analysis, evaluation, making informed judgements, reflection and communication. Generally, students will explore projects cooperatively. This may involve students working in teams presenting their work to the group and academic staff at various points.

Generally teaching and learning methods will reflect the module subject matter and its identified learning styles. Predominantly "taught sessions" will aim to integrate practice and theory through an interactive classroom setting. Lecturers, practicing designers, researchers and industry-relevant practitioners will have varying involvement in the delivery of module content where possible. Learning opportunities will take place in both large and small group settings via lectures, seminars, tutorials, tutor and/or student-led discussion, individual and/or group tasks-activities, and, individually directed and structured study. Site visits to design practices/studios and relevant industry practices will take place where appropriate. To accommodate this delivery, teaching and learning will take place in a variety of environments including: specialist studios, lecture rooms, seminar rooms and computer rooms.

A range of formative and summative assessment modes are employed which may include: in-class writing exercises, quizzes, project rationales, strategic planning documents such as the initial response map, project presentations (written, visual and/or oral), written essays, individual creative projects, project/research workbooks, production notebooks, individual and group practical projects and personal development planning.

The modules at Level 4 will typically consist of between two to four hours of contact time per module per week (or its equivalent over the year). Academic staff will be assigned to a module under the oversight of the Programme Leader and/or the Director of FIDI. It is important students recognise that a significant amount of the learning time will involve them identifying and managing the essential tasks as well as effectively managing their time and their own as well as FIDI's resources. To this end they will be supported in their development of project and time management skills during their first year of study. As students are “learning by doing” they will be expected to: regularly undertake practical design work; read key and some recommended texts, journals and periodicals; investigate primary and secondary sources in their research; prepare so that they can offer input in taught sessions, presentations and any small group collaborations/seminars; and, carry out, complete and submit on-time all the required assessment tasks/activities related to their current modules. Weekly academic contact may vary as students progress through Levels 5 and 6 but will follow these general patterns.

Both formative and summative assessments are used in modules. Formative assessment refers to an evaluation of students’ work that is targeted toward helping a student improve. Summative assessment refers to a grade allocated in order to make a final judgement of student attainment. Modules in Design are summatively assessed to ensure that progressive development for the student occurs across and/or during each level of the programme.

Assessment, whether summative or formative aims to:

  • clarify as well as focus students on what is important to learn (which in turn will become the basis for defining and structuring the learning environment);
  • clarify the academic standards required and how they are assessed; integrate learning from the different modules; and offer students sufficient formative feedback.

The programme team are fully committed to “formal formative feedback”. Formal in this context means a definitive commitment by the student to undertake the required tasks and to submit these on time, as well as a definitive commitment by staff to the provision of timely, effective and written feedback related to specified learning outcomes/assessment criteria. Formal formative feedback will be used at strategic points throughout a module where it may not benefit students to be summatively assessed, for example with coursework where an holistic view of projects and/or tasks is important to their learning. This will ensure that students have a clear idea of their progress within a project, whilst offering the opportunity to develop and/or evidence learning gained from earlier work. Formative feedback is also used to identify any students at risk of failing the module.  Thus students will be issued with a clear message that they are in an “at risk” situation unless they take the appropriate remedial action.

The range of assessment methods to be employed include design artefact(s)/outcomes, essays, workbooks, initial design proposals, project plans, visual rationales, and presentations. Generally, assessment focuses on thinking and research skills as well as on the acquisition of technical and professional skills, thereby supporting a broadening perspective of interior design and graphic design practice. All levels of study will be assessed through a combination of practical and/or written work as detailed in the module descriptors. Students must pass all summatively assessed components of each module in order to progress. During the first year, students will be assessed on the effectiveness of their initial development of design knowledge and their research skills (including visual exploration and experimentation), thinking skills, technical skills, making skills, and communication skills. In the second year, knowledge and skills will generally be assessed in the context of a broader understanding of professional practice. In the third year students will be assessed on their ability to successfully extend and enhance their knowledge and skills as a means of showcasing their creativity, innovation and expertise.

The Art & Design Department has adapted and contextualised the University-wide criteria set out in The Handbook of Requirements Governing the Assessment of Students at Levels 4, 5, 6 and 7. It should be noted that, depending on the type of assessment, not every criterion within a particular skill and banding may be relevant to that particular assessment. Students will be given the specific criteria for each assessed activity/task.

Students are expected to attend all lectures / tutorials / seminars / workshops / technical instruction sessions delivered at all levels. The programme level learning outcomes, assessment tasks and assessment criteria are considered together as they are intertwined within the programme’s curriculum design. Methods of assessment are directly linked to the learning outcomes of the modules and thereby to the programme. The programme’s learning outcomes incorporate the knowledge and skills required to undertake further/postgraduate study or enter into the variety of careers which value the transferable skills and qualities gained from an education in Design. All skills, specialist and transferable, are included. Each module descriptor states the learning outcomes that are to be evaluated in each component of assessment. These assessments test the student’s capability and achievement against the declared and articulated standards for the learning outcomes involved. Individual project briefs and formative feedback sheets will give greater detail to the levels of achievement with specified criteria.

In general, assessed activities/tasks are designed to provide a broad platform for students to demonstrate that they have achieved the module outcomes across a wide ranging set of increasingly challenging contexts. Reassessment activities for failed components of, or, for whole modules shall be equivalent and comparable in character to the original task(s). Normally students will undertake re-assessment task(s) without attendance. Any group-based project, including presentations, will be replaced by an appropriate individual task. Both practical and written re-submissions are to be submitted during the reassessment period with candidates called to the institution to undertake any oral assessments required.

As the subject specialist skills in design are themselves a mix of knowledge, skills development, exposition and knowledge of and from practice, successful graduates will have the ability to:

  • critically analyse and evaluate;
  • apply knowledge in a wider context;
  • explore, define and resolve issues/problems;
  • initiate as well as complete projects; and, present coherent research, positions, exploration, experimentation, ideas, concepts in a range of appropriate media that relate to a given audience.

These transferable skills make design students attractive to a wide range of mainstream employers as well as the broad range of employers in the creative industries.

Typical career paths and postgraduate study:

Potential areas for employment for successful, motivated graduates progressing from the programme are considerable given the wide range of creative industries or businesses locally in Tuscany and internationally. The Single Honours programme is intended to develop employable designers who can work within the many areas of the professional design domain, it is also intended to develop graduates who could alternatively and realistically seek employment in other design-related aspects of the creative, cultural or entertainment sectors, or who can undertake postgraduate study or research in a related subject. Design is a broad discipline that encompasses many subjects and possible alternative careers for those who are determined and flexible after gaining their first degree. However, a significant number of design graduates also secure employment in design-related roles such as design managers, buyers or in design related businesses such as the publishing and printing industry. Postgraduate study, for those students with a conventional and/or strong academic profile accompanied by design expertise, is welcome in all education sectors.

The University is committed to the promotion of diversity, equality and inclusion in all its forms: through different ideas and perspectives, age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation. We are, in particular, committed to widening access to higher education.  Within an ethically aware and professional environment, we acknowledge our responsibilities to promote freedom of inquiry and scholarly expression.

General Information. A one week induction period is provided. Sessions encompass the structure of the programme and introductory lectures on matters such as making the transition to honours degree level of study, key skills and managing your finances and your personal safety. Students will be provided with a student handbook detailing the structure of the programme and the relevant regulations.

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