Furniture Design and Make (FdA)


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Key facts

UCAS code


Start dates

September 2024

Course length

Full time: 2 years

Part time: 3 years


School of Arts


This foundation degree in Furniture Design and Make has been developed by Oxford Brookes University and City of Oxford College, where the course is delivered. It is linked closely with the furniture industry and aims to inspire creativity in design and excellence in craftsmanship through work related study.

Situated in the Rycotewood Furniture Centre, our students develop skills as creative thinkers and makers who innovate furniture craft through the exploration of materials and skills. This programme balances design, craft and theory to nurture furniture designers and makers of excellent ability. Students can progress to employment or further study with a broad understanding of the processes involved in the design and craft of furniture.

To find out more about what it is like to study at an Oxford Brookes partner college, visit our partnership course pages.

Course details

Course structure

Year one introduces you to a wide range of practical skills, crafts, theories and issues within furniture design and make including graphic communications and visual language through the use of CAD programmes and case studies, craft skills including hand and machine processes progressing to the manufacturing processes used in batch production and theoretical issues relating to manufacturing and material culture.

Year two focuses on the development of skills and issues introduced in year one. You will be encouraged to explore a wide range of materials and processes in the design and development of your own furniture projects responding to aesthetic, functional and technological issues. In addition, you will engage with materials technology, the history of furniture, sustainability and the social implications of design through an extended essay on a topic of your choice.

Student designing a wooden chair

Learning and teaching

Strong links to the furniture industry, professional-level workshops and the technical expertise of our staff will provide you with a professionally relevant programme. Learning is based on practical scenarios and real-life situations with half of all projects in year two being work-related through live project briefs and competitions set by the industry. Our design and make projects are industry linked so you will gain professional guidance and feedback from industry professionals.

You will be taught through lectures and individual and small group tutorials in our Design Studio. Practical workshop sessions will take place at your own dedicated workbench and in our wood machine and veneering workshops. You will develop your learning through three-dimensional exploration, testing and evaluation of design proposals, and high-quality outcomes supported by specialist lecturers and workshop supervisors.


You will be assessed on your practical and written coursework including practical projects, sketchbooks and technical notebooks, case studies, reports and essays. You will receive regular verbal feedback on your learning during tutorials and written feedback once you have submitted your practical or written work for assessment. Our feedback is designed to be supportive and to help you identify where you could develop your knowledge or skills further.

Tuition fees

Please see the fees note
Home (UK) full time off campus

Home (UK) part time off-campus

International full time off-campus

Home (UK) full time off campus

Home (UK) part time off-campus

International full time off-campus

Tuition fees

2024 / 25
Home (UK) full time off campus

Home (UK) part time off-campus

International full time off-campus

2025 / 26
Home (UK) full time off campus

Home (UK) part time off-campus

International full time off-campus

Please note, tuition fees for Home students may increase in subsequent years both for new and continuing students in line with an inflationary amount determined by government. Oxford Brookes University intends to maintain its fees for new and returning Home students at the maximum permitted level.

Tuition fees for International students may increase in subsequent years both for new and continuing students. 

The following factors will be taken into account by the University when it is setting the annual fees: inflationary measures such as the retail price indices, projected increases in University costs, changes in the level of funding received from Government sources, admissions statistics and access considerations including the availability of student support.

How and when to pay

Tuition fee instalments for the semester are due by the Monday of week 1 of each semester. Students are not liable for full fees for that semester if they leave before week 4. If the leaving date is after week 4, full fees for the semester are payable.

  • For information on payment methods please see our Make a Payment page.
  • For information about refunds please visit our Refund policy page

Financial support and scholarships

For general sources of financial support, see our Fees and funding pages.

Additional costs

Please be aware that some courses will involve some additional costs that are not covered by your fees. Specific additional costs for this course are detailed below.

How to apply

Further offer details

Activate Learning welcome applications from mature students without formal qualifications, who now want to take the opportunity for some practical skills development. It also welcomes applications from those who wish to place their experience and knowledge within a formal educational framework. 

Students are normally expected to start at Level 4, but can be admitted to any level of the course which is considered suitable, after portfolio review and interview using the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS). Under this arrangement, a student may apply to have previous academic credits or other learning (APL) or experience (APEL) taken into consideration. Such applications are considered by the Faculty CATS committee and must be supported by the Programme Coordinator.

Entry requirements

Specific entry requirements

Students interested in applying for this course should normally have the following:


  • a minimum of the equivalent of two years’ full-time relevant work experience and a current role in an appropriate workplace setting
  • evidence of ability to study at academic Level 4
  • evidence of support from their employer and recommendation;


  • a minimum of one A-level at grade C plus the equivalent of 5 GCSE passes at C grade or above normally including Mathematics and English Language - or a recognised equivalent vocationally related qualification, or;
  • A National Diploma in General Art and Design, or;
  • An Art Foundation course, or;
  • Level 3 City and Guilds Diploma in Furniture, or;
  • Access to Art and Design

Please also see the University's general entry requirements.

Selection process

All applicants to the course will be interviewed and their portfolios reviewed. As a minimum, the portfolio interview should be able to demonstrate that the applicant can do the following:

  • Show that they have an understanding of the course
  • Demonstrate that they have the necessary (or required) academic, artistic and practical skills, to enable them to embark upon their chosen course of study.

English language requirements

Where applicable; IELTS normally minimum level 6.0 overall with a minimum of 6.0 in the reading and writing components and a minimum of 5.5 in the speaking and listening components.

Please also see the University's standard English language requirements.

English requirements for visas

If you need a student visa to enter the UK you will need to meet the UK Visas and Immigration minimum language requirements as well as the University's requirements. Find out more about English language requirements.

Terms and Conditions of Enrolment

When you accept our offer, you agree to the Terms and Conditions of Enrolment. You should therefore read those conditions before accepting the offer.

Credit transfer

Many of our courses consider applications for entry with credit for prior learning. Each application is individually assessed by our credit entry tutors.

If you would like more information about whether or not you may be eligible for the award of credit, for example from an HND, partly-completed degree or foundation degree, please contact our Admissions team.

We operate the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS). All undergraduate single modules are equivalent to 7.5 ECTS credits and double modules to 15 ECTS credits. More about ECTS credits.

Application process

Full time Home (UK) applicants

Apply through UCAS

Part time Home (UK) applicants

Apply direct to the University

International applicants

Apply direct to the University

Full time international applicants can also apply through UCAS


You will be equipped with the theoretical understanding and the practical expertise needed to undertake work in a variety of roles within the furniture design and make industry. You will widen your knowledge and experience and gain  insight into the many organisations that provide employment opportunities.

Our graduates have been successful in gaining employment as furniture makers, furniture designers and furniture CAD technicians with local, national and international companies. Others have set up their own design studios and some well-known alumni have gone on to make essential contributions to the industry.

You can also apply to continue your study with us on our BA (Hons) Furniture Design and Make when you have successfully completed the Foundation Degree.

Programme changes:
On rare occasions we may need to make changes to our course programmes after they have been published on the website. For more information, please visit our changes to programmes page.