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Furniture Design and Make (FdA)

Foundation Degree Fd(A)

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 who 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.

Typical offers

Available start dates

September 2018 / September 2019

Teaching location

Activate Learning - City of Oxford College

Course length

  • Full time: 2 years
  • Part time: 3 years

UCAS code


For full application details, please see the 'How to apply / Entry requirements' section.

  • Delivered in the Rycotewood Furniture Centre of Excellence. You will be taught by highly professional furniture designer/makers who have been in industry and are kept up-to-date with current practices.
  • Access to a dedicated IT suite, design studio, veneering, spray finishing upholstery and wood machine workshops
  • Teaching is delivered at the college, but you will also be enrolled at Oxford Brookes and have access to many of the University’s facilities, including the library, computing services, sports centre and Students' Union.
  • Work related experiences are fully integrated into the programme and include regular guest speakers, live project briefs, competitions and visits. Your study culminates in a professional public exhibition for the industry that provides you with networking opportunities.

Please note that as programmes are reviewed regularly, the module list may vary from that shown here:

Level 4

  • Technical and Visual Communication
  • Furniture Craft 
  • Design and Make
  • Manufacturing and Material Culture

Level 5

  • Advanced Technical and Visual Communication 
  • Furniture Production 
  • Advanced Design and Make 
  • Advanced Manufacturing and Culture

Additional costs

There are a number of additional costs to be aware of in preparing for and studying on the foundation degree. Please note costs are approximate and subject to change.

Prior to starting the programme:

Tools - £250-£500
Drawing equipment - £40
Stationary/sketchbooks - £50
PPE (ear defenders/safety glasses/boots) - £40-£60
Year 1:
Materials fee (consumables, toolbox, small table, jewellery box, small practical exercises, scale model) - £140
Small table - £50-£200
Year 2:
Materials fee (consumables, mirror, small box, bedside cabinet) - £120
Chair - £100-£200
Cabinet - £200-£500

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.

Teaching and learning

You will be able to enjoy the advantages of working and learning in a creative Design Studio environment together with their peers. This gives you the opportunity to pool experiences, research and ideas, brainstorm on projects together, give and receive encouragement and advice, and develop a group ethos. FDA students share the same workshops with final year BA students allowing opportunities for shared peer learning and collaboration. 

You will have the opportunity to use your own dedicated workbench and have access to the wood machine and veneering workshops. This will help develop your learning through three dimensional exploration, testing, evaluation of their design proposals and subsequently making high quality practical outcomes. You will be supported during the making stage of the projects through practical guidance by teachers and supervision in the workshops by dedicated workshop supervisors. 

Contacts with the furniture industry are given a high priority throughout each level of the programme and maintained through visiting specialists and guest lecturers, industry engaged projects and visits to relevant exhibitions. You are encouraged to take an active role in your learning, through effective time management and use of resources.

You are encouraged to engage in live projects and national competitions. Current examples are New Forest Trust Fine Furniture Competition, Alan Peters Award and Worshipful Company of Furniture Makers Young Furniture Maker Awards.

Approach to assessment

At each level of study you will be asked to participate in formative assessment procedures which require you to consider your own work against the agreed assessment criteria. This allows you to reflect upon your own practice, with tutors, and to take responsibility for acknowledging areas of strength and areas for further development in your work.

Tuition fees

Home/EU - full time off-campus fee: 2018/19: £7,000

Home/EU - part time off-campus fee : 2018/19: £4,760

International - full time off-campus fee : 2017/18: £8,000 2018/19: £8,200

Please note tuition fees for Home/EU & International students may increase in subsequent years both for new and continuing students.

Oxford Brookes University intends to maintain its fees for new and returning home and EU students at the maximum permitted level.

Please be aware that some courses will involve some additional costs that are not covered by your fees. Specific additional costs for this course, if any, are detailed in the 'This course in detail' window above.

Questions about fees?
Contact Student Finance on:
+44 (0)1865 483088

Funding and scholarships

For general sources of financial support, see:

Typical offers

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.

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

International and EU applications

Preparation courses for EU students

We offer a range of courses to help students meet the academic and English language entry requirements for their courses and also familiarise them with university life.

Find out more about the international foundation pathways we offer and our pre-sessional English language courses.

Country specific entry requirements

If you are studying outside the UK, for more details about your specific country entry requirements, translated information and local representatives who can help you to apply, please have a look at our country specific information pages.

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.

How to apply

Full-time students should apply for this course through UCAS.

Applications must be made via UCAS. Part-time students should apply direct to City of Oxford College.

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

Oxford Brookes operates 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.

Support for students studying Furniture Design and Make (FdA)

Although this course is not taught at Oxford Brookes, you will have access to many of the university’s facilities and support services. This includes access to Brookes' libraries, Centre for Sport, Students' Union, and professional advice and information from Brookes’ Career and Employment Centre.

Specialist facilities

You will be provided with a suitably equipped place to work when attending college that will include access to specialist staff, IT facilities and other learning resources which will be appropriate for the nature of work you will be required to undertake. Additionally, the college offers a wide range of other resources and facilities which will be available to you.

General support services

Supporting your learning

From academic advisers and support co-ordinators to specialist subject librarians and other learning support staff, we want to ensure that you get the best out of your studies.

Personal support services

We want your time at Brookes to be as enjoyable and successful as possible. That's why we provide all the facilities you need to be relaxed, happy and healthy throughout your studies.

Career prospects

Most of you will aspire to become independent designer-makers, but many find it useful first to gain experience working in established workshops. Foundation degree graduates have gained employment as furniture makers, furniture designers and furniture CAD technicians with local and national companies including Benchmark, Matthew Burt, Philip Koomen and Halstock Cabinetmakers.

Further study

On successful graduation from this course, you can apply for the one year full time Furniture: Design and Make BA (Hons) top-up degree.
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