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Accrediting Interior Design Course Content for Professional Practice

SBID is authorised to accredit UK universities providing first degree interior design courses for professional practice. SBID evaluates how well academic content taught at accredited institutions relates to the practicing profession of interior design.

Higher Education Statistics Agency

As a professional interior design organisation providing leading accreditation for interior designers, SBID is also an accrediting body of the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA), recognised as a provider of accreditation for interior design courses at national degree awarding universities and colleges in UK. A course accredited by the SBID is therefore regarded as fit-for purpose for the journey into the professional practice of interior design.


HESA are the experts in UK higher education data and the designated data body for England. Collecting, assuring and disseminating data about higher education (HE) in the UK to collect and curate one of the world’s leading higher education data sources. HESA’s Unistats Dataset act as an accreditation survey of data gathered from the National Student Survey (NSS) and the Destination of Leavers from Higher Education Survey (DLHE), as well as information provided by individual universities, colleges and students on courses. This data provides accurate statistics as a guide to help prospective students make informed decisions when selecting a destination to study their degree. The information includes five key areas of data:

  • Accreditations granted to the course by professional bodies
  • How the course is assessed
  • Proportions of scheduled learning and teaching hours
  • Tuition fees
  • Accommodation costs

How does SBID work with universities?

SBID pioneered engagement between universities and industry in the UK in its founding year to assess how fit-for-purpose courses and tuition transfers into the commercial world post-graduation. Until that time education and employment had not engaged in the sector of interior design.

A Memorandum of Understanding between SBID and Interior Educators was formed from a selection of three interior design bodies in 2009. The agreement shaped the blend across 12 UK universities to collectively establish an agreement to form and improve the outcome of course content for a career in interior design.

In 2011, following an introduction from the Minister of Universities and the Department of Education, SBID formed collaborations with universities directly empowered to provide interior design degrees, it continued with its highly researched remit to measure course content. By 2015, SBID was validated with accreditation status by the HESA’s Key Information Set (now known as Unistats Dataset) for interior design and in the same year, created 5 modules for interior design BA and MA degree courses which are registered with HESA.

As a professional accreditation body for interior designers, SBID created a pioneering 3-tier recognition structure to identify government-validated university courses for professional interior design practice; from University Recognition and Course Accreditation to Centre of Excellence status. University courses are validated by government for education, and by SBID for appropriate content to practice professionally in the commercial sector.

How are BA and MA degree courses accredited? 

A degree course is accredited by a professional organisation in the subject. Approximately 175 Universities and other institutions that have the power to award UK degrees are known by the UK government as recognised bodies’, other schools or colleges approved to provide higher education programmes on behalf of recognised bodies are known as listed bodies’. They do not in themselves have the right to award degrees. The Privy Council (a formal body of advisers to the Queen) is responsible for decisions about UK institutions providing education by honours degree. The Society of British and International Interior Design have been accrediting honours degree courses providing content for professional practice since 2009.

Why is it important to support interior design initiatives in education?

Practicing interior designers previously argued that university graduates didn’t possess the skills expected from a junior designer. At the time of SBID incorporation, there wasn’t a single university in the UK connected with a professional interior design organisation. SBID was selected from professional interior design organisations to be the partner of the course leaders’ informal group.

SBID was founded on a remit to measure education for its suitability and appropriateness to professional practice. We provide the information for the benefit of students so that they can make an informed choice when selecting a university course for interior design.

Graduating with an interior design degree from an SBID Accredited course provides prospective employers with the comfort that course content is fit for purpose.

SBID own the intellectual property of course validation and accreditation scheme.

How does SBID accredit course content?

Evaluating course content, SBID measure the interior design module content for a variety of industry-consulted professional criteria to ensure it covers the content required for practice. Each course is independently examined by representatives of SBID. Considering its essential relevance for the broader design industry, innovation, creativity and an employers’ expectations of basic knowledge for the workplace.

As the government monitored the grades and outcomes of accredited courses, SBID monitored the transfer from learning to earning with mentoring programmes, internships and student competitions. SBID accredit university course content to ensure each course meets an all-inclusive educational standard required by industry.

What is the difference between the accreditation scheme created by SBID and other providers?

SBID pioneered the scheme for the benefit of students; the course customers and ultimate employees of our members. It was originally created as a guide for potential students to choose courses that future employers know contains content their employees must possess. Therefore the employment potential is increased for students attending an SBID Accredited course. Course accreditation is an industry endorsement from the professional body authorised to accredit interior design degree courses.

Competitors have copied the SBID Accreditation models but fail to replicate its secret formula. SBID is the largest professional member organisation in the UK for interior design, and offers the highest potential of employment following course completion. SBID prepares accreditation from a position of experience in practice that competitors are unable to duplicate.

SBID Student Membership

SBID is proud to encourage the next generation of trained and qualified professionals by supporting university interior design qualifications. All SBID Recognised & Accredited courses therefore provide free student membership; including one-year free Associate membership post-graduation to support emerging designers on their path to full SBID Accreditation as a professional, work-experienced interior designer.



Find out more about our flexible membership structure.

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