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Furniture: Design and Make Foundation Degree

The Foundation Degree in Furniture Design and Make 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.

The 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.

Upon successful completion you will be awarded a Foundation Degree in Furniture: Design and Make from Oxford Brookes University.

TEF Silver
Based on the evidence available, the TEF Panel judged that Activate Learning delivers high quality teaching, learning and outcomes for its students. It consistently exceeds rigorous national quality requirements for UK higher education.

Programme details
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

Teaching and learning experience

Students will be able to enjoy the advantages of working and learning in a creative Design Studio environment together with their peers. This provides the opportunity to pool experiences, research and ideas; to brainstorm on projects together; give and receive encouragement and advice and develop a group ethos.

Students will have the opportunity to use their own dedicated workbench and access to the wood machine and veneering workshops to develop their learning through three dimensional exploration, testing, evaluation of their design proposals and subsequently making high quality practical outcomes.

Students will be supported during the making stage of the projects through practical guidance by teachers and supervision in the workshops by dedicated workshop supervisors. Students of the FdA share the same workshops with final year BA students allowing opportunities for shared peer learning and collaboration.

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, utilising effective time management and use of resources.


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, further details of which can found in the Higher Education Student Handbook.

Each student will be allocated their own work bench and space in the HE workshop. Students have access to a dedicated IT suite, design studio, veneering, spray finishing upholstery and wood machine workshops.

As well as being enrolled at City of Oxford College you will also be enrolled with Oxford Brookes University and so will benefit from the same facilities and services as on campus students.

Study support

If you do not have a recognised disability or specific learning difficulty, but feel that you require additional support with your studies, you may be eligible to access some discrete sessions in one of the following areas:
• Assistive software training
• IT upskilling
• Essay planning and structure
• Proof reading and editing written work
• Bibliographies and referencing
• Time management and personal organisation
• Revision and exam tips
• Presentation techniques

N.B. Your eligibility for any of the above support will be reviewed with your course tutors and a member of the study support team on your campus.
Skills and assessment
The programme is 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.

Work-related opportunities

Work related experiences are fully integrated into the programme and include regular guest speakers, live project briefs, competitions and visits. The programme will culminate in a professional public exhibition for the industry and networking opportunities.

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.
Entry requirements
Each application will be considered on an individual basis following the University principle of widening access to those who might not have the traditional academic entry criteria to degree level awards.

It is anticipated that applicants will be drawn from a variety of backgrounds. Some practical experience of cabinet making is preferred. We also welcome applications from mature students with design or woodworking experience who may not have formal qualifications.

Normally the requirement would be:
• 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,

In addition
• British Council IELTS: normally minimum level 6.0 overall with a minimum of 6.0 in the reading and writing components and 5.5 for speaking and listening.

All applicants to the course will be interviewed and their portfolios reviewed. This will enable the course team to assess the candidate's suitability and compatibility to the course in a comprehensive way. It also allows flexibility in pre-requisite qualification requirements given the variety of entry points to the course. 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, as appropriate, to enable them to embark upon their chosen course of study
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.

What you can progress to

Upon successful completion of the Foundation Degree in Furniture: Design and Make, graduates will also be able to upgrade their qualification to an honours degree through one more year of study on the BA (Hons) Furniture: Design and Make which is also delivered at City of Oxford College.

Most students 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.
How to apply
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.

Applications from mature learners

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 those who wish to place their experience and knowledge within a formal educational framework. We are happy to support them through the application process. We see our interview process as an opportunity to get to know students and we will give an applicant a course presentation, tour of facilities and an opportunity to meet staff and students as part of this process.


The college does not have the facility to arrange accommodation for individual students. To help you in your search for accommodation we have provided information on our website, which hopefully you will find useful. We would advise that before you begin your enquires you visit www.direct.gov.uk and using their site search facility type in “Student Accommodation”. This will give you valuable information about how to get the best from your accommodation.

Fees information

Home/EU Fee for 2018 entry: £4,760 per year

UCAS code :

Institution code :

Location :

Mode :

Oxford City Centre Part-time

Year of entry

Duration :

2018 3 Years
Furniture: Design and Make Foundation Degree NEWS
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Rycotewood Furniture Exhibition opens to the public
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Take a seat and enjoy the show!
Young furniture designer makes his mark