Associate Degree in Design (Furniture)
DurationFull-time 2 years
Combine real-life industry projects and design theory with a hands-on focus on production to create sustainable contemporary modern furniture products.
In RMIT’s award-winning furniture design program you’ll learn to develop creative and original furniture designs with a strong grounding in design methods, manufacturing technologies and processes informed by cultural and social factors.
This program allows you to use a combination of manual skills and machine technologies in the product development and construction of contemporary furniture products. You’ll gain a higher level of critical and conceptual thinking skills and develop ideas that will address issues within today’s society, including sustainable approaches to design and manufacturing.
With hands-on design-focused learning and an emphasis on production and craft knowledge, this program offers a blend of topics that will enable you to design modern furniture.
You will gain the skills to explore design through real-world industry projects with companies such as Moran Furniture and Schiavello. The program teaches you to investigate contemporary, cultural and environmental aspects of professional furniture design practice.
You’ll connect with Australian and international industry mentors such as Marc Pascal and Adam Cornish. These mentors will work with you to provide feedback on the commercial viability of your design work. You’ll also have the opportunity to compete in local and international design competitions such as London Design Week, Fringe Furniture, The Edge (Sydney) and the Australian International Furniture Fair.
This is a hands-on program where you will explore design solutions, taking into consideration aesthetics, technology, ergonomics, usability, stress analysis, sustainability and materials engineering, marketing and lean manufacturing.
You will develop freehand and computer-aided drawings and illustrations and develop your skills in everything from 3D ideas generation to prototypes that demonstrate and test furniture.
Award winners in furniture design
- Rachael Siklic
Winner, Future Leaders Award, Craft Victoria’s 2017 Fresh! Graduate Showcase
- Daniel Triebert
Winner, Design Institute of Australia Graduate of the Year Award Victoria/Tasmania
- Alexsandra Pontonio
Winner, The Furniture Concept Award VIVID (Vibrant Visions in Design)
- Richard Greenacre
Winner, VIVID and two awards at Fringe Furniture.
The learning and teaching approach of this program emulates how you would work in a commercial design studio. Through practical hands-on studios, lectures, workshops, presentation and group discussions, teachers will treat you as though you are an assistant designer.
Over the course of the program you will interact and undertake work experience with key people from small and large Australian and international furniture, textiles and graphic design companies on live design projects. This models the practice of furniture designers in industry.
You will work in state-of-the-art studios and teaching facilities including the:
- furniture and product design studios
- Advanced Manufacturing Precinct
You will use industry standard equipment including 3D printers, CNC machining, modern manufacturing equipment and traditional hand and power tools. You will also use computer programs such as the BIESSE works (CNC programming), the Adobe suite of programs (including Photoshop and Illustrator), and AutoCAD and SolidWorks.
Class sizes are approximately 15 to 20 students per workshop.
22 hours of classes over four days per week with more than 15 hours extra study and research weekly. There will be concentrated periods of out-of-class work when assessments are due.
You will be assessed throughout each semester via reports, verbal and visual design presentations, group projects, research and practical assignments.
All programs are delivered in English. You will have access to online resources through the myRMIT student portal.
Rather than undertaking block work experience, you will work with external companies on live projects and competitions throughout the program. This approach mirrors the consultancy practice of furniture designers with clients and stakeholders.
Companies that have worked with the program include:
- Moran Furniture
- Kendall Furniture
- Blend Design
- Image Interiors
Industry networking is very beneficial and can lead to invitations to become part of industry-based committees and boards, such as the AgIdeas Student Representative Board.
You will also connect with current designers and past students who have established design practices and manufacturing hubs.
RMIT University is committed to providing you with an education that strongly links formal learning with professional or vocational practice.
You will participate in global research and develop links with international publications that publish students' final-year projects. You’ll also work and establish connections with international manufacturing partners.
Graduates of this program work all over the world in organisations including:
- Ikea, Sweden
- Polyform, Italy
- Patricia Urquiola, Italy and Spain
Students and graduates participate in global design and industry trade exhibitions including
- London Design Festival
- Melbourne Movement
Students exhibiting: Dusko Lapcevic, Tate Anson and Adam Cornish
- International Furniture Fair Tokyo
Students exhibiting: Dusko Lapcevic and Tate Anson
Many graduates have established their own successful design practices in Australia, Singapore, Europe, America, Canada and the Middle East.
You’ll study in state-of-the-art facilities at RMIT’s City campus with lecturers connected with major industry bodies such as the Furniture Industry Association of Australia and Design Institute of Australia.
In this program you’ll work on real-world briefs and have the opportunity to work with Australian and international design companies. One recent brief involved working with The Salvation Army to create a range of economical and ergonomic furniture for some of Melbourne’s most disadvantaged people.
You’ll participate in industry-wide competitions like Australia's longest running design competition VIVID (Vibrant Visions in Design).
Furniture students dominated at The Edge international furniture competition and had a strong presence at the London Design Festival.
Many current students and graduates have also been celebrated at the Melbourne Now exhibitionwhich celebrates creative practitioners in Melbourne.
This program is made up of four core streams called the Design Studios, that constitute your key learning activity. These streams are:
- Design studies
- Design studio
The objective of the four streams is to allow you to interact with industry, students and staff through group work and peer-to-peer learning.
Full-time students are expected to attend 23 hours of classes over four days and undertake approximately 15 hours of extra study and research weekly. There are often concentrated periods of out-of-class self-directed work around the time assessments are due.
Choose a program structure
|Associate Degree in Design (Furniture)||City Campus||
2 years full-time - 4 semesters
2 years full-time
Choose a program structure
Program code: AD007
Furniture designers generally work on a freelance basis as independent designer/makers. You may also find work with furniture manufacturers, interior design consultancies or large retail chains.
Your work activities may include:
- liaising with clients and managing design projects
- drawing designs by hand or using computer aided design (CAD) software
- building full-size samples
- exploring and experimenting with different materials and unusual furniture-making methods
- researching new trends and classic styles to inspire and influence your designs
You may also contribute your expertise to other related professions, such as set design for theatre companies or displays for galleries and museums.
Upon graduation you will be able to design your career future, working for major production companies or as an independent designer in the global furniture industry in roles such as:
- production manager
- retail specialist
- account managers.
You will be eligible to join the Design Institute of Australia (DIA) as a student member while studying. Graduates can apply for associate membership and full membership once you have obtained your professional experience.
Please note: eligibility for full membership is based on a points system.
Successful completion of an Australian Year 12 senior secondary certificate of education or equivalent.
RMIT is committed to admissions transparency. View the 2018 ATAR distribution information for our degrees and information about how admissions work at RMIT:
You must have successfully completed an Australian Year 12 (or equivalent senior secondary school qualification) with a minimum 60% average (check calculator below).
Equivalent qualifications may also include completion of the RMIT Foundation Studies program or a recognised post secondary diploma in the relevant discipline with the required grades.
Meeting the minimum academic requirements does not guarantee entry. Your application will still need to be assessed and accepted.
You must attend a folio presentation.
To book your folio presentation call (03) 9925 4819.
Your folio should demonstrate your creative, conceptual and technical ability. You should include evidence of how ideas were developed as well as finished works.
Examples of work to include are:
- graphic designs
- digital images
- short stories
- 2D and 3D Flash animation
We recommend you prepare to explain each work to help the Selection Officer understand the purpose and background of that work.
You must supply evidence of your creativity in the form of a folio that contains a variety of your personal work in art, design or media relevant to the program/s you are applying for.
The folio should demonstrate your interests and creative thinking as well as your conceptual, design, problem solving and technical skills. You should include evidence of how ideas were developed as well as finished works.
Examples of work to include in your folio are drawings, paintings, graphic designs, photographs, digital images, models, sculpture, video, scripting, short stories, and/or 2D and 3D Flash animation.
We recommend you explain each work to help the Selection Officer understand the purpose and background of that work. Folios should be submitted electronically on a CD with files in PDF, JPEG, SWF, DCR or QuickTime format suitable to be read on Mac OSX or later, unless otherwise specified. Each electronic file should be no larger than 10MB.
You must present your folio at an assessment session (if you are living outside Melbourne, this can be conducted via email, phone or Skype).
To study this program you will need to complete one of the following English proficiency tests:
- IELTS (Academic): minimum overall band of 6.0 (with no individual band below 5.5)
- TOEFL (Paper Based Test): minimum score of 550 (TWE 4.0)
- TOEFL (Internet Based Test - IBT): minimum overall score of 79 (with minimum of 19 in all sections)
- Pearson Test of English (Academic) (PTE (A)): minimum score of 50 (with no communication band less than 42)
- Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE): minimum of 169 with no less than 162 in any component.
For detailed information on English language requirements and other proficiency tests recognised by RMIT, visit English language requirements and equivalency information.
Don't meet the English language test scores? Complete an Advanced Plus Certificate at RMIT English Worldwide.
- Graduates of the Diploma of Product Design may be eligible to apply for exemptions.
- Eligible graduates of the Certificate IV in Design who achieve a minimum grade of Competency with Distinction (CDI) across all units will be given automatic entry into the first semester, first year only of the Associate degree in Design (Furniture).
When you successfully complete the Associate Degree in Design (Furniture) and achieve a minimum GPA of 3.5, you are guaranteed entry into the Bachelor of Industrial Design (Honours) with 3 semesters of advanced standing (equivalent to 144 credit points).
If you achieve below the minimum GPA, you may still apply and will need to submit a folio. You will be assessed on a case by case basis and credit is not guaranteed.
Alternatively, you may be eligible for entry into other RMIT undergraduate programs.
All undergraduate and honours degrees have Commonwealth supported places (CSP) available.
In a Commonwealth Supported Place (CSP), your tuition fees are subsidised by the Australian Government. Your share of the fee (student contribution) is set each year by the government and is determined by the discipline areas (bands) of your individual enrolled courses, not the overall program.
As a CSP student, you may be eligible to apply for a HECS-HELP loan, which allows you to defer payment of up to 100% of your student contribution.
Learn more about fees for undergraduate study.
How much can I expect to pay for my Commonwealth supported place?
Courses (subjects) fall into one of three bands. The band determines the student contribution amount for the course.
Amounts listed in the table below are based on a standard, full-time study load (96 credit points per year) with all courses in the same band. A proportionate fee applies for more or less than the full-time study load or for enrolment in courses (subjects) from a combination of bands.
You can learn how to calculate your exact tuition fees for units from different bands at Fees for Commonwealth supported students.
Maximum student contribution amount for Commonwealth supported places in 2018
|Student contribution band by course (subject)||Maximum annual student contribution amount in 2018|
|Band 1: humanities, behavioural science, social studies, clinical psychology, foreign languages, visual and performing arts, education, nursing||$6,444 per standard year
$805 per standard (12 credit point) course
|Band 2: mathematics, statistics, computing, built environment, other health, allied health, science, engineering, surveying, agriculture||$9,185 per standard year
$1,148 per standard (12 credit point) course
Band 3: law, accounting, administration, economics, commerce, dentistry, medicine, veterinary science
|$10,754 per standard year
$1,344 per standard (12 credit point) course
The Australian Government provides financial assistance via the HECS-HELP loan scheme, which allows eligible students (such as Australian citizens or holders of an Australian permanent humanitarian visa) to defer payment of up to 100% of their student contribution.
How does a HELP loan work?
If your HECS-HELP and/or SA-HELP loan application is successful, the Australian Government will pay RMIT, on your behalf, up to 100% of your fees. This amount will become part of your accumulated HELP debt.
You will only start repaying your accumulated HELP debt to the Australian Government once you earn above the minimum income threshold for repayment, which is set each year by the Australian Government (this also applies if you are still studying).
The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) will calculate your compulsory repayment for the year and include this on your income tax notice.
In addition to tuition fees, you will be charged an annual student services and amenities fee (SSAF), which is used to maintain and enhance services and amenities that improve your experience as an RMIT student.
The SSAF is calculated based on your enrolment load and the maximum fee for 2018 is $298.
For more information about calculating your actual SSAF see Paying SSAF.
You may also be required to purchase other items related to your program, including field trips, textbooks and equipment. These additional fees and expenses vary from program to program.
In addition to tuition fees you also need to pay for:
- Student services and amenities fee (SSAF) in each calendar year.
- Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) - Student visa holders must have cover for the total duration of their visa.
- Some programs incur additional expenses.
You also need to account for your living expenses. Estimate the cost of living in Melbourne.