Best Bachelors in Interior Design Degrees

Interior design is a blossoming major that is growing in popularity as both residential and commercial clients look to improve their physical spaces. In truth, interior design is all about the artistic and functional use of space. Successful graduates of accredited interior design programs will know how to design and implement spaces that will best suit how we work, play, and live.

Interior designers need to know not only how to develop beautiful, appealing and functional structures, but also how to work collaboratively with other professionals. They are required to work with contractors, architects, structural engineers, and mechanical engineers. They must also have an innate ability to improve upon a physical setting.

A skilled interior designer will need ample coursework in textiles, software applications, space planning and color schemes, and CAD. Designers will also be expected to have an exceptional understanding of building codes, legal restrictions, and health and safety concerns. You will also need to be able to adhere to certain design styles (such as Victorian, International, or Gothic) and work within the parameters of an employer’s personal needs and interests.

It is important that a student interested in studying interior design understand that the best degree path will be one that allows him or her to customize his program. Every blossoming interior designer will have different academic needs and areas of interest. As a result, it’s important that the school of choice include the option to diversify and experiment while obtaining the necessary credentials.

What are the best schools for Interior Design?

Graduates with a Bachelor’s degree in Interior Design will be prepared to work in a variety of fields. These include both commercial and residential settings, as self-employed independent contractors or as employees of larger organizations.

If you have a good eye for color and design and are willing to work hard to satisfy clients, a degree in Interior Design might be the right choice for you. Obtaining a degree in Interior Design is not only beneficial to your career, but in some cases is actually a necessity. Many states require certification and the completion of qualifying exams and coursework. Associate degrees are offered by many schools, but Bachelor’s degrees offer an even better leg up on the competition. It’s worth the time spent studying! The average interior designer makes around $50,000 a year as a starting average salary.

So stop reading, and get designing! The colleges listed below are the top fifty colleges for studying interior design and will help you get a jump start on lifelong career success.

1

New York School of Interior Design

College Choice Score: 100

Average Net Price: $32,450

School Website

Overview:

The New York School of Interior Design in New York, NY is arguably one of the best schools at which to study interior design. As a small school of only 538 students, they offer three well-developed undergraduate academic programs: a Basic Interior Design certificate program (BID), an Associate in Applied Science in Interior Design, and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interior Design. Courses are available entirely on-campus, online, or as a combination of both.

Program Features:

Each of the school’s programs offers a comprehensive introduction to the world of interior design. They can be completed on a full-time or part-time schedule. Required and/or recommended courses include:

  • Modern Architecture and Design (Levels I and II)
  • Textiles for Interiors
  • Residential Design
  • Introduction to Adobe Photoshop
  • Decorative Painting

In addition to these and other courses, the New York School of Interior Design also offers a range of electives as well as study abroad opportunities.

Notables:

With a student-faculty ratio of 10:1, the New York School of Interior Design has one of the smallest class sizes around, at an average size of just thirteen students each. As a result, graduates are successful and enjoy a 94% job placement rate within just six months of graduation. The school has repeatedly been ranked as the top interior design school in the country by Design Intelligence.

2

Savannah College of Art and Design

College Choice Score: 99.36

Average Net Price: $40,856

School Website

Overview:

The Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) offers a wide range of degrees in interior design, including a B.F.A, an M.A., and an M.F.A. These programs are available not only on the home campus in Savannah, Georgia, but also in Atlanta, Georgia, Hong Kong, and online. All of SCAD’s interior design programs are supported by the Angelo Donghia Foundation, which provides program support as well as grants to exceptional interior design students.

Program Features:

As a student in the interior design B.F.A. at SCAD, you will take a series of general education, foundational, and focused major curriculum courses. A sampling might include:

  • Drawing I: Form and Space
  • Modern Architecture I: 1750-1900
  • Survey of Western Art I
  • Form, Space and Order
  • Interior Materials
  • Building Construction and Systems for the Interior

All of SCAD’s programs work to complement each other, allowing students to explore dual majors and expand their experiences. Related available programs include Architecture, Furniture design, and Service Design.

Notables:

Graduates of this program will be prepared to enter into careers as facilities planners, corporate designers, hospitality designers, and many other options. Students are taught by qualified faculty with years of experience at companies such as Studio Four Los Angeles. In addition, they have access to a range of cutting-edge tools and technology, including CNC routers, laser cutters, a hybrid graphics lab, and more. It’s no surprise that SCAD is home to some of the top interior design programs and has been ranked as number one in the nation for several years by DesignIntelligence.

3

George Washington University

College Choice Score: 97.44

Average Net Price: $39,562

School Website

Overview:

Students at George Washington University (GWU) experience a major advantage in their interior design studies: the location. GWU is centrally located in Washington, D.C., a city that provides over 75,000 jobs that contribute $5 billion annually within the design sector. GWU hosts the only accredited Interior Architecture and Design program in Washington D.C. The program is located on the Mount Vernon Campus.

Program Features:

The location of the school also provides students with unique access to trade shows, lectures, and exhibits. Students in this path will have the opportunity to work with local museums, libraries, design societies, and galleries. GWU hosts newly renovated facilities that provide students with superb hands-on experiences in habitable environments ranging from basic residential spaces to more complex commercial areas.. Potential classes include:

  • Graphic Communications
  • Lighting and Acoustics
  • Professional Practice

Notables:

Successful graduates of this program move on to careers in architecture and design firms of all sizes and ownerships. Some students may choose to specialize in paths such as interior materials or sustainability, among others. In addition to a B.F.A. in Interior Architecture and Design, GWU also offers a related M.F.A. for students interested in pursuing further education. They are overall the fourth highest ranking college in the nation that offers this program.

4

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

College Choice Score: 95.91

Average Net Price: $17,190

School Website

Overview:

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) is located in Blacksburg, Virginia. It offers not only a top-ranked B.F.A. in Interior Design, but it also provides a M.S. in Architecture, a PhD in Architecture and Design Research, and a high school immersion program in design. At the beginning of each semester, every student is assigned his or her own “workspace” at which to design.

Program Features:

Students will take courses that are a balance of interior art and design, history, and professional practice, along with a core general education curriculum. Courses are taken across two to three dimensions and focus on developing aesthetic ability and self-evaluation. Some recommended and required courses include:

  • Design Appreciation
  • Foundation Design Laboratory
  • Critical Issues in Global Context
  • Materials and Methods in Interior Design

Notables:

Virginia Polytechnic’s Interior Design program is heavily supported by alumni and industry partners, both of whom provide substantial funding for scholarship awards. Student service, internships, and study abroad program are not only provided as supplements, but strongly encouraged. These factors help ensure that the school’s graduates are some of the most successful in the field.

5

Parsons The New School for Design

College Choice Score: 94.82

Average Net Price: $45,504

School Website

Overview:

Parsons’ New School boasts an interesting distinction among those offering interior design programs: it is the first and oldest school to do so. It was established in 1906 and offers a range of design majors, including a B.F.A. in Interior Design, a B.F.A. in Design and Technology, a B.S. in Urban Design, and an M.F.A. in Interior Design.

Program Features:

Parsons’ New School provides students with access to the New York City’s influential firms and art showrooms. The major is research-based and heavily rooted in design, allowing graduates entry into further study or successful careers in consulting, historic preservation, and the design of lighting, sets, exhibitions, and more. Students will be prepared by taking such courses as:

  • Integrative Studio 1 and 2
  • Representation and Analysis
  • Materiality and Assembly
  • Energy and Ecology for Interiors

Notables:

The program is housed in Parsons’ School of Constructed Environments. This allows students access to a highly-trained and integrated academic community. Parsons’ long-standing reputation as one of the best (and oldest) interior design schools provides students with exclusive access to some of the city’s leading firms, museums, galleries, and auction houses.

6

Cleveland Institute of Art

College Choice Score: 95.31

Average Net Price: $30,647

School Website

Overview:

Although the Cleveland Institute of Art (CIA) is small, at around 600 students, it boasts an amazing connection to the city community. Over 200 external partnerships, internship, and hands-on experiences are made available to students at the CIA. This gives graduates from the Interior Architecture program a leg up on premier career and graduate study opportunities.

Program Features:

Students will receive access to exhibitions, job fairs, and workshops by leading industry partners. They will study presentation methods, design processes, material specifications, problem solving, and communication. All coursework is highly experiential and includes such subjects as:

  • Architectural Drawing and Documentation
  • Interior Architecture: AutoCAD
  • Materials, Research, and Space Planning
  • Retail, Restaurant, and Store Design

Notables:

Students in the Interior Architecture program are given their own studio space in which to work. They also have access to top-notch computer technology, facilities, presentation and project rooms, and rapid prototyping technology. Their location near renowned art facilities (such as the Museum of Contemporary Art) in Cincinnati allow them to experience the best the city has to offer. Graduates of this program will be prepared for careers as interior, exhibit, and retail designers.

7

Cornell University

College Choice Score: 95.38

Average Net Price: $30,014

School Website

Overview:

Cornell University’s program in Design and Environmental Analysis is offered at both the undergraduate and graduate level. It prepares students by providing them with hands-on access to scholarly research to inform the creative process. It is unique and radically different from other interior design programs in that it allows students to examine design while taking into account social and global influences.

Program Features:

This program is research-intensive, allowing students to work in various labs and groups such as Human Factors and Ergonomics Research or the Health-Design Innovation Lab. Students will complete coursework in three distinct fields: Design Strategy, Sustainable Futures, and Health and Wellbeing. Potential coursework might include:

  • Design Graphics and Visualization
  • History of Design Futures
  • Human Centered Design Methods
  • Professional Communication and Portfolio

Notables:

Students are given access to experiential learning through technologically advanced studio spaces, research labs, and fabrication shops. Graduates of this program are prepared for entry into any career, as they are skilled in research, business strategy, design, and psychology. Many students enter directly into the workforce, while others pursue advanced education. Cornell University even offers a 4+1 Master’s degree for graduates of the Design and Environmental Analysis undergraduate program.

8

Rhode Island School of Design

College Choice Score: 93.36

Average Net Price: $39,389

School Website

Overview:

The Rhode Island School of Design offers both a B.F.A. in Interior Architecture, also known as “Interior Studies,” as well as a one to two year MA in Adaptive Reuse. Students in these programs, located in Providence, Rhode Island, learn how to develop and integrate theater, exhibition, and retail design. Students are also granted a myriad of hands-on opportunities to learn about sustainability and construction.

Program Features:

Students will take foundational courses in their freshman year, followed by three years of active engagement in interior design coursework. Required and elective courses include some of the following:

  • History of Art & Visual Culture
  • Drawing I & II
  • Building Materials Exploration
  • Building Structures and Systems for Adaptive Reuse
  • Scheme Detailing

Notables:

Graduates of the Rhode Island School of Design are highly successful, going on to continued education, as residential and commercial designers at small studios or larger firms, as educators, and sustainability specialists. The options available to graduates are virtually limitless, largely as a result of the school’s small class sizes (the total program consists of less than sixty students).

9

College for Creative Studies

College Choice Score: 93.75

Average Net Price: $35,274

School Website

Overview:

The College for Creative Studies may be small at only 1400 students, but it is ranked as the third best design school in the United States based on alumni success. The school is located in Detroit. This gives Interior Design majors the unique opportunity to live and work in a city that is experimenting with sustainable design efforts in its endeavor to redevelop. As a result, the program is focused less on commercial and residential design than on product, stage, and transportation design systems.

Program Features:

Students will take a variety of courses that expose them to the use of color, light, and form to influence design. They have access to cutting-edge design studios and materials. Sample coursework includes:

  • Textiles
  • Art History Survey
  • Lighting Technology and Application

Interspersed among these core courses are also a fair sampling of Liberal Arts courses.

Notables:

Successful graduates may be placed in careers such as Automotive Color and Trim, Commercial and Contract Design, or Corporate Design, among others. Although The College for Creative Studies is a private college, free tuition is offered every year for over 4,000 Detroit youth, making this school a smart choice for many aspiring interior designers.

10

Pratt Institute

College Choice Score: 90.87

Average Net Price: $44,244

School Website

Overview:

Pratt Institute is not only located in what many consider the design capital of the nation–New York City–the Interior Design B.F.A. is also ranked second by DesignIntelligence. The program is architecturally oriented with a special focus on surface embellishment. This program allows students to not only research and explore areas of design, but also to solve problems and implement design solutions.

Program Features:

Students will take several Liberal Arts courses interspersed with their interior design coursework. Some courses might include a variation of the following:

  • Building Construction
  • Design Studio
  • Color and Materials
  • Themes in Art and Culture  

Notables:

Of the graduates of the May 2015 class, 100% were employed or enrolled in graduate school by January of the following year. Graduates are successful largely due to their exposure to the artistic culture of New York City, as well as their access to on-campus tools. These include a wood and furniture shop, rapid prototyping lab, fine arts metal and wood shops, and interior design office maker bots.

11

Bay Path University

College Choice Score: 91.95

Average Net Price: $22,012

School Website

Overview:

Bay Path University, in Longmeadow, Massachusetts provides a superb B.S. in Residential and Commercial Interior Design. In addition to a reputable on-campus program, Bay Path also integrates highly regarded study abroad and internship opportunities.

Program Features:

Students in this program will experience a major that is integrated heavily with business themes and courses. Students will be exposed to the retail, wholesale, and specialty components of interior design. Required coursework includes:

  • Principles of Marketing
  • Business Law
  • Tech Tools for the Professions
  • History and Appreciation of Interior Design

Notables:

Graduates from Bay Path are well-equipped to enter into careers as architects, art directors, floral, industrial, and fashion designers, and interior designers. Students have the option to complete a Bachelor’s degree in three years, or to partake in a 3+1 Bachelor’s to Master’s Degree program.

12

The Art Institute of California-San Francisco

College Choice Score: 90.48

Average Net Price: $22,560

School Website

Overview:

Argosy University partners with The Art Institute of California to offer a superior Interior Design program in San Francisco. In this program, students learn how to design beautiful spaces that are both safe and sustainable. Students will be able to develop and provide top-notch professional services in a way that ensures the health and safety of clients.

Program Features:

Students will begin their coursework by learning the basics, such as proportion, drafting, and perspective. Then they progress to more complex skills such as the use of textiles, furnishings, and lighting. Students also have an opportunity to learn computerized design and drafting. Sample classes include those in:

  • Barrier Free Designs
  • Space Planning
  • Office Design
  • Sustainable Building Principles and Practices

Notables:

Most graduates of this degree program enter directly into the workforce as interior designers. Graduates’ success is largely based on a proud alumni network that helps with job placement and overall career success. The institute offers several full and partial tuition scholarships in addition to generous financial aid for eligible students.

13

The Art Institute of California-San Diego

College Choice Score: 90.64

Average Net Price: $24,168

School Website

Overview:

The Art Institute of California via Argosy University also offers a comparable program in Interior Design on their San Diego campus. This program helps students develop the necessary creative and technical skills to design appealing interior spaces. In the process, they also learn the guidelines for safety, accessibility, and sustainability.

Program Features:

Students in this program will be trained to solve interior design problems using both the process of design as well as their foundational understanding of principles and applications. Successful graduates will be skilled communicators and be able to professionally accept and integrate the feedback of clients. Key coursework includes that in:

  • Textiles
  • Institutional Design
  • Environmental Design
  • Interior Architectural Systems
  • Human Factors

Notables:

The Art Institute campus at San Diego offers students the ability to complete a degree in roughly forty-five months. Graduates will be equipped to enter directly into the workforce or graduate school. Additionally, students can pursue coursework in the other programs offered by the institute, including marketing, fashion, and visual design.

14

University of Cincinnati

College Choice Score: 89.37

Average Net Price: $19,978

School Website

Overview:

The University of Cincinnati is a great choice for any student looking to continue his or her education in Interior Design. Not only does the college offer the fourth-ranked program according to DesignIntelligence, it also provides students with a variety of collaborative experiences. Students in this program graduate with the ability to discover and resolve problems, think critically, communicate, and use cutting-edge technologies.

Program Features:

Coursework is balanced between studio work, cooperative education experiences, and general and specialized classes. The program is five years in length and requires a year and a half of cooperative education experience. Sample classes might include:

  • Furniture/Millwork
  • Communication Skills
  • Design Science
  • Business
  • Lighting

Notables:

The cooperative education experiences at the University of Cincinnati help to prepare graduates for career success. In 2011, students designed creative spaces for Scripps Network, which is home to various popular television channels such as HGTV and the Food Network. As a result of these outstanding hands-on experiences, an average of 92 percent of recent graduates obtain a full-time position within three months of graduation. Of those, 71 percent started at a salary higher than $40,000 a year.

15

Brenau University

College Choice Score: 89.38

Average Net Price: $19,525

School Website

Overview:

Brenau University offers five campuses with the ability to study Interior Design at any of them. However, the B.F.A. in Interior Design allows students to complete a Master’s as well. This program provides students with an extensive professional interior design curriculum as well as a foundation in liberal arts. Students may work during the final year of the combined program, so long as it is completed at the Atlanta campus. Classes in the last year are available at night and on the weekends.

Program Features:

The course offerings at Brenau are designed to provide a quality education in interior design to all, regardless of experience or innate talent. As a result, classes are centered around the visual arts, art history, and aesthetics. Communication skills are emphasized just as strongly as the ability to design and style. Sample courses include:

  • History of Interiors and Architecture
  • Materials in the Built Environment
  • Hospitality & Retail Design & Studio
  • Business Principles and Ethics

Notables:

In the last four year, 84% of Brenau Interior Design graduates were not only employed, but had successful jobs within their field. This is largely due to Brenau’s commitment to hiring faculty who are skilled and experienced in interior design. Assistantship and scholarship opportunities are available to qualified students.

16

Kansas State University

College Choice Score: 89.19

Average Net Price: $16,431

School Website

Overview:

Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas offers an Interior Design program that encourages students to explore the relationships between humans and the interior environment. Coursework is largely based on human ecological theory, design history and process, and sustainability. The four year program is ranked 8th in the country and 2nd in the Midwest by DesignIntelligence.

Program Features:

Students in this program have the ability to connect with professionals from across the discipline. Study abroad, study tours, service learning, and internships are highly supported as well. Core coursework includes training in the following subjects:

  • Design and Behavior in the Interior Environment
  • Designing for Supportive Environments
  • Global Experiences in Interior Design
  • Historic Fabric Design
  • Business Law

Notables:

Students complete highly regarded internships with top architectural design firms such as Callison, Hersch Bedner Associates, and others. Kansas State operates student chapters of the American Society of Interior Designers and the NEWH Hospitality Industry Network. Although most graduates enter directly into entry-level positions after graduation, they are also prepared to attend graduate school. Students have the ability to enter into additional study in interior and lighting design, historic preservation, and architecture.

17

The Art Institute of California-Orange County

College Choice Score: 87.93

Average Net Price: $23,872

School Website

Overview:

The Orange County campus of the Art Institute offers a prominent Interior Design program. Coursework is designed and heavily influenced by the feedback provided from industry and education partners. This emphasis on real-world skills makes graduates highly marketable and successful.

Program Features:

Although the institute boasts a strong online program in interior design as well, most students opt to take courses on-campus. Students are exposed to a variety of core courses that encourage them to think differently about their physical spaces. Students are required to complete coursework in:

  • Traditional and Computerized Design
  • Lighting
  • Residential, Commercial, and Institutional Design
  • Building and Safety Codes
  • Human Factors

Notables:

Faculty members are highly regarded and active members of the profession. Students will benefit from a small student to faculty ratio and the attentiveness of dedicated teachers. In addition to the college’s successful Bachelor degree programs, they also offer Saturday classes in interior design and related programs for high school juniors and seniors.

18

Andrews University

College Choice Score: 88.69

Average Net Price: $22,012

School Website

Overview:

The Bachelor’s degree in Interior Design at Andrew University is a four-year and one-summer course of study. Located in Berrien Springs, Michigan, it is a Seventh-day Adventist institution that emphasizes commitment to professionalism and Christian vocation. The Interior Design program offers the ability to study the design and faith of the Waldensian people in northwest Italy, along with an alternative five-week study tour in Europe.

Program Features:

Students will focus on both residential and commercial design in an experiential, project-based program. They will be equipped with the design skills necessary to be successful, as well as the ability to creatively solve problems and develop state-of-the-art design solutions. Potential coursework includes:

  • Drawing
  • Person-Environment Theory
  • Construction
  • Color Theory
  • History and Theory of Interiors

Notables:

Successful graduates will be equipped to design for corporate offices, healthcare systems, furniture, and accessibility-based projects. The average starting salary for graduates with a degree in Interior Design is over $45,000.

19

The Art Institute of California-Hollywood

College Choice Score: 84.49

Average Net Price: $28,044

School Website

Overview:

This program’s unique location in Hollywood, California equips students with the industry connections necessary for entering into a specialty in interior set design. The program emphasizes learning in a practical, real-world setting while also being able to apply theory and principle to solve common and new design problems.

Program Features:

Students will be taught to solve complex interior design problems and to communicate solutions orally, visually, and in writing. They will be able to produce building systems and interior finish materials while adhering to a certain standard of professionalism. Classes may include a combination of the following:

  • Design Fundamentals
  • Observational Drawing
  • Digital Modeling
  • Residential Design
  • Presentation Techniques

Notables:

Overall, students are required to complete 180 credit hours. Upon graduation, they will be able to design solutions that improve quality of life, productivity, and overall satisfaction with their clients. Graduates of the program may go on to work in residential, commercial, industrial, office, or set design. Other programs exist at the institute that may be pursued in combination or in addition to or with Interior Design.

20

Florida State University

College Choice Score: 85.36

Average Net Price: $16,506

School Website

Overview:

Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida offers not only a Bachelor of Arts in Interior Design, they also offer a Bachelor of Science, a Master of Science, a Master of Fine Arts,   and a study abroad program in Florence, Italy.  

Program Features:

The program is unique in that it is a “limited access” major, meaning that students are only formally accepted into the program after taking three diagnostic major courses. When accepted, the program consists of seventy-three semester credits (not including liberal arts courses). Coursework focuses on healthcare, office, mixed-use and low-income housing, and hospitality studios. Sample course titles include:

  • Survey of Interior Design
  • Social/Psychological Aspects of Design
  • Graphic Techniques
  • Construction Systems

Notables:

In addition to required on-campus courses, students have the opportunity to participate in several study abroad programs. These are available in Florence, Italy, as well as at the Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota, Florida. The latter program provides students with experience in the restoration of historic decorative arts. All students are required to participate in an internship prior to graduation. This contributes to the 97% job placement rate for students within the field six months after graduation.

21

Drexel University

College Choice Score: 84.48

Average Net Price: $39,021

School Website

Overview:

Drexel University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania offers a Bachelor of Science degree in Interior Design. It is a four-year first professional degree program that is accredited by the Council for Interior Design Accreditation. It allows students to research the behavioral, environmental, technological, and aesthetic components of the field while congruently creating design solutions. It is ranked in the Top 10 Architecture and Design Programs by DesignIntelligence.

Program Features:

This program stresses the importance of leadership and forward thinking. Students will work cooperatively to develop creative solutions. Potential courses include:

  • Introductory Drawing
  • Visualization 1: Computer Imaging
  • Interior Materials
  • Residential Design Studio

Students are also required to complete a three quarter capstone in which they will develop an interior design project based on research and programming.

Notables:

Students at Drexel also have the ability to attend a study abroad program. Options include Prague, Barcelona, the Netherlands, Paris, and Rome. As a result of the excellent hands-on and collaborative experiences provided by the college, students are exceedingly successful in post-graduate opportunities. 92% of 2016 Interior Design graduates were either attending graduate school or employed in a relevant area within six months of graduation.

22

Maryland Institute College of Art

College Choice Score: 83.05

Average Net Price: $41,889

School Website

Overview:

Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) offers a B.S. in Architectural Design that plays upon the inherently multidisciplinary nature of interior design. Students in this program will work closely with community partners in the Baltimore area. They will have the opportunity to conduct studio-based research and engage in community projects across disciplines.

Program Features:

Students will be exposed to a variety of digital skills, including CAD, 3D modeling, digital fabrication, and geographical information systems. They have access to a variety of facilities and technologies and, upon graduation, will know how to utilize those technologies in industry practice. Key courses include:

  • Color and Design
  • Digital Drawing
  • Architectural Lab
  • Building Technology
  • Professional Development

Notables:

The courses within this major are also available within a non-degree studio concentration consisting of fifteen credits of studio courses. This allows for a highly flexible, individualized and personally tailored approach to this degree path for any student.

23

Kent State University at Kent

College Choice Score: 83.71

Average Net Price: $18,180

School Website

Overview:

Kent State University, in Kent, Ohio, offers a variety of programs, including Architecture, Architectural Studies, Urban Design, and, of course, Interior Design. The school has a global perspective that requires students to develop an understanding of how humans interact with their environment. Coursework emphasizes accountability, dialogue, inquiry, and diversity.

Program Features:

The first year of study for Interior Design students at Kent State involves laying a foundation for understanding design while obtaining a liberal arts education. Within the second year of study, students will develop more technical skills and concepts to help them shape interior spaces. The third and fourth years expand students’ understanding of design, culminating in a studio experience that is professional and collaborative. Courses include:

  • Construction Technology
  • Integrated Digital Applications
  • Principles of Marketing
  • Color: Theory and Application

Notables:

Kent State University offers a study abroad program in Florence, Italy to help further expand their students’ global thinking. Additionally, students are required to participate in a research program with topics including:

  • High Performance and Sustainable Design
  • Historic Preservation and Forensics
  • Construction Methods and Materials
  • Digital Design and Fabrication
  • Design Theories

24

Endicott College

College Choice Score: 83.89

Average Net Price: $34,509

School Website

Overview:

Endicott College, in Beverly, Massachusetts, is a small school offering a range of undergraduate degrees. Interior Design is a highly coveted and successful major at the college. Students in this program will enjoy a curriculum that emphasizes critical thinking, problem solving, collaboration, and the human experience within an environment.

Program Features:

The Interior Design program at Endicott centers around the development of creative skills and problem solving. Students participate in a variety of hands-on activities such as Career Day with seminars by design professionals and organizations. Some classes that students might take include:

  • Visual Art and Cultural Values
  • Electronic Media
  • History of Architecture and Interior Design
  • Building Codes and Standards

Notables:

Graduates of Endicott are highly successful, with most obtaining meaningful full-time employment shortly are graduation. Of the 2014 graduates, 99% are employed in the design while 1% are in graduate school. The success of these graduates is largely due to the internship program with experienced designers that all students must complete during the freshmen, sophomore, and senior years.

25

Auburn University

College Choice Score: 83.25

Average Net Price: $21,698

School Website

Overview:

Auburn University in Auburn, Alabama offers an excellent Bachelor of Science in Interior Design, as well as master’s and doctoral degrees in Consumer and Design Sciences. The program is CIDA-accredited and includes a strong core liberal arts curriculum. The school also offers a variety of minors to complement this major, including Sustainability Studies, Art History, Business, and Communications.

Program Features:

Students will not only take classes on-campus at Auburn, they will also complete several hours of studio time a week. In addition to these hands-on experiences, Auburn also offers an intensive study abroad program in Ariccia, Italy. Other required or recommended courses include:

  • Hospitality Design
  • Visual Presentations
  • Commercial Interior Design
  • Interior Materials and Components

Notables:

Students at Auburn will be allowed to explore various career paths during the summers of their freshmen, sophomore, and junior years. Students work in firms around the country and internationally. These internships prepare students for a variety of careers or graduate study in interior design.

26

Ohio State University

College Choice Score: 83.42

Average Net Price: $17,971

School Website

Overview:

Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio offers not only a stellar Interior Design program but a range of related programs as well. These include Design Foundations, Industrial Design, Design Thinking, and Visual Communication. The school also offers a Master of Fine Arts in Design as well, providing students with the opportunity to prepare for high-level positions. Students are able to advance their understanding of the design field by the college’s partnerships with various design organizations such as the American Society of Interior Designers, Retail Design Institute, and Human Factors and Ergonomics Society.

Program Features:

Ohio State University urges its undergraduate students to relate the impact of human needs to environmental conditions in their design strategies. Students will practice collaboration, sustainable design strategies, and research-based strategies. Required classes include:

  • Design Media
  • Interior Design Technology
  • Collaborative Design
  • Sustainability and the Built Environment

Students are provided with the appropriate sequence in which to take these classes.

Notables:

Students graduating from this program will be prepared for a variety of careers in design consulting offices, corporate offices, and government agencies. They will have the collaborative skills necessary to work with architects, owners, dealers, manufacturers, contractors, and clients. Ohio State University is great at getting students out into the workforce: over 80% of the students from the class of 2014 graduated on time.

27

University of Florida

College Choice Score: 82.40

Average Net Price: $14,761

School Website

Overview:

The College of Design, Construction, and Planning at the University of Florida offers a variety of disciplines and programs for burgeoning interior designers. These include Architecture, Construction Management, Historic Preservation, and Sustainability and the Built Environment. Located in Gainesville, Florida, the Interior Design program has been accredited by the Council for Interior Design Accreditation since 1973, making it one of the oldest and most well-established program of its kind. Students also have the opportunity to complete a 4+1 Master’s of Design program as an extension of the Bachelor’s degree.

Program Features:

The Interior Design program at the University of Florida is highly interdisciplinary and offers multiple minors and courses. It emphasizes the culture and research behind design and allows students the opportunity to connect with local professionals in landscape architecture, historic preservation, and construction. Required coursework includes:

  • Color Theory Planning and Practice
  • Design Field Experience
  • Architectural Interiors
  • Designed Environment and Human Behavior Interactions

Notables:

All students in the Interior Design program are provided with skilled faculty mentors. Students have access to studios equipped with digital sketch tablets, plotters, and digital projectors. They participate in personalized field experiences consisting of internships, service learning, and international design study programs. Students frequently participate in local, national, and international design competitions, giving them a step up on research in design.

28

Syracuse University

College Choice Score: 81.84

Average Net Price: $31,823

School Website

Overview:

Syracuse University in Syracuse, New York has an established reputation as a top-notch university as well as the host of a phenomenal B.F.A. in Environmental and Interior Design. It focuses strongly on a multidisciplinary approach that emphasizes the development of sustainable environments for all people. Students will be taught the visual communication, problem solving, and technical skills necessary to succeed in this exciting career path. Established in 1922, the program is ranked 8th in the nation by DesignIntelligence.

Program Features:

Syracuse University students will receive an extensive liberal arts education in addition to studio time. They will have the opportunity to engage in field research trips and study abroad in London. Students will take a variety of credits including those within the major, art history, academics, electives, and studio classes. Some core titles include:

  • Design Application
  • Drafting for Designers
  • Design, Cultural Traditions, and the Environment
  • Design Concepts
  • Design Applications

Notables:

Graduates from this program will be prepared to pursue careers as environmental, interior, exhibition, and spatial designers. They will also be prepared to pursue advanced degrees in architecture, interior design, or related areas. Faculty in the program are highly skilled and have received numerous local and international awards in the area of design. As a result, graduates are very successful. 86% of 2013 graduates are employed in the interior design field.

29

Virginia Commonwealth University

College Choice Score: 82.02

Average Net Price: $20,544

School Website

Overview:

Virginia Commonwealth (VCU), in Richmond, Virginia, offers a wide range of undergraduate and graduate degrees. Students interested in Interior Design have the option of pursuing a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interior Design or a Master of Fine Arts in Design: Interior Environments. The program is one of the oldest of its kind and offers both superior academic training and hands-on professional experience. Students will complete extensive portfolios that showcase their skills and provide a helpful job-seeking tool.  

Program Features:

Students will work in a studio environment with highly trained professionals. The graduate program is highly interdisciplinary and allows students to explore current interior design issues at an advanced, research-based level. Students will study space, form, light, and color. Some courses that students may take include:

  • Interior Graphics
  • Light and Color in Interior Environments
  • Survey of Western Art
  • Fundamentals of Interior Design

Notables:

VCU is considered by many firms in Washington, D.C. as the number one recruitment source. A strong alumni network helps current students and graduates obtain jobs through portfolio reviews, job placements, and professional association memberships. A variety of interior design scholarships are also available for qualified students.

30

University of Texas at Austin

College Choice Score: 81.35

Average Net Price: $16,010

School Website

Overview:

The University of Texas at Austin is home to some of the best-ranked interior design degrees. They offer Interior Design programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels, along with a range of other degrees. Students may take additional courses outside of the major in these programs, which include Historic Preservation, Community and Regional Planning, and Architecture, among others.

Program Features:

The Bachelor of Science in Interior Design has a strong theoretical basis with a focus on aesthetics, technology, and design behavior. In addition to a variety of hands-on field trips to local design studios and corporations, students are required to complete 126 credits of coursework. Classes include:

  • Visual Communication
  • Construction
  • Interior Design Practice
  • Environmental Controls
  • World Architecture: The Industrial Revolution to the Present

Notables:

The University of Texas has a profound alumni network that links recent graduates with outstanding job opportunities at leading interior design companies. While many students pursue internship employment while enrolled, upper-level students have an opportunity to expand their education through a Professional Residency Program in the architectural profession. In fact, 92% of the 2016 graduating class was employed or enrolled in graduate school within six months of graduation.

31

Baylor University

College Choice Score: 81.83

Average Net Price: $36,294

School Website

Overview:

Baylor University in Waco, Texas provides a top-notch Interior Design program in addition to related degrees in Studio Art, Apparel Merchandising, and Art History. Graduates will be prepared to serve in residential and commercial positions after completing this program, which is accredited by the Council for Interior Design.

Program Features:

Students will take classes in specific subject areas, such as communication, environmental technology, and interior construction systems. Baylor hosts a small student to teacher ratio of just 18 to 1, allowing students hands-on and personal experiences with the coursework. Some classes students might take include:

  • History of Interiors
  • Materials and Finishes for Interiors
  • Lighting for Interiors
  • Business Practices and Procedures for Interiors
  • Interior Design Graphics

Notables:

Interior Design students must complete a local, national, or international internship for course credit. Additionally, students have the opportunity to participate in summer study abroad programs in locations such as Great Britain, France, Belgium, and Italy. Students live on campus with other Interior Design students at the Fine Arts Living-Learning Center in the North Village of Baylor. These placements allow students to live, learn, and grow together as students while taking classes and exploring future careers.

32

Academy of Art University

College Choice Score: 80.43

Average Net Price: $29,301

School Website

Overview:

The Academy of Art University in San Francisco, California provides a variety of outstanding design programs, including Architecture, Illustration, and Landscape Architecture. They also offer a B.F.A. in Interior Architecture and Design. The program allows students to integrate theory, design and technology with professional practice and artistry. An additional Masters of Fine Arts is also available for students looking to continue their education before seeking employment.

Program Features:

Students will be trained creatively, professionally, and conceptually, giving them the skills necessary to pursue a variety of design careers. They will be taught how to evaluate their own work and that of others, as well as how to make that work adhere to various laws, codes, and standards. Required classes include:

  • Sketching for Communication
  • Digital Imaging
  • Introduction to Construction Documents
  • Sketching for Idea Developing
  • Sustainable Design

Notables:

Graduates will be prepared to begin lifelong careers as project designers, job captains, visualization specialists, and more. Because of the close support provided by reputable faculty and a close alumni network, graduates of the Academy of Art Institute are highly sought after by regional and national employers alike.

33

Rochester Institute of Technology

College Choice Score: 80.20

Average Net Price: $29,111

School Website

Overview:

Students at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) in Rochester, New York  have the opportunity to study in a variety of design-related majors, including 3D Digital Design, Graphic Design, New Media Design, and Interior Design. They also host graduate programs for students interested in continuing their education, including M.F.A.s in Industrial Design and Visual Communication Design. Students have access to state-of-the art workshops, computer and 3D printing labs, and studios.

Program Features:

The program emphasizes core coursework in theory along with technology, space planning, and sustainability. This multi-faceted approach provides students with great experiences in design. Coursework available to students includes a sampling of the following:

  • Hospitality Design
  • Color and Lighting
  • Retail Design
  • Contract Documents
  • Design Drawing

Notables:

Because RIT emphasizes industry partnerships, over 94% of students that graduated in 2014 were employed within a year. Graduates are employed as interior designers, interior design coordinators and directors, and more. They work at the country’s top companies, including Apple, HGTV, and Wegmans. Because the school maintains memberships in professional organizations such as the Society of Environmental Graphic Designers, and the International Interior Design Association, its students are given access to exclusive job opportunities.

34

Howard University

College Choice Score: 80.35

Average Net Price: $22,712

School Website

Overview:

Howard University provides a top-notch Interior Design program in the bustling metropolis of Washington, D.C. They also offer a Master’s of Fine Arts degree in Interior Design, allowing qualified students the opportunity to receive a terminal degree in the field. With an undergraduate population of just 1700 students, this historic university allows students the opportunity to study design in one of the busiest cities in the world.

Program Features:

Students in the Interior Design program at Howard will develop a range of skills and theoretical understanding through professional and academic experiences. Foundational experiences and communication skills are emphasized through required coursework. Students will learn to develop solutions using visual forms that are two- and three-dimensional, printed, digital, or motion. Potential courses include:

  • Historic Interiors
  • Contemporary Interiors and Finishings
  • Business Aspects of Interior Design
  • Advanced Problems in Interior Design
  • Furniture Design

Notables:

Students at Howard University benefit from an experienced, attentive faculty and staff. Because the school offers a range of art and design related programs, students have the opportunity to learn in a diverse, integrated setting. Howard University offers several merit and talent-based scholarship to Interior Design applicants. This gives students the opportunity to study at a university that has been recognized for its achievements and contributions to the arts since 1871.

35

Robert Morris University Illinois

College Choice Score: 80.30

Average Net Price: $21,209

School Website

Overview:

Robert Morris University is located in Chicago, Illinois and offers a reputable Bachelor of Professional Studies in Architectural Technology. This program allows students to learn the concepts, skills, and construction behind design and to communicate complex information to clients and other stakeholders. The school also possesses other Master’s, Bachelor’s, and Associates degrees in Graphic Design, Design & Media, and more, making it a great choice for a student who is still exploring collegiate options.

Program Features:

Graduates of this program are successfully employed as layout designers, architectural drafters, sustainable construction specialists, and interior designers. Students will take classes within the following concentrations:

  • CAD
  • Interior Design
  • Construction/Facilities Management
  • Drafting
  • Electronics
  • Manufacturing

Notables:

While enrolled, students will practice necessary skills utilizing video, design, technology, and photography. They will engage in hands-on projects, learn about business aspects of the design field, and attend professional design events. Robert Morris University is unique in that its “I Centers” allow students to develop, implement, and evaluate their own design-related projects in an independent setting.

36

Michigan State University

College Choice Score: 79.81

Average Net Price: $14,970

School Website

Overview:

Michigan State University, located on an idyllic 5,000 acres in East Lansing, Michigan, offers a multi-dimensional interior design program that focuses on theory, application, historic preservation, conservation, sustainable design, and environmental quality. Students are not only taught how to creatively solve design problems, but how to communicate effectively through the use of technology. Established in 1935, the program has earned a distinctive reputation as one of the best ranked Interior Design programs.

Program Features:

Although Michigan State does offer an additional Master of Environmental Design to provide students with advanced knowledge of interior design, the undergraduate major is sufficient at preparing students for work as interior designers. Sample recommended courses include:

  • Design for Living
  • Computer Aided Design for Designers
  • Revit for Designers
  • Historic Preservation and Sustainability

Notables:

Michigan State seeks to blend history and modernity both on campus as well as throughout the grain of their programs. As a result, the Interior Design major offers students a range of experiences and classes that promote diversity, research and inquiry, and critical thinking. Study abroad programs are available in Europe, Singapore, and South Korea. All students who graduated from Michigan State in 2015 were either employed in their field or in graduate school within a year. Graduates receive highly coveted positions at organizations such as Steelcase, Herman Miller, Neumann/Smith Architecture, and many more.

37

Texas Christian University

College Choice Score: 77.54

Average Net Price: $33,362

School Website

Overview:

Texas Christian University is located in Fort Worth, Texas and boasts an impressive Interior Design program. The university is notable in that it requires all students to complete a first year portfolio review to ensure that they are fully prepared for the rigors of the interior design major. In addition to rigorous on-campus course requirements, Texas Christian University also offers over fifty study abroad and internship programs in cities such as New York City, Paris, and London.

Program Features:

The B.S. in Interior Design requires students to complete 68 semester hours of interior design courses that include a first-year portfolio review and summer internship. Students will develop creative design skills along with the acquisition of principles and elements of design, drafting, modeling, lighting, and presentation. Required courses include:

  • Applications in Design Process and Theory
  • Introduction to Space Planning
  • Fundamentals of Lighting
  • History of Interiors

Notables:

In addition to excellent teaching faculty, Texas Christian University also provides a career consultant strictly for fine arts students. This consultant helps students with career exploration, job interviewing, and resume writing. Of the 13 interior design majors who graduated from this small program in 2016, eleven had a job offer in their field within just one month! Many graduates receive direct job offers as a result of their internship experiences or go on to obtain graduate degrees. Common employers of Texas Christian University graduates include Elle Magazine, Louis Vuitton, Macy’s, Nordstrom, and Rachel Mast Design.

38

Chaminade University of Honolulu

College Choice Score: 78.55

Average Net Price: $18,660

School Website

Overview:

Chaminade offers the only accredited Environmental and Interior Design program in the state of Hawaii. The program is unique in that it extends beyond interior design to include broader aspects of the environment and space, encompassing not just the building but also the land and community. The degree satisfies the requirement for licensing through the National Council for Interior Design Qualification and enables students to pursue a variety of postgraduate studies and entry-level positions.

Program Features:

The curriculum of this B.F.A. addresses the relationship between the indoor and outdoor environment and how that relationship affects humans. Students will take courses heavily rooted in service learning and real-life projects. They will participate in a live project in which they are able to develop and implement their own design proposals. Other required coursework includes:

  • Fundamentals of Interior Design
  • Materiality of Design
  • 20th Century Architecture and Design
  • History of Furniture and Interior Design
  • Sculpture
  • Advanced CAD

Notables:

Although the program is relatively new (it was accredited in 2013), the success of the program is already clear. The average in-field employment rate for recent graduates is over 80% and increasing every year. This is largely due to the internship opportunities available to students, as well as the ability to become involved in design competitions, leadership opportunities, and events. Graduates are successfully employed in commercial, institutional, contract, and residential design.

39

Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design

College Choice Score: 75.39

Average Net Price: $23,693

School Website

Overview:

The Interior Design program at Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design is organized to provide a unique program in sustainable design to forward-thinking students. It is offered both on campus in Lakewood, Colorado and online. Both programs are fully accredited by the Council for Interior Design Accreditation.

Program Features:

Coursework in the Interior Design program at Rocky Mountain provides students with experiences in creating environments that are functional, aesthetically pleasing, and sustainable. The approach is multidisciplinary and draws from coursework in environmental design, art, architecture, and graphic design. Students will take 42 credits in core liberal arts classes, as well as interior design classes that include the following:

  • Building Codes and Regulations
  • Architectural Perspective and Rendering Techniques
  • Holistic Design
  • Drafting

Notables:

Class sizes at Rocky Mountain are incredibly small, allowing students the ability to work one-on-one with talented instructors. Graduates are successfully employed as historic preservationists, corporate office designers, textile designers, and showroom managers, among other careers. Rocky Mountain is committed to providing recent graduates and alumni the networking connections necessary to make a mark on the professional world of interior design.

40

Arcadia University

College Choice Score: 76.71

Average Net Price: $27,471

School Website

Overview:

Arcadia University possesses an exceptional art program that prepares students for careers in interior, furniture and textile, and lighting design. Students are granted the skills necessary to manage projects, utilize computer applications, and adhere to building codes and inspection regulations. Located in Glenside, Pennsylvania, Arcadia’s comprehensive Visual Arts and Design major includes relevant coursework and hands-on experiences.

Program Features:

This Bachelor of Fine Arts program requires students to declare a major within the first two years of school. Students will take core classes in the basic art disciplines and then move on to a more concentrated sequence of interior design classes as they progress to the junior and senior years. Classes include:

  • Drawing
  • Nineteenth Century Art
  • Digital Imaging
  • Senior Thesis

Notables:

Arcadia produces successful graduates as a result of its small, interactive classes and practical internships. They arrange a variety of work experiences and field trips to studios, exhibits, and museums. Study abroad programs are available in England, Ireland, Scotland, Australia, and Italy. Upon graduation, students are prepared for entry-level positions in numerous interior design and arts positions within business or government, as well as for further education.

41

Adrian College

College Choice Score: 76.34

Average Net Price: $25,839

School Website

Overview:

At Adrian College in Adrian, Michigan, students have access to a wide range of Bachelors of Fine Arts degrees, but also to a unique pre-professional program. This program is offered in conjunction with Washington University in St. Louis. Adrian is a small not-for-profit that was founded in 1859 and hosts an interior design program that ranks in the top 40% of all interior design schools.

Program Features:

Adrian offers a distinctive liberal arts education along with providing crucial communication and critical thinking skills. Coursework prepares students for a variety of careers, but most particularly for entrance into post-graduate architectural studies. Classes might include some of the following:

  • Textile Design
  • Exploratory Internship
  • Digital Foundations
  • Advanced Art of Light & Lens Based Media

Notables:

Adrian’s small class size enables students to interact closely with faculty as well as guest designers and entrepreneurs. They are regularly brought to gallery openings, discussions, and exhibitions. The college also offers a range of scholarships for talented, qualified students.

42

Indiana University-Bloomington

College Choice Score: 75.63

Average Net Price: $12,621

School Website

Overview:

Located in Bloomington, Indiana, Indiana University offers fourteen programs in art, architecture, design, and merchandising, one of them its reputable B.S. in Interior Design. Indiana University offers state-of-the-art facilities, galleries, and digital fabrication labs to help students obtain hands-on experience in the latest skills and technologies.

Program Features:

This degree program is multidisciplinary and emphasizes collaboration and technology. Students are trained on how to responsively design spaces based on needs, sustainability, and aesthetics. They will be prepared to design for business or commercial establishments, recreation and hospitality, homes, and cultural institutions. Students must complete at least 45 credits in Interior Design, including:

  • Architectural Documentation
  • Professional Practices in Interior Design
  • Advanced Digital Architectural Drawing

Notables:

Indiana University also offers a range of internships, volunteer opportunities, student organizations, and study abroad programs. Recent graduates are employed as civic or commercial designers, design specialists, educators, and marketers. Indiana University also has a track record of providing current students with internship at top-ranked companies such as Brandy Ketterer Design, Nate Berkus Associates, and Kimball Office.

43

Abilene Christian University

College Choice Score: 75.46

Average Net Price: $26,916

School Website

Overview:

Abilene Christian University in Abilene, Texas has over a hundred years of experience in providing quality programs to talented students. Among them is their Bachelor of Science in Interior Design. This program explores the technical and aesthetic implications of interior design as well as how to design for diverse residential and commercial environments.

Program Features:

Students enrolled in this program are required to complete 56 credit hours and 66 major credit hours in a choice of two tracks. They may choose to specialize in either Art and Design, or Business. Sample courses include:

  • Design Drawing
  • History of Architecture and Design
  • Interior Components
  • Design, Construction, and Details for Interiors

Notables:

Graduates are employed around the country in a variety of professions, including as art consultants, interior architects, design project managers, and preservationists. Students are successful largely due to a combination of high-caliber coursework as well as internship and study abroad experiences. Abilene offers summer programs in England, France, Austria, Spain, Germany, Czech Republic, and Italy. These experiences allow students to tour notable international sites while also experiencing the arts abroad. They are also given opportunities to participate in the American Society of Interior Designers and the American Institute of Graphic Arts, as well as to create and conduct student exhibitions.

44

Iowa State University

College Choice Score: 75.37

Average Net Price: $13,623

School Website

Overview:

Iowa State University hosts a relatively large B.F.A. in Interior Design program, with roughly two hundred students choosing to study this marketable major. It also has a comparable but smaller graduate degree program as well. Graduates of this program are prepared to enter into careers with design firms, historical resource organizations, public organizations, and nonprofit community groups.

Program Features:

The Interior Design program mission seeks to educate students on ways to analyze and implement methods to maximize quality of life, productivity, and health and safety. Coursework will include studies in:

  • Contract design
  • Design project management
  • Kitchen and bath design
  • Historic preservation and restoration
  • Hospitality design

Notables:

81 percent of recent Iowa State University graduates state that their education in the Interior Design program was “satisfying” and that it led them to profitable and enjoyable careers. In addition, Iowa State design students are making names for themselves around the country, with three students recently competing in the Walt Disney Imagineering Imaginations Design Competition. The school helps to provide students with a number of professional interior design association memberships, including that with the American Society of Interior Designers, and with the International Interior Design Association, among others.

45

University of Wisconsin-Madison

College Choice Score: 74.76

Average Net Price: $15,874

School Website

Overview:

The University of Wisconsin’s Madison campus provides an Interior Architecture program that combines art and science with a global perspective. Undergraduate and graduate majors are available. Students will work closely with clients in real-world settings, from designing basic chairs to full home renovations.

Program Features:

The undergraduate program is a four-year professional program that emphasizes the development of students’ creativity. It teaches them how to integrate the art of design with the history and physical sciences behind the discipline. Related coursework helps students to develop skills in:

  • Sketching
  • Rendering
  • Computer-aided design
  • Three-dimensional modeling
  • Commercial and residential design
  • Building codes & ADA guidelines

Notables:

Graduates are employed in careers as interior designers, visual merchandisers, store planners, and project managers, at design companies such as Herman Miller and Strang. Students are actively involved in internships (many of which can be completed abroad) as a core component of their studies and have access to a variety of on-campus resources such as a maker space, design studios, a resource library, and lighting demonstration areas. Graduates will be fully prepared to sit for the NCIDQ exam or start their own design firms.

46

Ringling College of Art and Design

College Choice Score: 73.18

Average Net Price: $44,386

School Website

Overview:

Ringling College of Art and Design is located in Sarasota, Florida and hosts a well-developed B.F.A. in Interior Design. This program allows students to network with Fortune 500 companies, government entities, and nonprofit organizations. Ringling also maintains active relationships with the American Society of Interior Designers and Emerging Green Builders.

Program Features:

The program emphasizes the concepts of color, texture, light, space, and form. Students will learn how to develop sustainable solutions to common design problems and improve usability and overall experience. Available for student use right on campus are myriad labs, printers, technical labs, and work spaces. Classes available to Interior Design students include:

  • Lighting Concepts
  • Development of Art and Ideas
  • Building Information Modeling
  • Professional Practices

Notables:

Ringling College hosts a number of Interior Design student competitions, such as the Benjamin Moore Workplace of the Future Scholarship Contest, to help prepare students to the competitive nature of the industry. The college also provides students with internship opportunities both local and abroad, allowing students to collaborate in an international setting. These experiences help students break down barriers in an effort to create cutting-edge design solutions.

47

University of Minnesota-Twin Cities

College Choice Score: 73.41

Average Net Price: $16,242

School Website

Overview:

The University of Minnesota’s Twin Cities campus emphasizes six key influences in the overall excellence of their Interior Design program: the community, programs, methods, professors, connections, and students. The school offers related tracks in Apparel Studies, Graphic Design, and Housing Studies, making the course offerings highly diverse and experiential in nature. Because the college is located in the impressive Minneapolis/St. Paul area, students benefit from a vibrant design and arts community.  

Program Features:

All students will take classes that include foundations in arts and social and behavioral sciences. They will study the advances in theoretical knowledge and technological developments that help humans interact with their interior environments. A graduate level program in Interior Design is also available to help prepare students for careers in research and teaching. Sample courses include:

  • Interior Design Studio
  • Computer Applications
  • Interior Design Ethics and Professional Practice

Notables:

Graduates are employed with interior design or multidisciplinary firms, as sales and marketing representatives, and throughout a variety of other settings. They leave The University of Minnesota with the skillset necessary to maintain professional practice and ethics and to be able to satisfy a range of demanding clients. The university offers a variety of study abroad programs, lecture courses on global issues, and studio projects to provide students with the necessary communication and problem-solving skills.

48

Meredith College

College Choice Score: 73.95

Average Net Price: $25,597

School Website

Overview:

At Meredith College in Raleigh, North Carolina, students in the Interior Design program are afforded the opportunity to work on residential or commercial projects. Students will develop strong technological skills and the ability to actively address the goals and needs of clients.

Program Features:

Students must take 61 credit hours within the major, which include courses in interior design, art and business, and the formation of a portfolio. They have the option to study abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark or in Sansepolcro, Italy.  The school also offers an 18-credit minor in Interior Design. Required courses include:

  • History of Architectural Interiors and Furnishings
  • Housing Issues
  • Interior Design Products
  • Technology Applications for Interior Design
  • Special Problems in CAD
  • Principles of Marketing

Notables:

Meredith College has a student chapter of the American Society of Interior Designers, which helps students develop leadership skills and professional development. It also provides students with unique networking opportunities. The school also has a chapter of the prestigious national Honor Society Kappa Omicron Nu. Students will embark on a variety of faculty-led field trips to Interior Design meccas in Chicago and New York City. They will also participate in internships at organizations such as Concord Hospitality, Highwoods Properties, and the Smithsonian Institute.

49

School of the Art Institute of Chicago

College Choice Score: 71.68

Average Net Price: $43,494

School Website

Overview:

The School of the Art Institute of Chicago provides students with a variety of majors and certificate programs in Interior Design. Students will complete an extensive design portfolio and be exposed to contemporary design concepts, trends, and applications. As a component of the B.F.A. curriculum, students will select a track that integrates academic and studio education. Tracks include Architecture, Designed Objects, Fashion, Interior Architecture, or Visual Communication Design.

Program Features:

Students may choose to complete a B.F.A. in Studio with Thesis Option to help enhance their portfolio upon graduation. In addition, many students will take classes and work across departments to help diversify their experiences. Sample courses required by the program include:

  • Color Theory
  • Digital Drawing: Objects and Space
  • Introduction to Architecture
  • Hand Drafting and Rendering for Designers

Notables:

The School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s location in downtown Chicago allows students to take advantage of the museums, state-of-the-art facilities, and galleries the city has to offer. Students are prepared by internships and hands-on projects to enter directly into the workforce or pursue graduate level education. In fact, the school offers notable pathways to Master of Architecture degrees, as well as other related majors.

50

Brigham Young University-Idaho

College Choice Score: 72.53

Average Net Price: $8,344

School Website

Overview:

Brigham Young University offers a variety of Bachelor of Fine Arts pathways with coursework in Interior Design or Construction Management. It also hosts several pre-professional programs that lead to Master of Fine Arts in Architecture, Design for Emerging Technology, and more. Through faculty and academic advisor guidance, you can customize your education within an open framework tailored to your creative goals. The Department of Design and Construction Management offers concentrations in Art and Technology Studies, Sustainability, Site and Landscape, and more.

Program Features:

The school’s Interior Design program is highly interdisciplinary and provides students–with the help of specialized guidance by academic advisors–the ability to customize their degree paths. Coursework will heavily emphasize construction management as it relates to the built environment, including human, technical, and aesthetic components. Students will take classes such as:

  • Space Planning
  • Visualization and Communication
  • Design Studio
  • Design Thinking

Notables:

Because Brigham Young University–Idaho is a private college owned and operated by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, students are required to adhere to an honor code. These policies benefit students as they focus entirely on personal and professional development. As a result, over fifty percent of graduates have a job or job offer before they have even finished their senior years.

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