Best Interior Design Degrees

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Interior design is a blossoming degree program that is growing in popularity as both residential and commercial clients look to improve their physical spaces. Interior design currently counts as one of the best fields for creatives in terms of job stability and salary potential, as the Bureau of Labor Statistics calculates the median salary for these professionals at $51,500. Individuals interested in pursuing this profession should enroll in a program at a top school to ensure that they receive the best preparation for employment.

Best Degrees in Interior Design Badge

The following page provides a list of the best interior design schools in the nation. The list includes both on-campus and online programs. All of the programs on this list boast either national or regional accreditation, with many boasting interior design-specific accreditation. As such, you can rest assured that all of the schools on this list provide a degree that all employers recognize. To take the first step in your interior design career, read on to find the program that fits you the best.

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Top 10 Best Interior Design Degrees

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.

Rankings

See our rankings methodology page.

  1. New York School of Interior Design
    Location

    New York, NY

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    As a university that focuses exclusively on interior design, NYSID earns a deserved place among the best interior design schools in the U.S.A. The school’s BFA in interior design program blends the liberal arts with a professionally-focused interior design curriculum, requiring that students complete 132 credits, a process that usually takes eight semesters. Interesting program courses include kitchen and bath design, furniture design, and an architectural workshop. Students must also take an intensive course in either French or Italian. Students complete the program by creating and defending a thesis.

  2. Savannah College of Art and Design
    Location

    Savannah, GA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    One of the best interior design schools in the South, SCAD offers a BFA in interior design program that requires students to earn 180 credits. As opposed to some peer programs, almost the entire curriculum focuses on art and design and includes studies in modern architecture, visual culture, drawing, and color theory. Students also complete six different interior design studio courses. The final two interior design studio courses serve as a capstone experience. Students can complete the BFA program at SCAD’s Savannah, Hong Kong, and Atlanta campuses.

  3. George Washington University
    Location

    Washington, DC

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    GW’s BFA in interior architecture prides itself on its employment rate, placing 91% of its 2017 graduates in either design-related positions or graduate school. The program’s 120-credit curriculum includes relevant studies in graphic communications, sketching, modern architecture, and lighting and acoustics. All students must also complete a 120-hour internship in the field with a design agency. Students interested in earning the program’s prestigious Corcoran Scholarship must submit a portfolio of their previous work. Out of all top-ranked research universities, only three others apart from GW offer an undergraduate interior design program. As such, GW earns a place among the nation’s best interior design schools.

  4. Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
    Location

    Blacksburg, VA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    One of the best interior design schools in the nation, Virginia Tech offers a pre-professional bachelor of science in interior design program that allows students plenty of studio time to learn about lighting, computer skills, historical interiors, and space planning in a hands-on way. The program’s curriculum includes studies in sustainable design and LEED, design appreciation, and interior design history. The program prides itself on placing graduates in professional settings such as corporations, architectural and design firms, and space planning organizations. The program currently only accepts students for the fall semester and maintains small cohorts each year, so admission is often competitive.

  5. Parsons School of Design
    Location

    New York, NY

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    One of the biggest names in the art world, Parsons also earns a place among the best colleges for interior design. The school’s BFA in interior design program requires students to complete 120 credits, an undertaking that requires the typical four years. Transfer credits may bring up to 60 credits with them. The curriculum includes coursework in foundational areas such as drawing, materiality and assembly, and design studios. The curriculum includes a capstone course in which students complete a final studio project synthesizing everything they learn in the program.

  6. Cleveland Institute of Art
    Location

    Cleveland, OH

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Known primarily for the numerous successful alumni artists it produces, CIA also maintains a place among the nation’s best interior design schools. CIA’s bachelor of science in interior architecture includes a more commercial focus than many programs, opting for coursework in commercial retail design in addition to studies in drawing, computer-aided design, and three-dimensional modeling. The program’s curriculum consists of 145 credits in total, requirements that usually take students four years to finish. In addition to design courses, students must complete art history and writing coursework.

  7. Cornell University
    Location

    Ithaca, NY

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Best known as a school with Ivy League bonafides, Cornell also operates one of the best colleges for interior design in the country. The school’s bachelor’s program in design and environmental analysis (DEA). The DEA curriculum requires students to complete a total of 124 credits, which usually take four years (or eight semesters). The curriculum includes coursework in visual literacy, history of design futures, design graphics, and environmental psychology. Students may complete de facto concentrations in design and interior environments, facility planning and management, or ergonomics and design.

  8. Rhode Island School of Design
    Location

    Providence, RI

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Maintaining a significant reputation in the art world, RISD also offers strength in design through its BFA in interior architecture program. The program’s 37 students come from around the world, learning from the department’s 25 faculty members. The interior architecture program, like all RISD bachelor’s programs, requires students to complete a foundation year of drawing, design, art history, and spacial dynamics courses. Students choose a specialization in either retail design, exhibition design, or theater design. The curriculum culminates in a final studio project that requires students to synthesize everything they learn up to that point.

  9. College for Creative Studies
    Location

    Detroit, MI

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Based in Detroit, the College for Creative Studies focuses exclusively on arts programs, earning its place among the nation’s best interior design schools. The college’s BFA in interior design takes a holistic approach to the craft and focuses especially on postgraduate life. To that end, the program boasts 100% employment for its graduates. Past students in the program interned at BMW Designworks, ExhibitWorks, and Nike, among other places. The program also maintains relationships with several industry companies, allowing students to work hands-on in the field. In order to support that hands-on work, the program provides students with resources such as a three-dimensional printer, a design library, and state-of-the-art architectural software.

  10. Pratt Institute
    Location

    Brooklyn, NY

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Based in New York City, Pratt draws aspiring artists from around the world to its Brooklyn Campus. Pratt is also one of the best interior design schools in the nation, providing a BFA in interior design that includes 126 credits and coursework in drawing, design, and art history. All students must also complete a professional portfolio and a thesis in order to graduate. Students in the program typically earn their degrees in eight semesters, or around four years. The program provides several resources to its students, including an electronic design library, an electronic design studio lab, and the school’s Center for Sustainable Design Studies.

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