Do you love designing and decorating your home? Are you an expert in feng shui? Guess what? You can make a career out of that. Interior designers are responsible for the functionality, aesthetics, and furnishings of indoor spaces. They can work with individual clients for residential spaces, or with architects and construction managers on large-scale projects like hospitals or college campuses.
Interior design is way more involved than just picking out the right couch to go with the oak floors. We’ve selected the 5 Best Online Master’s in Interior Design in the country. Take a look!
What kind of Online Master’s in Interior Design should you get?
We’ve done the hard work for you: your search has been narrowed to only online programs. These days, more and more adults are finding huge success with distance learning. Online programs are flexible, affordable, and equally as rigorous as any traditional program.
These programs vary in their focus. Some are specifically focused on interior design. Others start with a degree in architecture, but include a specialization in interior design. Yet others include the pedagogical options for you to teach interior design.
All of them share core elements in common: industry-specific design courses. You’ll find an amazing array of coursework within each of these programs. It’s really just up to you to decide how you want to focus your degree.
If you’re not quite ready for a master’s degree in interior design, you might want to start with our list of the Most Affordable Online Master’s in Interior Design.
How much money do people make with an Online Master’s in Interior Design?
Interior designers are compensated well for their sharp eye. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, interior designers make on average $51,500 per year. However, if you work on larger projects alongside architects, you can make closer to $60,000 annually. There’s always the chance that you’ll be a star in your field, in which case you’ll qualify as one of the highest 10 percent earning interior designers who make over $93,780 per year.
More good news—the job market for interior designers is expected to grow by around 7 percent in the next ten years.
What can you do with an Online Master’s in Interior Design?
Earning an online Master’s in Interior Design will open doors for you. Unlike someone with just a bachelor’s degree, you’ll have all the technical chops that an architect or a construction manager will have. This means that you’ll have the authority on a job site to make the big decisions.
One great thing about this profession is its versatility. Your job is to create a space that both functions well and looks pleasing to the eye. All organizations need facilities specifically designed for their demographic. You could design nursing home rooms to make them both wheelchair accessible and cheery. You could design high school classrooms to be as conducive to learning as possible. The options are endless!
What are the requirements for an Online Master’s in Interior Design?
Other than the standard application process that you’d complete for any master’s program, one of the primary elements that schools want to see is that you have a background in either design or architecture. Basically, it’s important that you already know the core concepts of design.
Once you get accepted into a program, they follow a similar trajectory. All of the programs last between one and two years. Most require around 30 to 60 credit hours to complete. The great thing about online programs is that you can make school fit with your schedule in whatever way it works for you.
What are the best Online Master’s in Interior Design degrees?
Below you’ll find the 5 Best Online Master’s in Interior Design. We took a number of steps to narrow down our list. First, we gathered the academic quality of each online program. Then we looked at affordability and the return on investment – a big factor in how you decide on a school. Last but not least, we factored in student happiness using retention rates and graduation rates of each program.
Our methodology draws from our data team at College Choice, the quality resources at U.S. News & World Report, and the number gurus at Payscale.com. What else are you waiting for? Design your way to the top!
See our rankings methodology page.
Ball State University
College Choice Score: 100
Average Net Price: $13,369
Ball State University has everything you need to start an online Master’s in Interior Design. It’s affordable, reputable, and offered in a flexible format. Ball State University is a public research university based in Muncie, Indiana. The school is intentional about its building design, and all of its new renovations are LEED certified.
The online Master’s Degree in Interior Design at Ball State University is 100 percent online. The curriculum gives you access to all of the top industry tools. In your classes you’ll cover proxemics and space programming, but also relevant digital trends like animation techniques. Some highlight coursework includes:
- Visual Culture in the Build Environment
- Environmental Psychology
- Design Analysis
- Inclusive Design
This program is delivered in two separate tracks. The Fast Track lets you finish a 33-credit-hour program in just two years. The Three-Year Program is intended for students with no background in design. You’ll take a full year of undergraduate classes on campus before starting the online master’s program.
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
College Choice Score: 96.44
Average Net Price: $16,462
The oldest and largest university in the state, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln is a public institution with over 25,000 students. The online and distance education branch offers 25 different master’s programs. Architecture Hall, home to this particular program, is the oldest building on campus.
At the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, you’ll get both breadth and depth through the MS in Architecture with a specialization in Interior Design. This 36-credit-hour program is offered totally online. Your classes will help you narrow down your specific focus within interior design. Here are some examples:
- Design and Gerontology
- Design Pedagogy and Teaching
- Healthcare Design
- Digital Design
In addition to these more concrete classes, the curriculum also emphasizes research as a useful tool in the field of interior design. As such, you’ll cover classes like Design Research, and Evolving Issues in Interior Design. Your degree will be completed with a written exam.
Savannah College of Art and Design
College Choice Score: 96.42
Average Net Price: $40,856
Savannah College of Art and Design is a private fine arts university that maintains two campuses in the United States – Savannah and Atlanta – as well as in Hong Kong and France. It also provides online options. SCAD is divided into eight academic schools, which include design, communication arts, fashion, digital media, and more.
In total, you’ll take 45 credit hours to complete your MA in Interior Design at SCAD. The curriculum takes you through the complete spectrum of design—theory, research, materials, psychology, application, and more. Some specific classes in this degree include:
- Contemporary Issues in Interior Design
- Applied Interior Lighting
- Emerging Interior Materials
- Interior Design Theory and Criticism
It is 100 percent possible for you to complete this degree online. However, there are some courses that require you to be on campus to complete. If you’re interested in a hybrid program, you can attend mostly online, but attend classes in either Savannah or Atlanta as needed.
The New School’s Parsons School of Design
College Choice Score: 95.94
Average Net Price: $45,504
In the heart of the “Big Apple” you’ll find The New School’s Parsons School of Design (or simply Parsons). This private design institution is nationally known for its prestige and reputation in the art world. It keeps a small student body of around 4,200 students.
This program zooms way out to offer an MS in Strategic Design and Management. With this degree, you’ll be leading creative teams in the business world. You’ll take 36 credits to finish this program, and have the option of attending online, in person, or through a blended format. Here’s a sampling of some courses you might take:
- Managing Creative Projects and Teams
- Design Innovation and Leadership
- Integrative Studio
- New Design Firms
One hugely unique feature of this program is the Global Executive option, which gives you a chance to travel the world and study design abroad. You’ll spend 18 months in Paris, New York, and Shanghai with a group of 25 other students. This, of course, can not be completed online, but would be a fantastic addition to your degree.
College Choice Score: 93.80
Average Net Price: $19,650
A private university based in Gainesville, Georgia, Brenau University delivers a wide range of liberal arts degrees both in person and online. It was founded in 1878 as a school for women, and the Women’s College at Brenau still operates to this day. The graduate program is open to both men and women and delivers a number of online options.
Brenau University offers an MFA in Interior Design that brings together a number of skills – everything from design to teaching to research. The curriculum lets you specialize in either Human Environment or Design Environment. You also have a number of classes in pedagogy. Some core design classes include:
- Health Care and Institutional Design
- Historic Preservation and Environmental Issues
- Interior Design Classroom Preparation
- Building Information Modeling
Part of your training in this program is preparing to teach at the college level. You’ll play the part of both the student and the teacher. Halfway through, you’ll get the chance to develop an undergraduate interior design course. During the end of your degree, you’ll complete a thesis project as well as a final design.