Do you love color swatches, fun fabrics, and developing beautiful spaces for folks to live and work in? A degree in interior design may be your calling! Interior designers not only work to create aesthetically pleasing spaces, they also work closely with contractors, architects, structural engineers, and mechanical engineers. If you love HGTV and think you could be the next Chip or Joanna Gaines, keep reading for more information on this degree!
What kind of Interior Design degree should you get?
Now that you’ve decided to pursue a degree in interior design, you’ll have to figure out exactly what kind of degree to get. Should you attend online? Or on-campus? Are you just starting out or looking to earn an advanced degree? It can be difficult to decide. Luckily, we’re here to help!
Ready to design stunning spaces for the world to see? College Choice is here to help you find the best program! From the Savannah College of Art and Design to the New School’s Parsons School of Design in New York, you’re sure to find the perfect program.
If you’re thinking about a different degree or want a different background before pursuing Interior Design, check out College Choice’s ranking of the Most Affordable Online Colleges. If you know you’d like to earn a master’s online, keep reading to learn more about our favorite programs.
How much money do people make with a Master’s in Interior Design?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, interior designers can make upwards of $51,000 per year. Of course, the more advanced degree and experience you have, the higher your earning potential will be. The city or town in which you work will also affect how much you make.
Know how to read a blueprint? Are you aware of building codes and inspection regulations? If so, you’ll get ahead of the others more quickly! Plus, the employment of interior designers is projected to grow from now until 2026.
What can you do with a Master’s in Interior Design?
Interior designers can go on to work in a range of places, across all industries! Want to design corporate buildings or energy-efficient hospitals? Looking to start your own business and help folks design their dream homes? Other career options include, but aren’t limited to, consulting, historic preservation, and the design of lighting, sets, exhibitions, and more!
No matter what route you’d like to pursue, you’ll have to develop skills in research, business strategy, design, and even psychology. It’s important to understand people in order to design a space that’s best suited for them. Excited to dive in? Check out the best online master’s programs below!
See our rankings methodology page.
Ball State University
Average Net Price: $13,369
This public university is located in Muncie, Indiana; a city with a population of just over 69,000. Ball State is home to nearly 22,000 students and offers eight academic colleges and top-of-the-line research facilities for students to take advantage of. The university also offers more than 20 online master’s degrees for those looking to get an advanced degree in a more flexible fashion. Check out BSU’s online Master of Arts or Master of Science in Interior Design.
This program emphasizes research and theory (VS design). Delivered completely online, required courses may include:
- Design Analysis
- Inclusive Design
- Thesis or Creative Project
- Environmental Psychology
- Visual Culture in the Build Environment
Two tracks for this degree are offered at Ball State. For those who already have a bachelor’s degree in architecture or interior design, the Fast Track Program requires only 33 credits and can be completed within two years. For those just starting out, you can complete the Three Year Track Program which requires 80 credits of both undergraduate and graduate coursework.
Ball State has earned top rankings from U.S. News and World Report each of the six years the publication has ranked online programs. Current rankings include #16 Best Online MBA and #9 Best Online Graduate Education programs for veterans. Ball State has also been ranked for their excellent online bachelor’s degrees and graduate nursing program.
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Average Net Price: $16,462
Founded in February of 1869, the University of Nebraska–Lincoln is home to mascots Lil’ Red and Herbie Husker. UNL is also home to students who thrive on discovering and researching new things. In fact, the university’s research expenditures total nearly $300 million. Now, interested students can pursue an online Master of Science in Architecture with a specialization in Interior Design.
This is a research-oriented program and applicants must have an undergraduate degree in architecture, interior design, or a related field. Required courses may include:
- Advanced Color Theory
- Design of Senior Housing
- Problems in Interior Design
- Evolving Issues in Interior Design
- History of Interiors and Designed Objects
- Material Culture: The Social Life of Things
This master’s degree is available in three different options. Option one requires a minimum of 30 credit hours, including completion of a thesis; no minor is required. Option two requires a minor, 36 credit hours, and no thesis. Finally, option three is 36 credit hours with no minor or thesis required.
The University of Nebraska–Lincoln has been ranked near the top third of all national universities, both public and private. In recent years, Nebraska has been ranked highly for value, graduation rate, and access. The University of Nebraska also welcomes online learners who have access to the same student services available to on-campus students.
Average Net Price: $19,650
Brenau is a small, private college whose main campus is in Gainesville, Georgia, just north of Atlanta. Founded in 1878, Brenau is now home to nearly 3,000 students. Interested in creating beautifully perfect spaces? Learn more about Brenau University’s online Master of Fine Arts degree in Interior Design below!
This online program offers a terminal degree for those who’ve already earned their CIDA-accredited undergraduate degree. Offered through Brenau’s College of Fine Arts & Humanities, graduate students will be asked to:
- Develop and teach an undergraduate interior design course
- Form a research topic
- Prepare a thesis derived from their evidence-based research
Graduates of this program often go on to become university or college professors, specialists in an advanced area of design practice, or researchers in design practice.
Brenau’s M.F.A. in Interior Design was named a “Best Value Interior Design” Program in SR Education Group’s list of the 2017 Top Online Colleges. U.S. News and World Report also ranked Brenau University among the Top 50 Best Value Schools in the country. Brenau has also been ranked as one of the Best Colleges for Veterans, as well as one of the Best Online Graduate Education Programs.
Academy of Art University
Average Net Price: $29,301
Founded in 1929, the Academy of Art University is located in San Francisco, California. With students from over 112 countries, this art academy is thriving with new and innovative ideas. From design and fine art, to entertainment and liberal arts, there is something for every student. Now, the university offers a Master of Arts degree in Interior Architecture & Design.
This comprehensive 36-unit program covers all aspects of design. Required courses may include:
- Digital Imaging
- Lighting Design
- Building Systems and Codes
- The Art & Ideology of the 20th Century
- Sketching & Perspective for Interior Environments
For those who wish to focus on more advanced techniques and theories of interior architecture and design, the Academy also offers a 63-unit Master of Fine Arts degree.
Graduates of this program go on to create incredible designs. In fact, School of Interior Architecture & Design alumna, Denise Cherry, was the principal designer of Facebook’s award-winning corporate HQ remodeling project! School of Industrial Design alum Tom Luedecke was the lead designer for Kobe Bryant’s line of Nike shoes.
Average Net Price: $29,544
Located in Birmingham, Alabama, this private Christian university is home to nearly 5,500 students. With more than 150 majors, minors and concentrations to choose from, students can develop the skills they need to succeed in a variety of fields. Check out Samford’s online Master of Science in Design Studies offered through its Interior Architecture Department.
Samford’s 33-credit design program emphasizes critical analysis and design research. Required courses may include:
- Design Issues in the Interior Built Environment
- Pedagogy of Design Methods and Processes
- Architecture, Society, and Culture
- Research Design and Methods
- Design Theory and Criticism
All students in the MSDS program must complete a thesis as well. Graduates will have completed 24-months of advanced study with an emphasis on design, research, and teaching by the end of the program.
U.S. News and World Report has ranked Samford University fifth on its list of Most Innovative Schools in the country. Samford was also ranked the #1 Best College for Veterans, as well as third on the list of Best Regional Universities in the South. That’s not all! Samford is also a Best Value School, according to U.S. News.