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Interior Design Degree Programs

Article Sources
  • Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) 2015-16, National Center for Education Statistics, accessed October 2017, http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/
  • Most Recent Cohorts (All Data Elements): 2015-16, College Scorecard, U.S. Department of Education, https://collegescorecard.ed.gov/data/
  • School pages, accessed November 27, 2017: Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interior Design, Harrington College of Design, http://www.harrington.edu/degree-programs/interior-design/bachelor-of-fine-arts-in-interior-design; Interior Design, Stevens - The Institute of Business and Arts, http://www.siba.edu/program/interior-design; Interior Design Degree Program, Design Institute of San Diego, http://www.disd.edu/interior-design-degree-program.php; Interior Design, Seminole State College of Florida, https://www.seminolestate.edu/interior-design/; Academic Programs, Southwest University of Visual Arts, http://suva.edu/programs/index; Interior Design - BA, Southwest University of Visual Arts, http://suva.edu/programs/interiordesign; Degree Options, Interior Design, Bellevue College, https://www.bellevuecollege.edu/interiordesign/programs/; Bachelor of Applied Arts Degree Interior Design, Bellevue College, https://www.bellevuecollege.edu/programs/degrees/bachelor/baa/; Online Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interior Design, Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design, https://www.rmcad.edu/program/online/interior-design-school-online/; Interior Design, Sullivan College of Technology and Design, https://sctd.edu/programs/interior-design/; Schaumburg Interior Design School, The Illinois Institute of Art - Schaumburg, https://www.artinstitutes.edu/schaumburg/academics/interior-design/interior-design-degree-program; Fort Lauderdale Interior Design Degree Programs, The Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale, https://www.artinstitutes.edu/fort-lauderdale/academics/interior-product-design/interior-design-degree-programs; Interior Architecture, The University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, https://www.uwsp.edu/IA/Pages/major.aspx?name=Interior%20Architecture;
  • Interior Designers, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, accessed November 27, 2017, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/arts-and-design/interior-designers.htm
  • Merchandise Displayers and Window Trimmers, Occupational Information Network, accessed November 27, 2017, https://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/27-1026.00
  • Exhibition Designer Job Profile, Prospects UK, accessed November 27, 2017, https://www.prospects.ac.uk/job-profiles/exhibition-designer
  • Professional organization pages, accessed November 27, 2017: Value of Membership, American Society of Interior Designers, https://www.asid.org/belong/value; Member Benefits, International Interior Design Association, http://www.iida.org/content.cfm/member-benefits; About IDS, Interior Design Society, http://www.interiordesignsociety.org/content.asp?contentid=39;
  • David Barrett Memorial Scholarship, BigFuture, The College Board, accessed November 27, 2017, https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/scholarships/david-barrett-memorial-scholarship#
  • Scholarship directory data is copyrighted material which is reproduced on this website by permission of Wintergreen Orchard House, a division of Carnegie Communications. Copyright © 2017-18 by Wintergreen Orchard House. All rights reserved.
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Design professions have experienced something of a renaissance in the last several years, and interior design is no exception. With a degree in interior design, you can learn what it takes to create comfortable, beautiful residential and commercial spaces for a wide range of clientele.

Most interior design degrees at the undergraduate level aim to provide a foundation of art and design fundamentals and impart the knowledge and skill necessary to apply that knowledge to real-world settings. Most interior design degree programs lead to a bachelor's degree when completed, but associate and master's degree programs are also available at certain schools.

If you're hoping to embark on an interior design career but don't have the space in your schedule to take on a traditional curriculum, look into online degrees in interior design. Online degrees for interior design students typically contain the same sort of courses as the campus-based variety and let you complete assignments or attend lectures from anywhere that has a solid internet connection.

Best Colleges for Interior Design Degree Programs 2017-18

In order to find the best schools for interior design, we used numbers published by the National Council for Education Statistics (NCES) to put together data profiles on around 250 schools across the country. Check out our methodology by clicking the button below, and read on to find out if a school near you is one of the best colleges for interior design degree programs.

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Methodology
1Stevens - The Institute of Business & Arts+
ADMISSION RATE
33%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
N/A
APPLICATION FEE
$25
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
0

Interior design degree programs at Stevens - The Institute of Business and Arts are available for both associate- and bachelor's-level students and aim to teach concepts relevant to both residential and commercial design. Courses include architectural graphics, color theory, textiles and design methods for special-purpose environments like healthcare facilities.

Instructional expenses such as classroom technology and course development are important to the quality of your education, and Our No. 1 school reserves a larger percentage of its annual budget for those expenses than any other institution in our top ten. It also reported our list's second-highest percentage of interior design students in its 2015 graduating class.

Additional Info
2Design Institute of San Diego+
ADMISSION RATE
Open
TEST REQUIREMENTS
N/A
APPLICATION FEE
$25
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
0

The Design Institute of San Diego had the second-highest 2015 graduation rate among schools that made our top ten, and that wasn't the only bright spot among its graduation statistics. According to the NCES, 100 percent of students who graduated in 2015 earned an interior design degree, meaning you're likely to have plenty of classmates who share your passion.

The interior design degree program here features a broad exploration of the discipline, as well as some course availability in evenings and on weekends for on-campus students who need some scheduling flexibility. Undergraduate interior design students at DISD study drawing and composition, building systems, sustainable environments, human factors of design and more.

Additional Info
3Seminole State College of Florida+
ADMISSION RATE
Open
TEST REQUIREMENTS
N/A
APPLICATION FEE
N/A
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
45

No other school in our top ten has a larger student body than Seminole State College of Florida, which awarded more than twice as many overall degrees as our next-largest school. This Gulf Coast school also reported the most affordable average cost of tuition and fees among schools on our list, charging students just $3,131 on average for the year in 2015.

Degree options here include a Bachelor of Applied Science (B.A.S.) in interior design and an Associate of Science (A.S.) degree in interior design technology. The four-year plan features optional concentrations in architectural design, building construction, kitchen and bath and digital media. Technical certificate programs in residential staging and kitchen and bath design are also available.

Additional Info
4Southwest University of Visual Arts - Tucson+
ADMISSION RATE
Open
TEST REQUIREMENTS
N/A
APPLICATION FEE
$25
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
0

The main Tucson, Arizona, campus of Southwest University of the Visual Arts began operations more than 30 years ago with just two students and has grown into an arts college that offers eight separate degree programs. The Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in interior design is accredited by the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA) and consists of 125 credits of coursework.

The data on SUVA seem to show a commitment to its students that's translating into academic success. The student-faculty ratio at the Tucson campus was a comfortable 7:1 in 2015, which is likely to have had some influence on its list-leading graduation rate of nearly 85 percent.

Additional Info
5Bellevue College+
ADMISSION RATE
Open
TEST REQUIREMENTS
N/A
APPLICATION FEE
$34
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
0

Students at Bellevue College paid the second-lowest average tuition and fees cost in 2015 — $3,619 for the year, according to the NCES — and featured the second-highest proportion of instructional support spending among schools that made our top ten. It also featured distance education enrollment of over 36 percent, placing it ahead of all but three other schools on our list in that category.

The Bellevue, Washington, school offers an Associate of Arts (A.A.) and a B.A.A. in interior design. The B.A.A. functions as a two-year degree completion program, so Bellevue students looking to earn a four-year bachelor's degree must first complete the A.A. program and transfer to the B.A.A. for their upper division coursework.

Additional Info
6Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design+
ADMISSION RATE
Open
TEST REQUIREMENTS
N/A
APPLICATION FEE
$50
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
17

Our No. 6 school offers fully online degrees for interior design students, and the numbers show that aspiring designers are taking advantage of the extra flexibility. The NCES reports that 100 percent of students enrolled at Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design took at least some of their courses via distance education — more than double the second-highest percentage on our list.

The curriculum for RMCAD's Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.) in interior design melds concepts from the disciplines of architecture, environmental design, graphic design and industrial design to create a multi-dimensional instructional approach. Students can also choose to add a sustainable design specialization to both the campus-based and online interior design degrees.

Additional Info
7Sullivan College of Technology and Design+
ADMISSION RATE
100%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
N/A
APPLICATION FEE
$50
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
0

Just three other schools on our list reported a higher percentage of interior design graduates in their 2015 graduating class than Sullivan College of Technology and Design, a small, for-profit institution in Louisville, Kentucky. On-campus flexibility was a standout category for Sullivan Tech, where students can take advantage of evening and weekend classes, career counseling and placement services for alumni.

Along with the aesthetic principles of interior design, the B.A. program at Sullivan Tech gives students a formal introduction to the often-overlooked technical aspects of the field. Accurate measuring, cost estimation, sales techniques and computer-aided design (CAD) are all part of the four-year study plan.

Additional Info
8The Illinois Institute of Art - Schaumburg+
ADMISSION RATE
Open
TEST REQUIREMENTS
N/A
APPLICATION FEE
N/A
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
0

The Schaumburg, Illinois, location of the Art Institutes system of schools offers a B.F.A. in interior design that places an emphasis on the human and ecological elements of the discipline. An awareness of the connection that a space has to the people who use it and the environment where it resides can help you design sustainable and accessible interiors that are also pleasing to the eye.

The Illinois Institute of Art - Schaumburg has an open admission policy and reported nearly 30 percent distance education enrollment to the NCES. If you're searching for fully or partially online interior design degrees, check with an Art Institutes registrar to learn your options for customizing your study plan.

Additional Info
9The Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale+
ADMISSION RATE
Open
TEST REQUIREMENTS
N/A
APPLICATION FEE
N/A
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
0

The Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale scored even higher than its Midwestern counterpart in the distance education enrollment category. Just one other school on our list had a higher percentage of students taking at least some courses online than the nearly 48 percent at this coastal South Florida institution.

The four-year interior design degree here is offered through a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) program that requires 180 credit hours of coursework to qualify for graduation and typically takes 12 quarters of study to complete. A 90-credit A.S. degree is available as well, for students who might not be ready to commit to a full bachelor's program.

Additional Info
10University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point+
ADMISSION RATE
81%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
$50
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
7

Coming in at No. 10 is one of the larger schools on our list, where the degree for aspiring interior designers takes an especially structural approach. The B.F.A. in interior architecture at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point aims to instruct students on interior design and construction at the intersection of art and science, developing a mix of creative, technical, technological and critical thinking skills.

UW-Stevens Point ranked No. 3 for the affordability of its average tuition and fees cost in 2015, and the numbers also show that students had a tendency to stick around and see their degree plans through to the end. Just two other schools on our list posted better graduation rates than UW-Stevens Point in 2015.

Additional Info

Interior Design Degree Programs and Common Career Paths

Most firms that hire interior designers require at least a bachelor's degree, although some senior positions may be reserved for candidates with a master's or several years' experience in the field. Here's some detail about a few careers that make use of the skills gained from earning a degree in interior design.

Bachelor's degree in Interior Design
Interior design is a multifaceted discipline, using the principles of lighting, acoustics, safety and more alongside the aesthetic arrangement of objects in a living space. Bachelor's degrees in the field teach these design-specific concepts alongside important peripheral skills like portfolio development and industry regulatory guidelines.
Interior designers
create functional, safe and attractive indoor environments by selecting and arranging furnishings, lighting, wall finishes and other elements in both residential and enterprise spaces
Visual merchandisers
plan, compose and build commercial displays, primarily in high-visibility locations such as streetside store windows and retail shop interiors
Exhibition designers
use their skills to design booths, kiosks and other temporary spaces for industry exhibitions, trade shows, conferences and showcase events

Career Outlook for Interior Design Majors

It can be difficult to find your first interior design job out of college, but keeping your finger on the pulse of the career market can help you better target your education toward high-demand segments of the working world. Here's some info about employment projections for interior design graduates.

JOB TITLE
AVERAGE SALARY($)
EMPLOYMENT
PROJECTED JOB GROWTH(%)
Set and Exhibit Designers$59,59011,49010.9%
Designers, All Other$66,4007,7706.4%
Commercial and Industrial Designers$70,54031,2505%
Interior Designers$58,21056,0704.9%
Source: 2017 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2016-26 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov.
NOT WHAT YOU ARE LOOKING FOR?

Financial Aid and Scholarships in Interior Design

While financial aid differs by institution, students may find the English department at their college or university has scholarship opportunities for new and returning students. Plus, there are national scholarship programs specifically for those studying English and related fields. These include ACES Scholarships, the Helen McCloy Mystery Writers of America Scholarship and others.

Sherman Fairchild Foundation Conservation Fellowship
Applicant must be a qualified candidate from the United States and abroad who have already reached an advanced level of training or experience. More

AWARD AMOUNT

$22,500

APPLICATION DEADLINE

December 2

 

 

Stewardson Keefe LeBrun Travel Grant
Applicant must be a United States citizen with a degree in architecture, who is a full-time practitioner, either licensed or unlicensed. Grant encourages travel within North America and overseas in the furtherance of the architectural education and professional development of the recipients. At least one award will be given to an architectural graduate who received their first professional degree at least five years prior to the date of submission. More

AWARD AMOUNT

$20,000

APPLICATION DEADLINE

April 18

RENEWAL CRITERIA

Recipient must re-submit an application each year.

Polaire Weissman Fund
Applicant needs to present a typed application, full resume, statement (not to exceed 1,000 words), and three letters of recommendation. More

AWARD AMOUNT

$20,000

APPLICATION DEADLINE

November 3

 

 

Vectorworks Design Scholarship
Applicant must be pursuing a design-oriented degree full-time at an accredited college/university. Must create own design with software of choice. More

AWARD AMOUNT

$10,000

APPLICATION DEADLINE

July 30

 

 

Professional Organizations

(ASID): Features 47 chapters around the country and provides member discounts on business insurance, health insurance and contract services
(IIDA): Produces numerous publications for members, including two newsletters, two monthly magazines and an award-winning industry journal
(IDS): Has a membership of over 2,000 professionals and focuses its efforts on serving the residential segment of the interior design industry
Article Sources
Methodology

To be included in these rankings, all schools must meet the following initial criteria for the specific subject being ranked.

  1. Offer an undergraduate degree (either associate or bachelor’s) in that subject.
  2. Have awarded at least one degree or certificate in that subject in the most recent year of IPEDS data available.

Based on those criteria, we ranked all 2-year and 4-year schools in IPEDS that reported data for all of the following points. Ratings are calculated on a 10-point scale, using the weights specified.

  1. In-state undergraduate tuition & fees, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015
  2. Graduation rate, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015
  3. Accessibility, based on admissions rate, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015
  4. Institutional spending, based on two equally weighted factors, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015
    • Instructional and academic support expenses per full-time enrolled student
    • Instructional and academic support spending as a percentage of all expenses
  5. Student-to-faculty ratio, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015
  6. Flexibility, based on the following factors, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015
    • Percent of students enrolled fully or partly in distance education
    • Whether the school offers programs that can be completed entirely in the evenings and on weekends
    • Whether the school offers academic and career counseling
    • Whether the school offers job placement services for students who complete their programs
    • Whether the school offers any alternative tuition plans, such as a payment plan or guaranteed rate
  7. Size of program, based on how many of the degrees and certificates awarded in 2014-15 were in this particular subject, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015
  8. Related subjects, based on the number of similar topics for programs in relevant CIP codes that are offered at any level, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015
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