Masters in Interior Design: Degree Program Overviews

Get an overview of the curriculum of master's degree programs in interior design. Get detailed information on courses, admissions standards, certification and employment statistics.

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Essential Information

Many private and public colleges and universities and design schools offer master's degrees in interior design, such as a Master of Arts, Master of Fine Arts or Master of Science. These programs are often offered as a post-professional degree or first professional degree. Post-professional degrees are designed for students who have bachelor's degrees in interior design, while the latter is for students who hold bachelor's degrees unrelated to interior design.

Curricula are commonly designed so that students select a specialization within the interior design field. Students in interior design master's degree programs learn advanced design concepts while studying research relevant to the design issues.

Education Prerequisites

Master's degree programs in interior design require that students hold a bachelor's degree of some kind. Each program sets its own requirements for the bachelor's degree discipline; some require it to be in a relevant discipline while others do not. Portfolios are also required by some interior design master's programs.

Program Coursework

Master of Interior Design students learn design concepts and the elements of interior spaces. They customize their coursework by selecting concentrations such as residential interiors, sustainable design or healthcare interiors. In addition to practical design courses, a master's degree program in interior design also includes classes that focus on research and theoretical concepts. They include:

  • Drawing
  • Interior lighting
  • Color theory
  • Furniture design
  • Computer-aided design
  • Interior materials
  • Design principles
  • Human response and interior environments
  • Computer applications in 3-dimensional design

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), interior designer jobs are expected to grow 19% during 2008-2018 (www.bls.gov). Keeping the demand for interior designers high is the want for well-designed kitchens, baths and outdoor living areas. However, because the interior design field is a popular occupation, competition is expected to be fierce.

Those professionals with significant expertise in eco-friendly design ideas have an edge on their competitors as more people become conscious of their environmental impact. In May 2010, interior designers earned an annual mean income of $52,100, reported the BLS.

Certification and Continuing Education Information

Interior designers are required to obtain licensure in some states. The National Council for Interior Design Qualification governs the exam, which only covers public safety issues (www.ncidq.org). Eligible candidates have at least six years of postsecondary education and professional experience and must pursue continuing education to maintain the licensure.

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  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be a high school graduate or have completed GED
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

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  • School locations:
    • Washington (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Washington State University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Non-Degree: Certificate, Coursework
      • Post Degree Certificate: Post Master's Certificate, Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Visual and Performing Arts
      • Design and Applied Arts
        • Interior Design and Decorating
      • Drama and Theatre Arts
      • Fine Arts and Studio Art
      • Musical Arts
  • School locations:
    • Massachusetts (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at University of Massachusetts Amherst include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, Master
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Visual and Performing Arts
      • Dance
      • Design and Applied Arts
        • Interior Design and Decorating
      • Drama and Theatre Arts
      • Fine Arts and Studio Art
      • Musical Arts
  • School locations:
    • California (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Stanford University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Visual and Performing Arts
      • Drama and Theatre Arts
      • Fine Arts and Studio Art
      • Musical Arts
      • Photography, Film, and Video
  • School locations:
    • Massachusetts (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Harvard University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Visual and Performing Arts
      • Fine Arts and Studio Art
      • Musical Arts
  • School locations:
    • Pennsylvania (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at University of Pennsylvania include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: First Professional Certificate, Post Master's Certificate, Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Visual and Performing Arts
      • Design and Applied Arts
        • Graphic Design
      • Drama and Theatre Arts
      • Fine Arts and Studio Art
      • Musical Arts
      • Photography, Film, and Video
  • School locations:
    • Rhode Island (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Brown University include:
      • Graduate: First Professional Degree, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Visual and Performing Arts
      • Drama and Theatre Arts
      • Fine Arts and Studio Art
      • Musical Arts
  • School locations:
    • North Carolina (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Duke University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Visual and Performing Arts
      • Design and Applied Arts
        • General Visual Communications Design
      • Drama and Theatre Arts
      • Fine Arts and Studio Art
      • Musical Arts
  • School locations:
    • Indiana (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at University of Notre Dame include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Visual and Performing Arts
      • Design and Applied Arts
        • General Visual Communications Design
      • Drama and Theatre Arts
      • Fine Arts and Studio Art
      • Musical Arts
  • School locations:
    • Columbia (D.C.) (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Georgetown University include:
      • Graduate: First Professional Degree, Master
      • Non-Degree: Coursework
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Visual and Performing Arts
      • Fine Arts and Studio Art

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