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New ideas top interior design schools with design academy is considered one of the top 10
Best Interior Design Schools

Best Interior Design Schools Best Interior Design Schools

The New School’s Parsons School of Design boasts an interesting distinction among those offering interior design programs: it is the first and oldest school to do so. It was established in 1906 and offers a range of design majors, including a B.F.A. in Interior Design, a B.F.A. in Design and Technology, a B.S. in Urban Design, and an M.F.A. in Interior Design.

The University of Cincinnati is a great choice for any student looking to continue his or her education in Interior Design. Not only does the college offer the fourth-ranked program according to DesignIntelligence, it also provides students with a variety of collaborative experiences. Students in this program graduate with the ability to discover and resolve problems, think critically, communicate, and use cutting-edge technologies.

Kent State University, in Kent, Ohio, offers a variety of programs, including Architecture, Architectural Studies, Urban Design, and, of course, Interior Design. The school has a global perspective that requires students to develop an understanding of how humans interact with their environment. Coursework emphasizes accountability, dialogue, inquiry, and diversity.

Students in this program will be trained to solve interior design problems using both the process of design as well as their foundational understanding of principles and applications. Successful graduates will be skilled communicators and be able to professionally accept and integrate the feedback of clients. Key coursework includes that in:

College Choice Score: 75.37Average Net Price: $13,623School Website

Kent State University offers a study abroad program in Florence, Italy to help further expand their students’ global thinking. Additionally, students are required to participate in a research program with topics including:

Degree offered: BS Rankings: #10 by Design Schools Hub Read more about the program   Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT)

Faculty members are highly regarded and active members of the profession. Students will benefit from a small student to faculty ratio and the attentiveness of dedicated teachers. In addition to the college’s successful Bachelor degree programs, they also offer Saturday classes in interior design and related programs for high school juniors and seniors.

College Choice Score: 90.64Average Net Price: $24,168School Website

The University of Minnesota’s Twin Cities campus emphasizes six key influences in the overall excellence of their Interior Design program: the community, programs, methods, professors, connections, and students. The school offers related tracks in Apparel Studies, Graphic Design, and Housing Studies, making the course offerings highly diverse and experiential in nature. Because the college is located in the impressive Minneapolis/St. Paul area, students benefit from a vibrant design and arts community.  

Coursework is balanced between studio work, cooperative education experiences, and general and specialized classes. The program is five years in length and requires a year and a half of cooperative education experience. Sample classes might include:

The College for Creative Studies may be small at only 1400 students, but it is ranked as the third best design school in the United States based on alumni success. The school is located in Detroit. This gives Interior Design majors the unique opportunity to live and work in a city that is experimenting with sustainable design efforts in its endeavor to redevelop. As a result, the program is focused less on commercial and residential design than on product, stage, and transportation design systems.

Ringling College of Art and Design is located in Sarasota, Florida and hosts a well-developed B.F.A. in Interior Design. This program allows students to network with Fortune 500 companies, government entities, and nonprofit organizations. Ringling also maintains active relationships with the American Society of Interior Designers and Emerging Green Builders.

If you’re planning on going to an interior design school, you’ll likely need to create a portfolio of your best work. Learn more about how to make a great portfolio that will impress your dream school. 

The course offerings at Brenau are designed to provide a quality education in interior design to all, regardless of experience or innate talent. As a result, classes are centered around the visual arts, art history, and aesthetics. Communication skills are emphasized just as strongly as the ability to design and style. Sample courses include:

Meredith College has a student chapter of the American Society of Interior Designers, which helps students develop leadership skills and professional development. It also provides students with unique networking opportunities. The school also has a chapter of the prestigious national Honor Society Kappa Omicron Nu. Students will embark on a variety of faculty-led field trips to Interior Design meccas in Chicago and New York City. They will also participate in internships at organizations such as Concord Hospitality, Highwoods Properties, and the Smithsonian Institute.

College Choice Score: 91.95Average Net Price: $22,012School Website

History of InteriorsMaterials and Finishes for InteriorsLighting for InteriorsBusiness Practices and Procedures for InteriorsInterior Design Graphics

This program stresses the importance of leadership and forward thinking. Students will work cooperatively to develop creative solutions. Potential courses include:

The B.S. in Interior Design requires students to complete 68 semester hours of interior design courses that include a first-year portfolio review and summer internship. Students will develop creative design skills along with the acquisition of principles and elements of design, drafting, modeling, lighting, and presentation. Required courses include:

FIT is very well known for its fashion design programs, but it also boasts a strong interior design program. It’s the largest program of its kind in NYC, with over 400 students. If you attend FIT, you’ll have the opportunity to work with top professionals in NY, including architects and interior/lighting/graphic designers. 

Color and DesignDigital DrawingArchitectural LabBuilding TechnologyProfessional Development

History of Art & Visual CultureDrawing I & IIBuilding Materials Exploration Building Structures and Systems for Adaptive ReuseScheme Detailing

Students at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) in Rochester, New York  have the opportunity to study in a variety of design-related majors, including 3D Digital Design, Graphic Design, New Media Design, and Interior Design. They also host graduate programs for students interested in continuing their education, including M.F.A.s in Industrial Design and Visual Communication Design. Students have access to state-of-the art workshops, computer and 3D printing labs, and studios.

Virginia Polytechnic’s Interior Design program is heavily supported by alumni and industry partners, both of whom provide substantial funding for scholarship awards. Student service, internships, and study abroad program are not only provided as supplements, but strongly encouraged. These factors help ensure that the school’s graduates are some of the most successful in the field.

Chaminade offers the only accredited Environmental and Interior Design program in the state of Hawaii. The program is unique in that it extends beyond interior design to include broader aspects of the environment and space, encompassing not just the building but also the land and community. The degree satisfies the requirement for licensing through the National Council for Interior Design Qualification and enables students to pursue a variety of postgraduate studies and entry-level positions.

The College of Design, Construction, and Planning at the University of Florida offers a variety of disciplines and programs for burgeoning interior designers. These include Architecture, Construction Management, Historic Preservation, and Sustainability and the Built Environment. Located in Gainesville, Florida, the Interior Design program has been accredited by the Council for Interior Design Accreditation since 1973, making it one of the oldest and most well-established program of its kind. Students also have the opportunity to complete a 4+1 Master’s of Design program as an extension of the Bachelor’s degree.

Students graduating from this program will be prepared for a variety of careers in design consulting offices, corporate offices, and government agencies. They will have the collaborative skills necessary to work with architects, owners, dealers, manufacturers, contractors, and clients. Ohio State University is great at getting students out into the workforce: over 80% of the students from the class of 2014 graduated on time.

Design ApplicationDrafting for DesignersDesign, Cultural Traditions, and the EnvironmentDesign ConceptsDesign Applications

College Choice Score: 80.35Average Net Price: $22,712School Website

Contract designDesign project managementKitchen and bath designHistoric preservation and restorationHospitality design

The Orange County campus of the Art Institute offers a prominent Interior Design program. Coursework is designed and heavily influenced by the feedback provided from industry and education partners. This emphasis on real-world skills makes graduates highly marketable and successful.

Graduates from this program will be prepared to pursue careers as environmental, interior, exhibition, and spatial designers. They will also be prepared to pursue advanced degrees in architecture, interior design, or related areas. Faculty in the program are highly skilled and have received numerous local and international awards in the area of design. As a result, graduates are very successful. 86% of 2013 graduates are employed in the interior design field.

The program emphasizes the concepts of color, texture, light, space, and form. Students will learn how to develop sustainable solutions to common design problems and improve usability and overall experience. Available for student use right on campus are myriad labs, printers, technical labs, and work spaces. Classes available to Interior Design students include:

Graduates are employed in careers as interior designers, visual merchandisers, store planners, and project managers, at design companies such as Herman Miller and Strang. Students are actively involved in internships (many of which can be completed abroad) as a core component of their studies and have access to a variety of on-campus resources such as a maker space, design studios, a resource library, and lighting demonstration areas. Graduates will be fully prepared to sit for the NCIDQ exam or start their own design firms.

College Choice Score: 75.63Average Net Price: $12,621School Website

This Bachelor of Fine Arts program requires students to declare a major within the first two years of school. Students will take core classes in the basic art disciplines and then move on to a more concentrated sequence of interior design classes as they progress to the junior and senior years. Classes include:

Students will focus on both residential and commercial design in an experiential, project-based program. They will be equipped with the design skills necessary to be successful, as well as the ability to creatively solve problems and develop state-of-the-art design solutions. Potential coursework includes:

Syracuse University students will receive an extensive liberal arts education in addition to studio time. They will have the opportunity to engage in field research trips and study abroad in London. Students will take a variety of credits including those within the major, art history, academics, electives, and studio classes. Some core titles include:

If you hope to get a job right after graduation, you should definitely check out Pratt Institute: last year, 93% of seniors found jobs after graduation. Are you hoping instead to continue your education with a graduate degree? Well, 100% of students who applied to graduate school were accepted to at least one program. (Unfortunately, I don’t have the data on the actual quality of programs that students ended up attending.)

The program is unique in that it is a “limited access” major, meaning that students are only formally accepted into the program after taking three diagnostic major courses. When accepted, the program consists of seventy-three semester credits (not including liberal arts courses). Coursework focuses on healthcare, office, mixed-use and low-income housing, and hospitality studios. Sample course titles include:

College Choice Score: 74.76Average Net Price: $15,874School Website

Degree offered: BFA Rankings: #2 by Design Intelligence, #2 by Design Schools Hub Read more about the program   Rhode Island School of Design

The three year program taught at the Chelsea College of Arts helps develop the students’ skills in creating, designing and visualizing the spaces around them. The college teaches the students to deal with complex architectural spaces and how to refine them and make them easier to interpret.

Abilene Christian University in Abilene, Texas has over a hundred years of experience in providing quality programs to talented students. Among them is their Bachelor of Science in Interior Design. This program explores the technical and aesthetic implications of interior design as well as how to design for diverse residential and commercial environments.

Design for LivingComputer Aided Design for DesignersRevit for DesignersHistoric Preservation and Sustainability

College Choice Score: 73.18Average Net Price: $44,386School Website

Argosy University partners with The Art Institute of California to offer a superior Interior Design program in San Francisco. In this program, students learn how to design beautiful spaces that are both safe and sustainable. Students will be able to develop and provide top-notch professional services in a way that ensures the health and safety of clients.

Howard University provides a top-notch Interior Design program in the bustling metropolis of Washington, D.C. They also offer a Master’s of Fine Arts degree in Interior Design, allowing qualified students the opportunity to receive a terminal degree in the field. With an undergraduate population of just 1700 students, this historic university allows students the opportunity to study design in one of the busiest cities in the world.

The Rhode Island School of Design is particularly well-known for teaching its students with practical instruction and coursework. If you’re interested in eventually going to graduate school, you should know that RISD also has a highly-ranked grad program for interior design. 

Graduates from Bay Path are well-equipped to enter into careers as architects, art directors, floral, industrial, and fashion designers, and interior designers. Students have the option to complete a Bachelor’s degree in three years, or to partake in a 3+1 Bachelor’s to Master’s Degree program.

College Choice Score: 81.35Average Net Price: $16,010School Website

College Choice Score: 88.69Average Net Price: $22,012School Website

Sketching for CommunicationDigital ImagingIntroduction to Construction DocumentsSketching for Idea DevelopingSustainable Design

Building Construction Design StudioColor and MaterialsThemes in Art and Culture  

TextilesArt History SurveyLighting Technology and Application

While enrolled, students will practice necessary skills utilizing video, design, technology, and photography. They will engage in hands-on projects, learn about business aspects of the design field, and attend professional design events. Robert Morris University is unique in that its “I Centers” allow students to develop, implement, and evaluate their own design-related projects in an independent setting.

The courses within this major are also available within a non-degree studio concentration consisting of fifteen credits of studio courses. This allows for a highly flexible, individualized and personally tailored approach to this degree path for any student.

Survey of Interior DesignSocial/Psychological Aspects of DesignGraphic TechniquesConstruction Systems

Most graduates of this degree program enter directly into the workforce as interior designers. Graduates’ success is largely based on a proud alumni network that helps with job placement and overall career success. The institute offers several full and partial tuition scholarships in addition to generous financial aid for eligible students.

Historic InteriorsContemporary Interiors and FinishingsBusiness Aspects of Interior DesignAdvanced Problems in Interior DesignFurniture Design

College Choice Score: 99.36Average Net Price: $40,856School Website

Degree offered: BFA Rankings: #4 by Design Intelligence, #3 by Design Schools Hub Read more about the program   Savannah College of Art and Design 

Interior Design students must complete a local, national, or international internship for course credit. Additionally, students have the opportunity to participate in summer study abroad programs in locations such as Great Britain, France, Belgium, and Italy. Students live on campus with other Interior Design students at the Fine Arts Living-Learning Center in the North Village of Baylor. These placements allow students to live, learn, and grow together as students while taking classes and exploring future careers.

In addition to these and other courses, the New York School of Interior Design also offers a range of electives as well as study abroad opportunities.

Interspersed among these core courses are also a fair sampling of Liberal Arts courses.

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Design DrawingHistory of Architecture and DesignInterior ComponentsDesign, Construction, and Details for Interiors

Chelsea College of Arts, University of the Arts London                                                                          

College Choice Score: 80.30Average Net Price: $21,209School Website

Once you’re done putting together a list of schools to apply to, the next step should be figuring out how to pay for your education. Learn more about how to apply for financial aid, how to pay for school without loans, and how to get some of the top scholarships in the country. 

High Performance and Sustainable DesignHistoric Preservation and ForensicsConstruction Methods and MaterialsDigital Design and FabricationDesign Theories

Students in the Interior Architecture program are given their own studio space in which to work. They also have access to top-notch computer technology, facilities, presentation and project rooms, and rapid prototyping technology. Their location near renowned art facilities (such as the Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland) allow them to experience the best the city has to offer. Graduates of this program will be prepared for careers as interior, exhibit, and retail designers.

This degree program is multidisciplinary and emphasizes collaboration and technology. Students are trained on how to responsively design spaces based on needs, sustainability, and aesthetics. They will be prepared to design for business or commercial establishments, recreation and hospitality, homes, and cultural institutions. Students must complete at least 45 credits in Interior Design, including:

Architectural DocumentationProfessional Practices in Interior DesignAdvanced Digital Architectural Drawing

As a student in the interior design B.F.A. at SCAD, you will take a series of general education, foundational, and focused major curriculum courses. A sampling might include:

The school was founded in 1916, the focus of the school was to provide some of the most in-depth, detailed and creative education in the U.S.A. The ratio of successful graduates who landed jobs within 6 months of graduating is 92%, whereas the post graduate enrollment is at an all-time high at 94%. The fact that the alumni and professional staff is freely available also enables the students to pick up on things quickly and overall boost the chances of future prospects.

College Choice Score: 83.42Average Net Price: $17,971School Website

Syracuse University in Syracuse, New York has an established reputation as a top-notch university as well as the host of a phenomenal B.F.A. in Environmental and Interior Design. It focuses strongly on a multidisciplinary approach that emphasizes the development of sustainable environments for all people. Students will be taught the visual communication, problem solving, and technical skills necessary to succeed in this exciting career path. Established in 1922, the program is ranked 8th in the nation by DesignIntelligence.

RISD is situated in Providence, providing a lively art scene and the cultural centers of Boston and New York are in the midst of it. The school offer bachelors as well as post graduate programs. The interior design course is separated into three main focus areas, theater, exhibition and retail and helps the students specialize them in all three programs requisites. RISD is known for emphasizing knowledge necessary for applying in the real world. The school also helps in enhancing collaboration abilities and communication skills, which enables each individual to grow creatively and become socially and environmentally aware for better success.

College Choice Score: 81.84Average Net Price: $31,823School Website

Pratt institute is allocated the number 4 spot, with a success of 93% of students finding job placements as soon as they graduate. PI’s moto is “Put your passion to work”, which shows the continuing support of everyone involved in the school to help the students reach their full potential, with dedication and hard work. The flagship program of the school, Bachelor of Fine Arts, B.F.A in interior design is accredited by the Council of Interior Design (CIDA). The faculty is filled with well accomplished professionals who challenge the students to transform their passion into meaningful pieces of art.

Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas offers an Interior Design program that encourages students to explore the relationships between humans and the interior environment. Coursework is largely based on human ecological theory, design history and process, and sustainability. The four year program is ranked 8th in the country and 2nd in the Midwest by DesignIntelligence.

Ringling College hosts a number of Interior Design student competitions, such as the Benjamin Moore Workplace of the Future Scholarship Contest, to help prepare students to the competitive nature of the industry. The college also provides students with internship opportunities both local and abroad, allowing students to collaborate in an international setting. These experiences help students break down barriers in an effort to create cutting-edge design solutions.

Indiana University also offers a range of internships, volunteer opportunities, student organizations, and study abroad programs. Recent graduates are employed as civic or commercial designers, design specialists, educators, and marketers. Indiana University also has a track record of providing current students with internship at top-ranked companies such as Brandy Ketterer Design, Nate Berkus Associates, and Kimball Office.

College Choice Score: 83.71Average Net Price: $18,180School Website

Visual CommunicationConstructionInterior Design PracticeEnvironmental ControlsWorld Architecture: The Industrial Revolution to the Present

Cornell University’s program in Design and Environmental Analysis is offered at both the undergraduate and graduate level. It prepares students by providing them with hands-on access to scholarly research to inform the creative process. It is unique and radically different from other interior design programs in that it allows students to examine design while taking into account social and global influences.

Students will work in a studio environment with highly trained professionals. The graduate program is highly interdisciplinary and allows students to explore current interior design issues at an advanced, research-based level. Students will study space, form, light, and color. Some courses that students may take include:

Although the institute boasts a strong online program in interior design as well, most students opt to take courses on-campus. Students are exposed to a variety of core courses that encourage them to think differently about their physical spaces. Students are required to complete coursework in:

College Choice Score: 95.91Average Net Price: $17,190School Website

A skilled interior designer will need ample coursework in textiles, software applications, space planning and color schemes, and CAD. Designers will also be expected to have an exceptional understanding of building codes, legal restrictions, and health and safety concerns. You will also need to be able to adhere to certain design styles (such as Victorian, International, or Gothic) and work within the parameters of an employer’s personal needs and interests.

The college is located in downtown Vancouver, and offers a broad prospect of programs ranging from interior design to game design. The program creates an opening in the market for jobs, as the skills learnt in the 6 term tenure are directly implemented to the practical experience, with keeping in mind the use of space, color and lighting. The students are guided every step of the way to help them develop a portfolio to showcase their potential to employers.

Class sizes at Rocky Mountain are incredibly small, allowing students the ability to work one-on-one with talented instructors. Graduates are successfully employed as historic preservationists, corporate office designers, textile designers, and showroom managers, among other careers. Rocky Mountain is committed to providing recent graduates and alumni the networking connections necessary to make a mark on the professional world of interior design.

Students may choose to complete a B.F.A. in Studio with Thesis Option to help enhance their portfolio upon graduation. In addition, many students will take classes and work across departments to help diversify their experiences. Sample courses required by the program include:

College Choice Score: 82.40Average Net Price: $14,761School Website

All students in the Interior Design program are provided with skilled faculty mentors. Students have access to studios equipped with digital sketch tablets, plotters, and digital projectors. They participate in personalized field experiences consisting of internships, service learning, and international design study programs. Students frequently participate in local, national, and international design competitions, giving them a step up on research in design.

The Bachelor’s degree in Interior Design at Andrew University is a four-year and one-summer course of study. Located in Berrien Springs, Michigan, it is a Seventh-day Adventist institution that emphasizes commitment to professionalism and Christian vocation. The Interior Design program offers the ability to study the design and faith of the Waldensian people in northwest Italy, along with an alternative five-week study tour in Europe.

Students are also required to complete a three quarter capstone in which they will develop an interior design project based on research and programming.

If you’re thinking about becoming an interior designer, you’ll want to know about the best interior design schools you can attend in the US. Whether you want to work on residential or commercial design, the following programs will prepare you well for your future career as an interior designer. Before getting to the rankings list, I’ll briefly go over what makes interior design programs unique. 

Located in Bloomington, Indiana, Indiana University offers fourteen programs in art, architecture, design, and merchandising, one of them its reputable B.S. in Interior Design. Indiana University offers state-of-the-art facilities, galleries, and digital fabrication labs to help students obtain hands-on experience in the latest skills and technologies.

College Choice Score: 94.82Average Net Price: $45,504School Website

Hospitality DesignVisual PresentationsCommercial Interior DesignInterior Materials and Components

Graphic CommunicationsLighting and AcousticsProfessional Practice

Students will be exposed to a variety of digital skills, including CAD, 3D modeling, digital fabrication, and geographical information systems. They have access to a variety of facilities and technologies and, upon graduation, will know how to utilize those technologies in industry practice. Key courses include:

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.

The Interior Design program at Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design is organized to provide a unique program in sustainable design to forward-thinking students. It is offered both on campus in Lakewood, Colorado and online. Both programs are fully accredited by the Council for Interior Design Accreditation.

An education in interior design is getting more and more important for aspiring professionals in the field. In many states, you can’t call yourself an interior designer unless you have a license or a certain level of education.

Syracuse’s program is called “Environmental and Interior Design,” which is a bit broader than most of the other programs on this list. At Syracuse, interior design students get a liberal arts education + studio courses in fine arts and crafts to supplement their main course of study. This program may be a good option for students who want to focus on design, but also want parts of a more standard liberal arts experience. 

Principles of MarketingBusiness LawTech Tools for the ProfessionsHistory and Appreciation of Interior Design

Pratt Institute is not only located in what many consider the design capital of the nation–New York City–the Interior Design B.F.A. is also ranked second by DesignIntelligence. The program is architecturally oriented with a special focus on surface embellishment. This program allows students to not only research and explore areas of design, but also to solve problems and implement design solutions.

Brenau University offers five campuses with the ability to study Interior Design at any of them. However, the B.F.A. in Interior Design allows students to complete a Master’s as well. This program provides students with an extensive professional interior design curriculum as well as a foundation in liberal arts. Students may work during the final year of the combined program, so long as it is completed at the Atlanta campus. Classes in the last year are available at night and on the weekends.

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The location of the school also provides students with unique access to trade shows, lectures, and exhibits. Students in this path will have the opportunity to work with local museums, libraries, design societies, and galleries. GWU hosts newly renovated facilities that provide students with superb hands-on experiences in habitable environments ranging from basic residential spaces to more complex commercial areas.. Potential classes include:

Located in the heart of Florence, surrounded by historic structures, FDA is considered number one, as it provides top quality education due to the well trained and professional teaching staff, of which most of whom are holding senior positions in the top design organizations and private practice in Italy and throughout Europe. State of the art technological advancements are provided to the students, aiding understand of the discipline.

College Choice Score: 83.25Average Net Price: $21,698School Website

Successful graduates of this program move on to careers in architecture and design firms of all sizes and ownerships. Some students may choose to specialize in paths such as interior materials or sustainability, among others. In addition to a B.F.A. in Interior Architecture and Design, GWU also offers a related M.F.A. for students interested in pursuing further education. They are overall the fourth highest ranking college in the nation that offers this program.

One of the most famous and well-ranked arts and design schools in the US, RISD is located in Providence, RI, which has one of the highest concentrations of artists in the country. The interior design major is known as “interior studies” or “interior architecture” at RISD. 

College Choice Score: 75.46Average Net Price: $26,916School Website

Bay Path University, in Longmeadow, Massachusetts provides a superb B.S. in Residential and Commercial Interior Design. In addition to a reputable on-campus program, Bay Path also integrates highly regarded study abroad and internship opportunities.

College Choice Score: 90.87Average Net Price: $44,244School Website

The University of Texas at Austin is home to some of the best-ranked interior design degrees. They offer Interior Design programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels, along with a range of other degrees. Students may take additional courses outside of the major in these programs, which include Historic Preservation, Community and Regional Planning, and Architecture, among others.

The school’s Interior Design program is highly interdisciplinary and provides students–with the help of specialized guidance by academic advisors–the ability to customize their degree paths. Coursework will heavily emphasize construction management as it relates to the built environment, including human, technical, and aesthetic components. Students will take classes such as:

Successful graduates will be equipped to design for corporate offices, healthcare systems, furniture, and accessibility-based projects. The average starting salary for graduates with a degree in Interior Design is over $45,000.

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The Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) offers a wide range of degrees in interior design, including a B.F.A, an M.A., and an M.F.A. These programs are available not only on the home campus in Savannah, Georgia, but also in Atlanta, Georgia, Hong Kong, and online. All of SCAD’s interior design programs are supported by the Angelo Donghia Foundation, which provides program support as well as grants to exceptional interior design students.

Based on Designschoolshub, QSWorldUniversityRanking and Domus official ranking for 2015 of the Interior Design Schools worldwide, Arch2O picked up its own selection of the top 10 Interior Design Programs across the globe, depending on infrastructure, education, staff and the expenses, here is our list:


Each of the school’s programs offers a comprehensive introduction to the world of interior design. They can be completed on a full-time or part-time schedule. Required and/or recommended courses include:

The Dublin Institute of Design offers a full 3 year program for Bachelors of Arts in Interior Design, which was started in 1991 and the institute has been building its reputation since then which has enabled it to become a top contender in the market. The institute has made it mandatory for students to study technological programs rather than keeping them optional keeping in mind the growing demand of the market and also keeping the race close.

Students are provided with the appropriate sequence in which to take these classes.

College Choice Score: 76.34Average Net Price: $25,839School Website

Interior designers need to know not only how to develop beautiful, appealing and functional structures, but also how to work collaboratively with other professionals. They are required to work with contractors, architects, structural engineers, and mechanical engineers. They must also have an innate ability to improve upon a physical setting.

College Choice Score: 82.02Average Net Price: $20,544School Website

SketchingRenderingComputer-aided designThree-dimensional modeling Commercial and residential designBuilding codes & ADA guidelines

College Choice Score: 75.39Average Net Price: $23,693School Website

The Interior Design program mission seeks to educate students on ways to analyze and implement methods to maximize quality of life, productivity, and health and safety. Coursework will include studies in:

Students at George Washington University (GWU) experience a major advantage in their interior design studies: the location. GWU is centrally located in Washington, D.C., a city that provides over 75,000 jobs that contribute $5 billion annually within the design sector. GWU hosts the only accredited Interior Architecture and Design program in Washington D.C. The program is located on the Mount Vernon Campus.

Degree offered: BS Rankings: #8 by Design Schools Hub Read more about the program   Drexel University

At Adrian College in Adrian, Michigan, students have access to a wide range of Bachelors of Fine Arts degrees, but also to a unique pre-professional program. This program is offered in conjunction with Washington University in St. Louis. Adrian is a small not-for-profit that was founded in 1859 and hosts an interior design program that ranks in the top 40% of all interior design schools.

Students at Drexel also have the ability to attend a study abroad program. Options include Prague, Barcelona, the Netherlands, Paris, and Rome. As a result of the excellent hands-on and collaborative experiences provided by the college, students are exceedingly successful in post-graduate opportunities. 92% of 2016 Interior Design graduates were either attending graduate school or employed in a relevant area within six months of graduation.

Modern Architecture and Design (Levels I and II)Textiles for InteriorsResidential DesignIntroduction to Adobe PhotoshopDecorative Painting

Design and Behavior in the Interior Environment Designing for Supportive EnvironmentsGlobal Experiences in Interior Design Historic Fabric Design Business Law

Students will begin their coursework by learning the basics, such as proportion, drafting, and perspective. Then they progress to more complex skills such as the use of textiles, furnishings, and lighting. Students also have an opportunity to learn computerized design and drafting. Sample classes include those in:

Successful graduates may be placed in careers such as Automotive Color and Trim, Commercial and Contract Design, or Corporate Design, among others. Although The College for Creative Studies is a private college, free tuition is offered every year for over 4,000 Detroit youth, making this school a smart choice for many aspiring interior designers.

College Choice Score: 81.83Average Net Price: $36,294School Website

The program is housed in Parsons’ School of Constructed Environments. This allows students access to a highly-trained and integrated academic community. Parsons’ long-standing reputation as one of the best (and oldest) interior design schools provides students with exclusive access to some of the city’s leading firms, museums, galleries, and auction houses.

Because Brigham Young University–Idaho is a private college owned and operated by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, students are required to adhere to an honor code. These policies benefit students as they focus entirely on personal and professional development. As a result, over fifty percent of graduates have a job or job offer before they have even finished their senior years.

Auburn University in Auburn, Alabama offers an excellent Bachelor of Science in Interior Design, as well as master’s and doctoral degrees in Consumer and Design Sciences. The program is CIDA-accredited and includes a strong core liberal arts curriculum. The school also offers a variety of minors to complement this major, including Sustainability Studies, Art History, Business, and Communications.

Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) offers a B.S. in Architectural Design that plays upon the inherently multidisciplinary nature of interior design. Students in this program will work closely with community partners in the Baltimore area. They will have the opportunity to conduct studio-based research and engage in community projects across disciplines.

The undergraduate program is a four-year professional program that emphasizes the development of students’ creativity. It teaches them how to integrate the art of design with the history and physical sciences behind the discipline. Related coursework helps students to develop skills in:

Arcadia University possesses an exceptional art program that prepares students for careers in interior, furniture and textile, and lighting design. Students are granted the skills necessary to manage projects, utilize computer applications, and adhere to building codes and inspection regulations. Located in Glenside, Pennsylvania, Arcadia’s comprehensive Visual Arts and Design major includes relevant coursework and hands-on experiences.

While most architecture schools have studios that teach interior design, it is also clear that interior architecture has become a branch on its own, and, now, there is a large number of interior design schools that focus only on studying it. Interior design came up as a multi-faceted profession in which creative and technical solutions are applied within a structure to achieve a built interior environment. Interior designers combine knowledge, creativity, problem solving skills, and aesthetic vision to develop safe, functional, aesthetically pleasing environments that meet the needs of the client. Specialized knowledge includes programming, design analysis, space planning, interior construction, building codes, materials, furnishings, and equipment.

Students in this program will experience a major that is integrated heavily with business themes and courses. Students will be exposed to the retail, wholesale, and specialty components of interior design. Required coursework includes:

Brigham Young University offers a variety of Bachelor of Fine Arts pathways with coursework in Interior Design or Construction Management. It also hosts several pre-professional programs that lead to Master of Fine Arts in Architecture, Design for Emerging Technology, and more. Through faculty and academic advisor guidance, you can customize your education within an open framework tailored to your creative goals. The Department of Design and Construction Management offers concentrations in Art and Technology Studies, Sustainability, Site and Landscape, and more.

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.

Students will take foundational courses in their freshman year, followed by three years of active engagement in interior design coursework. Required and elective courses include some of the following:

Although Michigan State does offer an additional Master of Environmental Design to provide students with advanced knowledge of interior design, the undergraduate major is sufficient at preparing students for work as interior designers. Sample recommended courses include:

Like other top schools on this list, the Pratt Institute also boasts a top-rated graduate program for interior design. 

Students must take 61 credit hours within the major, which include courses in interior design, art and business, and the formation of a portfolio. They have the option to study abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark or in Sansepolcro, Italy.  The school also offers an 18-credit minor in Interior Design. Required courses include:

These are the top rated schools, the cream of the crop. They’re likely to be the most competitive of all interior design programs, so be cautious when putting together your applications – you don’t only want to apply to schools with very low admissions rates. 

Interior Design StudioComputer ApplicationsInterior Design Ethics and Professional Practice

Students will take a variety of courses that expose them to the use of color, light, and form to influence design. They have access to cutting-edge design studios and materials. Sample coursework includes:

Degree offered: BFA Rankings: #7 by Design Schools Hub Read more about the program   Syracuse University

Endicott College, in Beverly, Massachusetts, is a small school offering a range of undergraduate degrees. Interior Design is a highly coveted and successful major at the college. Students in this program will enjoy a curriculum that emphasizes critical thinking, problem solving, collaboration, and the human experience within an environment.

College Choice Score: 85.36Average Net Price: $16,506School Website

The Bachelor of Science in Interior Design has a strong theoretical basis with a focus on aesthetics, technology, and design behavior. In addition to a variety of hands-on field trips to local design studios and corporations, students are required to complete 126 credits of coursework. Classes include:

Although the program is relatively new (it was accredited in 2013), the success of the program is already clear. The average in-field employment rate for recent graduates is over 80% and increasing every year. This is largely due to the internship opportunities available to students, as well as the ability to become involved in design competitions, leadership opportunities, and events. Graduates are successfully employed in commercial, institutional, contract, and residential design.

This program’s unique location in Hollywood, California equips students with the industry connections necessary for entering into a specialty in interior set design. The program emphasizes learning in a practical, real-world setting while also being able to apply theory and principle to solve common and new design problems.

Interior design is a blossoming major that is growing in popularity as both residential and commercial clients look to improve their physical spaces.

SCAD is ranked highly across the board for all its art and design programs (not just interior design), ensuring that you’ll have access to other artistic and creative resources on campus. The main campus is located in Savannah, GA, but SCAD also has interior design programs based in Atlanta, Hong Kong, and Lacoste (France). These other program locations mean greater opportunities to get internships in metropolitan areas, or opportunities to study abroad. 

Graduates are employed around the country in a variety of professions, including as art consultants, interior architects, design project managers, and preservationists. Students are successful largely due to a combination of high-caliber coursework as well as internship and study abroad experiences. Abilene offers summer programs in England, France, Austria, Spain, Germany, Czech Republic, and Italy. These experiences allow students to tour notable international sites while also experiencing the arts abroad. They are also given opportunities to participate in the American Society of Interior Designers and the American Institute of Graphic Arts, as well as to create and conduct student exhibitions.

Thinking about going to an art school instead? Check out our guide on the best art schools in the United States! 

At Meredith College in Raleigh, North Carolina, students in the Interior Design program are afforded the opportunity to work on residential or commercial projects. Students will develop strong technological skills and the ability to actively address the goals and needs of clients.

Degrees offered: BFA or BID (Bachelor of Industrial Design) Rankings: #9 by Design Schools Hub Read more about the program   University of Cincinnati – School of Architecture and Interior Design

This institution states that they put a special focus on collaborative work, meaning you’d have an opportunity to complete group projects, perhaps even with students who belong to different degree programs. As interior designers have to work with many different types of professionals in order to complete a job, this type of collaboration will help prepare you for your career in design. 

Make sure it’s accredited by the CIDA (Council for Interior Design Accreditation). Any program that will prepare you for a career as an interior designer should be approved by this organization. All the schools on the list above are accredited by CIDA and note this very obviously on their websites.

If you’re not sure whether a particular school is accredited, get in touch with their admissions office.  Choose a school that offers a degree you want. Most interior design programs offer a BA or a BFA, although some offer a BS.

 If you attend a BA program, you’ll likely get more of a traditional liberal arts degree, meaning that program strives to educate well-rounded artists and scholars. BS degrees are more strictly focused on their subject matter than BAs, meaning you’ll take fewer gen ed courses.

Finally, BFAs are professional degrees; you’ll take some general education courses, but the main focus of the program will be helping you to hone and focus your artistic talent and voice. Decide if you want a flexible or focused degree program.

 Some of the programs above offer plenty of room for students to explore their artistic and design interests, and boast dozens of degree options and specializations. Others are more focused and narrow, and may be good fits for students who already know what interests they want to pursue.

Spend some time exploring the programs’ websites to get a better feel for whether they’re good fits for you.  Choose a program with portfolio requirements that you’ll be able to meet. As with any design or arts program, you’ll have to submit a portfolio as part of the application process for any of the schools listed above.

Some of these portfolio requirements may seem reasonable whereas others might be tough to meet. Explore each program’s portfolio requirements well ahead of any application deadlines.  Take location into account.

Are there particular fields or specialties where you might have an advantage if you’re living in a certain area? 

81 percent of recent Iowa State University graduates state that their education in the Interior Design program was “satisfying” and that it led them to profitable and enjoyable careers. In addition, Iowa State design students are making names for themselves around the country, with three students recently competing in the Walt Disney Imagineering Imaginations Design Competition. The school helps to provide students with a number of professional interior design association memberships, including that with the American Society of Interior Designers, and with the International Interior Design Association, among others.

Students will be taught to solve complex interior design problems and to communicate solutions orally, visually, and in writing. They will be able to produce building systems and interior finish materials while adhering to a certain standard of professionalism. Classes may include a combination of the following:

Design Graphics and VisualizationHistory of Design FuturesHuman Centered Design MethodsProfessional Communication and Portfolio

These schools are generally lower-ranked than Tier 1 schools, but they still offer very strong interior design programs and tend to show up towards the top of many ranking lists. 

Coursework in the Interior Design program at Rocky Mountain provides students with experiences in creating environments that are functional, aesthetically pleasing, and sustainable. The approach is multidisciplinary and draws from coursework in environmental design, art, architecture, and graphic design. Students will take 42 credits in core liberal arts classes, as well as interior design classes that include the following:

Architectural Drawing and DocumentationInterior Architecture: AutoCADMaterials, Research, and Space PlanningRetail, Restaurant, and Store Design

Graduates of this program will be prepared to enter into careers as facilities planners, corporate designers, hospitality designers, and many other options. Students are taught by qualified faculty with years of experience at companies such as Studio Four Los Angeles. In addition, they have access to a range of cutting-edge tools and technology, including CNC routers, laser cutters, a hybrid graphics lab, and more. It’s no surprise that SCAD is home to some of the top interior design programs and has been ranked as number one in the nation for several years by DesignIntelligence.

History of Interiors and ArchitectureMaterials in the Built EnvironmentHospitality & Retail Design & StudioBusiness Principles and Ethics

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Although there are fewer interior design program choices out there than say, liberal BA program choices, you still have to sift through a lot of information to pick a school that’s right for you. Hopefully, this last has got you started on the right track – but there are other things to keep in mind before committing to a particular school: 

Drawing I: Form and SpaceModern Architecture I: 1750-1900Survey of Western Art I Form, Space and OrderInterior MaterialsBuilding Construction and Systems for the Interior

Arcadia produces successful graduates as a result of its small, interactive classes and practical internships. They arrange a variety of work experiences and field trips to studios, exhibits, and museums. Study abroad programs are available in England, Ireland, Scotland, Australia, and Italy. Upon graduation, students are prepared for entry-level positions in numerous interior design and arts positions within business or government, as well as for further education.

Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida offers not only a Bachelor of Arts in Interior Design, they also offer a Bachelor of Science, a Master of Science, a Master of Fine Arts,   and a study abroad program in Florence, Italy.  

Fundamentals of Interior DesignMateriality of Design20th Century Architecture and DesignHistory of Furniture and Interior DesignSculpture Advanced CAD

College Choice Score: 73.41Average Net Price: $16,242School Website

College Choice Score: 80.43Average Net Price: $29,301School Website

Although the Cleveland Institute of Art (CIA) is small, at around 600 students, it boasts an amazing connection to the city community. Over 200 external partnerships, internship, and hands-on experiences are made available to students at the CIA. This gives graduates from the Interior Architecture program a leg up on premier career and graduate study opportunities.

College Choice Score: 83.89Average Net Price: $34,509School Website

Introductory DrawingVisualization 1: Computer ImagingInterior MaterialsResidential Design Studio

Client-facing skills, like researching clients’ goals and project requirements How to create 2D and 3D space plans How to select colors, materials, textures, and decor How to ensure that space plans meet all public health, safety, and welfare requirements and codes How to prepare project budgets and schedules How to prepare construction documents How to collaborate with other professionals, like architects and engineers How to oversee, manage, and supervise projects

Students at Howard University benefit from an experienced, attentive faculty and staff. Because the school offers a range of art and design related programs, students have the opportunity to learn in a diverse, integrated setting. Howard University offers several merit and talent-based scholarship to Interior Design applicants. This gives students the opportunity to study at a university that has been recognized for its achievements and contributions to the arts since 1871.

College Choice Score: 87.93Average Net Price: $23,872School Website

The Interior Design program at the University of Florida is highly interdisciplinary and offers multiple minors and courses. It emphasizes the culture and research behind design and allows students the opportunity to connect with local professionals in landscape architecture, historic preservation, and construction. Required coursework includes:

College Choice Score: 84.48Average Net Price: $39,021School Website

Color TheoryDigital Drawing: Objects and SpaceIntroduction to ArchitectureHand Drafting and Rendering for Designers

The New York School of Interior Design in New York, NY is arguably one of the best schools at which to study interior design. As a small school of only 538 students, they offer three well-developed undergraduate academic programs: a Basic Interior Design certificate program (BID), an Associate in Applied Science in Interior Design, and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interior Design. Courses are available entirely on-campus, online, or as a combination of both.

Once you consider all these factors, you’ll be better able to choose an interior design program that’s right for you. The better the fit, the more successful you’re likely to be in school and your career. 

These programs aren’t listed in any particular order – if a school’s on this list, it’ll give you a top-notch interior design education.  That said, I did separate the schools into two tiers based on their aggregate rankings. Keep in mind, however, that the most important consideration in choosing one of these schools is finding one that best fits your own preferences and interests.

TextilesInstitutional DesignEnvironmental DesignInterior Architectural Systems Human Factors

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Graduates of this program are successfully employed as layout designers, architectural drafters, sustainable construction specialists, and interior designers. Students will take classes within the following concentrations:

College Choice Score: 71.68Average Net Price: $43,494School Website

Ohio State University urges its undergraduate students to relate the impact of human needs to environmental conditions in their design strategies. Students will practice collaboration, sustainable design strategies, and research-based strategies. Required classes include:

It is important that a student interested in studying interior design understand that the best degree path will be one that allows him or her to customize his program. Every blossoming interior designer will have different academic needs and areas of interest. As a result, it’s important that the school of choice include the option to diversify and experiment while obtaining the necessary credentials.

Robert Morris University is located in Chicago, Illinois and offers a reputable Bachelor of Professional Studies in Architectural Technology. This program allows students to learn the concepts, skills, and construction behind design and to communicate complex information to clients and other stakeholders. The school also possesses other Master’s, Bachelor’s, and Associates degrees in Graphic Design, Design & Media, and more, making it a great choice for a student who is still exploring collegiate options.

Space PlanningVisualization and CommunicationDesign StudioDesign Thinking

Degree offered: BFA Rankings: #5 by Design Intelligence, #5 by Design Schools Hub Read more about the program   Pratt Institute

Textile DesignExploratory Internship Digital FoundationsAdvanced Art of Light & Lens Based Media

The University of Wisconsin’s Madison campus provides an Interior Architecture program that combines art and science with a global perspective. Undergraduate and graduate majors are available. Students will work closely with clients in real-world settings, from designing basic chairs to full home renovations.

Students will take several Liberal Arts courses interspersed with their interior design coursework. Some courses might include a variation of the following:

College Choice Score: 78.55Average Net Price: $18,660School Website

Color Theory Planning and PracticeDesign Field ExperienceArchitectural InteriorsDesigned Environment and Human Behavior Interactions

In the last four year, 84% of Brenau Interior Design graduates were not only employed, but had successful jobs within their field. This is largely due to Brenau’s commitment to hiring faculty who are skilled and experienced in interior design. Assistantship and scholarship opportunities are available to qualified students.

In truth, interior design is all about the artistic and functional use of space. Successful graduates of accredited interior design programs will know how to design and implement spaces that will best suit how we work, play, and live.

Building Codes and RegulationsArchitectural Perspective and Rendering Techniques Holistic DesignDrafting

The New School for Design boasts some well-developed networks in commerce and industry, so this school may be a particularly good option for students who wish to pursue commercial design. If you’re not sure what you want to focus on, however, you can still find your niche here: The New School offers more than 25 undergraduate and graduate programs (their grad programs are top-ranked as well). 

Visual Art and Cultural ValuesElectronic MediaHistory of Architecture and Interior DesignBuilding Codes and Standards

College Choice Score: 93.75Average Net Price: $35,274School Website

Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio offers not only a stellar Interior Design program but a range of related programs as well. These include Design Foundations, Industrial Design, Design Thinking, and Visual Communication. The school also offers a Master of Fine Arts in Design as well, providing students with the opportunity to prepare for high-level positions. Students are able to advance their understanding of the design field by the college’s partnerships with various design organizations such as the American Society of Interior Designers, Retail Design Institute, and Human Factors and Ergonomics Society.

Drexel University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania offers a Bachelor of Science degree in Interior Design. It is a four-year first professional degree program that is accredited by the Council for Interior Design Accreditation. It allows students to research the behavioral, environmental, technological, and aesthetic components of the field while congruently creating design solutions. It is ranked in the Top 10 Architecture and Design Programs by DesignIntelligence.

The Art Institute campus at San Diego offers students the ability to complete a degree in roughly forty-five months. Graduates will be equipped to enter directly into the workforce or graduate school. Additionally, students can pursue coursework in the other programs offered by the institute, including marketing, fashion, and visual design.

Lighting ConceptsDevelopment of Art and IdeasBuilding Information ModelingProfessional Practices

VCU is considered by many firms in Washington, D.C. as the number one recruitment source. A strong alumni network helps current students and graduates obtain jobs through portfolio reviews, job placements, and professional association memberships. A variety of interior design scholarships are also available for qualified students.

If you aren’t sure whether you want to commit to a full degree program, or if you don’t yet feel prepared to apply to an interior design program, you can also enroll in one of their non-degree certificate programs to work on building a portfolio. 

The program emphasizes core coursework in theory along with technology, space planning, and sustainability. This multi-faceted approach provides students with great experiences in design. Coursework available to students includes a sampling of the following:

In addition to required on-campus courses, students have the opportunity to participate in several study abroad programs. These are available in Florence, Italy, as well as at the Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota, Florida. The latter program provides students with experience in the restoration of historic decorative arts. All students are required to participate in an internship prior to graduation. This contributes to the 97% job placement rate for students within the field six months after graduation.

History of Architectural Interiors and FurnishingsHousing IssuesInterior Design ProductsTechnology Applications for Interior DesignSpecial Problems in CAD Principles of Marketing

The School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s location in downtown Chicago allows students to take advantage of the museums, state-of-the-art facilities, and galleries the city has to offer. Students are prepared by internships and hands-on projects to enter directly into the workforce or pursue graduate level education. In fact, the school offers notable pathways to Master of Architecture degrees, as well as other related majors.

College Choice Score: 90.48Average Net Price: $22,560School Website

Students will be trained creatively, professionally, and conceptually, giving them the skills necessary to pursue a variety of design careers. They will be taught how to evaluate their own work and that of others, as well as how to make that work adhere to various laws, codes, and standards. Required classes include:

Degrees offered: BS Rankings: #6 by Design Schools Hub Read more about the program

In addition to excellent teaching faculty, Texas Christian University also provides a career consultant strictly for fine arts students. This consultant helps students with career exploration, job interviewing, and resume writing. Of the 13 interior design majors who graduated from this small program in 2016, eleven had a job offer in their field within just one month! Many graduates receive direct job offers as a result of their internship experiences or go on to obtain graduate degrees. Common employers of Texas Christian University graduates include Elle Magazine, Louis Vuitton, Macy’s, Nordstrom, and Rachel Mast Design.

Design MediaInterior Design TechnologyCollaborative DesignSustainability and the Built Environment

The New York School of Interior Design is the only school on this list that specializes solely in interior design education. It’s also a top-ranked graduate school for interior design, which indicates strong faculty, networking, and post-grad opportunities. Graduates of this institution have pretty great career prospects: 92% of students find jobs within six months of getting their degree. 

The first year of study for Interior Design students at Kent State involves laying a foundation for understanding design while obtaining a liberal arts education. Within the second year of study, students will develop more technical skills and concepts to help them shape interior spaces. The third and fourth years expand students’ understanding of design, culminating in a studio experience that is professional and collaborative. Courses include:

Design AppreciationFoundation Design LaboratoryCritical Issues in Global Context Materials and Methods in Interior Design

Graduates of the Rhode Island School of Design are highly successful, going on to continued education, as residential and commercial designers at small studios or larger firms, as educators, and sustainability specialists. The options available to graduates are virtually limitless, largely as a result of the school’s small class sizes (the total program consists of less than sixty students).

Graduates are employed with interior design or multidisciplinary firms, as sales and marketing representatives, and throughout a variety of other settings. They leave The University of Minnesota with the skillset necessary to maintain professional practice and ethics and to be able to satisfy a range of demanding clients. The university offers a variety of study abroad programs, lecture courses on global issues, and studio projects to provide students with the necessary communication and problem-solving skills.

Best Interior Design Degrees Best Interior Design Degrees Best Interior Design Degrees Best Interior Design Degrees

College Choice Score: 84.49Average Net Price: $28,044School Website

Students are given access to experiential learning through technologically advanced studio spaces, research labs, and fabrication shops. Graduates of this program are prepared for entry into any career, as they are skilled in research, business strategy, design, and psychology. Many students enter directly into the workforce, while others pursue advanced education. Cornell University even offers a 4+1 Master’s degree for graduates of the Design and Environmental Analysis undergraduate program.

Adrian offers a distinctive liberal arts education along with providing crucial communication and critical thinking skills. Coursework prepares students for a variety of careers, but most particularly for entrance into post-graduate architectural studies. Classes might include some of the following:

The Art Institute of California via Argosy University also offers a comparable program in Interior Design on their San Diego campus. This program helps students develop the necessary creative and technical skills to design appealing interior spaces. In the process, they also learn the guidelines for safety, accessibility, and sustainability.

Design FundamentalsObservational DrawingDigital ModelingResidential DesignPresentation Techniques

Iowa State University hosts a relatively large B.F.A. in Interior Design program, with roughly two hundred students choosing to study this marketable major. It also has a comparable but smaller graduate degree program as well. Graduates of this program are prepared to enter into careers with design firms, historical resource organizations, public organizations, and nonprofit community groups.

Furniture/MillworkCommunication SkillsDesign Science BusinessLighting

Let’s get to our rankings of the best colleges for interior design!

College Choice Score: 79.81Average Net Price: $14,970School Website

Construction TechnologyIntegrated Digital ApplicationsPrinciples of MarketingColor: Theory and Application

With a student-faculty ratio of 10:1, the New York School of Interior Design has one of the smallest class sizes around, at an average size of just thirteen students each. As a result, graduates are successful and enjoy a 94% job placement rate within just six months of graduation. The school has repeatedly been ranked as the top interior design school in the country by Design Intelligence.

College Choice Score: 73.95Average Net Price: $25,597School Website

The School of the Art Institute of Chicago provides students with a variety of majors and certificate programs in Interior Design. Students will complete an extensive design portfolio and be exposed to contemporary design concepts, trends, and applications. As a component of the B.F.A. curriculum, students will select a track that integrates academic and studio education. Tracks include Architecture, Designed Objects, Fashion, Interior Architecture, or Visual Communication Design.

CADInterior DesignConstruction/Facilities ManagementDraftingElectronicsManufacturing

Virginia Commonwealth (VCU), in Richmond, Virginia, offers a wide range of undergraduate and graduate degrees. Students interested in Interior Design have the option of pursuing a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interior Design or a Master of Fine Arts in Design: Interior Environments. The program is one of the oldest of its kind and offers both superior academic training and hands-on professional experience. Students will complete extensive portfolios that showcase their skills and provide a helpful job-seeking tool.  

The cooperative education experiences at the University of Cincinnati help to prepare graduates for career success. In 2011, students designed creative spaces for Scripps Network, which is home to various popular television channels such as HGTV and the Food Network. As a result of these outstanding hands-on experiences, an average of 92 percent of recent graduates obtain a full-time position within three months of graduation. Of those, 71 percent started at a salary higher than $40,000 a year.

Barrier Free DesignsSpace PlanningOffice DesignSustainable Building Principles and Practices

Michigan State seeks to blend history and modernity both on campus as well as throughout the grain of their programs. As a result, the Interior Design major offers students a range of experiences and classes that promote diversity, research and inquiry, and critical thinking. Study abroad programs are available in Europe, Singapore, and South Korea. All students who graduated from Michigan State in 2015 were either employed in their field or in graduate school within a year. Graduates receive highly coveted positions at organizations such as Steelcase, Herman Miller, Neumann/Smith Architecture, and many more.

Interior GraphicsLight and Color in Interior EnvironmentsSurvey of Western ArtFundamentals of Interior Design

Texas Christian University is located in Fort Worth, Texas and boasts an impressive Interior Design program. The university is notable in that it requires all students to complete a first year portfolio review to ensure that they are fully prepared for the rigors of the interior design major. In addition to rigorous on-campus course requirements, Texas Christian University also offers over fifty study abroad and internship programs in cities such as New York City, Paris, and London.

Michigan State University, located on an idyllic 5,000 acres in East Lansing, Michigan, offers a multi-dimensional interior design program that focuses on theory, application, historic preservation, conservation, sustainable design, and environmental quality. Students are not only taught how to creatively solve design problems, but how to communicate effectively through the use of technology. Established in 1935, the program has earned a distinctive reputation as one of the best ranked Interior Design programs.

Adrian’s small class size enables students to interact closely with faculty as well as guest designers and entrepreneurs. They are regularly brought to gallery openings, discussions, and exhibitions. The college also offers a range of scholarships for talented, qualified students.

The School provides students with access to the New York City’s influential firms and art showrooms. The major is research-based and heavily rooted in design, allowing graduates entry into further study or successful careers in consulting, historic preservation, and the design of lighting, sets, exhibitions, and more. Students will be prepared by taking such courses as:

Integrative Studio 1 and 2Representation and AnalysisMateriality and AssemblyEnergy and Ecology for Interiors

College Choice Score: 97.44Average Net Price: $39,562School Website

Students will take courses that are a balance of interior art and design, history, and professional practice, along with a core general education curriculum. Courses are taken across two to three dimensions and focus on developing aesthetic ability and self-evaluation. Some recommended and required courses include:

Architectural EducationArchitecture FirmsArchitecture JobsArchitecture PortfolioArchitecture SchoolArchitecture School RankingsArchitecture SchoolsArchitecture StudentsBest Architecture schoolsBest architecture schools in Europebest interior design schoolsCoffee BreakInterior Designinterior design schoolsRhode Islandtop architecture schools

Graduates will be prepared to begin lifelong careers as project designers, job captains, visualization specialists, and more. Because of the close support provided by reputable faculty and a close alumni network, graduates of the Academy of Art Institute are highly sought after by regional and national employers alike.

All students will take classes that include foundations in arts and social and behavioral sciences. They will study the advances in theoretical knowledge and technological developments that help humans interact with their interior environments. A graduate level program in Interior Design is also available to help prepare students for careers in research and teaching. Sample courses include:

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.

Students complete highly regarded internships with top architectural design firms such as Callison, Hersch Bedner Associates, and others. Kansas State operates student chapters of the American Society of Interior Designers and the NEWH Hospitality Industry Network. Although most graduates enter directly into entry-level positions after graduation, they are also prepared to attend graduate school. Students have the ability to enter into additional study in interior and lighting design, historic preservation, and architecture.

The Academy of Art University in San Francisco, California provides a variety of outstanding design programs, including Architecture, Illustration, and Landscape Architecture. They also offer a B.F.A. in Interior Architecture and Design. The program allows students to integrate theory, design and technology with professional practice and artistry. An additional Masters of Fine Arts is also available for students looking to continue their education before seeking employment.

College Choice Score: 77.54Average Net Price: $33,362School Website

Students at Auburn will be allowed to explore various career paths during the summers of their freshmen, sophomore, and junior years. Students work in firms around the country and internationally. These internships prepare students for a variety of careers or graduate study in interior design.

This program is research-intensive, allowing students to work in various labs and groups such as Human Factors and Ergonomics Research or the Health-Design Innovation Lab. Students will complete coursework in three distinct fields: Design Strategy, Sustainable Futures, and Health and Wellbeing. Potential coursework might include:

Degrees offered: BA, BFA Rankings: #3 by Design Intelligence, #4 by Design Schools Hub Read more about the program   

Cornell is the only Ivy League school that offers an interior design program. This program has a special focus on the impact of design decisions on the environment. 

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) is located in Blacksburg, Virginia. It offers not only a top-ranked B.F.A. in Interior Design, but it also provides a M.S. in Architecture, a PhD in Architecture and Design Research, and a high school immersion program in design. At the beginning of each semester, every student is assigned his or her own “workspace” at which to design.

The Interior Design program at Endicott centers around the development of creative skills and problem solving. Students participate in a variety of hands-on activities such as Career Day with seminars by design professionals and organizations. Some classes that students might take include:

Let’s talk about how to choose the program that’s best for you. 

College Choice Score: 95.38Average Net Price: $30,014School Website

Students in this program have the ability to connect with professionals from across the discipline. Study abroad, study tours, service learning, and internships are highly supported as well. Core coursework includes training in the following subjects:

If you want more information about admissions statistics and requirements for any of these schools, just click their names!

College Choice Score: 89.19Average Net Price: $16,431School Website

Situated in the north west of London, the design schools tutoring is to emulate a real life design studio, so that the students are provided the necessary skills for them to survive in the practical world. Freehand is preferred to computer till the ending of the program. The curriculum is closely monitored to ensure that the standard of education is up to mark of the daily advancements and keeping check on the requirements of the leading interior design organizations. The lectures are provided in small briefs, which the student has to work out and design, at the same time complete their projects while keeping the high up firms in the market.

All of SCAD’s programs work to complement each other, allowing students to explore dual majors and expand their experiences. Related available programs include Architecture, Furniture design, and Service Design.

Like with the Tier 1 schools, just click any school name to get more information about admissions statistics and requirements. 

College Choice Score: 83.05Average Net Price: $41,889School Website

Baylor University in Waco, Texas provides a top-notch Interior Design program in addition to related degrees in Studio Art, Apparel Merchandising, and Art History. Graduates will be prepared to serve in residential and commercial positions after completing this program, which is accredited by the Council for Interior Design.

College Choice Score: 72.53Average Net Price: $8,344School Website

Overall, students are required to complete 180 credit hours. Upon graduation, they will be able to design solutions that improve quality of life, productivity, and overall satisfaction with their clients. Graduates of the program may go on to work in residential, commercial, industrial, office, or set design. Other programs exist at the institute that may be pursued in combination or in addition to or with Interior Design.

The best American school on our list at number three is SCAD – the school is well spread out, with its founding campus in Savannah, Georgia and three more of them are based in Atlanta, Georgia, Hong Kong and Lacoste, France. The schools caters for more than 12,000 students from over 100 countries, and SCAD is well known for the talent and dedication of its faculty, the use of cutting edge technology and learning resources which gets the students up to speed, to jump directly into the firms after graduating.

Interior design schools teach a unique set of skills. These programs focus on the creative aspects of design, of course, but a good program also instills strong technical, business, and management skills in its students. If you attend a top interior design school, you’ll learn:

Students will not only take classes on-campus at Auburn, they will also complete several hours of studio time a week. In addition to these hands-on experiences, Auburn also offers an intensive study abroad program in Ariccia, Italy. Other required or recommended courses include:

College Choice Score: 100Average Net Price: $32,450School Website

DrawingPerson-Environment TheoryConstructionColor TheoryHistory and Theory of Interiors

Graduates of Endicott are highly successful, with most obtaining meaningful full-time employment shortly are graduation. Of the 2014 graduates, 99% are employed in the design while 1% are in graduate school. The success of these graduates is largely due to the internship program with experienced designers that all students must complete during the freshmen, sophomore, and senior years.

Students enrolled in this program are required to complete 56 credit hours and 66 major credit hours in a choice of two tracks. They may choose to specialize in either Art and Design, or Business. Sample courses include:

The curriculum of this B.F.A. addresses the relationship between the indoor and outdoor environment and how that relationship affects humans. Students will take courses heavily rooted in service learning and real-life projects. They will participate in a live project in which they are able to develop and implement their own design proposals. Other required coursework includes:

To come up with a reliable list of the top 10 interior design schools, I aggregated common ranking lists from interior design industry experts (including DesignSchoolsHub and Design Intelligence). These lists compiled the rankings by surveying design professionals and asking which schools best prepare students’ for a career in interior design.

Of the graduates of the May 2015 class, 100% were employed or enrolled in graduate school by January of the following year. Graduates are successful largely due to their exposure to the artistic culture of New York City, as well as their access to on-campus tools. These include a wood and furniture shop, rapid prototyping lab, fine arts metal and wood shops, and interior design office maker bots.

College Choice Score: 76.71Average Net Price: $27,471School Website

Applications in Design Process and TheoryIntroduction to Space PlanningFundamentals of LightingHistory of Interiors

Hospitality DesignColor and LightingRetail DesignContract DocumentsDesign Drawing

College Choice Score: 89.37Average Net Price: $19,978School Website

Because RIT emphasizes industry partnerships, over 94% of students that graduated in 2014 were employed within a year. Graduates are employed as interior designers, interior design coordinators and directors, and more. They work at the country’s top companies, including Apple, HGTV, and Wegmans. Because the school maintains memberships in professional organizations such as the Society of Environmental Graphic Designers, and the International Interior Design Association, its students are given access to exclusive job opportunities.

The Rhode Island School of Design offers both a B.F.A. in Interior Architecture, also known as “Interior Studies,” as well as a one to two year MA in Adaptive Reuse. Students in these programs, located in Providence, Rhode Island, learn how to develop and integrate theater, exhibition, and retail design. Students are also granted a myriad of hands-on opportunities to learn about sustainability and construction.

Drexel’s interior design program combines the study of interior design with the study of art and art history. Students explore the behavioral aspects of interior design in addition to aesthetic aspects.

This program emphasizes the physical, psychological, and social needs of people at work and at leisure. The program is five years in length – longer than the standard four-year degree program – and requires 1.5 years of cooperative education experience. About 70% of students have jobs within three months of graduating. 

College Choice Score: 80.20Average Net Price: $29,111School Website

The program offered by UTS is of 3 years, it deals with interior and spatial design. The studios are built in such a way that they help enhance the capacity of the student and makes an environment for them as it is in the practical world. Analogue and Digital tools are both taught, so they are capable of solving real life issues in the studios.

The University of Texas has a profound alumni network that links recent graduates with outstanding job opportunities at leading interior design companies. While many students pursue internship employment while enrolled, upper-level students have an opportunity to expand their education through a Professional Residency Program in the architectural profession. In fact, 92% of the 2016 graduating class was employed or enrolled in graduate school within six months of graduation.

College Choice Score: 95.31Average Net Price: $30,647School Website

Students will take classes in specific subject areas, such as communication, environmental technology, and interior construction systems. Baylor hosts a small student to teacher ratio of just 18 to 1, allowing students hands-on and personal experiences with the coursework. Some classes students might take include:

Traditional and Computerized DesignLightingResidential, Commercial, and Institutional DesignBuilding and Safety CodesHuman Factors

Students will receive access to exhibitions, job fairs, and workshops by leading industry partners. They will study presentation methods, design processes, material specifications, problem solving, and communication. All coursework is highly experiential and includes such subjects as:

College Choice Score: 89.38Average Net Price: $19,525School Website

Degree offered: BFA Rankings: #1 by Design Intelligence, #1 by Design Schools Hub Read more about the program

College Choice Score: 93.36Average Net Price: $39,389School Website

Students in the Interior Design program at Howard will develop a range of skills and theoretical understanding through professional and academic experiences. Foundational experiences and communication skills are emphasized through required coursework. Students will learn to develop solutions using visual forms that are two- and three-dimensional, printed, digital, or motion. Potential courses include:

Some of these programs offer bachelor’s degrees (BAs), whereas others offer a bachelor of fine arts (BFAs) or even bachelor of science (BS) degrees. I’ll talk more about the difference between these degrees at the end of this post. 

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