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Introduction on Online Masters in Interior Design
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Masters in Interior Design Online

Masters in Interior Design

Interior design is all about how we experience spaces. It’s a powerful, essential part of our daily lives and affects how we live, work, play, and even heal. Comfortable homes, functional workplaces, beautiful public spaces—that’s interior design at work. Interior Designers craft spaces that anticipate our needs and appeal to our emotions while pulling from a broad set of skills and technical knowledge. Interior design has changed dramatically since the early 20th century when it was just beginning to emerge as a profession.  Interior designers are expected to have a working knowledge of –  Textiles, materials, color, space planning, sustainability, and more +  Software applications for 2D & 3D computer-aided design (CAD) and building information modeling (BIM) +  Structural requirements, health, and safety issues, and building codes. Today, interior designers work with contractors, architects, engineers, craftsmen, furniture dealers, and businesses, and homeowners. To become a successful interior designer, you need a well-rounded education and the skills to work within many disciplines (architecture; graphic design; decorative arts; and textile, furniture, and lighting design).

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Best Masters in Interior Design Online Programs

Masters in Interior Design Best Seal

A few of the biggest dilemmas while deciding to do a master’s in interior design are which program to pursue, which school to pick, which university to enroll in. And then there are other considerations such as cost, placements, starting salary, employment rates, acceptance rates, etc. We at OMC went through all these matrices and created a list of the best online master’s in operations research programs. See the ranking below:

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College Name & Address Tuition Graduation Rate
#1
New York University
70 Washington Sq South, New York, New York 10012
$34,704 88%
#2
Savannah College of Art and Design
342 Bull St, Savannah, Georgia 31402
$38,475 73%
#3
Ball State University
2000 University Ave, Muncie, Indiana 47306
$9,328 67%
#4
University of Nebraska,Lincoln
1400 R Street, Lincoln, Nebraska 68588
$6,138 66%
#5
University of Wisconsin-Stout
712 S Broadway St, Menomonie, Wisconsin 54751
$7,155 60%
#6
Chatham University
Woodland Road, Office of Institutional Research, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15232
$18,306 62%
#7
The New School
66 West 12th Street, New York, New York 10011
$47,176 69%
#8
Brenau University
500 Washington Street SE, Gainesville, Georgia 30501
$13,356 41%
#9
Academy of Art University
79 New Montgomery, San Francisco, California 94105
$27,288 47%
#10
Clary Sage College
3131 South Sheridan, Tulsa, Oklahoma 74145
NA 76%

Source Integrated Post Secondary Education Data System & University Data
*Tuition rates are for in-state and per year. Program specific rates may apply.
**NA – data not available

Understanding Interior Design Masters Programs

A master’s program in interior design will develop an understanding of interior architecture through research into the general principles of design and the specific histories of interiors and designers. During the online master’s course, students study contemporary and historic interior spaces to learn how to critically assess how their design creates a livable environment. Course lectures investigate specific components of interior design such as scale, density, and the concept of the place to understand how to communicate what creates a successful design and how to cultivate that success in your work.

Interior design master’s degrees offer students creative abilities and excellent interpersonal skills. Interior design professionals are generally organized people with great attention to detail. In terms of technical skills, these students require the ability to make calculations and to be proficient in the use of design software applications. An interior designer is responsible for selecting the convenient materials and products that will be used to create and furnish living spaces and must know how texture, color, lighting and other factors combine and interact.

Interior Design Masters Degree Types

There would typically be a few variants of a master’s in interior design, with a few subjects changing concerning the specialization being pursued. Below we would discuss the different types of master’s that can be pursued in interior design.

Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Interior Design

If one is interested in exploring interior design on a deeper level and aspire to become a leader in the field? This two-year, full-time program is the most conceptual program that is open to those who have a professional degree in interior design, architecture, or a related field.

Master of Science Advanced Professional

Master of Fine Arts in Interior Architecture

The only program that is accredited by the Council for Interior Design Accreditation, the MFA in Interior Architecture gives students access to urban resources, the top architecture and interior design firms in DC, and a studio-oriented curriculum that creates innovative, design thinkers.

Master of Science Advanced Professional

The Master of Science Advanced Professional degree option is for you if you possess an undergraduate degree in interior design or architecture. These degrees provide advanced knowledge for interior design practice and teaching/research.

MS in Interior Design Online

This rigorous and innovative program will equip students to be professional interior designers, as well as to develop and hone creative processes in their pursuit of design excellence. The program’s emphasis is on research and theory (VS design) and during the study, students will learn design theory, environmental psychology, graphic communication skills, and design for ergonomic, accessibility, functional, and cultural needs.


Specializations in Interior Design Masters Programs

An online master’s program in Interior design will open a world of specializations in that field of study. Below we would discuss a few of those specializations:

Area of FocusDescriptionCareers This Concentration prepares for
M.S. in Design and MerchandisingThe Interior Design specialization of the M.S. in Design and Merchandising offers the opportunity for students to explore creativity, sustainability, and health and wellness within the context of Interior Design.   Major areas of specialization for graduate study and research in Interior Design include:
  • Commercial design
  • Creativity
  • Cultural/global design
  • Healthcare facilities design
  • A sense of place/sense of self
  • Sustainable design
  • Universal design
  • Teaching in higher education
  • Practicing as a research practitioner
  • Practicing in a specialty market segment such as commercial, residential, healthcare, lighting, graphic, and/or industrial design
  • Working in exhibition design or museum collections
Feng-Shui Interior DesignA Chinese philosophical system that looks to harmonize the environment around us.  In design, it is commonly used as a guide to foster positive energy and balance, by arranging furniture and using color and light to make environments functional and comfortable.  Although an ancient practice, it is wildly popular today throughout the world.Feng Shui school graduates often work in interior design, landscape design, and holistic health. Feng Shui training enables practitioners to create healthy environments for their clients.
M.S. in Architecture with Interior Design specialization Curriculum  This 36-hour program is an online program. In exceptional cases, students can pursue their degree on campus with a combination of distance and on-campus courses only with permission from the program director. New students will enroll with a Fall semester admittance only. The degree can be earned in a minimum of two years but can be extended to fit individual goals. As part of the program curriculum, students are encouraged to gain hands-on experience in the field through fieldwork opportunities or an internship.Students that enter this program are working towards careers in Interior Design research or academic settings.
M.S in Urban Design (post-professional)The programs within the GAUD engage in live cultural debate and speculation via integrative architectural production and directed Research. They capitalize on the assets of our esteemed faculty and enmesh design research, theory, architectural media, and technological investigations in a manner that fosters “circular” thinking and methodologies. To this end, Pratt Institute’s GAUD seeks to develop a high level of disciplinary precision, adroit technical ability, and a deep understanding of architecture and urban design that allows students to engage questions and challenges which both the profession and discipline are facing now and in the future.Graduates of this course work in academia, research organizations, and industry as research analysts. Many graduates hold faculty positions at top universities.  
Master of Professional Studies in Healthcare Interior Design  NYSID has created an innovative, interdisciplinary program that provides designers an opportunity to learn from practicing healthcare designers, engineers, Capital Projects team members in healthcare institutions, and healthcare environment researchers. The result is a curriculum that provides a broad knowledge of current issues, research, and theory in the design of healthcare interiors that is applied in focused studio experiences.The program prepares students to begin working in interior design firms focused on healthcare, Interior design groups within healthcare institutions, or other related fields. The research component prepares students to join healthcare research groups within design firms or groups such as the Center for Health Design to support the research of healthcare environments.

Curriculum and Skills Gained in Interior Design Masters Programs

A master’s in interior design would have common courseware for most of the credits, but per the specialization of the course, some concentration of the courseware would vary. Below we would discuss a few subjects learned in a master’s in interior design online program, and the skills attained.

CurriculumSkills Gained
Research and Theory-Design and MerchandisingTheory and various approaches and philosophies of research in design and merchandising. Critical evaluation and synthesis of scholarly literature.
Conceptual Design  It introduces design basics with a focus on 2D and 3D space and composition problem-solving. Students will create a variety of solutions for a problem and present concepts to scale using sketches and models. Utilizing the elements of design to communicate abstract conceptual ideas is emphasized.
Design Process    Students will apply the skills and theory learned to develop a comprehensive response to the program and contextualize a commercial design project. Students will also demonstrate a detailed understanding of the design process, including research, concept and design development, design documentation, and presentation. Designing for real-world application is emphasized.
Sustainable Design  Students will gain a practical understanding of the field of environmentally conscious design. Students will learn about the impact of design on the environment, and of ways to conserve and protect it. Focus is placed on principles of natural harmony, non-toxic materials, and earth-friendly initiatives within the design industry.  
Portfolio Preparation    The portfolio is a graphic representation of the designer’s range and overall approach to projects. In this course, you will develop an identity package, and your portfolio will serve as a presentation of your ability and personal style. Emphasis is placed on conveying strengths and professional readiness.    
20th Century DesignThis course will examine the major design movements of the 20th century and the designers and architects who shaped the development of the contemporary modern aesthetic. Beginning with Art Nouveau and the Arts and Crafts movement, it will examine such critical influences as the Wiener Werkstatte, the Bauhaus, Midcentury Modernism, Postmodernism, Minimalism, and the global design of the recent avant-garde
17th and 18th Century InteriorsThis course focuses on French and English design. Furniture styles from shops founded in the reign of Louis XIV and 18th-century products of rare quality and detail still influence design style today. A focus on two centers – London and Paris – helps students gain insight into the fashionable design of the period and its enduring influence in the 19th and 20th centuries. All students meet with the instructor for the first session at NYSID; remaining classes are held at The Metropolitan Museum of Art  
Kitchen and Bath DesignKitchens and baths are often the most highly designed areas in an interior. This course provides an in-depth introduction to the planning and design of kitchens and baths with a focus on residential applications. Design projects emphasize issues of safety, accessibility, modularity, and manufactured products including metric-based items, appliances, materials, and industry standards.
Residential Design IIBuilding on the skills and knowledge acquired in Residential Design I, this studio focuses on the design of a complete residence, from a studio apartment/loft to a freestanding house. Emphasis is placed on the design process, programming, space planning, universal and accessible design.
History of the Interior Design Profession in AmericaThis seminar traces the history of interior design practice in the United States from its roots in decorative arts, architecture, and home economics. The course begins with the founding of the profession in the Gilded Age, moves through the 20th century, and focuses closely on the profession of today and tomorrow. 20th-century topics include the evolution of design education, the role of mass media, the drive toward efficiency and safety in workplaces and homes, and changing norms around gender, sexuality, and social class in the field. Contemporary topics include aspects of professionalization such as evidence-based design, universal design, and wellness/healthcare design, as well as legislation, licensure, and accreditation.



Interior design program, online learning,

Accreditation for Interior Design Masters Programs

Accreditation is a vetting process wherein an institution has been evaluated by an independent accrediting body and found to meet the high standards of a rigorous education. Thus, accreditation in essence is enforcement of quality. Read more about Accreditation.

Hence, to ensure that their degrees are recognized by the industry and fraternity they are getting into, and more importantly to be eligible for US federal student aid one must ensure that the institution one is enrolling in is accredited by one of the federally recognized accreditation bodies.


Timeline For Graduating From Masters in Interior Design Online Programs

Most master’s in interior design online typically takes anywhere between 16-24 months, while many accelerated master’s programs require just one year of study after students have completed their bachelor’s. In doing an accelerated program, students can save money on tuition. Typically, for a master’s in interior design, students need to take around 36 total credits for the completion of the course.


Admission Requirements For Masters in Interior Design Online Programs

Even though every master’s in interior design online will have a specific requirement a master’s in interior design online would require a bachelor’s degree majoring in a related field, GPA of around 3 in undergraduate work.

Free Interior Design Programs

Below are a few free courses on interior design that might be of interest to the readers:

  • Best Free Interior Design Courses (Udemy)
    Udemy, the leading online educational platform, offers opportunities to learn basic techniques of interior design at a foundational level, and also work with professional-level design styles. You will get the low down on topics like minimalism, lighting design and layouts, the use of color, and so on. The courses are packed with hands-on exercises and tips and tutorials that will equip you with the skills you need to get started with this career path.
  • Free Interior Design Classes & Courses
    These self-paced how-to tutorials will help you to reimagine your spaces and use popular software like Revit and SketchUp to design plans, add products and create work schedules for implementation. Short courses include Restaurant Design, LEED Certification for green buildings, bathroom remodels, and Revit techniques, among other professional development topics. Pick the courses you need to sharpen your skills and get ahead in the profession.
  • MIT Open Courseware: Principles of Design
    MIT has opened its hallowed portals to online students, and their free introductory course on the Principles of Design is a great starting point if you want to brush up on your basic design concepts. Aspiring designers can build up from the solid foundation that this course provides. And hey, you cannot go wrong if you tell someone that you’re studying an MIT program!
  • YouTube Courses
    YouTube has an amazing collection of Interior Design Sketching courses that are completely free. Each of the courses is a step-by-step tutorial on drawing two or one-point interior design perspectives. Learn to sketch like a pro and get all the angles right! There may be overlaps in the content, as each topic has been created by a different artist and the series is not perfectly coordinated. Get a handle on freehand sketching and learn to impress your clients.
  • Alison Diploma in Interior Design
    This 6 to 10 hour free online course takes you through an overview of interior design as a discipline. You will learn aspects of project planning and client communication, various principles of design including color, balance, harmony, space utilization, and other factors a designer considers when working within a space. You will understand how to use textiles and surface materials and the importance of accessorizing rights. The syllabus covered also includes styles and themes of furniture, and how to source the furniture that goes well with your décor.

How to Pay for Masters in Interior Design Online Programs

Keeping in mind the cost of education these days and the amount of debt that each student carries it is of prime importance how you choose to fund your master’s in interior design online program. The smartest way to fund education is a scholarship. For further reference, students can refer to this link here for scholarships.

It might happen that someone does not qualify for a scholarship, for such candidates if they are working professionals, they can check with their employers to reimburse the tuition fee. The other way of funding your master’s in interior design is to apply for a student loan. Students can also check if they are eligible for federal student aid also called financial aid. Here is a link to the application for FAFSA Application.

FAQs about Masters in Interior Design Online Programs

Q: Is it worth pursuing a graduate degree in interior design?
A: A master’s degree exposes you to various interior design sides, from specialization in creative fields to the business aspects. With a jump in salary and the immense scope it provides, an interior design and styling master’s degree is worth pursuing.
Q: Do they have a master’s degree in interior design?
A: Yes, a master’s degree in interior design is a postgraduate degree program that teaches students interior design; the art of changing the living workspace into a more effective setting, for everyday use.
Q: How long is a master’s in interior design?
A: Interior Design is a two-year program and has variants like Diploma in Design (Interior Design) or M. Arch (Interior Design). The course is completed for four semesters.
Q: Where are interior designers most needed?
A: After crunching the numbers, the data revealed that Washington, D.C. is the top city for interior designers. Rounding out the top ten were four Southern cities: Atlanta, Jacksonville, Orlando, and Miami; and other cities scattered across the US: Seattle, San Francisco, Salt Lake City, St. Louis, and Boston.
Q: What GPA do you need for a master’s in interior design?
A: Interior Designers Institute’s average GPA is 3.15. The Interior Designers Institute does require a GPA. The Interior Designers Institute is currently selective.
Q: Do Interior Designers need a license?
A: While there are no federal guidelines for getting an interior designer license, many states throughout the U.S. do offer certification or registration. In the U.S., only three states (Nevada, Florida, and Louisiana), the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico have passed legislation that requires mandatory registration.

Careers and Salary Outlook For Masters in Interior Design Online Graduates

Post a master’s in interior designer online, one can delve into many roles in the design and architecture fields. This could vary from an interior designer role at an entry-level to a chief executive role of a design studio at the top of the hierarchy. There would be other intermediary roles in between. Below is a list of roles and salaries with their responsibilities highlighted.

OccupationMedian Annual Salary (US $)Job Growth (2019-2029)Job Description
Interior Designers$57,060-5%Interior designers make indoor spaces functional, safe, and beautiful by determining space requirements and selecting essential and decorative items, such as colors, lighting, and materials. They must be able to draw, read, and edit blueprints. They also must be aware of building codes, inspection regulations, and other considerations, such as accessibility standards.
Art Directors$97,270-2%Art directors are responsible for the visual style and images in magazines, newspapers, product packaging, and movie and television productions. They create the overall design and direct others who develop artwork or layouts.  
Craft and Fine Artists$49,1200%Craft and fine artists use a variety of materials and techniques to create original works of art for sale and exhibition. Craft artists create objects, such as pottery, glassware, and textiles, that are designed to be functional. Fine artists, including painters, sculptors, and illustrators, create pieces of art more for aesthetics than for function.
Landscape Architects$70,630-2%Landscape architects design parks and the outdoor spaces of campuses, recreational facilities, businesses, private homes, and other open spaces.
Industrial Designers$71,640-4%Industrial designers develop the concepts for manufactured products, such as cars, home appliances, and toys. They combine art, business, and engineering to make products that people use every day. Industrial designers consider the function, aesthetics, production costs, and usability of products when developing new product concepts.

Certifications and Licensure For Masters in Interior Design Online Students

Currently, 26 states and jurisdictions have licensing requirements for interior design practitioners. In many of these states, you cannot even call yourself an interior designer unless you meet or exceed a certain level of accredited education and in some cases pass the qualifying exam administered by the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ).

Below we discuss a few certifications in the field of interior design:

CertificationDescription
Certificate Program in Interior Design and Interior ArchitectureThe Certificate Program in Interior Design and Interior Architecture offers a comprehensive education that combines studio courses with the study of design theory and history. This certificate program also provides educational credits needed to qualify for the California Council for Interior Design Certification exam (the IDEX® California exam) and the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) certification exam.
Interior Design Certificate OnlineThis online interior design course will prepare you to become a professional interior designer. You will study design trends and history, furniture styles and fabrics, color theory, and lighting. This interior design course is approved by the Designer Society of America (DSA). This means students can apply for their RIDQC interior design certification. This industry certification is a powerful addition to any designer’s resume.
NCIDQ CertificationNCIDQ Certified interior designers must complete a minimum of six years of specialized education and work experience and pass the three-part NCIDQ Exam, which is based on CIDQ’s independent, comprehensive analysis of the profession and the daily practice of interior design in a range of settings. NCIDQ Certification meets legal and regulatory standards for the interior design profession as established by more than half of the states across the U.S. and the provinces in Canada.

Additional Resources For Masters in Interior Design Online Students

A master’s in interior design is a gateway to an industry with huge potential. But to further their careers and keep being relevant in this fast-paced industry, and also to practice their craft, professionals need to become members and hence accredit themselves with a professional organization in the field of interior design. Apart from being a body that assists in developing and distributing knowledge, professional interior design association bodies keep their members informed about the newest developments and innovations in the industry. We discuss few such organizational bodies below:

Professional OrganizationDescription
The American Society of Interior Designers (ASID)  ASID collaborates with others to promote the value of interior design. ASID prepares its members to excel in a dynamic and evolving profession. ASID generates, collects, and disseminates applied knowledge. Through education, knowledge sharing, advocacy, community building, and outreach, ASID strives to advance the interior design profession and, in the process, to demonstrate and celebrate the power of design to positively change people’s lives.
INDUSTRIAL DESIGNERS SOCIETY OF AMERICA  For over 50 years, the Industrial Designers Society of America has worked to advance the practice of industrial design and enrich the professional lives of our members. With abundant networking and professional development opportunities, IDSA membership is a personal advantage carried by you throughout each stage of your career. As a member-centric organization, we focus our resources on helping you achieve your best through programming that supports your long-term success as an industrial designer.
the International Federation of Interior Architects / Designers (IFI)IFI – the International Federation of Interior Architects / Designers (IFI) is the singular world federation for the discipline’s design communities, policymakers, experts, and enthusiasts. An independent body that acts as the ‘UN’ for interiors worldwide, IFI’s headquarters are appropriately located within the United Nations’ international territory in New York City. At the world level, IFI’s responsibilities include comprehensively strengthening professional knowledge, the caliber of work, and integrity of practice, as well as promoting the value of quality design and advancing its impacts. IFI unifies Interior Architecture/Design through globally relevant knowledge, experience, and understanding while engaging the profession with the public.

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