First Professional Degree (M.F.A.)

The Master of Fine Arts in Interior Architecture (MFA in IA) is a 108-credit program designed for interior and architectural design professionals that are seeking to acquire advanced expertise in design research, analysis, design, and construction of complex interior environments.

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Program Overview

The Master of Fine Arts in Interior Architecture (MFA in IA) is a 108-credit program designed for professionals seeking to acquire advanced expertise in design research, analysis, design, and construction of complex interior environments. The program's intent is to create interior design specialists where students select from an area of concentration: IDC Commercial and Intuitional, IDH Healthcare, IDR Residential, or IDS Sustainability. 

The challenging curriculum is unique as it prepares students to enter professional Interior Design practice or Interior Design education at an advanced level. The program develops student proficiencies through both individual and team based "atelier" style learning, while emphasizing the need to provide environmentally responsible interior design solutions for the 21st century.

The program model integrates theory and practice through required courses in Interior Design Professional Practice and in Educational Practicum's reinforcing the primary College mission of concurrent learning.

Core Courses

IAx 505A* ID Studio Concentration Option or IAx 510A* Global Studio Concentration Option (Western) - 4 cr.

IAx 505B* ID Studio Concentration Option or IAx 510B* Global Studio Concentration Option (Non-Western) - 4 cr.
ID Technology Elective (500 level) - 3 cr. 
Interior Architecture Elective - 3 cr.
Interior Architecture History Elective (600 level) - 3 cr. 
Interior Architecture Elective (600 level) - 3 cr.

  • ART 510 - Visual Arts & Cultural History Credits: 3
  • ART 520 - Drawing & Composition Credits: 2
  • ART 530 - Foundations of Design Credits: 2
  • ART 540 - Architecture and Interior Design History Credits: 3
  • IA 501 - Interior Architecture Precedent Studio I Credits: 3
  • IA 503 - Interior Architecture Precedent Studio II Credits: 1
  • IA 506 - Emerging Materials and Systems Credits: 3
  • IA 507 - Art and Science of Interior Lighting Credits: 3
  • IA 511 - Forum I Credits: 1
  • IA 512 - Forum II Credits: 1
  • IA 517 - Theory, Criticism, and Methodology Credits: 3
  • IA 530 - Psychology of Place Credits: 3
  • IA 580 - Educational Practicum I Credits: 1
  • IA 611 - Forum III Credits: 1
  • IA 612 - Forum IV Credits: 1
  • IA 630 - Special Topics Studio Credits: 3
  • IA 680 - Educational Practicum II Credits: 1
  • IA 681 - Educational Practicum III Credits: 1
  • IA 688 - Master's Dissertation I: Seminar Credits: 3
  • IA 689 - Master's Dissertation II: Written Defense Credits: 6
  • IA 690 - Master's Dissertation III: Visual Defense Credits: 9
  • IDI 510 - Interior Environments Studio I Credits: 3
  • IDI 515 - Interior Environments Studio II Credits: 3
  • IDI 526 - Media I: Architectural Drafting Credits: 2
  • IDI 531 - Media II: Electronic Media Credits: 3
  • IDI 535 - Materials and Specification Credits: 3
  • IDI 537 - Lighting Interior Environments Credits: 2
  • IDI 540 - Media III: Advanced Construction Documents & Rendering Credits: 3
  • IDI 542 - Building Systems & Integrated Design Credits: 3
  • IDI 545 - Design Portfolio Credits: 1
  • IDI 547 - Design Research Seminar Credits: 2
  • IDI 550 - Diverse Perspectives in the Built Environment Credits: 2
  • IDI 555 - Professional Practice Credits: 2
  • IDI 560 - Internship Credits: 2
  • IDI 570 - Capstone Studio Credits: 3

Concentration Options

The concentration (Commercial/Institutional, Healthcare, Residential, or Sustainable Interior Environments) is designed to allow students to explore a specific area of design practice in-depth. Students select a studio focus to assimilate a more thorough knowledge base, in both theory and execution, in their preferred field of inquiry. The courses focus on developing ability, knowledge, and applicability to global design issues, human behavior, occupant comfort, and contribution to the built environment. Students are prepared to assume advanced roles within professional design firms or as interior design educators.

Each concentration builds upon critical thinking, design mastery, evidence based research, visual communication, and oral communication expertise expected of practicing professionals. Within the core curriculum courses for both concentrations students will advance their skill sets in aspects of design research, theory, technology applied to professional practice.

Commercial/Institutional Interior Environments

The Commercial Interior Environments Design Studio Concentration focus is on the development of innovative, integrated, and progressive "workplaces." The studio laboratory will test and apply a multidisciplinary approach to research and precedent analysis, integrating human behavior, culture, ergonomics, and environmental psychology to complex workplace environments.

Healthcare Interior Environments

The Healthcare Interior Environments Design Studio Concentration focus is on the interdisciplinary approach to the planning of innovative and state of the art healthcare facilities and healing environments. The design studio is the laboratory for testing and integrating evidence-based design, sustainable bio-design principles, and current medical technical practices, based on science journal publications applied to the planning of sophisticated user friendly healthcare and healing environments.

Residential Interior Environments

The Residential Interiors Design Studio Concentration focus is on the design and development of forward thinking design solutions that address current social, physical, cultural, and psychological needs. The studio laboratory is for testing and the application of innovative design solutions that address current and future residential users' comfort, well-being, and energy needs.

Sustainable Interior Environments 

The Sustainable Interior Environments concentration is designed to provide practitioners and design researchers of interior architecture the latest models, information, and technology in sustainable design. The course work focuses on the application and incorporation of current sustainable design principles within all phases of proposed design solutions. The concentration stresses the need for contemporary designers to develop innovative solutions with a global perspective on environmental responsibility that minimizes resource depletion and in no way hinders or compromises the ability of future generations' to meet their needs.

Admission Requirements

Admission Criteria for Master of Fine Arts in Interior Design (108 credits)

Admission to a graduate program requires a Bachelor degree from an accredited college. To be considered for admissions, a candidate must submit the following credentials:

  • Application form and a $50 application fee
  • Statement of professional goals
  • Official transcripts of all academic work 
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • TOEFL required for all students for whom English is not a first language; 79 is minimum score for iBT and 550 for the pen and pencil test.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Assimilate highly technical, theoretical, and sophisticated problem solving methods related to the design of interior environments and the design profession.
  2. Research, understand, and demonstrate the role and impact upon society that emerging design theories and technologies create and will foster in the future.
  3. Assess and synthesize project design needs and strategies to operate in a collaborative mode with other design specialist and related professions.
  4. Develop and advance current design principles, theories, and academic research, and demonstrate a contribution to design practice, education, and society.
  5. Develop an understanding, application and specifying furniture, fixtures, finish materials, and environmental systems, controls and regulations to maximize occupant health, welfare, and comfort within interior environments.
  6. Develop a global perspective for design including an understanding and application of sustainable strategies that enhance users and planet earth.
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Hollie Sutherland
MFA Alumni presented at IDEC's National Conference in February 2013
Michael Fior IDECMichael Fior, '12 presented "Learning with a Different Pencil: Comparing Student Spatial Intelligence Between Haptic and Digital Assignment." Hollie Sutherland IDECHollie Sutherland, '12, presented "Interior Design: The Role of Emotion and Integration of Self."