Interested in pursuing careers in the built environment such as an architecture degree or interior design degree? The Masters in Interior Design is the right degree for you and you can complete it in as little as two years or less.
What Can You Do with a Masters in Interior Design?
You may follow a career in many business sectors such as:
- Hotels and restaurants chains
- Large companies
- Performing art councils
- Home furnishing stores
- Design studios and display art studios
- Interior decorating firms
- Retail stores
- Television and film studios
- Architectural firms
- Consultant interior designers
- Design and Creative agencies
|The University of Cincinnati (UC)
|Marymount University (MU)
|Boston Architectural College (Online, BAC)
|Rhode Island School of Design (RISD)
|Providence, Rhode Island
|University of Kentucky (UK)
Here the list of top 15 Best Masters in Interior Design
To help you choose the best college that can fulfill your dream career, here’s a list of colleges that we ranked based on affordability.
The University of Cincinnati (UC)
Completed in two years, the post-professional Master of Interior Design (MINTD) at the University of Cincinnati is offered by the School of Architecture and Interior Design (SAID). UC’s degree program aims to train and support a new crop of leaders and professionals, who can develop specialized interior studios. Also, the interior designers should use original and lasting improvements in the health, safety, and wellness of various groups.
Moreover, they’re taught by creative practitioners, innovative researchers, emerging scholars, and skillful educators. The MINTD is part of the International Masters of Interior Architectural Design (MIAD) program, which is a grouping of postgraduate interior design programs. Through this consortium, students can spend a semester abroad in partner schools in Turkey, Switzerland, India, and Germany. CU is a highly-rated public university in Cincinnati, Ohio, and is the oldest institution of higher learning.
Marymount University (MU)
Marymount University advances a Master of Arts in Interior Design, which requires 34 credits and can be completed between 2-3 years if done on a full-time basis. Advanced by its M. Wilhelmina Boldt Interior Design college, it’s delivered as a pre-professional degree as well as a post-professional degree. The former is meant for those with an undergraduate degree in interior design. They need 34 credits and two years to be done with it. On the other hand, the post-professional degree is for graduates with a baccalaureate degree that is not related to interior design or architecture. Done full-time, they’ll finish it in three years but will take an extra year if done on a part-time basis.
Furthermore, the degree program strengthens and supports the skills, technologies, and knowledge to make students competent interior designers. It prepares them for entry-level interior design practice, advanced study as well as to apply for membership in professional interior design organizations. As a CIDA-accredited college, Marymount University is a Catholic university. Its main campus is in Arlington, Virginia.
Boston Architectural College (Online, BAC)
Granting a CIDA-accredited Master of Interior Architecture, Boston Architectural College seeks to prepare students to become certified interior designers. Its core studio encourages students to build their design and creative abilities through the use of drawing and software courses. Also, graduates study building systems, design history as well as theory. Upon completion, they can follow careers in design firms, community projects, research, and independent projects.
Additionally, BAC’s faculty are instructors who are professional in the field and so, they bring current perspectives on interior architecture into the classroom. BAC also owns a Materials Library that gives students access to a wide range of resources. Boston Architectural College (Online) is a small, private college in Boston, Massachusetts.
Rhode Island School of Design (RISD)
Founded in 1877, Rhode Island School of Design’s Master of Design ( MDes) in Interior Studios: Adaptive Reuse can be completed in two years with 75 credits. The degree program provides a design education in the conversion of structures that already exist. According to its website, interior origination and the practice of adaptive reuse are tools that graduates will learn. With this course, graduates can also sit for the National Council for Interior Design Qualifications (NCIDQ) exam.
Additionally, some of the topics that students will consider include an introduction to design studies, investigation/drawing, and making, existing construct, transformation, and intervention as well as structure and material for adaptive reuse, etc. Students will also have access to the college’s interior architecture studios, which are linked to the RSD’s network through wireless and hard-wired connections. The college also owns a fully-equipped workshop with a 3D-making facility in the CIT building. Rhode Island School of Design is a small but highly-rated, private, and art and design college in Providence, Rhode Island.
University of Kentucky (UK)
The University of Kentucky, having 20,484 students, offers a four-year undergraduate program leading to a B.A of Fine Arts in Interiors-Planning/Strategy/Design. Graduates can proceed to the master’s in the same field after completing the bachelor’s at UK’s College of Design. Additionally, the master’s offers two options namely Plan A, which involves a thesis and 24 hours of coursework, six hours of Master’s residence credit, and a written thesis with research.
On the other hand, Plan B requires students to complete 30 credit hours plus six hours of ID 700. Here, students design a thesis project in their area of specialization. Also, some of the core topics include a survey of current literature and methodology, creative theoretical design processes, etc. Founded by John Bryan Bowman as the Agricultural and Mechanical College, UK is an above-average public university in Lexington, Kentucky.
Illinois State University (ISU)
As an above-average, large public institution, Illinois State University offers a master’s in Family and Consumer Sciences with a sequence in Interior Design. Because of the nature of the degree program, the admission requirements are competitive and very high.
The college prides itself on owning the state-of-the-art Interior Design Drafting Laboratory. It gives students access to 22 workstations, three virtual reality stations, a material library, and a lighting laboratory. Students can take a minimum of 3 or a maximum of 12 credit hours for dual credit* during their senior year.
*Counting toward both their undergraduate and graduate degrees
Florida International University (FIU)
Located in the multicultural, dynamic urban city of Miami, the Interior Architecture Department at Florida International University is a unique creative environment within the hub of the design industry. The department offers a three-track flexible curriculum leading to a professional master’s degree (MIA) with a combination of theoretical and professional courses, industry partnerships, and evidence-based design studios.
The five-year accelerated track requires students to participate in two years of interdisciplinary foundational undergraduate coursework (72 credit hours) followed by three years of graduate professional curriculum (84 credit hours). The three-year track is catered for transfer students with AA degrees and students who have a bachelor’s degree in a different field. The two-year track is geared toward students with bachelor’s degrees in Interior Design and related fields. The program also offers a post-professional degree in healthcare design (MAIA) and a certificate program in cruise ship & superyacht design.
Samford University (SU)
The Accelerated Master of Architecture granted by Samford University emphasizes art, history, sociology, typography, geography, technology, and science. During the program, students combine all these aspects so that they can gain design skills to improve the world around them. Furthermore, graduates can earn a 4-year Bachelor of Science in Architecture with a one-year Masters in the same field. Upon completion, students will obtain architecture licensure.
SU encourages students to use their talents to improve communities around them as well as take certain courses and studios jointly and to collaborate on projects. Also, they’ll work with design professionals with industry experience so that they can improve the lives of others in practical ways. As a private Christain college, Samford University is based in Homewood, Alabama, and was founded in 1841. Its B. S and M. Architecture are yet to be credited by SACSCOC.
Chatham University (CU)
Chatham University, with an enrollment of 1,002 full-time undergraduates, advances a Master of Interior Architecture (MIA). Accredited by the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA), the 72-credit hour program can be completed in two years. U’s School of Arts, Science, and Business MIA looks at factors that have an impact on the design of interior spaces, aesthetics, and building technology. Additionally, it offers a Master of Science in Interior Architecture (MSIA) for students who hold an undergraduate degree in interior design. It’s delivered Online or on-campus or as a hybrid program and requires 30 credits and one year to be completed.
CU’s graduates will obtain practical experience from assistantships, fellowships, expanded learning opportunities, as well as from professional skills development programs. Besides, the faculty at the college are accomplished teachers, scholars, and practitioners. Founded as a women’s college in 2015, Chatham University is a private institution in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania.
New York School of Interior Design
With a small enrollment of 119 undergraduates, New York School of Interior Design’s Master of Fine Arts in Interior Design can be done by anyone with a bachelor’s degree in an unrelated field to design. Completed in just three years, the degree program provides students with a thorough design education without the need to submit a portfolio. Additionally, the master’s is held in the school’s award-winning graduate center with a small class size.
Under the curriculum, graduates will focus on research and analysis as well as work outside the classroom with an Experiential Learning Course. Offered in summer, it provides students with internships, independent study, study tracks, and community service-learning opportunities. Moreover, the degree program meets the requirements for membership in national and local interior design associations. As an above-average private college, New York School of Interior Design is situated in Manhattan, New York in the New York City Area.
School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC)
With an enrollment of 2,746 students, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago grants a Master of Architecture with an emphasis on Interior Architecture. Students with a non-professional degree who want to earn the master’s will need 120 credits and plus three years to complete the degree. However, they’ll require as little as two years and a total of 60 credits if they hold a professional degree in interior design to earn the master’s.
Additionally, the coursework focuses on project-based studios, technical courses in building structures, systems professional practice, architectural technology as well as architectural history. Also, in the final year, students will design a thesis under the supervision of faculty in the department. Through the college’s partnerships with companies like Samsung, Industreal, Chicago Arch
Pratt Institute (PI)
Pratt Institute’s Interior Design Department advances a Master of Fine Arts in Interior Design, which seeks to create interior designers. PT’s master emphasizes expressions that are philosophical, ethical, explorative, aesthetic and that can be applied practically as well. Besides, its interior designer should be able to improve the health, safety, quality, beauty, and meaning of the human environment. The degree program looks at the spatial design and surface articulation and how aspects of space influence the life of its occupants.
A graduate can have specializations in emerging technologies, sustainability, exhibition designs, theory, and self-directed topics. Furthermore, undergraduates with an interior background need 60 credits to earn the M.F.A in two years. But undergraduates with an unrelated degree to interior design will have a year of study so that they can qualify to be enrolled in the Master’s. They’ll need 24 credits to achieve their qualification status and 84 credits in total to complete the master’s over three years. Located in Brooklyn, New York, Pratt Institute is a small but above-average private college that originated in 1887.
The University of Florida (UF)
The College, Construction, and Planning at the University of Florida advances a Masters in Interior Design (MID). It’s designed for students who have graduated with a bachelor’s degree either in a design-related field or not. They’ll need between 36-86 credit hours over a period of plus three years to finish it. But those with a CIDA-accredited Interior Design degree can take only a year to earn the master’s.
It’s also possible for students to earn a dual program since they can start their MID while working on their Bachelor of Arts in Interior Design (BID). At UF, students enrolled in the BA only require 24 credits hours additional work and 12 hours of graduate-level coursework in their senior year. They should expect at least another year to complete the Master’s. As a highly-rated public university located in Gainesville, Florida, the University of Cincinnati is a large, land-grant research institution with 32, 209 undergraduates.
Suffolk University (SU)
As a private research university in Boston, Suffolk University’s Master of Arts in Interior Architecture (MAIA) seeks to provide a well-rounded education in interior design. Additionally, graduates build upon the knowledge of design theory and history as well as develop visual and verbal communications skills. The degree program will broaden their awareness of lighting and furniture design as well as reinforce their knowledge of technical abilities.
At Suffolk University, graduates will be guided by educators who are the region’s top artists and designers. They’ll also receive one-on-one access to the mentors and meet many practicing designers. Since SU’s faculty and students are from different countries, students will enrich their education through valuable different design perspectives. To give students practical experience, SU’s alumni identify internships at major firms across the country.
We examined more than 30 colleges offering a Masters in Interior Design on credible websites and then reduced our number by 15. After considering the final list of 15 colleges, we ranked them according to affordability. The University of Cincinnati appears at the top of the list because its master’s is the cheapest.
For more programs, check out our online master’s in interior design page.