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Interior Design (Four-Year B.S.)


Program Director: Lauren Baumbach


Building on the University’s mission to “prepare graduates for successful careers in an evolving global marketplace,” the interior design program’s mission is to prepare students to be independent thinkers, innovative problem-solvers, collaborators and leaders with high standards of professionalism, integrity and excellence in design. With an emphasis on creativity, balanced with the knowledge and skills required for meaningful contributions to professional design practice, the program strives to instill in students an awareness and understanding of the global, cultural, social, aesthetic, technological, environmental and ethical responsibilities involved in the design of interior environments.

The program is grounded in the belief that the interior designer mediates between human experience and the built environment, and that our graduates should enter the global marketplace as articulate, creative, inspired and socially aware design professionals.

Program Learning Goals

Students will:

  • Examine global issues and the implications of a diverse cultural and socioeconomic society and the impact of these on the design of the built environment.
  • Evaluate the diverse values, behavioral norms, physical, psychological and spatial needs of different demographics and user groups in the context of designing interior environments.
  • Design interior spaces using sustainable practices as they relate to environmental and ecological issues.
  • Research and problem-solve in order to generate innovative and creative solutions in the design of interior environments.
  • Apply historical and theoretical knowledge of interiors, architecture, art and the decorative arts to the design and analysis of interior environments.
  • Engage in working collaboratively and with a multidisciplinary approach.
  • Comply with ethical and professional standards of practice and the laws, codes, standards and guidelines that impact the health, safety and welfare of building occupants.
  • Select and apply colors, furniture, fixtures, equipment, finish materials and lighting in the design of interior spaces.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of interior construction and building systems.

Program Description

The interior design program is a four-year undergraduate degree program that leads to a Bachelor of Science in Interior Design. The interior design program provides an extensive education to meet the demands and challenges of this exciting and creative profession. In preparation for a rapidly evolving, technology- and information-driven society, interior design requires an in-depth understanding of the aesthetic, cultural, technical, environmental, global and economic issues pertaining to the built environment.

The program strives to instill in our graduates the highest standards of professionalism and professional practice, integrity, competence and excellence in design. A multidisciplinary faculty, a close-knit campus community and prime location in Philadelphia provide a stimulating setting for the informed and inventive academic development of every student.

The emphasis of the program is to provide a holistic and comprehensive education in interior design with a balance among the theoretical, conceptual, creative and technical aspects of the discipline. This education is delivered through the core interior design curriculum, which is informed and enriched by the liberal arts and science curriculum and free electives.

At the program’s core are design studios in which students explore the creative process through a series of varied and progressively more complex projects, covering the range of practice from residential to commercial and institutional design. The functional knowledge necessary for design is introduced through formally structured courses focusing on such varied topics as space planning, ergonomics, universal design, sustainable design, computer visualization, detailing, design, color theory, furniture design, materials and textiles. Students also study the history of architectural interiors from pre-history to contemporary works and understand and analyze their cultural relevance. The interior design studios foster an interdisciplinary environment centered on creative experimentation, where material from other courses is synthesized through the act of design. Each year, the student will build upon earlier courses and integrate functional and cultural issues into the design studio. In the fourth year, the Capstone Experience is the culmination of all previous studies, integrating design research, programming, history, theory, human behavior, technology, innovative design solutions, construction detailing, furniture and materials—all important aspects of creating meaningful interior environments.

Students may follow secondary specializations such as business, construction management, historic preservation, sustainable design and photography. The interior design program also offers valuable opportunities for internships in design firms, memberships in professional organizations, a junior semester studying abroad in the cities of Copenhagen or Rome, and discipline-based community service. The program is grounded in the belief that interior designers should enter the global marketplace as articulate, creative, inspired designers and socially aware professionals. The program seeks to instill in students an awareness and sensitivity to the social, technological, aesthetic, cultural and ethical responsibilities involved in the design of living and working environments.


The Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA), the national organization solely responsible for accrediting such programs, accredits this professional program. This first professional degree, combined with interior design work experience, qualifies our graduates to sit for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) Exam after graduation. Passing this exam leads to NCIDQ professional certification, which is required in some states in the U.S. and the Canadian provinces. As the principal steward of the creation of space and place, the interior designer is responsible for the safety, shelter, support and enrichment of human occupancy, a duty that can be fulfilled through the resolution of the form of space and design details in the built environment.