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Masters in Interior Design: Degree Program Overviews

Many private and public colleges and universities and design schools offer masters' degree programs in interior design, such as a Master of Arts, Master of Fine Arts or Master of Science. These programs are often offered as a post-professional degree or first professional degree.

Essential Information

Post-professional degrees are designed for students who have bachelor's degrees in interior design, while the latter is for students who hold bachelor's degrees unrelated to interior design. Curricula are commonly designed so that students select a specialization within the interior design field. Students in interior design master's degree programs learn advanced design concepts while studying research relevant to the design issues.

  • Prerequisites: Bachelor's degree, portfolio
  • Program Specializations: Residential interiors, sustainable design, or healthcare interiors

Master in Interior Design

Master's degree programs in interior design require that students hold a bachelor's degree of some kind. Each program sets its own requirements for the bachelor's degree discipline; some require it to be in a relevant discipline while others do not. Portfolios are also required by some interior design master's programs.

Master of Interior Design students learn design concepts and the elements of interior spaces. They customize their coursework by selecting concentrations such as residential interiors, sustainable design or healthcare interiors. In addition to practical design courses, a master's degree program in interior design also includes classes that focus on research and theoretical concepts. They include:

  • Drawing
  • Interior lighting
  • Color theory
  • Furniture design
  • Interior materials
  • Human response and interior environments

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), interior designer jobs are expected to grow 4% between 2014 and 2024 (www.bls.gov). Keeping the demand for interior designers up is the want for well-designed kitchens, baths and outdoor living areas. However, because the interior design field is a popular occupation, competition is expected to be fierce.

Those professionals with significant expertise in eco-friendly design ideas have an edge on their competitors as more people become conscious of their environmental impact. In May 2015, interior designers earned an annual mean income of $55,510, reported the BLS.

Certification and Continuing Education Information

Interior designers are required to obtain licensure in some states. The National Council for Interior Design Qualification governs the exam, which only covers public safety issues (www.ncidq.org). Eligible candidates have at least six years of postsecondary education and professional experience and must pursue continuing education to maintain the licensure.

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