School and Ranking Information
There are only four schools in the Los Angeles area that offer interior design or related programs. The best options based on program offerings, graduation rates, and rankings are:
- Winner: California State University - Long Beach is the top choice since it has the highest ranking among regional universities in the West, according to U.S. News & World Report.
- Runner-Up #1: Woodbury University featured the highest graduation rate, according to National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) figures, and was ranked by U.S. News & World Report in 2020.
- Runner-up #2: Santa Monica College offers the lowest tuition and an associate's degree in the field.
School Comparison Chart
|Category||California State University - Long Beach||Woodbury University||Santa Monica College|
|Rankings (2020)|| 20th among regional universities in the West,
5th among top public schools in the West*
|53rd among regional universities in the West*||N/A|
|Location||Long Beach, CA (26.4 miles from Los Angeles)||Burbank, CA (14.4 miles from Los Angeles)||Santa Monica, CA (15.6 miles from Los Angeles)|
|School Type||4-year, public||4-year, private not-for-profit||2-year, public|
|Tuition & Fees (2019-2020)||$6,834 (undergraduate, in-state); $18,714 (undergraduate, out-of-state)**||$41,182 (undergraduate)**||$1,144 (undergraduate, in-state); $8,840 (undergraduate, out-of-state)**|
|Interior Design Degree Levels Offered||Bachelor's degrees||Bachelor's degrees||Certificates; associate degrees|
|Interior Design Degrees Awarded (All Levels) in 2018-2019||32**||13**||15**|
|Graduation Rate (in 150% of normal degree time)||74% (for 2013 entering class)**||54% (for 2013 entering class)**||29% (for 2013 entering class)**|
|Noteworthy||Interior design students have access to senior work galleries||Program features limited enrollment for more interaction with instructors||Students have access to the Career Services Center|
Sources: *US News & World Report, **NCES College Navigator
Winner: California State University - Long Beach
- The National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD) accredits the program
- School offers several dedicated studios and design labs, including a multimedia lab with Mac stations
Students at California State University - Long Beach can earn a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Interior Design. The 132-credit-hour program involves courses in design drawing, interior materials, lighting design, and 3D modeling. Students also complete professional practice courses. Interior design students can showcase their work in the student galleries and exhibitions. The program meets the requirements for the NCIDQ Examination, a national interior design exam students can take to become a Certified Interior Designer.
Runner-Up #1: Woodbury University
- Program accredited by the Council for Interior Design Accreditation and school accredited by NASAD
- Students can become members of the American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS) or the Society of Interior Architecture Students (SOIAS)
The BFA in Interior Architecture program at Woodbury University places a special emphasis on how society and cultures can influence interior design. Courses focus on elements of product design, furniture design, architecture, and visual arts. Students must also complete courses in the humanities and social sciences. Interior architecture students are introduced to concepts such as lighting, color, and building materials through courses and hands-on experience in visual design, product design, and furniture design. Included in the curricula are design studio courses, in addition to a senior research project and professional experience. A Master of Interior Architecture (MIA) program will be launched at Woodbury in 2014.
Runner-Up #2: Santa Monica College
- School offers an award-winning interior architectural design program
- In addition to design studios, students have the option to complete an internship
Santa Monica College (SMC) offers an Associate of Art in Interior Architectural Design. This program includes coursework in professional planning, designing living, and furnishing residential and commercial spaces. Students take courses in sketching, computer design, lighting, model building, green design, and surface materials and textiles. The school also offers a 47-credit Certificate of Achievement in Interior Architectural Design.