A master's degree in interior architecture can prepare graduates for the next steps in their careers, such as specializing in a certain area of design, teaching, or starting their own firms. Some colleges offer online programs, which provide more flexibility for students who want to continue working while earning their degree or who are not within traveling distance to a campus that offers the program. However, online programs may be rare.
Common Courses for an Online Master's Degree in Interior Architecture
An online master's degree in interior architecture typically takes two to three years to complete. Although you can expect some differences between programs, the following courses are commonly included.
History of Interior Architecture
In this type of course, students might explore the past to see how cultural and political systems influenced early interior architecture. They focus on a world view of interior structures, furniture, and art work from prehistoric times through the 19th century. In addition, students analyze different historical movements that prompted change in interior architectural style over time.
Drafting and Modeling
Students make three-dimensional designs using digital programs. In doing so, they can gain an understanding of architectural scale and spatial relationships to create cohesive environments. Students use the modeling process to recognize project constraints, expand on their ideas, and present their designs. They also learn best practices for managing digital files for individual projects.
Using Digital Images
Students commonly work with various computer software programs to learn how to incorporate interior design features into their work. They focus on graphic design skills to add aesthetical elements such as images and color into their three-dimensional models. Students can use these skills for improving their presentation methods for projects.
Interior Material Use
Students often learn about construction materials used in interior spaces, such as walls and doors. In addition, they explore how to select flooring, paint, wallpaper, tiles, and other finishing materials that complement each other and the architectural style. Students also can gain an understanding of installation processes and how to estimate project costs.
Students in this kind of course might examine the purpose of using sustainable design practices to reduce the impact traditional construction methods have on the environment. As part of the process, they can look at specific environmental issues that have prompted change in the industry. Students also evaluate their own beliefs about sustainability in order to approach the design process from an environmental perspective.
In this sort of course, students could learn how to incorporate lighting into interior spaces considering both aesthetics and comfort. They examine the impact different types of lighting have on environments and people. Students also explore the more technical aspects of lighting, such as choosing the right fixtures and using advanced technologies. In some programs, students look at how lighting and color interact in a space.
Students can learn how to integrate building code requirements and sound structural systems into designs that match the occupants' needs. They look at all the construction aspects of a building, including electrical, plumbing, and zoning, as well as accessibility codes. Students apply their skills by creating construction plans.
In this type of course, students can learn how to operate their own design firms by looking at different business models and best practices. Topics they might focus on include service contracts, revenue, accounting, marketing, business strategies, and legal issues. Students also review state certifications and licensing, as well as professional organizations for interior architects.
Students in a research methods course focus on research strategies and tools that will assist them in writing a thesis at the end of the degree program. They often learn to collect data, gather the necessary information to answer a research question, evaluate literature, and create a bibliography. Students can apply their skills by completing a research project using quantitative and qualitative research methods.
Students typically spend the last one or two semesters on the culminating project of the degree program. Under the guidance of a committee, they often complete a creative design project and research, write, and present a thesis. Students focus on the development phase, followed by presentation.
Admission Requirements for an Online Master's Degree in Interior Architecture
Admission to an online master's degree program in interior architecture requires a bachelor's degree, preferably in interior design or interior architecture. Some schools require students to have earned a 3.0 grade point average on their undergraduate degrees. However, it is possible to gain admittance based on other accomplishments. In addition, colleges typically require a personal essay, letters of recommendation, and a portfolio showcasing past work.
An online master's degree program in interior architecture is an option for students who want to advance their careers but need an adjustable schedule. Within 2 to 3 years, it can prepare students for a number of career opportunities, including owning their own firms.