Interior Design Degrees in San Diego, CA with Program Descriptions

There are about three schools within 30 miles of San Diego, CA, that have interior design degrees. Read an overview of the programs, requirements and admission info at two schools that are less than 10 miles away and find out which school is the right one for you.

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San Diego Interior Design Schools

The San Diego area offers a few options for students interested in interior design. Two schools, both less than 10 miles from downtown, and their interior design programs are profiled in this article. There is also a table of facts about each school, including statistics on enrollment, graduation rate, acceptance rate and tuition. At the end of the article is the name of one more school that offers a relevant program.

  • Just 5.5 miles from downtown, San Diego Mesa College offers an associate degree and a certificate in interior design.
  • San Diego State University, 6 miles from downtown, has a bachelor's degree program in art with a concentration in interior architecture as well as a two master's degree programs.

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Comparison of Schools

The following table showcases information that a prospective student should know before deciding on a school.

San Diego Mesa College San Diego State University
School Type Four-year, public Four-year, public
Total Enrollment (2017) 23,532 35,158
Campus Setting Large city Large city
Tuition & Fees (2017-2018) $1,142 for in-state; $5,894 for out-of-state $7,460 for in-state; $19,340 for out-of-state
% of First-Year Students Receive Some Form of Financial Aid (2016-2017) 65% 59%
Acceptance Rate N/A - Open admissions 35% (2017)
Retention Rate (2016-2017) N/A 89% for full-time students, 67% for part-time students
Graduation Rate 23% (students who began in 2011) 74% (students who began in 2011)

Source: NCES College Navigator.

San Diego Mesa College

The Mesa College Interior Design offers programs that are accredited through the National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA). Students have access to seven faculty members with skills in interior design; some are certified interior designers.

Certificate of Achievement in Interior Design

The program is designed to be completed within a year's time when pursued full-time, but a part-time approach is also an option. The certificate program requires just 10-14 credit hours less than the associate degree. Students can take classes in contemporary housing, computer-aided drafting and environmental lighting design. Students must complete work experience requirements that may be paid or unpaid in order to earn NKBA endorsement.

Associate of Science in Interior Design

In this 60-credit program, students are introduced to color theory, drafting techniques, textiles and decorative arts. Elective courses may explore areas like blueprint reading, presentation and color rendering, business law and the legal environment, small business management and building codes and zoning. Students may choose to complete a paid or unpaid work experience in order to wave the mandatory two years of work experience needed for NKBA endorsement.

San Diego State University

The School of Art + Design offers applied art and studio programs, including the interior design program. Within the school, interior designers have access to two interior design studio classrooms, the Ilse Ruocco Design Resource Center and a 48-inch printer dedicated to large-scale prints. Students have access to six faculty members that are dedicated specifically to the field of interior design.

Bachelor of Arts in Applied Arts and Sciences - Interior Architecture

In order to be prepared for this interior design bachelor's degree program, students are required to take classes in art history, visual presentation, design and drawing. A portfolio review and junior-level evaluation is necessary to enter into the program's upper-division classes. Upper-division coursework explores methods and materials, interior design techniques and art history. Additionally students must complete a 3-credit practicum experience to graduate.

Master of Arts in Studio Arts

Liberal arts and applied arts help form the basis and foundation of this master's degree program with an emphasis on interior architecture. The intellectual and artistic aspects of interior design are emphasized. Faculty members help students learn how to address human problems in three-dimensional form and space. In order to graduate, students must complete at least 30 credit hours and an exhibition.

Master of Fine Arts

Admission into the fine arts program requires students to provide digital examples of work, letters of reference and artist statement, as well as hold a bachelor's degree in studio art. The 60-credit program with an emphasis on interior architecture focuses on the aesthetic, social and cultural aspects of the field, and students must complete an exhibition and thesis prior to graduation.

Other School Option

Palomar College is the next nearest community college to San Diego that offers an interior design certificate and an associate degree program in the field. The school is located about 30 miles away.

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