Interior Design Schools in Seattle with Degree Program Overviews

Dec 04, 2018

The Seattle area has a few schools that offer interior design programs. Learn about the programs, admission info and program requirements for three of these schools, all within 15 miles of downtown, and make an informed education decision.

Schools in Seattle with Interior Design Programs

Prospective interior designers in the Seattle area have several school and education program choices in the immediate area. This article looks at three schools, none more than 15 miles from the city center, and the interior design degree programs they offer. There's also a table of information that prospective students should be aware of about each school, such as enrollment, tuition, acceptance rates and the percentage of students who graduate on schedule. Information about one other Seattle-area school with interior design instruction is included at the end of the article.

  • Seattle Pacific University, located 2.5 miles from the heart of Seattle, offers a bachelor's degree program in interior design.
  • Bellevue College is only about nine miles outside of Seattle and offers associate's and bachelor's degree programs in interior design.
  • An Associate of Applied Science in Interior Design can also be pursued at Highline College. At about 14 miles away from downtown, however, this 2-year school is a little farther from Seattle than the others.

Comparison of Schools

Students need access to many facts about the schools they are considering. This table posts some of the most pertinent information in a format that makes comparisons easy.

Seattle Pacific University Bellevue College Highline College
School Type 4-year; private not-for-profit 4-year; public 4-year; public
Total Enrollment (2017) 3,783* 13,322* 6,824*
Campus Setting Large city Midsize city Large suburb
Tuition & Fees (2017-2018) $40,893* $3,699 for in-state
$9,052 for out-of-state*
$3,936 for in-state
$4,358 for out-of-state*
% of First-Year Students Receiving Some Form of Financial Aid (2016-2017) 98%* 49%* 47%*
Acceptance Rate (2017) 91%* N/A - Open admissions* N/A - Open admissions*
Retention Rate for First-Time Students (2016-2017) 79% for full-time students pursuing bachelor's degrees* N/A* N/A*
Graduation Rate (students began Fall 2011) 69%* 24%* 30%*

Source: *NCES College Navigator.

Seattle Pacific University

This school affiliated with the Free Methodist Church offers a bachelor's degree program in interior design with either an interior design or interior merchandising emphasis. Required studies at this Christian university also include courses in family and individual development, the role of faith and ethics in professional practice, and the foundations of Christian theology and scripture.

Bachelor of Arts in Interior Design

Both the interior design and interior merchandising tracks give students training that combines the artistic and business aspects of the profession. Interior design courses include family housing, lighting, textiles, professional practice, computer-aided design (CAD) and design history. An internship, along with a portfolio and exhibition, must be completed in order to graduate. The interior merchandising program covers the retail and wholesale operations, sales and marketing involved with design products, such as textiles, lighting and furniture, and requires students to do an internship.

Bellevue College

Bellevue College's programs evolve with the interior design industry, offering students fundamental skills training as well as exposure to current trends. The department features a design lecture series with guest speakers, in addition to exhibitions of seniors' final projects.

Associate of Arts in Interior Studies

Students can pursue this 95-credit degree program without previous interior design experience. Coursework features both computer-aided and manual design techniques as well as development of writing skills. Topics include digital design tools, interior materials and sources, color, digital design presentation and design illustration.

Bachelor of Applied Arts in Interior Design

The Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA) accredits this bachelor's degree program. To enroll, students must have either an undergraduate degree or college background related to interior design, and they must submit a portfolio that displays their design, technical and communication skills. The program emphasizes creative problem solving in commercial, experimental and residential design. Coursework includes design research, interior building systems and interior design theory. Studio classes and a practicum are also required.

Highline College

Highline's programs offer comprehensive preparation for the interior design profession, developing students' artistic, technical, project management and communication skills. The school also works with area employers to provide internships and employment opportunities.

Associate of Applied Science in Interior Design or AAS-Transfer

While those who want to start their careers upon completion usually go with an Associate of Applied Science degree, students who want to transfer to a 4-year university typically earn the AAS-T degree, which includes alternate courses in math and social science. Both options provide training for commercial and residential design work and include studies in drafting, materials, sustainable design, portfolio presentation and the history of design. An internship is required in either option, as well.

Other School Option

Clover Park Technical College, which is about 32 miles from downtown Seattle, also offers interior design certificates and associate degree programs.

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