Master of Arts in Interior Design

DP|MA interior design

Interior design as a profession continues to evolve. Leaders in the field require a greater understanding of complex systems, skills in collaborative design and knowledge of specific interior requirements. A graduate-level degree enables a more-advanced level of practice for designers to help meet their clients’ needs in this competitive field.

In Harrington College of Design’s Master of Arts in Interior Design program, created specifically for students who have earned a bachelor’s degree in a field not related to interior design, the curriculum includes core courses in interior design theory and methods as well as studio-based courses in which theory and method are integrated through application in project-based work. (Students with an undergraduate degree in interior design, architecture or a related field may consider Harrington's Master of Interior Design Program.)

Harrington's MA in Interior Design program focuses on fundamental design process skills and knowledge, along with required core courses in interior design theory, research methods and studio-based courses. Graduates will be expected to:

  • Solve advanced problems in the interior built environment by applying the theory and methods of design to a chosen specialized field.
  • Demonstrate a depth of market knowledge of an interior environment or project type sufficient to lead design professionals and users in the programming effort for that project type.
  • Collaborate with others both inside and outside of the interior design field to apply a diverse range of knowledge, skills and points of view to the solution of interior design problems.
  • Apply third-party research effectively and appropriately in the solution of interior design problems, and understand the role of evidence-based research.
  • Model a user-centered view of interior design problems through integration of research and collaborative methods.
  • Propose design solutions that can be demonstrated to sustain natural resources and create healthy and safe interior environments.
  • Integrate current digital technology in the programming, design and presentation of interior environments.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the business, entrepreneurial, government and not-for-profit contexts of design decision-making.

Courses in Harrington's MA in Interior Design program are designed to help students develop a specialized area of knowledge and application, which will be demonstrated in a thesis project. For example:

  • In Graduate Design Studio A, students are introduced to the interior design process through multiple small-scale projects. Designs are developed through conceptual, schematic and design development phases. The goal is to create a solid foundation in interior design, including sketching, drafting, code analysis, material selection, lighting and presentation.
  • In History of Interiors and Architecture I, course content includes a survey of the development of interiors, architecture and furniture from prehistory to the mid-19th century. The coverage is primarily Western, though some non-Western cultures are presented.
  • In Theory II: Design and Society, students examine the social and cultural factors that affect design process and products. The designer’s response to societal trends is examined through readings and discussion. The roles played by designers will be evaluated in terms of their effect on design principles and solutions.

Other core requirements in this program include*:

  • Business Practices
  • Graduate Design Studio B
  • History of Interiors and Architecture II
  • Computer Aided Design and Drafting/3D CADD
  • Theory I: Ecology of Design
  • Methods I: Research Methods
  • Methods II: Media and Communication
  • Advanced Studio I: Creative Collaboration
  • Advanced Studio II: Specialization Studio
  • Methods II: Practice Colloquium
  • Advanced Studio III: Directed Thesis Preparation
  • Thesis Studio
  • Core Electives (3)

*Course curriculum is subject to change.

For accreditation information for this and other Harrington College of Design programs, please click here.