- Offered as:
- Graduate program
The interior design field focuses on enhancing the function and quality of interior spaces to improve quality of life, productivity, health, safety, and welfare. Interior design is a fine arts discipline tempered by the human sciences.
The interior design major at WSU balances study in art, architecture, and humanities with a strong hands-on component.
All students complete a senior immersion experience — faculty-led study abroad in Florence, Italy, a professional internship, or working directly with a faculty mentor on a design project to benefit the local community.
- Strengths of the program
- Ranked among the top 10 programs in the U.S. by the International Interior Design Association and Design Intelligence magazine.
- Complete a master of arts in interior design in one additional year. The master's program is ranked 9th in overall quality by Design Intelligence magazine and is the 5th most admired graduate program in the 2012 Interior Design Deans Survey.
- Internships, field trips to major U.S. cities, and study-abroad programs in Europe give you real-world experience and broaden your perspective.
- Hands-on course projects give you real experience, benefit the local community, and give you opportunities to participate in regional, national, and international competitions.
- Grow professionally through WSU's Interior Design Student Council.
- Accredited by CIDA, the Council for Interior Design Accreditation.
- Transfer directly from Spokane Falls Community College to WSU for bachelor's degree completion.
- Learn from the best: WSU interior design faculty are recognized for their research and creative work through regional, national, and international design awards and juried publications.
- Featured courses and program information
The interior design program
Completing the bachelor of arts in interior design requires 85 credits of interior design course work. After one year of study, students apply for certification into the major and advancement to upper-division courses. Transfer students are evaluated through their portfolio.
The interior design program is part of the University's School of Design and Construction. The school is a unique collaboration among the design and construction management disciplines, with students and faculty from interior design, architecture, landscape architecture, and construction management working and learning together in a team-oriented environment.
Students also have the option to continue into the highly regarded interior design graduate program, which offers three paths to a master of arts degree, including an intensive 4+1 program that yields a master's degree in only one additional year.
The studio experience
The studio experience is the backbone of the interior design curriculum.
First-year studio projects focus on applying the basic elements and principles of design in two dimensions. The sophomore year introduces design in three dimensions and technical courses, addressing issues from digital technology to material application.
Upper-division studio courses merge aesthetics with technical issues through a variety of design projects ranging from residential spaces to large commercial firms.
Computer and hand skills are threaded throughout the curriculum.
Here are a few of the courses you'll take as an interior design major.
- Design Communication
- Materials and Components
- Advanced Interior Construction and Detailing
- History of Design
- Perception and Communication: A studio course covering a broad range of topics (e.g., aesthetics, human behavior, spatial organization, place theory) and project types (e.g., residential, retail, office, hospitality, commercial)
For a full list of core courses, see the interior design department's website.
Highly recommended general education courses for interior design students include those that explore human relationships (psychology, sociology, and diverse populations), the built environment, and all forms of communication (graphic, oral, and written).
See the WSU Catalog for degree requirements and talk with your academic advisor about planning and scheduling your courses. All students must meet requirements as outlined in the catalog in order to graduate.
- Scholarships & financial aid
A variety of state, federal, and university-sponsored programs are available to help students with education costs.
For all students at WSU
Washington State University awards millions of dollars in financial aid and scholarships to students every year based on financial need, academic merit, or a combination of the two.
To get all the financial help WSU can provide, start by doing these two things:
- Complete the University's general scholarship application so you can be eligible for scholarship consideration.
- Complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) so WSU can consider you for aid (scholarships, grants, loans, etc.) based on financial need.
For interior design students
In addition to general scholarships and other financial aid, WSU offers scholarships specifically for students in the interior design major.
Students in interior design are eligible for achievement awards offered by the WSU interior design program. Corporate- and private-supported scholarships are also available.
In addition, the College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences (CAHNRS) awards roughly $600,000 to students annually. To be eligible for awards from CAHNRS, simply complete the WSU general scholarship application each year.
- Careers in interior design
Designers work in a wide range of settings, and WSU prepares you to be successful in any area of interior design.
A majority of designers practice at least part of the time in both the residential and commercial areas. Most commercial designers concentrate within design specialties, such as designing for the hospitality or health care industries.
Some specialized areas of interior design include adaptive reuse, restaurant design, residential kitchen and bath design, interiors for airplanes or yachts, or historic conservation or restoration.
Whatever the setting, here are some of the things you'll likely do as a professional interior designer:
- Analyze client needs, goals, and life safety requirements
- Integrate findings with knowledge of interior design
- Formulate preliminary design concepts that are appropriate, functional, and comply with codes and standards
- Develop and present final design recommendations through appropriate presentation media
- Prepare working drawings and specifications for interior detailing, fixtures, and furnishings in compliance with accessibility guidelines and applicable codes
- Collaborate with professional services of other licensed practitioners in the technical areas of mechanical, electrical, and load-bearing design as required for regulatory approval
- Prepare and administers bids and contract documents as the client’s agent
- Review and evaluate design solutions during implementation and upon completion