Interior Architecture and Design

Major: Interior Architecture and Design
Degree Awarded: Master of Science (MS)
Calendar Type: Quarter
Total Credit Hours: 69.0
Co-op Option: None
Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) code: 04.0501
Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) code: 27-1025

About the Program

The graduate program in Interior Architecture & Design offers a first professional Master of Science degree that prepares students of diverse undergraduate backgrounds to become leaders in the field of interior design. We are consistently ranked among the top programs in the country, and in the survey by Design Intelligence of “America's Best Design Schools." As one of the few CIDA accredited graduate programs in the country, our students are on the fast-track to licensure and are highly prepared to enter the professional world of interior architecture and design. Our coursework teaches conceptual, technical, and hands-on approaches in designing a range of spaces. Student work includes public, commercial, residential, and institutional projects in which students learn to transform environments to address aesthetic, social, physical and psychological needs. In conjunction with our integrated studio approach, the program emphasizes independent research culminating in a master's thesis.

Comprised of 69.0 graduate credits, most students complete the MS Interior Architecture & Design program in two to three years, depending upon individual student backgrounds and the completion of all necessary prerequisites.

Student Background

MS Interior Architecture & Design students come to the program with undergraduate degrees in a wide variety of fields, bringing rich experiences and enthusiasm. The majority of applicants have backgrounds in non-design fields, and approximately 25% are international students. Our students are characterized by their open-mindedness, with a desire and commitment to acquire knowledge through rigorous study and training.

Professional Opportunities

Alumni are principals of their own interior design firms, hold a range of positions at major design and architectural firms, and work as facilities managers, consultants, teaching faculty, or in related industry areas. About one-third of the students obtain entry-level employment before graduation from the program; our students have little difficulty finding employment following graduation, and many reach senior positions within five years.

Professional exposure occurs in exchanges with practitioners through professional jurying of all major student projects and in one-on-one thesis advising. As part of the graduate comprehensive exam, students are required to gain professional experience through paid employment, service to the profession, or other professional engagement. 

For more information, visit Drexel's Graduate Studies in Interior Architecture & Design web page.

Admission Requirements

Admission criteria for the graduate program consists of the requirements of the University for graduate admission, plus satisfaction of basic interior design undergraduate coursework. These prerequisites include courses in design, drawing, and art history. For applicants with a background and education in design, many or all of these prerequisites may be waived. For applicants with no background in design, we offer up to 38.0 credits of prerequisite coursework in conjunction with the graduate curriculum.

The prerequisite program typically begins in the summer term with an accelerated sequence of foundational coursework and includes two quarters of undergraduate interior design courses to prepare candidates for the graduate coursework.

A portfolio review or evaluation by the Associate Director of the Interior Architecture & Design program determines what prerequisites have been satisfied. Contact Graduate Studies in Interior Architecture & Design for specific information about prerequisites or to make an appointment for review and evaluation.

Degree Requirements

The full-time graduate coursework combines seven terms of faculty-directed coursework in interior design, including a student-initiated thesis.

The 69.0 credits that make up the graduate requirement include a visual studies sequence as well as elective coursework in the following areas: interior design seminars on specific topics; advanced studies in art, art history, and interior design; and independent studies. This allows individual flexibility in curriculum design.

Required Courses
Studios
INTR 722Graduate Studio A4.0
INTR 723Studio A Seminar2.0
INTR 732Graduate Studio B4.0
INTR 733Studio B Seminar2.0
INTR 742Graduate Studio C4.0
INTR 743Studio C Seminar2.0
INTR 752Graduate Studio D4.0
INTR 753Studio D Seminar2.0
INTR 762Graduate Studio E4.0
INTR 763Studio E Seminar2.0
Visual Studies
VSST 501Contemporary Art Issues3.0
VSST 502Space/Time I3.0
IAD Seminars
INTR 861Advanced Visual Methods3.0
INTR 862Interior Systems I3.0
INTR 863Advanced Digital Methods3.0
INTR 864Material Investigations3.0
INTR 865Interior Systems II3.0
Electives9.0
Thesis
INTR 894Thesis Programming3.0
INTR 897Thesis - Development3.0
INTR 898Thesis - Documentation3.0
Comprehensive Exam
INTR 899Comp Exam for Interior Design *0.0
Graduate Review *
Total Credits69.0

Sample Plan of Study

Term 1Credits
Accelerated Design I 
Accelerated Design II 
Accelerated Design III 
Introductory Drawing 
Visualization I: Computer Imaging 
Visual Culture: Furniture 
 Term Credits0.0
Term 2
History of Modern Architecture and Interiors 
Visualization II: Orthographic 
Structure 
VSST 501Contemporary Art Issues3.0
 Term Credits3.0
Term 3
Interior Studio I 
Visualization III: Digital 
Visual Culture: Interiors 
VSST 502Space/Time I3.0
 Term Credits3.0
Term 4
INTR 722Graduate Studio A4.0
INTR 723Studio A Seminar2.0
INTR 861Advanced Visual Methods3.0
INTR 864Material Investigations3.0
 Term Credits12.0
Term 5
INTR 732Graduate Studio B4.0
INTR 733Studio B Seminar2.0
INTR 862Interior Systems I3.0
 Term Credits9.0
Term 6
INTR 742Graduate Studio C4.0
INTR 743Studio C Seminar2.0
INTR 863Advanced Digital Methods3.0
INTR Elective3.0
 Term Credits12.0
Term 7
INTR 752Graduate Studio D4.0
INTR 753Studio D Seminar2.0
INTR 865Interior Systems II3.0
 Term Credits9.0
Term 8
INTR 762Graduate Studio E4.0
INTR 763Studio E Seminar2.0
INTR 894Thesis Programming3.0
 Term Credits9.0
Term 9
INTR 897Thesis - Development3.0
INTR Elective3.0
 Term Credits6.0
Term 10
INTR 898Thesis - Documentation3.0
INTR 899Comp Exam for Interior Design0.0
INTR Elective3.0
 Term Credits6.0
Total Credit: 69.0

Facilities

The Interior Architecture program is housed in URBN Center, an original Venturi Scott Brown building enhanced by an award-winning retrofit by MS&R Design, including a skylight covered atrium, exposed beams and open spaces. There is a dedicated 24-hour graduate student studio, with storage space, computers, and a small lounge area. We have a materials library that is continually updated with samples from major manufacturers and local design offices and showrooms; two computer labs and in-house printing for the use of our students; a Hybrid Making Lab with laser cutters, 3D printers, a CNC router and small-scale power tools for student use; and a larger shop facility which offers larger wood, metal, casting, CNC, and fabrication equipment.

The URBN Annex houses a black box theater, screening room and the Leonard Pearlstein Gallery. Additional studio and classroom space in the Academic Building and the Design Arts Annex accommodate photography, basic design, painting, sculpture and a full woodworking shop with industrial-quality equipment. 

Philadelphia, one of the nation's major design centers, gives interior design students the vitality of the contemporary arts at local galleries; easy access to many museums, libraries, renowned buildings, as well as design centers located in Philadelphia, New York City and Washington, D.C.

Interior Design Faculty

Graham Bailer, RA MArch (University of Pennsylvania). Adjunct Instructor. Graham Bailer Architecture. Technology and foundations.
Rena Cumby, BArch, MS (Drexel University) Department Head, Department of Architecture & Interiors. Associate Professor. Interior designer; foundation studies and design education.
Eugenia Ellis, RA, PhD (Virginia Polytechnic State University). Associate Professor. Extended-care facilities design, research on spatial visualization, perception and imagination.
Jeff Fama, MArch (State University of New York at Buffalo). Adjunct Instructor. Retail, entertainment, and theater design.
Susan Feenan, BArch (Temple University). Adjunct Instructor. Institutional and commercial architecture.
Gary Garofalo, BS Arch Eng (Pennsylvania State University). Adjunct Instructor. Principal Lighting Design Collaborative; lighting expert, lighting design.
Alan Greenberger, FAIA, BArch (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute) Department Head, Architecture, Design & Urbanism, Distinguished Visiting Lindy Institute for Urban Innovation Fellow. Distinguished Teaching Professor. Urban planning and policy.
Carla Heikiin, MS (Drexel University). Adjunct Instructor. Workplace Strategy.
Peter Johnston, RA, AIA, MArch (University of California). Assistant Teaching Professor. Hospitality and institutional architecture and interior design.
Nicole Koltick, MArch (University of California) Director, Design Futures Lab. Assistant Professor. Researching possibilities for architecture and design through the use of unexpected and innovative interdisciplinary models. Foundation design studios, fabrication and technology seminars.
Maria Kuttruff, MS (Drexel University). Adjunct Instructor. Owner/Principal, Viola Interior Design, LLC. Residential interior design.
William Mangold, NCIDQ, MPhil (City University Graduate Center, NY) Associate Director MS Interior Architecture & Design. Assistant Teaching Professor. Research on theories of space and place.
Diana S. Nicholas, RA, AIA, NCARB, MFA (University of the Arts, Philadelphia) Director of MS Design Research. Assistant Professor. Coordinator, Sustainability in the Built Environment
Karen Pelzer, NCIDQ, BS Interior Design (Drexel University). Assistant Teaching Professor. President, Karen Pelzer Interiors; hospitality design.
Debra Ruben, MS, IDEC, LEED AP, NCIDQ, MS (Drexel University) Director of BS and MS Interiors Programs. Associate Professor. Research on user participation and the design process.
Eric Rymshaw, RA, BArch (Drexel University). Adjunct Instructor. Vice President and Design Principal of Fury Design, Philadelphia.
Elena Sabinson, MS (Drexel University). Assistant Teaching Professor. Technology and visualization methods.
Frances Temple-West, RA, AIA, MArch (Virginia Tech). Adjunct Instructor.
Ada Tremonte, NCIDQ, BS (Drexel University) Associate Director, BS Interior Design. Associate Teaching Professor. President, ada Design Associates; corporate/commercial design.

Emeritus Faculty

Sylvia Clark, MArch (University of Pennsylvania). Professor Emeritus.
Marjorie Kriebel, BArch (University of Pennsylvania). Professor Emeritus.
Karin Kuenstler, MS (Bank Street College of Education and Parsons). Professor Emeritus.
Marilynne L. Rose, NCIDQ, MS (Drexel University). Professor Emeritus.
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