Interior Architecture and Design

Major: Interior Architecture and Design
Degree Awarded: Master of Science
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 Master of Science program in Interior Architecture & Design at Drexel is an internationally recognized CIDA accredited First Professional MS degree that prepares students of diverse undergraduate backgrounds to become leaders in the field of interior design. Through an integrated studio approach, coursework incorporates application of design concepts, technical information and hands-on skills to create a range of public, commercial, residential and institutional spaces. Students learn to transform space to address aesthetic, social, physical and psychological needs. In conjunction with the integrated studio, the program emphasizes independent research culminating in a master's thesis. The Master of Science program in Interior Architecture & Design is ranked in the Top10 by DesignIntelligence, America's Best Architecture & Design Programs. 

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. With more than 90% of the applicants having backgrounds in a non-design related field and on average 10% being international students, the graduate student body brings rich and diverse life and cultural experiences to the Department and the College. Open mindedness and the desire and commitment to acquire knowledge through various avenues ensure that all students enrich the exchange of ideas and professional development.

Professional Opportunities

Alumni are principals of their own interior design firms, project managers in major design and architectural firms, facilities managers, and design coordinators. About one-third of the students obtain entry-level employment before graduation from the program; within five years, many hold managerial positions.

Professional exposure occurs in exchanges with practitioners through professional jurying of all major student projects. Students are also encouraged to become members of local, national, and international interior design professional organizations.

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.

Prerequisite Undergraduate Coursework
ARTH 103History of Art III: Modern Art3.0
VSST 104Accelerated Design I *2.0
VSST 105Accelerated Design II *2.0
VSST 106Accelerated Design III *2.0
VSST 110Introductory Drawing3.0
INTR 160Visualization I: Computer Imaging3.0
INTR 200History of Modern Architecture and Interiors3.0
INTR 220Visualization II: Orthographic3.0
INTR 231Structure4.0
INTR 232Interior Studio I4.0
INTR 241Visualization III: Digital3.0
INTR 300 [WI] Visual Culture: Interiors3.0
INTR 305 [WI] Visual Culture: Furniture3.0

For students needing all prerequisite coursework, the program begins in the summer term with an accelerated sequence of foundational coursework and two quarters of undergraduate interior design courses. These prerequisites prepare candidates for the graduate coursework. Applicants who have a background in art, architecture or design may be able to complete the program in less time. 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.

For additional information on requirements and how to apply, visit Graduate Admissions at Drexel University.

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
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
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

INTR 899 consists of two components: a series of sketch problems and design competitions that must be completed during the two + graduate years and a faculty review of a portfolio presentation of a body of student-selected work.

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 
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


The interior design program is housed in the URBN Center, a state of the art design and arts facility on Drexel’s campus. The URBN Center officially opened in September 2012. A hub for creative minds to gather, share ideas and work together to bring those ideas from the mind to the page, and into the world of tomorrow, interiors students benefit from a wide-range of resources including interior design studios, the interior design resource library, a hybrid making lab, wood shop and computer laboratories. The Hybrid Making Lab is open to all Westphal students and has state-of-the-art fabricating equipment including 3-d printers, laser cutters and CNC Router. The Westphal Print Center is a full-service, low-cost facility and is accessible to students from on and off campus. 

The URBN Annex houses a black box theater, screening room and the Leonard Pearlstein Gallery. Additional studio and classroom space in the Peck Problem Solving and Research Center 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.

Architecture & Interiors Faculty

David Ade, AIA, LEED A.P., NCARB, BArch (Drexel University). Adjunct Associate Professor. Principal, SMP Architects, sustainable design
Ulrike Altenmuller-Lewis, AIA, Dr.-Ing. (Bauhaus Universitat Weimar). Associate Professor. Research on educational environments; translations of architectural theory texts.
Jason Austin, LEED A.P., MLA Landscape Architecture (University of Pennsylvania). Assistant Teaching Professor. Principal, Austin + Mergold; architecture, research, landscape architecture, urban design.
Stephen Bonitatibus, AIA, MArch (University of Pennsylvania). Adjunct Professor. Principal, Bonitatibus Associates; traditional residential architecture.
Anthony Bracali, AIA, LEED A.P., BArch (Drexel University). Adjunct Associate Professor. President, Friday Architects; civic, non-profit and community-based architecture.
Mark Brack, PhD (University of California at Berkeley). Associate Professor. British and American architecture from 1700 to the present; Hispanic colonial architecture in the American Southwest; vernacular architecture; historic preservation.
Daniel Chung, RA, PE, MArch, MSE (Yale University, Princeton University). Assistant Professor. Building performance and exterior envelope systems.
Jon Coddington, AIA, MArch (University of Pennsylvania). Professor. Architecture, urban design and planning.
Rena Cumby, BArch, MS (Drexel University) Department Head, Department of Architecture & Interiors. Associate Professor. Interior designer; foundation studies and design education.
John DeFazio, AIA, BArch (New York Institute of Technology). Adjunct Professor. Architecture in film.
Katherine Dowdell, AIA, BS Interior Design (Drexel University). Adjunct Assistant Professor. Principal, Farragut Street Architects; historic preservation
Eugenia Ellis, RA, PhD (Virginia Polytechnic State University). Associate Professor. Extended-care facilities design, research on spatial visualization, perception and imagination.
Dyer Alfred "Lyndsay" Falck, RA, ARCUK, ARIBA, NCARB, M.URP (University of Capetown, South Africa). Adjunct Professor. Building technology
Jeff Fama, MArch (State University of New York at Buffalo). Adjunct Associate Professor. Retail, entertainment, and theater design.
Susan Feenan, BArch (Temple University). Adjunct Assistant Teaching Professor. Institutional and commercial architecture.
Gary Garofalo, BS Arch Eng (Pennsylvania State University). Adjunct Assistant Professor. Principal Lighting Design Collaborative; lighting expert, lighting design.
Alan Greenberger, FAIA, BArch (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute) Distinguished Visiting Lindy Institute for Urban Innovation Fellow. Distinguished Teaching Professor. Urban planning and policy.
Don Jones, FAIA, LEED DD+C, MArch (University of Pennsylvania). Adjunct Professor. Principal, Director of Sustainable Design, Ewing Cole; sports venues.
Tim Kearney, AIA, MArch (University of Pennsylvania). Adjunct Professor. Principal, CuetoKEARNEY design; sustainable 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.
Jeffrey Krieger, AIA, LEED AP, MArch (Carnegie Mellon University). Adjunct Associate Professor. President, Krieger and Associates Architects; residential design.
Karin Kuenstler, MS (Bank Street College of Education and Parsons) Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies. Associate Professor. Interior design for corporate and commercial facilities.
Maria Kuttruff, MS (Drexel University). Adjunct Assistant Professor. Owner/Principal, Viola Interior Design, LLC. Residential interior design.
Robert Nalls, AIA, NCARB, MArch (University of Pennsylvania). Adjunct Professor. Principal, Nalls Architecture Inc.; institutional and educational buildings.
Diana S. Nicholas, RA, AIA, NCARB, MFA (University of the Arts, Philadelphia) Associate Director of MS Interior Architecture and Design, Director, Sustainability in the Built Environment minor. Assistant Professor. Coordinator, Sustainability in the Built Environment
Jacklynn Niemiec, LEED BD+C, MArch (University of Pennsylvania). Assistant Teaching Professor. Graphic representation
Karen Pelzer, NCIDQ, BS Interior Design (Drexel University). Assistant Teaching Professor. President, Karen Pelzer Interiors; hospitality design.
Marilynne L. Rose, NCIDQ, MS (Drexel University). Associate Teaching Professor. Residential and commercial design.
James Rowe, AIA, MArch (University of Pennsylvania). Adjunct Associate Professor. Principal, Studio Agoos Lovera; institutional, recreation, corporate, civic and residential design.
Debra Ruben, MS, IDEC, LEED AP, NCIDQ (Drexel University) Director of Interiors Programs. Associate Professor. Research on user participation and the design process.
Paul Salvaggio, AIA, LEED AP, NCARB, BArch, BS Arch (Pennsylvania State University). Adjunct Assistant Professor. Principal, Arcus Design Group; residential architecture.
Rachel Schade, AIA, MArch (University of Pennsylvania) Program, Architecture, Associate Director for Student Placement. Associate Teaching Professor. Principal, Rachel Simmons Schade Architect. Work-study placement; residential, graphic representation.
Harris Steinberg, FAIA, MArch (University of Pennsylvania) Executive Director, Lindy Institute for Urban Innovation. Distinguished Teaching Professor. Urban design and civic engagement.
Simon Tickell, AIA, MArch (University of Pennsylvania). Associate Teaching Professor. Principal, Simon J Tickell Architect; educational and museum buildings, residential design
Nancy Trainer, FAIA, AICP, LEED, AFAAR, MArch (University of Pennsylvania) Associate Vice President of Design & Planning at Drexel. Adjunct Teaching Professor. Planning, institutional design.
Ada Tremonte, NCIDQ, BS (Drexel University) Associate Director, BS Interior Design. Associate Teaching Professor. President, ada Design Associates; corporate/commercial design.

Emeritus Faculty

Judith Bing, MArch (Yale University). Professor Emeritus. Research on traditional architecture of the Balkins and Anatolia
Sylvia Clark, MArch (University of Pennsylvania). Professor Emeritus.
Paul M. Hirshorn, FAIA, MArch, MCP, (University of Pennsylvania). Professor Emeritus.
Marjorie Kriebel, BArch (University of Pennsylvania). Professor Emeritus.
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