Interior Architecture and Design

Major: Interior Architecture and Design
Degree Awarded: Master of Science (MS)
Calendar Type: Quarter
Minimum Required Credits: 92.0
Co-op Option: None
Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) code: 15.1301

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 92.0 graduate credits, most students complete the MS Interior Architecture & Design program in 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 hold a range of positions at major design and architectural firms; they may be principals of their own interior design firms, work as facilities managers, design 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 gain professional experience through paid employment, service to the profession, or other professional engagement. 

Additional Information

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

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 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 532Interior Studio I4.0
INTR 533Interior Studio II4.0
INTR 622Graduate Studio A4.0
INTR 623Studio A Seminar2.0
INTR 632Graduate Studio B4.0
INTR 633Studio B Seminar2.0
INTR 642Graduate Studio C4.0
INTR 643Studio C Seminar2.0
INTR 652Graduate Studio D4.0
INTR 653Studio D Seminar2.0
INTR 662Graduate Studio E4.0
INTR 663Studio E Seminar2.0
Art History/Visual Studies
ARTH 530History of Modern Design3.0
INTR 500Visual Culture: Interiors3.0
INTR 511History of Modern Architecture and Interiors3.0
VSST 501Contemporary Art Issues3.0
VSST 502Space/Time I3.0
VSST 511Drawing Fundamentals3.0
Construction and Technology
INTR 501Visualization Fundamentals3.0
INTR 624Material Investigations3.0
INTR 625Advanced Visual Methods3.0
INTR 634Interior Systems I3.0
INTR 645Advanced Digital Methods3.0
INTR 654Interior Systems II3.0
Electives (Select 3) *9.0
INTR 694Thesis Programming3.0
INTR 697Thesis - Development3.0
INTR 698Thesis - Documentation3.0
Comprehensive Exam (Graduate Review) **
INTR 699Comp Exam for Interior Design0.0
Total Credits92.0

Select 9.0 credits from 500-700 level courses, including I599, I699, I799 and T580, T680, T780 in ARCH, DSRE, INTR, URBS


INTR 699 consists of several components: a series of sketch problems, design competitions, professional experience and portfolio review. These must be completed during the two + graduate years.


The 92.0 graduate quarter credits do not include any of the required prerequisite coursework. See the Admission Requirements for a list of courses students are expected to have completed prior to beginning their graduate study.

Sample Plan of Study

Note: Only graduate-level courses are eligible for financial aid.

Sample Plan of Study without Required Prerequisites

First Year
   INTR 5003.0
   INTR 5013.0
   VSST 5113.0
Second Year
INTR 5113.0INTR 5334.0ARTH 5303.0 
INTR 5324.0INTR 6243.0INTR 6224.0 
VSST 5023.0VSST 5013.0INTR 6232.0 
  INTR 6253.0 
 10 10 12 
Third Year
INTR 6324.0INTR 6424.0INTR 6524.0 
INTR 6332.0INTR 6432.0INTR 6532.0 
INTR 6343.0INTR 6453.0INTR 6543.0 
 9 9 9 
Fourth Year
INTR 6624.0INTR 6973.0INTR 6983.0 
INTR 6632.0INTR Elective (GR)6.0INTR 6990.0 
INTR 6943.0 (GR) INTR Elective3.0 
 9 9 6 
Total Credits 92

Sample Plan of Study with Required Prerequisites

First Year
   VSST 1042.0
   VSST 1052.0
   VSST 1062.0
   INTR 5003.0
   INTR 5013.0
   VSST 5113.0
Second Year
INTR 2203.0INTR 2413.0ARTH 5303.0VACATION
INTR 5113.0INTR 5334.0INTR 6224.0 
INTR 5324.0INTR 6243.0INTR 6232.0 
VSST 5023.0VSST 5013.0INTR 6253.0 
 13 13 12 0
Third Year
INTR 6324.0INTR 6424.0INTR 6524.0 
INTR 6332.0INTR 6432.0INTR 6532.0 
INTR 6343.0INTR 6453.0INTR 6543.0 
 9 9 9 
Fourth Year
INTR 6624.0INTR 6973.0INTR 6983.0 
INTR 6632.0INTR Elective6.0INTR 6990.0 
INTR 6943.0 INTR Elective3.0 
 9 9 6 
Total Credits 104


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.

Architecture, Design & Urbanism Faculty

Ulrike Altenmüller-Lewis, AIA, NOMA, Dr.-Ing. (Bauhaus Universitat Weimar). Associate Professor. Research on educational environments; translations of architectural theory texts.
Jason Austin, LeeD AP MLA (University of Pennsylvania). Associate Teaching Professor. Landscape architecture, mapping, design build, online education
Daniel E. Coslett, PhD (University of Washington). Assistant Professor. Architectural and urban history, global modernism, colonialism and postcolonial theory, classical reception, archaeology and heritage preservation, tourism studies, globalization, and North Africa.
Stéphanie Feldman, RA, MArch (University of Pennsylvania). Assistant Teaching Professor. Principal, ScF Design. Architectural design, Japanese architecture & culture.
Alan Greenberger, FAIA (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute) Senior Vice President for Real Estate and Development. Distinguished Teaching Professor. Urban planning, economic development, urban governance
Antonio Martinez-Molina, PhD, LEED, CPHD (Polytechnic University of Valencia). Associate Professor. Design built, high performance architecture, adaptive reuse, Passive Haus.
Jacklynn Niemiec, AIA, LEED BD+C, MArch (University of Pennsylvania). Assistant Professor. Graphic representation, wayfinding.
Alesa Rubendall, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, MArch (University of Texas, Austin). Assistant Teaching Professor. Principal, Design Moxie Architecture & Planning. Sustainable architecture, planning & design, women leadership.
Rachel Schade, AIA, MArch (University of Pennsylvania). Associate Teaching Professor. Principal, Rachel Simmons Schade Architect. Residential, graphic representation. Retired.
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. Retired.

Emeritus Faculty

Judith Bing, MArch (Yale University). Professor Emerita. Research on traditional architecture of the Balkins and Anatolia
Mark Brack, PhD (University of California at Berkeley). Professor Emeritus. British and American architecture from 1700 to the present; Hispanic colonial architecture in the American Southwest; vernacular architecture; historic preservation.
Sylvia Clark, MArch (University of Pennsylvania). Professor Emeritus.
Eugenia Ellis, PhD, AIA (Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University). Professor Emerita. Natural and electrical light sources and effects on biological rhythms and health outcomes; ecological strategies for smart, sustainable buildings of the nexus of health, energy, and technology.
Paul M. Hirshorn, FAIA, MArch, MCP, (University of Pennsylvania). Professor Emeritus.
Marjorie Kriebel, BArch (University of Pennsylvania). Professor Emerita.
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