Interior Architecture and Design

Major: Interior Architecture and Design
Degree Awarded: Master of Science (MS)
Calendar Type: Quarter
Total Credit Hours: 79.0
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. 

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 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
VSST 501Contemporary Art Issues3.0
VSST 502Space/Time I3.0
Construction and Technology
DSRE 630Data Visualization for Design Professionals3.0
INTR 624Material Investigations3.0
INTR 625Advanced Visual Methods3.0
INTR 634Interior Systems I3.0
INTR 641Furniture Design4.0
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 Credits79.0

Sample Plan of Study

First Year
ARTH 5303.0DSRE 6303.0INTR 6224.0VACATION
INTR 6414.0INTR 6243.0INTR 6232.0 
VSST 5023.0VSST 5013.0INTR 6253.0 
 10 9 9 0
Second Year
INTR 6324.0INTR 6424.0INTR 6524.0VACATION
INTR 6332.0INTR 6432.0INTR 6532.0 
INTR 6343.0INTR 6453.0INTR 6543.0 
 9 9 9 0
Third 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 79


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 & Interiors Faculty

Ulrike Altenmuller-Lewis, AIA, Dr.-Ing. (Bauhaus Universitat Weimar). Associate Professor. Research on educational environments; translations of architectural theory texts.
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). Associate 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). 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, PhD, AIA (Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University). Professor. Natural and electric light sources and effects on biological rhythms and health outcomes; ecological strategies for smart, sustainable buildings of the nexus of health, energy and technology.
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 (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute) Department Head, Architecture, Design & Urbanism. Distinguished Teaching Professor. Urban planning, economic development, urban governance
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, Los Angeles) Director, Design Futures Lab. Associate Professor. Researching possibilities for architecture and design through the use of unexpected and innovative interdisciplinary models; computational design, digital fabrication, contemporary form making, design research, philosophy and theory of design, speculative design
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) Director of MS Design Research, Coordinator, Sustainability in the Built Environment Minor. Assistant Professor. Coordinator, Sustainability in the Built Environment Researching Health in residential urban environment and interprofessional collaboration
Jacklynn Niemiec, LEED BD+C, MArch (University of Pennsylvania). Assistant Teaching Professor. Graphic representation
James Rowe, AIA, MArch (University of Pennsylvania). Adjunct Associate Professor. Principal, Studio Agoos Lovera; institutional, recreation, corporate, civic and residential design.
Debra Ruben, NCIDQ, IDEC, LEED AP, MS (Drexel University) Academic Associate Dean; Interim Associate Dean, Graduate Studies. Associate Professor. Interior design
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.
Frances Temple West, AIA, NCARB, LEED GA, MArch (Virginia Tech). Assistant Teaching Professor. Principal, Frances Temple-West Architect; Retail, Corporate/Commercial, and Residential design
Frances Temple-West, AIA, NCARB, LEED GA, MArch (Virginia Tech). Assistant Teaching Professor. Principal, Frances Temple-West Architect; retail, corporate/commercial, and residential design
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, IDEC, IIDA, MS (Drexel University) Director, BS Interior Design. Teaching Professor. President, a d a Design Associates, Inc.; educational and 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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