Program Description

Anne Marie Ryan

At the Interior Design Program’s core are eight studio courses where students explore the creative process through varied and progressively more complex design projects. The studios foster an interdisciplinary environment where research and material from other courses is synthesized through creative experimentation and problem solving in the act of design. Functional and technical knowledge is introduced through other courses focusing on such topics as human behavior, sustainable design, construction detailing, color, materials, lighting, acoustics, building systems, and regulations; as well as furniture, finishes and fabrics. Additional courses develop knowledge of the history and theories of architecture and interiors and the social sciences relevant to design of the built environment in a global culture. Design courses are taught using hand drawing, model building, and digital methods with a focus on craft, which helps students develop an extensive design portfolio. The final design studio in fourth-year, Capstone Project, is the culmination of all previous studies, integrating history, theory, technology, humanistic values, and design innovation in shaping interior spaces.

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The Program’s core courses also introduce students to the design of varied building typologies such as residential, hospitality, educational, business, retail, health-care, corporate and institutional design, which prepares our graduates for practice in small to large design firms.

Much like real world practice our students work collaboratively across disciplines to broaden and deepen their understanding
of other fields that will enrich their design processes. These collaborations may be with the allied design disciplines of architecture, landscape architecture or industrial design or they may be with non- designers, like occupational therapists and physician assistants who offer special expertise in the physical and psychological needs of different demographic groups.

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The Program integrates community service into the curriculum and students will work collaboratively to design for a real client, usually a non-profit organization serving the needs of the local community or underprivileged. These projects are often constructed offering an even richer learning experience.

Our location in Philadelphia gives us access to many design firms and the professionals who contribute their practical knowledge and expertise in the education of our students.  These professionals serve as guest critics, lecturers, adjunct professors, competition judges, and design advisors. This direct connection to industry gives our students a network and an edge when applying for jobs.

The Interior Design Program offers valuable opportunities for internships in design firms, student memberships in professional organizations (e.g. IIDA & ASID), a junior semester studying abroad and short study abroad courses.

The Interior Design Program is further enhanced by a solid liberal arts and sciences foundation (College Studies) required of all students.

Students may follow secondary specializations such as: business, construction management, textile design, historic preservation, and photography.