Interior Design


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Photo of students working on sketches''

Interior design is a multi-faceted profession in which creative and technical solutions are applied within a structure to achieve a built interior environment. Interior designers combine knowledge, creativity, problem solving skills, and aesthetic vision to develop safe, functional, aesthetically pleasing environments that meet the needs of the client.

Specialized knowledge includes programming, design analysis, space planning, interior construction, building codes, materials, furnishings and equipment. Teaching in this program focuses on design education and pedagogy; design theory and application; historic preservation and conservation of the built environment; sustainable design; visual communication and technology; and indoor environmental quality. 

The Interior Design Program at Michigan State University was established in 1935, and is accredited by the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA). Summary information on job placement, graduation rates and retention/attrition are available at Student Achievement Data.

Degrees offered include Bachelor of Arts in Interior Design, Master of Arts in Environmental Design, and Doctor of Philosophy in Planning, Design and Construction with a concentration in Environmental Design.

Program Philosophy

The Interior Design Program is an integrated program embracing both theoretical and practical aspects. This Program is one of the four academic programs housed in the School of Planning, Design, & Construction, which offers a dynamic environment for interdisciplinary teaching, learning, and student activities. Taking this benefit, faculty and students in the Interior Design Program utilize a holistic approach and are key players in diverse collaboration opportunities for development of the sustainable built environment as a whole.

Having been accredited since 1976, the Interior Design Program at MSU is proud of its long tradition and offers a rigorous curriculum that successfully combines various aspects in design, research, services and client relationships. The core values in the curriculum and course contents are creativity, innovation, sustainability, historic integrity, ethics, critical thinking, human-centered approach and well-being, evidence-based problem solution, and advanced skills in technology and presentation media. The program emphasizes students’ learning the means of satisfying functional and aesthetic requirements appropriate for a variety of specific interior spatial uses (as well as buildings). The curriculum also puts an emphasis on the significant progress in students’ learning outcomes throughout the Interior Design education at MSU.

Representing diverse backgrounds, faculty and students in the Interior Design Program at MSU respect the values and expertise of individual members and strongly advocate for diversity, intellectual integrity, and professional collaboration. Thanks to the recognitions by many global partners, the Interior Design Program offers study abroad programs in Europe, Singapore and South Korea, to enhance global visions of students and faculty in the Program.

To accomplish the mission of Michigan State University as a Tier 1 research-oriented land-grant university, the Interior Design Program maintains dynamics in undergraduate and graduate research, in addition to offering affluent professional career development opportunities. Located on an esthetically inspiring and beautiful campus in East Lansing, Michigan, the Interior Design Program utilizes historical and contemporary settings where students can learn the progress and features of built environments in those settings. The Interior Design Program at MSU eventually contributes our knowledge and experiences in design, research, and services, toward improving quality of human life and built environments locally and globally.

Program Mission

The Mission of the Interior Design Program is to educate students regarding fundamental and in-depth design knowledge, basic and advanced design skills, critical thinking and evidence-based design solutions, and real-world practices and research. The Interior Design Program at MSU provides academic preparation to enable the graduate to enter the profession of Interior Design and advanced study. Emphasis is placed on satisfying functional and aesthetic requirements appropriate for a variety of interior space and building uses. The academic program combines theoretical and practical experiences to develop design expertise. Students also learn community-oriented practices and research while being enrolled in the Interior Design Program at MSU.

The MSU Interior Design curriculum enables the student to design and present solutions which support physical, psychological, social, and behavioral needs of all users, and eventually enhance well-being and quality of life. By completing the Bachelor of Arts degree in Interior Design, students should be ready for taking the responsibilities as entry-level professional interior designers or competitive candidates for professional master degrees in Interior Design or related programs nationally and internationally. Their knowledge and skills should ultimately contribute toward the disciplinary advancement of Interior Design. Students’ learning outcomes should showcase evidence-based and user-oriented solutions for improving overall quality of life of users and surrounding built environments.

Program Educational Goals

Goals: A professional Interior Designer is one who has developed expertise through theoretical and practical experiences to solve interior design problems related to the physical and psycho-social elements of the near environment. The over-arching goal of the undergraduate Interior Design major is to prepare students for professional careers in interior design (or competitive candidates for professional master programs). In fact, Interior Design Program at MSU has produced many faculty members in Interior Design programs in the U.S. and other countries. This agrees with the School’s student-related objectives and goals, which are to produce students exhibiting professional and ethical behavior and attitude, high level of thinking, effective verbal, written and visual communication, leadership, joy in learning and competency in the profession, awareness and appreciation of cultural differences and global issues, an ability to manage change and solve problems, responsible action toward the environment, proficiency in industry-specific knowledge, and appreciation and pride in their school and program affiliation. Through a combination of theoretical and practical experiences, the curriculum enables the student to apply the problem-solving approach to design and present solutions which support human performance.

The Interior Design Program at MSU aspires to meet the following objectives:

  • Goal I: Apply the creative and innovative problem solving approach to design and present solutions which support human performance and well-being.
  • Goal II: Draw from design research and a multidisciplinary body of knowledge to encourage critical thinking and creativity in problem seeking and resolving.
  • Goal III: Communicate design ideas and solutions through effective verbal, visual, and written means that underscore principles of evidence-based and user-oriented design.
  • Goal IV: Develop an awareness and appreciation of cultural diversity and common global issues in the interior design discipline.
  • Goal V: Take responsible action toward the environment through a commitment to sustainability in local and global contexts and design conservation to respect historic integrity.
  • Goal VI: Adhere to the highest levels of professional and ethical behavior and attitude.
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