Interior Design

Graduate Degrees

The Iowa State University Interior Design Program offers three graduate degrees:

Graduates of these programs develop a broadly-based understanding of contemporary interior design, including the role of human factors, problem-solving methods, design research and theory. Download PDF document on our graduate programs' mission, values, philosophy and objectives.

Application Deadline
Please submit your application by February 1 for anticipated fall- or spring-semester entry. All materials must be available on the deadline date, or you will not be considered for admission. It is your responsibility to ensure all of your materials are on file with the Interior Design Program by the deadline.

MFA in Interior Design
The Master of Fine Arts in Interior Design emphasizes formal theoretical, technical and methodological preparation for the design of interior spaces. It requires a minimum of 60 graduate credits, made up of variable topics courses on human factors, design methods and experimental interior design studio. It also includes a research methods course, teaching practicum and general art and design seminar. The degree culminates in a thesis-exhibition or thesis. The thesis-exhibition option is normally composed of a major design work, a substantial MFA exhibit and a written component. The written element describes the development of the candidate's work, addressing such issues as its objectives, theoretical context, and its historical, cultural and other points of reference.

The thesis option involves completion of an original research contribution to the field of interior design. To satisfy the requirements of the MFA, the thesis effort should involve an element of design problem solving in the form of a visual product. The MFA degree is considered a terminal degree in the field of interior design. As such, graduate students selecting this program are expected to develop proficiency in visual communications, design theory, space planning and other significant aspects of the field.

Anyone applying to the MFA in Interior Design graduate program must meet the following requirements (PDF) in addition to the minimum general requirements of the Iowa State University Graduate College. Download a list of course requirements and options for the MFA in Interior Design.

MA in Art and Design – Interior Design
The Master of Arts (MA) degree focuses on interior design research. The degree requires a minimum of 34 graduate credits, including a studio concentration and work in research methods, design methods and human factors. Candidates focus on research in an area of specialization, culminating in a written thesis of research results. Graduates have a broad understanding of current interior design issues and design research, preparing them for special analytical aspects of design practice and further studies leading to the PhD.

Anyone applying to the MA in Art and Design – Interior Design graduate program must meet the following requirements (PDF) in addition to the minimum general requirements of the Iowa State University Graduate College. Download a list of course requirements and options for the MA in Art and Design – Interior Design.

First-Professional MA in Art and Design – Interior Design
Direct entry into the master's program requires an undergraduate degree in interior design or a substantially equivalent field. However, a first-professional MA option is available for individuals who hold a bachelor's degree in another discipline. Candidates for this program should expect to complete up to 40 hours of preparatory coursework, in addition to the 34 graduate credits required for the MA degree.

Anyone applying to the first-professional MA in Art and Design – Interior Design graduate program must meet the following requirements (PDF) in addition to the minimum general requirements of the Iowa State University Graduate College. Download a list of course requirements and options for the first-professional MA in Art and Design – Interior Design.

Individual Programs of Study
Soon after completion of their first semesters of study (or completion of 12 credit hours), graduate students identify their Program of Study (POS) Committees, each comprising a major professor and another committee member drawn from the interior design faculty, plus a third committee member from outside of interior design. Working with the advice and approval of their POS Committees, students develop a specific, individual degree program of study (POS) for completion of their unique educational objectives. Each student must submit this degree program for approval by the director of the Interior Design Program, by the end of their second semester (or completion of 24 credit hours).

View a list of general degree requirements for all three interior design graduate programs (PDF)

More Information
For more information on any of these interior design graduate degree programs, contact

Cigdem Akkurt, Director of Graduate Education
Meredith Foley, Graduate Programs Coordinator