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MA Interior Design
The Master of Arts in Interior Design program offers a challenging, fast-paced, and extremely exciting environment, preparing students for careers in this field. The program covers interior architecture and design as well as furniture and finish selections, helping to shape graduates who are well-rounded and ready to enter careers with large-scale architectural firms, small boutique firms, or anywhere in between. Students learn from faculty who are experts in their area of practice, bringing a wealth of knowledge from the working world of design to the classroom. Here, students master state-of-the-art technology that is used in professional design firms, including Revit, AutoCAD, Sketch Up, Rhino 3d, Adobe Creative Suite, and more. Students also gain valuable skills in visual presentation techniques and learn how to illustrate their design ideas through beautiful and complex hand sketches and renderings.
The MA Interior Design Program is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design. This program fulfills the education requirement that qualifies graduates to sit for the National Council of Interior Design Qualification professional licensing exam.
Studying in Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C., offers the Corcoran College of Art + Design’s Interior Design Students a unique and vibrant place of study. The District of Columbia showcases some of today’s most cutting-edge architecture and design, providing our students with places of inspiration and endless learning opportunities. The MA Interior Design program is located at the Corcoran College of Art + Design’s Georgetown Campus. The Georgetown campus is also home to our other graduate programs in Exhibition Design, New Media Photojournalism, and Art and the Book, offering wonderful opportunities for cross collaboration within the studios. Washington D.C. also offers wonderful resources to design students: galleries and museums, the Washington Design Center, area design firms, and more. D.C. is home to the headquarters of the U.S. Green Building Council, the American Society of Interior Designers, and the National Council for Interior Design Qualification.
There are endless ways to get involved with the College and the community. Most notably, our Interior Design program is home to a student organization of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID). This student group offers opportunities for community service, networking, and relationship building. Some of the group’s most popular events are the Fall Bag Design Competition, which allows student members to design tote bags which will be produced and sold in the Gallery Shop. This group also organizes design tours of local firms and recently designed, award-winning spaces as well as lectures on specific areas of interest in design, such as sustainability. Finally, the group is very dedicated to community service, and each year it participates in the Georgetown Jingle, a charity event that benefits Pediatric Oncology Units in the D.C. metro area and involves some of today’s most well-known designers. The students are also very active in the United States Green Building Council student chapter . This group hosts professional symposiums and panels, and it is also a study group for those students interested in taking the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Exam.
Career Preparation & Instruction
Graduates from the MA Interior Design Program learn from practicing professionals in the field of design. Our faculty is made up of a variety of practitioners, more than 60 of them architects and interior designers who work for large-scale architecture and design firms. Class sizes range from 8 to 15 students. The studios are centered on a collaborative work environment, and all students participate in active critiques, discussions, and design charettes. During their time here, students interact with the faculty as well as a variety of area professionals who visit the studios to offer critique, providing extensive opportunities for connections to the professional world. Additionally, the Interior Design department hosts a collective lecture series each year, bringing professionals into the department to lecture about design. Past lecturers have included practitioners from Gensler, OPX, DBI Architects, ForrestPerkins, and SKB Architects. Finally, students have a variety of opportunities to develop their personal portfolio, resume, and brand. Every spring, Interior Design students participate in a College-wide portfolio reviews with Gensler, Hickok Cole, Perkins and Will, and more leading architecture and design firms.
Sustainability is everywhere today and has become absolutely essential to interior design and architecture. MA Interior Design students at the Corcoran participate in Sustainably-Focused Design, Building Construction, Lighting Design, and Material Selection & Specification courses. Students learn how to examine the information and apply it within their designs as well as how to educate their clients on sustainable practices and considerations. The Corcoran is also a member of PALS, the Partnership for Academic Leadership on Sustainability, a collection of AICAD art and design schools.
Culmination of the Program
The Interior Design MA Program culminates in a year-long research- and project-based thesis. Through their course of study, students are exposed to all aspects of interior design, preparing to select, design, document, and research their specified topic. Students are strongly encouraged to pursue theses that are “outside-the-box,” socially and environmentally responsible, and atypical design solutions or projects. Recent thesis projects have included a line of sustainable furniture, a collection of textiles, a web-based interior design magazine, and an entirely sustainable grade school in the slums of Thailand. All thesis students present their work within the Corcoran Gallery of Art to a panel of critics, designers, and faculty and receive constructive feedback on their projects, so that they may continue to develop and hone the work, even after they have become alumni. The work is also exhibited within the Gallery for several weeks, allowing the public to view the impressive work our students have created.
MA Interior Design Curriculum
The Interior Design MA program accepts applications from students with backgrounds in Interior Design or Architecture as well as those with unrelated degrees. A portfolio is required for those with interior design or architecture backgrounds; however, a portfolio is optional for those with unrelated degrees.
Art History and Academic Studies Requirements
Survey of Decorative Arts II
History of Architecture and Interior Design
Contemporary Culture and Design
Principles and Theory of Interior Design
Interior Design Professional Practice
Art History Elective
Interior Design Requirements
Interior Design Studios (Total of 4)
AutoCAD II or Advanced Revit
Materials, Finishes, and Methods
Construction and Detailing
Selected Topics in Interior Design
Interior Design Pro-Thesis
Interior Design Thesis
Electives (Total of 2)
Total: 60 Credits*
*Additional coursework, up to 21 credits, may be assigned upon admission to those applicants whose undergraduate degrees are unrelated to interior design and for applicants who need additional instruction in certain areas. Upon acceptance to the MA degree program, students are advised of any necessary prerequisites to be completed.
Interior Design Faculty
Heidi Nasstrom Evans
Associate Chair of Interior Design
United States Green Building Council(USGBC: LEED)
Homepage image credit: Eugenia Ripari.