The Department of Interior Design, accredited by the Council for Interior Design Accreditation, provides the breadth of a university education with the depth of a professional curriculum. The curriculum provides for the study of space, form, color and light in collaboration with the pragmatic investigation of building codes, materials, finishes, construction methods and business practices. An important focus also is placed on the study of design theory and the history of interior environments. All of these areas are synthesized in the curriculum to provide learning of the overall context of the built interior environment. Graduates are prepared with the skills and knowledge that can facilitate the student’s transition into an entry-level interior design position at a successful firm or corporation, or entry into programs of advanced study. The department also prepares students with the skills and knowledge that will allow for lifelong learning and professional development in the design industry. Prospective students are encouraged to review the School of the Arts undergraduate admissions website as well as the Art Foundation Program website.

Learning outcomes

Upon completing this program, students will know and know how to do the following:

  1. Students will demonstrate professional values. The students will demonstrate professional values that address client and user needs in response to the built environment, professional ethics, environmental ethics and the role of sustainability in the practice of interior design. Students will demonstrate an understanding of a global perspective approach to thinking and problem-solving (viewing design with awareness and respect for cultural and social differences of people; understanding issues that affect the sustainability of the planet; understanding of the implications of conducting the practice of design within a world market). Students will demonstrate critical and analytical thinking, creative thinking, and the ability to think visually and volumetrically. Students will demonstrate professional discipline (i.e., time management, organizational skills) and active listening skills. Students will understand the importance of community and public service.
  2. Student work will demonstrate design fundamentals. Students will demonstrate knowledge of design fundamentals including design elements and principles, color principles, theories and systems, theories of design and composition, and principles and theories of lighting design. Students will demonstrate an understanding of the theories of human behavior in the built environment including human factors (ergonomics, anthropometrics), the relationship between human behavior and the built environment, and an understanding of the principles of sustainability. Students will demonstrate knowledge of the history of art, architecture and design.
  3. Student work will demonstrate knowledge of interior design. Students will demonstrate knowledge and application of the design process and two- and three-dimensional design elements and principles in the development of the spatial envelope. Student work will demonstrate programming skills, including problem identification, identification of client and user needs, and information gathering research and analysis (functional requirements, code research, sustainability issues, etc.). Student work will demonstrate competent schematic design, concept development and problem-solving (concept statements, conceptual drawings, space planning). Student work will demonstrate competent design development skills (selection of finishes and materials; furniture selection and plan, plans, elevations, sketches, and study models; luminaires and lighting sources; design justification solutions in relation to the program and concept; appropriate selection and application of decorative architectural elements). Student work will demonstrate competent skills in preparing drawings, schedules and specifications as an integrated system in a single project. Student work should demonstrate an understanding of appropriate selection and application of art and accessories, the ability to custom design interior elements, way-finding methods and graphic identification. Student work must demonstrate understanding that design solutions affect and are impacted by building systems and interior materials. Students must demonstrate understanding of the impact of laws, codes, regulations, standards and practices that protect the health, safety and welfare of the public.
  4. Student work will demonstrate effective communication. Student work will demonstrate competence in drafting and lettering, both manual and computer-aided techniques; illustrative drawing; and presentation of color, materials and furnishings. Students must express ideas clearly in oral presentations and critiques; communicate clearly in writing of specifications, schedules, and contracts and other business-related documents, such as project programs, concept statements, reports, research papers, resumes and correspondence. Student work must demonstrate the student’s ability to successfully render the design intent using two- and three-dimensional methods (manual and computer-aided).
  5. Students will demonstrate a foundation in business and professional practices. Students will demonstrate understanding of project management (estimating, budget management, contract administration, information management, conflict resolution, assessment processes including post-occupancy evaluation). Students must demonstrate knowledge of licensing and registration requirements for interior designers and professional design organizations, Students must demonstrate understanding of basic business computer applications (word processing, spreadsheets) and business procedures (marketing, strategic planning).

Standards of interior design

  1. Students who have successfully completed the Art Foundation Program may enter the program in the fall semester only. All applicants must submit a portfolio of work. The department uses the portfolio evaluation criteria established in the School of the Arts for initial acceptance. A second portfolio review of interior design studio work takes place at the end of the sophomore year. The faculty uses the portfolio as an advising tool to determine student placement in the program. The student’s GPA also is evaluated to determine if the student may continue in the program. The following courses must be completed at the end of the sophomore year to be eligible for continuation in the program:
    IDES   201Introductory Interior Design Studio I4
    IDES   202Introductory Interior Design Studio II4
    IDES   211Interior Graphics I3
    IDES   212Interior Graphics II3
    IDES   231Fundamentals of Interior Design3
    IDES   251Historic Environments: Ancient Through 19th Century3
    IDES   252Historic Environments: 20th-21st Centuries3
    IDES   311Advanced Interior Graphics I3
  2. Students who wish to transfer into the interior design program must first apply to the Art Foundation Program for evaluation. A student must demonstrate equivalent preparation at other institutions and submit a portfolio of work for review by interior design faculty. Transfer students admitted into the program must complete all major requirements determined to be missing from their academic design experience.
  3. Students must complete the required pre- and corequisites of the program in the order presented in the curriculum outline. This structure enables students to develop knowledge and skill bases in interior design that will prepare them for upper-level interior design studio courses (IDES   301, IDES   302, IDES   400 and IDES   401) and successful entry into the interior design profession.
  4. Students must earn a minimum 2.5 GPA on all work before entering the program, in the semester immediately before entering the major and each semester they continue in the program. Students must maintain a minimum grade of C in each studio in order to continue to the next semester of studio courses.
  5. Students are required to have a laptop computer and appropriate software upon entry into the interior design program. The department recommends a specific computer package that is used throughout the academic year. The package is updated each year because of changes in computer technology. The total cost is approximately $3,800 and financial aid is available to those who qualify. An interior design student kit also is required upon initial entry into the program; it contains a variety of drawing supplies for graphics and interior design studios. Students will receive the computer requirements and student kit requirements upon acceptance into the program.
  6. Students with experience in interior design or related fields may challenge some interior design courses based on regulations for “Undergraduate credit by examination” as stated in this bulletin. Students must be accepted into the interior design program and challenges are based upon demonstrated experience, portfolio work and professional years of experience. No more than nine credit hours may be challenged and the challenge may not be requested during the final semester before graduation. Courses that may be challenged include:
    IDES   211Interior Graphics I3
    IDES   212Interior Graphics II3
    IDES   231Fundamentals of Interior Design3
    IDES   321Interior Materials and Textiles3
    IDES   324Furniture Design3
    IDES   431ID Business Practices3
  7. A student majoring in interior design who does not enroll in courses in the major as a full-time student for three or more consecutive semesters (including summer) must reapply to the program, submitting a portfolio and undergoing a grade review.

Special requirements

  • Students may enter the Interior Design program in the fall semester only.
  • Students must earn at a minimum 2.5 GPA on all work before entering the program, in the semester immediately before entering the major and each semester they continue in the program.

Degree requirements for Interior Design, Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.)

General Education requirements

University Core Education Curriculum
UNIV   111 Play VideoPlay course video for Focused Inquiry IFocused Inquiry I3
UNIV   112 Play VideoPlay course video for Focused Inquiry IIFocused Inquiry II3
UNIV   200Inquiry and the Craft of Argument3
Approved humanities/fine arts3
Approved natural/physical sciences3-4
Approved quantitative literacy3-4
Approved social/behavioral sciences3-4
Total Hours21-24
Additional General Education requirements
General Education electives6
General education elective (300- to 400-level)3
Total Hours9

Collateral requirements

Art Foundation Program
ARTF   131Drawing Studio3
ARTF   132Surface Research3
ARTF   133Space Research3
ARTF   134Time Studio3
ARTF   139Project2
Art history
ARTH   103
ARTH   104
Survey of Art I
and Survey of Art II
6
Total Hours20

Major requirements

IDES   201Introductory Interior Design Studio I4
IDES   202Introductory Interior Design Studio II4
IDES   211Interior Graphics I3
IDES   212Interior Graphics II3
IDES   231Fundamentals of Interior Design3
IDES   251Historic Environments: Ancient Through 19th Century3
IDES   252Historic Environments: 20th-21st Centuries3
IDES   301Interior Design Studio I4
IDES   302Interior Design Studio II4
IDES   311Advanced Interior Graphics I3
IDES   312Advanced Interior Graphics II3
IDES   321Interior Materials and Textiles3
IDES   323Light and Color in Interior Environments3
IDES   400Senior Interior Design Studio I4
IDES   401Senior Interior Design Studio II4
IDES   422Building Systems3
IDES   431ID Business Practices3
IDES   441Senior Design Seminar I (capstone)2
IDES   442Senior Design Seminar II (capstone)2
IDES   493Interior Design Internship3
Total Hours64

Art/design electives

Select a minimum of three Art/design elective (any)3
Select a minimum of three Art/design elective (300- to 400-level)3
Total Hours6

Total minimum requirement 120 credits

What follows is a sample plan that meets the prescribed requirements within a four-year course of study at VCU. Please contact your adviser before beginning course work toward a degree.

Freshman year
Fall semesterHours
ARTF   131 Drawing Studio 3
ARTF   132 Surface Research 3
ARTF   139 Project 1
ARTH   103 Survey of Art I 3
UNIV   111 Play VideoPlay course video for Focused Inquiry I Focused Inquiry I 3
Quantitative literacy course (University Core) 3-4
 Term Hours: 16-17
Spring semester
ARTF   133 Space Research 3
ARTF   134 Time Studio 3
ARTF   139 Project 1
ARTH   104 Survey of Art II 3
UNIV   112 Play VideoPlay course video for Focused Inquiry II Focused Inquiry II 3
Social/behavioral sciences course (University Core) 3-4
 Term Hours: 16-17
Sophomore year
Fall semester
IDES   201 Introductory Interior Design Studio I 4
IDES   211 Interior Graphics I 3
IDES   231 Fundamentals of Interior Design 3
IDES   251 Historic Environments: Ancient Through 19th Century 3
UNIV   200 Inquiry and the Craft of Argument 3
 Term Hours: 16
Spring semester
IDES   202 Introductory Interior Design Studio II 4
IDES   212 Interior Graphics II 3
IDES   252 Historic Environments: 20th-21st Centuries 3
IDES   311 Advanced Interior Graphics I 3
Natural/physical sciences course (University Core) 3-4
 Term Hours: 16-17
Junior year
Fall semester
IDES   301 Interior Design Studio I 4
IDES   312 Advanced Interior Graphics II 3
IDES   321 Interior Materials and Textiles 3
IDES   323 Light and Color in Interior Environments 3
Humanities/fine arts course (University Core) 3
 Term Hours: 16
Spring semester
IDES   302 Interior Design Studio II 4
IDES   431 ID Business Practices 3
Art/design elective 3
General education elective 3
 Term Hours: 13
Senior year
Fall semester
IDES   400 Senior Interior Design Studio I 4
IDES   422 Building Systems 3
IDES   441 Senior Design Seminar I (capstone) 2
IDES   493 Interior Design Internship 3
General education elective 3
 Term Hours: 15
Spring semester
IDES   401 Senior Interior Design Studio II (capstone) 4
IDES   442 Senior Design Seminar II (capstone) 2
Art/design elective (300- to 400-level) 3
General education elective (300- to 400-level) 3
 Term Hours: 12
 Total Hours: 120-123
 

IDES   103. Introductory Studio Course. 2 Hours.

Continuous course; 1 lecture and 2 laboratory hours. 2-2 credits. This course is an introduction to the complex and multifaceted field of interior design as an applied art and as a business for non-interior design majors. Basic design elements, principles and practices, historical and related architectural background material will be reviewed.

IDES   104. Introductory Studio Course. 2 Hours.

Continuous course; 1 lecture and 2 laboratory hours. 2-2 credits. This course is an introduction to the complex and multifaceted field of interior design as an applied art and as a business for non-interior design majors. Basic design elements, principles and practices, historical and related architectural background material will be reviewed.

IDES   201. Introductory Interior Design Studio I. 4 Hours.

Semester course; 2 lecture/seminar and 6 studio hours. 4 credits. Prerequisites: all Art Foundation courses. Corequisites: IDES   211 and 231. Interior design majors only; other School of the Arts majors by approval. Introduction to identification and applications of fundamental interior design issues through applied projects. Emphasis includes developing design ideas, understanding design philosophies, design principles and elements, human factors, defining and solving problems creatively, analyzing spatial and functional requirements, applying design processes, creating an aesthetic space, and preparing a presentation as related to interior design.

IDES   202. Introductory Interior Design Studio II. 4 Hours.

Semester course; 2 lecture/seminar and 6 studio hours. 4 credits. Prerequisites: IDES   201, 211 and 231. Corequisites: IDES   212, 252 and 311. Interior design majors only; other School of the Arts majors by approval. Expands upon the interior design issues introduced in IDES   201 through their application in small scale interiors projects of increasing size and complexity. Emphasizes the further development of methods and processes for design development, understanding of basic design principles and elements, and ways of analyzing design requirements through written, oral, graphic and three-dimensional documentation.

IDES   211. Interior Graphics I. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 1 lecture and 6 studio hours. 3 credits. Prerequisites: all Art Foundation courses. Corequisites: IDES   201 and 231. Interior design majors only; other School of the Arts majors by approval. Introduction to manual graphic communication techniques in interior design including drafting, sketching, rendering, perspective drawing, presentation formats and model-making for professional graphic presentations.

IDES   212. Interior Graphics II. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 1 lecture and 6 studio hours. 3 credits. Prerequisites: all Art Foundation courses, IDES   201, 211 and 231. Corequisites: IDES   202, 252 and 311. Interior design majors only; other School of the Arts majors by approval. Laptop computer required. Introduction to computer graphic communication language and techniques in interior design drafting, rendering, perspective drawing, presentation formats and 3-D imaging for professional graphic presentations.

IDES   231. Fundamentals of Interior Design. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisites: all Art Foundation courses. Required of all incoming interior design majors. Open to interior design majors and home fashion merchandising majors only. Interior design majors are required to enroll concurrently in IDES   201 and 211. Introduction to the theories, methods and processes of interior design. Facilitates the transition of skills and knowledge from the Art Foundation Program to specific interior design applications and focuses on analysis and evaluation of interior environments as a support and supplement to the studio experience.

IDES   241. Physical and Social Behavior. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisite: IDES   231. Theories of behavioral and social aspects of interior design. Study of how people interpret, evaluate and act in the built environment. Social, cultural and economic factors are included.

IDES   251. Historic Environments: Ancient Through 19th Century. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisites: ARTH   103 and 104. Study of the major paradigms, theories and styles of the built environment (interior design, furniture and architecture) from antiquity to the late 19th century. Contemporary analysis of cultural conditions and the manner in which designers and architects respond to those conditions.

IDES   252. Historic Environments: 20th-21st Centuries. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisites: ARTH   103 and 104. Study of the major paradigms, theories and styles of architecture, interior environments and furniture from the beginnings of modernism to the present day. Contemporary analysis of cultural conditions and the manner in which designers and architects respond to those conditions.

IDES   301. Interior Design Studio I. 4 Hours.

Semester course; 2 lecture/seminar and 6 studio hours. 4 credits. Prerequisites: UNIV   200 or HONR   200 and successful completion of the interior design sophomore portfolio review. Corequisites: IDES   312, 321 and 323. Interior design majors only. Laptop computer required. Discussion and application of design philosophies, theories and creative design strategies at the intermediate level. Emphasis includes: research, survey and analysis, design processes, spatial and functional analysis, design elements and principles, human factors, creative problem-solving, code requirements, selection of interior components, and preparation of a presentation.

IDES   302. Interior Design Studio II. 4 Hours.

Semester course; 2 lecture/seminar and 6 studio hours. 4 credits. Prerequisite: IDES   301. Corequisite: IDES   431. Interior design majors only. Laptop computer required. Continued discussion and application of design philosophies, theories and creative design strategies at the intermediate level. Emphasis includes: research, survey and analysis, design processes, spatial and functional analysis, design elements and principles, human factors, creative problem-solving, code requirements, selection of interior components, and preparation of a presentation.

IDES   311. Advanced Interior Graphics I. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 1 lecture and 6 studio hours. 3 credits. Prerequisites: IDES   201, 211 and 231. Corequisites: IDES   202, 212 and 252. Interior design majors only. Laptop computer required. Advanced manual and computer graphic communication techniques in interior design including drafting, sketching, rendering, perspective drawing, presentation formats and model-making for professional graphic presentations. Computer graphic techniques including software such as AutoCAD, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator and Dreamweaver.

IDES   312. Advanced Interior Graphics II. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 1 lecture and 6 studio hours. 3 credits. Prerequisite: IDES   311. Interior design majors only. Laptop computer required. Advanced computer graphic communication techniques in interior design including drafting, rendering, perspective drawing, presentation formats and 3-D imaging for professional graphic presentations.

IDES   321. Interior Materials and Textiles. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Interior design and home fashion merchandising students only. Investigation, selection and practical application of materials and textiles in interior environments.

IDES   322. Color in Interior Environments. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisites: all Art Foundation Program studio courses and IDES   231 or comparable experience by approval. Interior design and School of the Arts majors only. Advanced study of color and its impact on interior spaces; theory and practical applications.

IDES   323. Light and Color in Interior Environments. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisite: successful completion of the interior design sophomore portfolio review. Corequisites: IDES   301 and 312. Interior design and School of the Arts majors only. The study of illumination and color and their impact on people in interior spaces; theory and practical applications.

IDES   324. Furniture Design. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 1 lecture and 6 studio hours. 3 credits. Prerequisite: successful completion of the interior design sophomore portfolio review or permission of instructor. Interior design, crafts, sculpture and theater design majors only. Advanced study of furniture design and custom millwork as related to the design of interior environments. Original student designs are developed through the study of structure and materials.

IDES   330. The Business of Design. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. This course introduces basic global economics and general design business concepts such as the free enterprise system, legal forms of business and financial considerations. It also surveys business and management practices such as planning, decision-making, communication, global ethics, marketing, human resources, finance and entrepreneurial skills needed to open a design business. Crosslisted as: FASH   330/GDES   330.

IDES   370. Design History: 20th and 21st Centuries. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisites: ARTF   105-106. Study of the major theories and styles on communication arts, fashion and interior environments of the 20th and 21st centuries. Contemporary analysis of cultural conditions and the manner in which designers respond to those conditions. Crosslisted as: FASH   370/GDES   370.

IDES   391. Topics in Interior Design. 1-4 Hours.

Semester course; 1-4 studio or lecture hours. 1-4 credits. May be repeated for a maximum of 8 credits. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor. A study of a topical issue in interior design. See the Schedule of Classes for specific topics to be offered each semester.

IDES   400. Senior Interior Design Studio I. 4 Hours.

Semester course; 2 lecture and 6 studio hours. 4 credits. Prerequisite: IDES   302. Corequisite: IDES   441. Interior design majors only. Laptop computer required. Study of construction documents on the computer as related to the design of interior environments and as applied to a studio project.

IDES   401. Senior Interior Design Studio II. 4 Hours.

Semester course; 2 lecture/seminar and 6 studio hours. 4 credits. Prerequisites: IDES   400 and 441. Corequisite: IDES   442. Interior design majors only. Department-approved senior interior design project. Advanced design experience of student's choice of an interior environment of complex scope and scale to meet the needs of specific clients and prepare students for the practice of the profession. The project addresses issues of design of the 21st century and integrates all aspects of the curriculum.

IDES   421. Construction Documents. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 1 lecture and 6 studio hours. 3 credits. Prerequisites: all Art Foundation Program studio courses and IDES   201, 202, 231, 212, 312 and concurrent enrollment in IDES   301, 302, 303, 304 or 401. Interior design majors only. Laptop computer required. Study of construction documents on the computer as related to the design of interior environments.

IDES   422. Building Systems. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisites: IDES   301 and 323. Corequisite: IDES   302. Interior design majors only. Contemporary theories and techniques in the design of buildings as related to interior design, small structural considerations, HVAC, acoustics, plumbing and the attributes of materials.

IDES   431. ID Business Practices. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisites: IDES   201 and IDES   231. Interior design majors only. Writing intensive. Advanced study of the interior design profession as related to professional and business practices including: responsibilities, services, ethics, business and project management, and marketing.

IDES   441. Senior Design Seminar I. 2 Hours.

Semester course; 2 lecture hours. 2 credits. Prerequisite: IDES   302. Corequisite: IDES   400. Interior design majors only. Discussions of current design theories, issues and concerns of the built environment, future studies and the global community as applied to senior studio.

IDES   442. Senior Design Seminar II. 2 Hours.

Semester course; 2 lecture hours. 2 credits. Prerequisites: IDES   400 and 441. Corequisite: IDES   401. Interior design majors only. Continued discussions of current design theories, issues and concerns about the built environment, futures studies and the global community as applied to senior studio.

IDES   491. Topics in Interior Design. 1-4 Hours.

Semester course; 1-4 credits. May be repeated for a maximum of 8 credits. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor. An in-depth study of a topical issue in interior design. See the Schedule of Classes for specific topics to be offered each semester.

IDES   492. Independent Study in Interior Design. 1-3 Hours.

Semester course; variable hours. 1-3 credits. May be repeated for maximum of six credits. Prerequisite: junior or senior standing as a major in interior design. Learning experiences should be designed with the supervising faculty member in the form of a contract between student and instructor. This course is limited to those students who have demonstrated an exceptional level of ability and intense commitment to their discipline.

IDES   493. Interior Design Internship. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 credits. Prerequisite: IDES   431. Interior design majors only. Provides supervised practical work experiences that are coordinated with professional interior designers in the field. Formal arrangements must be made and approved by coordinator or department chair.