This is the preliminary (or launch) version of the 2024-2025 VCU Bulletin. Courses that expose students to cutting-edge content and transformative learning may be added and notification of additional program approvals may be received prior to finalization. General education program content is also subject to change. The final edition and full PDF version will include these updates and will be available in August prior to the beginning of the fall semester.

Program accreditation
Council for Interior Design Accreditation

Program goal

The mission of the Department of Interior Design in VCU’s School of the Arts is to provide an intellectually rigorous, studio-based experience grounded in the issues of interior architecture. The department develops in its students an enduring passion and curiosity for their work, a determination to continually seek quality in their endeavors, an ability to reflect constructively upon their actions as individuals, and a responsibility for their lifelong education. The department focuses a student’s professional activities while encouraging connections between these activities and a larger forum of ideas that enrich their culture and their environment.

Student learning outcomes

  1. Students will demonstrate professional values.
  2. Student work will demonstrate advanced design theory.
  3. Student work will demonstrate advanced knowledge of interior design.
  4. Student work will demonstrate effective communication.
  5. Students will demonstrate a foundation in business and professional practices.

Concentration in interior environments – professional entry-level option

The professional entry-level track is a 60-72 credit-hour program for second-degree seekers who have a proven record of academic excellence in a field other than architecture or interior design and are interested in pursuing a career in interior design. The structure of the track echoes the B.F.A. in Interior Design program in content, but advances the student at an accelerated rate during the first year and summer, bringing students parallel with the curriculum of the post-professional track by the second year.

The curriculum is highly sequenced, and students are admitted to the program for the fall semester only. All incoming students are required to take part in an intensive workshop in the summer that introduces and develops drawing, presentation skills and an understanding of two- and three-dimensional design methods. Students must successfully pass the workshop with a minimum grade of B to begin the professional entry-level track. Applicants who have an art or design background are strongly encouraged to submit a portfolio for review with their application. PowerPoint is the preferred format for the portfolio. Applicants are also required to submit three letters of recommendation and a three-to-five page writing sample.

VCU Graduate Bulletin, VCU Graduate School and general academic policies and regulations for all graduate students in all graduate programs

The VCU Graduate Bulletin website documents the official admission and academic rules and regulations that govern graduate education for all graduate programs at the university. These policies are established by the graduate faculty of the university through their elected representatives to the University Graduate Council.

It is the responsibility of all graduate students, both on- and off-campus, to be familiar with the VCU Graduate Bulletin as well as the Graduate School website and academic regulations in individual school and department publications and on program websites. However, in all cases, the official policies and procedures of the University Graduate Council, as published on the VCU Graduate Bulletin and Graduate School websites, take precedence over individual program policies and guidelines.

Visit the academic regulations section for additional information on academic regulations for graduate students.

Degree candidacy requirements

A graduate student admitted to a program or concentration requiring a final research project, work of art, thesis or dissertation, must qualify for continuing master’s or doctoral status according to the degree candidacy requirements of the student’s graduate program. Admission to degree candidacy, if applicable, is a formal statement by the graduate student’s faculty regarding the student’s academic achievements and the student’s readiness to proceed to the final research phase of the degree program.

Graduate students and program directors should refer to the following degree candidacy policy as published in the VCU Graduate Bulletin for complete information and instructions.

Visit the academic regulations section for additional information on degree candidacy requirements.

Graduation requirements

As graduate students approach the end of their academic programs and the final semester of matriculation, they must make formal application to graduate. No degrees will be conferred until the application to graduate has been finalized.

Graduate students and program directors should refer to the following graduation requirements as published in the Graduate Bulletin for a complete list of instructions and a graduation checklist.

Visit the academic regulations section for additional information on graduation requirements.

Apply online today.

Admission requirements

Degree: Semester(s) of entry: Deadline dates: Test requirements:
M.F.A. Fall Feb 1 TOEFL or IELTS scores for international students only

Special requirements

In addition to the general admission requirements of the VCU Graduate School, applicants must meet the following minimum requirements:

  1. An interview (recommended, but not required)
  2. Previous university/college transcripts (one official copy)
  3. Three letters of recommendation to be submitted electronically through the online application process
  4. Essay: three-to-five page (minimum) sample of academic writing
  5. Written personal statement (one to two pages)
  6. A resume
  7. TOEFL score (international students only) – 600 paper/2500 computer/100 Internet
  8. *Recommended but not required: a portfolio with samples of design work (Applicants will be directed to upload portfolio images and/or video after they start the application process.)

Degree requirements

In addition to general VCU Graduate School graduation requirements, a minimum of 60 credit hours is required within prescribed courses. A research-design project is required to complete the program of study. This project is undertaken and developed in the context of IDES 699 and must consist of the testing of an original idea that is supported by research. This information will be synthesized through the design development process and culminate in an individual creative project of complex scale and scope. Documentation must follow established guidelines and be presented in a form that can be retained by the department and the university. On completion of the thesis, students participate in an oral examination and a graduate exhibition.

Curriculum requirements


Students with no art or design background must successfully complete this class with a minimum grade of B as a prerequisite for enrolling in the program.

Course Title Hours
Take 2-12 credits in the following:2-12
Art and Design Methods Workshop

Required courses

Course Title Hours
IDES 501Introductory Graduate Design Studio I6
IDES 502Introductory Graduate Design Studio II6
IDES 511Introductory Graduate Graphics I3
IDES 512Introductory Graduate Graphics II3
IDES 521Advanced Material Studies for Interior Environments2
IDES 522Environmental Factors for Interior Environments2
IDES 601Graduate Interior Environments Studio6
IDES 611Advanced Graphics for Interior Environments I2
IDES 612Advanced Graphics for Interior Environments II2
IDES 623Advanced Design Studies3
IDES 624Advanced Furniture Design (or elective)2
IDES 626Advanced Light and Color for Interior Environments2
IDES 631Ethics and Business Procedures for Interior Environments2
IDES 651History and Theory of Interior Environments I2
IDES 652History and Theory of Interior Environments II2
IDES 690Graduate Seminar in Interior Environments3
IDES 694Graduate Interior Design Practicum0
IDES 699Creative Project - Thesis6
Open electives6
Total Hours60

The minimum total of graduate credit hours required for this degree is 60.

Note: Candidacy/portfolio review occurs upon successful completion of the second semester.

Kristin Carleton
Assistant professor and graduate director, Department of Interior Design
(804) 828-1713

Program website: