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.

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.

Student 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, public service and engagement.
  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. Students will demonstrate knowledge on public safety issues and awareness of code regulations as they relate to planning interior spaces.
  3. Student work will demonstrate knowledge of interior design. Students will demonstrate knowledge and application of the following: design process; design elements and principles; programming skills; competent schematic design and conceptual development; design development skills; skills in preparing drawings, schedules and specifications; understanding of how design solutions are impacted by codes, building systems and interior furnishing materials; and 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. Students must express ideas clearly in a variety of methods. Completed design work will be presented verbally and through a series of drawings, models and other physical or digital media. Growth of presentation methods will be evident as students progress in their course work.

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:
    Course Title Hours
    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:
    Course Title Hours
    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.