Are you an aesthetically-minded person looking to design and decorate interior spaces? If so, consider the 5 Best Online Master’s in Interior Design.
From selecting beautiful furnishings for rooms in residential spaces, to working on the feng shui of corporate offices or hospitals, interior design is an exciting career filled with creative challenges. In fact, interior design has changed since the days of simply choosing matching curtains and chairs. Now, experts in this field are focusing on how spatial design can affect people’s moods and behavior, as well as researching how design impacts the environment and underserved communities. Furthermore, due to an increasing need for interior designers for large-scale projects, you may find yourself creating trendy design schemes for college campuses, public libraries, nursing homes, airports, and more.
What is an Interior Design degree?
Earning a master’s degree in interior design is a great way for creative people to advance into higher-paying professional work. There are also multiple focuses with this degree program, meaning you can cater it to your interests and talents. Most interior design degrees will show you how to integrate design into professional practice, as well as look at how design interacts with health and wellness, sustainability, senior living, and academic environments. You’ll also study how interior design relates to human behavior. With this degree, you’ll be eligible for the career of an interior designer specializing in an area of your choosing, such as residential, corporate, or healthcare design. Graduates also go on to teach courses in interior design or related fields at colleges and universities.
How much can you earn with an Interior Design degree?
Interior designers can make up to $53,370 per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Yet, this median salary estimate is based on interior designers with only a bachelor’s degree in their field. Thus, depending on the program, your master’s degree will likely open up more career possibilities and attract larger clients. Some students of interior design also go on to work in academics. Of course, your salary will also be based upon your experience, education, skill level, and the quality of your portfolio.
What is required for an Interior Design degree?
Requirements will vary depending upon what type of program you’re applying to. To apply for an online master’s program, you’ll need an undergraduate degree in interior design, architecture, or a related design field. Furthermore, many colleges require applicants to submit a multi-page portfolio of personal design work. Some programs require proof of English language proficiency as well, while others cater to international students. These programs also all require an internship or a final design project for graduation. During the course of your studies, you’ll also develop your portfolio, making you a more lucrative potential employee.
What are the best Interior Design degrees?
OSR uses six data points: three school-wide and three program specific. For school-wide, OSR uses Student Satisfaction, Admission Rates, and the number of programs the school offers online. For program specific, OSR checks the Median Debt of graduates from that program, how many degrees are offered within that program’s umbrella department, and what percentage of students at that school graduated from that department.
The six statistics are displayed by each school. The sliding bar under each statistic represents how that school compares to other US institutions. “Not reported” means a school did not release that information to the US Department of Education. A more detailed description of the OSR process can be found on the methodology page.
Academy of Art University
- Tuition: $23,568(in state) / $23,568(out of state)
- Students are able to specialize their degree based on interest
- Has regular on-campus networking opportunities with professionals
- Offers art, art history, and graphic design courses
School WideStudent Satisfaction76.80%Programs offered online32
Program LevelMedian Debt$107,297Programs in Department12Popularity at School71.70%100%OSR Score
Based in San Francisco, the Academy of Art University offers a 36-credit-hour online Master of Arts in Interior Architecture and Design program and a 63-credit-hour Master of Fine Arts in Interior Architecture and Design program. The MA program focuses on design analysis, programming, understanding human social and spatial interaction, space planning, use of color and materials, and preparation of construction documents, while the MFA program delves into design development, traditional and digital media, innovative ideas, and global issues. Graduates of these programs go on to find a diverse range of professional employment in their field, depending on which program track they chose. All students must complete a final thesis project.
Savannah College of Art and Design
- Tuition: $36,765(in state) / $36,765(out of state)
- Faculty consists of award-winning artists and designers
- Students have free access to expensive graphic design tools
- Offers collaborative learning projects with potential employers
School WideStudent Satisfaction74.60%Admission Rate93%Programs offered online5
Program LevelMedian Debt$61,220Programs in Department7Popularity at School55.40%86%OSR Score
Located in Atlanta, Hong Kong, Lacoste (France), Savannah, and online, this program at the Savannah College of Art and Design is an excellent choice for those interested in multiple areas of design. With a focus on environmental and social issues, students in this 45-credit hour Master of Science or Master of Fine Arts in Interior Design program will take courses such as Environmental Psychology for Interior Design, Contemporary Issues in Interior Design, and Emerging Interior Materials. Graduates not only continue on to become interior designers—they also find work as lighting designers, hospitality and retail designers, and health care facility designers. There is, however, no specialty tracks offered at this school.
- Tuition: $12,330(in state) / $12,330(out of state)
- Has an emphasis on research and critical thinking skills
- A diverse set of courses are all offered online
- Curriculum especially prepares students for careers in academia
School WideStudent Satisfaction76.20%Admission Rate66%Programs offered online9
Program LevelMedian DebtNot ReportedPrograms in Department1Popularity at School12.90%75%OSR Score
This Master of Fine Arts in Interior Design based in Augusta, Gainesville, Jacksonville, North Atlanta, and South Atlanta is a terminal degree for students who are interested in aesthetics, technology, and human behavior. Students will take courses focused on critical issues in design education and research, as well as develop techniques for applying evidence-based research to design. Graduates of this program continue on to become interior designers, higher education professors, specialists in advanced areas of design practice, and researchers in design practice. At Brenau University, you’ll get the chance to develop and teach an undergraduate course. You must also complete a self-directed thesis.
Ball State University
- Tuition: $8,554(in state) / $21,172(out of state)
- Students can choose either an online or hybrid environment
- Offers a “socially responsible” curriculum
- Online class sizes are small, averaging about eight students
School WideStudent Satisfaction73.20%Admission Rate62%Programs offered online6
Program LevelMedian DebtNot ReportedPrograms in Department1Popularity at School5.20%74%OSR Score
Located in Muncie, Indiana, this unique program from Ball State will equip you to be a professional interior designer. Requiring 33-credit hours, students entering the Master of Arts or Science in Interior Design program can choose from courses like Visual Cultures in Built Environment, Environmental Psychology, and Professional Design Practice. With a focus on research, ethics, and theory, graduates often work as interior designers for environmental or community-based organizations, such as hospitals that serve diverse populations. Students are required to take 15-credit hours of electives, possible on the topic of healthcare. A three-to-six-credit hour creative project or thesis must be completed with this program.
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
- Tuition: $7,518(in state) / $22,425(out of state)
- Students can choose between five specialized areas of interest
- Offers the option of a two or three year track
- Curriculum geared towards research and statistics
School WideStudent Satisfaction72.40%Admission Rate64%Programs offered online1
Program LevelMedian DebtNot ReportedPrograms in DepartmentNot ReportedPopularity at School3.40%70%OSR Score
This well-respected and competitive 36-credit hour program based in Lincoln, Nebraska is run by the college’s School of Architecture. For the Master of Science in Architecture: Specialization in Interior Design degree program, students must take courses such as History of Interiors and Designed Objects, Environmental Behavior, and Architecture History & Theory. Graduates continue on to work in both corporate and socially-minded interior design careers, often collaborating with architects, environmental engineers, and even experts in social behavior. You must do independent fieldwork as well as complete a thesis. Several specialized courses for this program are only offered on-campus.