Interior Design Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree
Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree
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School of Design
The interior design degree establishes you as an expert in creating human-centered environments and understanding the relationship between people and their physical surroundings.
Median First-Year Salary of RIT Graduates
Renowned design pioneers have work held in the archives of RIT’s world-renowned Vignelli Center for Design Studies|
- Students design solutions to pressing issues, with projects often seeing real-world application. Prominent projects include a Mobile Kitchen design, RIT Hope for Honduras, designing RIT City Art Space, a collaboration with the Rochester Public Library, and capstone research.
- Studio spaces allow students to interact with peers and faculty, fostering collaboration. And our professional-level material resource center contains specialty products managed and updated regularly by manufacturer vendors.
- Our faculty are practicing professionals immersed in the subject matters they instruct and strive to provide an atmosphere that parallels a professional workplace.
- RIT’s 4+2 BFA/M.Arch.: Complete the BFA in interior design and enter the second year of RIT’s master of architecture degree with advanced standing. Learn more about this accelerated pathway
- Students regularly showcase their creative and innovative projects to a global audience during NYCxDESIGN, with their involvement including the curation of exhibitions for the WantedDesign Manhattan event.
- Sustainable thinking and socially conscious design are two values embedded in the curriculum and guiding principles for program initiatives.
The interior design degree believes in creating contextually appropriate, architecture-centric design solutions grounded in evidence-based design research and human behavior theory. Our goal is to inspire and prepare students to generate holistic, technically creative construction solutions that are not only resilient, adaptable, and sustainable, but purposeful and universally designed.
We are a professional interior design BFA program within a design college, in a technical university affording broader access to allied programs, technology resources, and relationships that push traditional boundaries of interior design education.
From freshman through senior year, you'll be charged with addressing real-world projects in the studio along with peers in collaborative, multidisciplinary teaming activities and in independent studies with research faculty. As a student in the program accredited by the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA), you’ll begin your education with an interdisciplinary Foundations and first-year experience.
The comprehensive interior design curriculum synthesizes the technical and experiential qualities of the built environment with a consciousness for global affairs. Our professionally certified and experienced faculty team mentor you through project-based learning to enhance the human experience with consideration for the health, safety, and welfare of people. In addition to interior design studies and extensive studio electives within the college, you can select a liberal arts immersion offering concentrated areas of study in a unique interest or complementary subject matter relevant to our profession.
Our studio culture is a rigorous, student-centered learning environment with a commitment to celebrating individual capabilities and advancing the program as a collaborative collective. Our enthusiasm for seeing the world through multiples lenses is grounded by curiosity, respectful inquiry, and intellectual discourse. We believe that together we can design a more profoundly meaningful future through the interior environment.
The interior design degree’s mission is to educate you to be a designer who contributes to their professions, communicates effectively within your discipline, has a lifelong attitude of inquiry, and makes a positive impact on society. To this end, we promote an innovative educational community that balances expression, imaginative problem solving, aesthetic understanding, professional and environmental responsibility, and creativity.
Our comprehensive interior design major synthesizes design history, building systems, space planning, and design process with a consciousness for global affairs so that students may contribute to the profession with a deep-rooted understanding of society, culture, and the environment. By maximizing an array of academic and professional opportunities, our graduates are reshaping how we live in the world.
- Explore, challenge, and enhance interior design abilities through problem-solving
- Demonstrate knowledge of historical, stylistic, theoretical, regional, and cultural design vocabularies
- Use materials, techniques, and processes used in the built environment with a focus on sustainable design
- Conduct research and analyze information
- Introduce design theory, methodology, formal design elements, typology, and necessary technical skills to communicate concepts
- Examine business practices, regulations, standards, and codes of interior design
Dedicated studio and lecture spaces provide you with the freedom to interact with peers and faculty, fostering teamwork and collaboration. Our active material resource center is akin to the professional office library with “go-to” and specialty products that are managed and updated regularly by manufacturer vendors. RIT’s world-renowned Vignelli Center for Design Studies also serves as a vital resource for understanding the process and product of design by some of the world’s most acclaimed designers.
We have professional faculty who are active in the industry and strive to provide an atmosphere akin to the professional workplace. Our adjuncts are practicing professionals immersed in the subject matters they instruct and extend our reach into the local design community, introducing you to real projects and experiences. Our faculty team is building a studio culture of community and an interior design program focused on excellence, diversity, and pluralism.
Our illustrious alumni are committed to mentoring students through internship and professional networking activities. Additionally, as an International Interior Design Association (IIDA) Campus Center, we facilitate regular interaction and events with industry professionals.
The School of Design maintains memberships in a variety of professional organizations, including Industrial Designers Society of America, ACM Siggraph, Society of Environmental Graphic Designers, American Institute of Architects, ICOGRADA, American Institute of Graphic Arts, and International Interior Design Association.
4+2 BFA/M.Arch. Pathway
A BFA degree takes four years to complete and an M.Arch. degree typically takes an additional three to four years. In RIT’s 4+2 BFA/M.Arch. Pathway, you’ll complete a BFA in industrial design or interior design and then enter the second year of RIT’s NAAB-accredited master of architecture degree with advanced standing. Learn how this accelerated pathway enables you to earn a BFA and an M.Arch. degree in as little as six years, saving you time and money.
Accelerated 4+1 MBA
An accelerated 4+1 MBA option is available to students enrolled in any of RIT’s undergraduate programs. RIT’s Combined Accelerated Pathways can help you prepare for your future faster by enabling you to earn both a bachelor’s and an MBA in as little as five years of study.
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Careers and Experiential Learning
Typical Job Titles
|Commercial Designer||Customer Service Representative|
|Design Consultant||Educational Designer|
|Gallery Exhibitioner||Healthcare Designer|
|Hotel and Hospitality Designer||Interior Design Associate|
|Interior Designer||Interior Detailing Design Associate|
|Junior Interior Designer||Occupancy Planner|
|Office Designer||Project Manager|
|Render Specialist||Retail Designer|
|Set and Exhibit Designer||Showroom Design Consultant|
Salary and Career Information for Interior Design BFA
Cooperative Education and Internships
What makes an RIT education exceptional? It’s the ability to complete with real, relevant career experience that sets you apart. In the College of Art and Design experiential learning includes cooperative education and internships, international experiences, multidisciplinary projects, industry partnerships, and more. Participating in these opportunities is not only possible at RIT, but passionately encouraged.
Cooperative education, internships, and other experiential learning opportunities are optional but strongly encouraged for graduate students in the BFA in interior design.
Creative Industry Day
RIT’s Office of Career Services and Cooperative Education hosts Creative Industry Day, which connects students majoring in art, design, film and animation, photography, and select computing majors with companies, organizations, creative agencies, design firms, and more. You'll be able to network with company representatives and interview directly for open co-op and permanent employment positions.
Mobile Kitchen Design
A multidisciplinary team of RIT Interior Design and Industrial Design students designed the Mobile Kitchen, which can be easily transformed for users with different needs and abilities. They exhibited...
Design Thinking Projects
RIT Interior Design students execute a self-generated design research project over the course of two capstone courses in their senior years.
Traditional Meets Modern Interior Design
Arjealy Wisseh ’21 (Interior Design), the talent behind Maiyn Design, was selected to be published on Moro, a global platform highlighting interior design inspiration, professionals and products....
Innovative Healthcare Design
A multidisciplinary contingent of faculty and students from RIT is creating innovative healthcare design solutions to improve the quality of medical care and education for some of the most vulnerable...
NBA Event Designer
Gary Mack ’93 (Interior Design) is a leader in the creation of immersive experiences for major sporting events around the world. As the associate director of creative strategy and production for the...
Student Receives Metropolis Magazine Honor
Megan Brown '21 (Interior Design) was named a Metropolis Future100 selection — the architecture and design magazine's annual survey of top graduating students across the U.S. and...
Curriculum for Interior Design BFA
Interior Design, BFA degree, typical course sequence
|Course||Sem. Cr. Hrs.|
General Education – Artistic Perspective: History of Western Art: Ancient to Medieval
In this course students will examine the forms, styles, functions, and meanings of important objects and monuments dating from prehistory through the Middle Ages, and consider these works of art in their social, historical and cultural contexts. The primary goals of this course are to learn how to look, how to describe and analyze what we see, and how to use these skills to understand and explain how art visually expresses meaning. At the end of the term, students will have gained a foundational knowledge of the object, scope and methods of the discipline of art history. The knowledge obtained in this introductory course will also guide students in their own creative endeavors. Lecture 3 (Fall).
General Education – Global Perspective: History of Western Art: Renaissance to Modern
In this course students will examine the forms, styles, functions, and meanings of important objects and monuments dating from the European Renaissance through the beginning of the twentieth century, and consider these works of art in their social, historical and cultural contexts. The primary goals of this course are to learn how to look and how to describe and analyze what we see, and to use these skills to understand and explain how art visually expresses meaning. At the end of the term, students will have gained a foundational knowledge of the object, scope and methods of the discipline of art history. The knowledge obtained in this introductory course will also guide students in their own creative endeavors. Lecture 3 (Fall, Spring).
This course is an introduction to the visualization of form, thought and expression through the drawing process. Concepts are introduced by lectures, discussions, demonstrations, research, and assigned projects. Designed to provide a broad introductory experience, students will experiment with a wide variety of media, tools, techniques and subjects to develop drawing expertise and problem solving skills related to design and composition. Course work will be assessed through critique, facilitating self-assessment, and the growth of both a visual and verbal vocabulary. The focus of the course is to provide awareness of the full range of ways in which drawing is used as a tool for both self-expression and communication. (Undergraduate Art and Design) Studio 6 (Fall, Spring).
2D Design I
This course is a structured, cumulative introduction to the basic elements and principles of two-dimensional design. Organized to create a broad introductory experience, the course focuses on the development of both a visual and a verbal vocabulary as a means of exploring, developing and understanding two-dimensional compositions. Concepts are introduced through lectures, discussions, demonstrations, research, assigned projects and critiques. The course addresses a wide variety of media, tools, techniques both traditional and technological, and theoretical concepts to facilitate skill development and experimentation with process. Visual comprehension, the ability to organize perceptions and horizontal thinking that crosses other disciplines and theories, are key foundational components to the development of problem solving skills. Accumulative aspects of the curriculum included the exploration of historical and cultural themes and concepts intertwined with aspects of personal interpretation and experience. (Undergraduate Art and Design) Studio 6 (Fall, Spring).
3D Design I
This course presents a progressive study over two-semesters in terminology, visual principles, exploration, concept generation, process, and techniques of three-dimensional design. Using hands-on problem solving, student will develop an informed understanding of the 3D form and space with an emphasis on the elements and principles of visual design and their function as the building blocks and guidelines for ordering a 3D composition. A heightened awareness of form and space will be developed through lecture, assigned projects, and critiques. Students will also develop a personal awareness of problem seeking and solving, experimentation, and critical analysis. **Note: May be taken as a one-semester offering** (Undergraduate Art and Design) Studio 6 (Fall, Spring).
|Choose one of the following:||
3D Design II
This is the second-semester of a sequential course. The focus is on composing three-dimensional form and its relationship to space. Students will build on their prior term experiences, which include the introduction to 3D principles, materials, and building processes. Students will develop the sophisticated skill of conceptualization. More advanced problems will be assigned and students will have the opportunity to explore a wide range of material and process possibilities for their resolution. A heightened awareness of idea development and design research will be explored. Inclusion of 21st century themes in the arts of social cultural and community. (Prerequisites: FDTN-131 or equivalent course.) Studio 6 (Spring, Summer).
3D Design II Workshop: Topic
This workshop provides students with the opportunity to learn more about 3D compositions within a more open and experimental realm while still covering the core Foundation concepts. Different topics may be taken in the same semester. Topics may only be taken once. The focus is on composing three-dimensional form and its relationship to space. Material exposure will be determined by the topic’s instructor. (Prerequisites: FDTN-131 or equivalent course.) Studio 6 (Spring).
Introduction to Interior Design I
This is the first course of a two-part introduction to interior design. This course will acquaint students with the profession and history of interior design. Students will be introduced to design thinking and methods for exploring the ideation process including communication methods. Design problems will focus on volumetric and spatial explorations, including the relationship of the human body to the built environment and to material connections. (Prerequisites: FDTN-111 and FDTN-121 and FDTN-131 or equivalent course and enrollment in the INDE-BFA program.) Studio 6 (Spring).
Design Drawing I
Fundamental concepts of architectural graphic communication conventions, ideation sketching and drafting skills are taught in this course. Skill development will be both manual and computer based and range from free-hand sketching and diagramming to formal three-dimensional computer modeling. Principles of orthographic projection, paraline drawings and perspective will be covered. (Prerequisites: FDTN-111 or equivalent course. Co-requisites: INDE-101 or equivalent course.) Lecture 2, Studio 3 (Spring).
RIT 365: RIT Connections
RIT 365 students participate in experiential learning opportunities designed to launch them into their career at RIT, support them in making multiple and varied connections across the university, and immerse them in processes of competency development. Students will plan for and reflect on their first-year experiences, receive feedback, and develop a personal plan for future action in order to develop foundational self-awareness and recognize broad-based professional competencies. Lecture 1 (Fall, Spring).
General Education – First-Year Writing (WI)
|Choose one of the following:||
General Education – Natural Science Inquiry Perspective
General Education – Scientific Principles Perspective
General Education – Mathematical Perspective A or B
Introduction to Interior Design II
This course will build upon theories and methodologies of design process for creating spatial relationships in the interior environment. It will also introduce students to the fundamental concepts of sustainability and the accessibility requirements of the Americans for Disability Act (ADA). The course will provide students opportunities to apply design elements and principles in two and three- dimensional explorations. (Prerequisite: FDTN-132 or FDTN-232 and INDE-101 and INDE-102 or equivalent courses.) Studio 6 (Fall).
Design Drawing II
Graphic communication skills are further developed utilizing computer aided drafting tools to represent complex geometric forms and spatial conditions for the architectural interior. Common drawing conventions of plans, sections, and elevations and perspective are emphasized. (Prerequisites: INDE-102 or equivalent course.) Studio 6 (Fall).
This course will introduce students to and provide basic skills in digital graphics and publishing. Layout of print and web based documents will be augmented with design and typographic principles, image acquisition, and fundamentals of bitmap and vector graphics. (Prerequisites: FDTN-121 or equivalent course. Co-requisites: INDE-201 or equivalent course.) Lab 3, Lecture 2 (Fall, Spring).
Color and Lighting Theory
The course will introduce students to color and lighting. Students will apply principles of light and color to projects. (Prerequisites: INDE-201 and INDE-202 or equivalent courses.) Lecture 3, Studio 2 (Spring).
The course will introduce students to the interior specialty of hospitality design. Students will understand the principles, elements, and material applications relevant to commercial interiors of the service industry. (Prerequisites: INDE-201 and INDE-202 or equivalent courses.) Studio 6 (Spring).
Design Issues (WI-PR)
The course will introduce students the principles and theories of interior design. Topics will include the elements and principles of design, accessibility, human factors, and sustainability. Students will be introduced to investigative processes for design including observational research, interviewing, literature reviews, reporting, and evidence based design. (Prerequisites: INDE-201 and INDE-202 or equivalent courses and completion of First Year Writing (FYW) requirement.) Lecture 3 (Spring).
CAD Studio Electives*
General Education – Ethical Perspective
General Education – Social Perspective
The course will introduce students to office design and explore current trends in the contract industry. Students will engage in space planning for the commercial office interior and specify the systems and furnishings to outfit their proposals. (Prerequisite: INDE-212 or equivalent course.) Studio 6 (Fall).
Exhibition and Merchandising Design
The course will introduce students to strategies for designing exhibition and merchandising environments such as retail stores, galleries and museums, visitor centers, pop up stores and temporary spaces, theater and photoshoots sets, and theme or event spaces. (Prerequisites: INDE-301 or equivalent course.) Studio 6 (Spring).
Materials and Specifications
The course will introduce students to materials and specifications for interior design. Students will learn how to select and specify appropriate materials, finishes and furnishings based on performance, codes, testing, sustainability, indoor air quality, health and safety. (Prerequisites: INDE-201 or equivalent course and at least 3rd year standing in INDE-BFA.) Studio 6 (Fall).
The course will introduce students to the components of building construction and environmental control systems. The building structure and envelope as the primary control system for function and human comfort. (Prerequisites: INDE-303 or equivalent course and at least 3rd year standing in INDE-BFA.) Lecture 3 (Spring).
History of Architecture, Interiors, and Furniture I
A survey of the history of western architecture, interiors, and furniture. An overview of the components of style, construction, and material as represented by architecture, interior environments and furnishings from the Ancient World to the Industrial Revolution. (Prerequisite: ARTH-135 and ARTH-136 or equivalent courses.) Lecture 3 (Fall, Spring).
History of Architecture, Interiors, and Furniture II
A survey of the history of western architecture, interiors, and furniture. An overview of the components of style, construction, and material as represented by architecture, interior environments and furnishings from the Industrial Revolution to current day. (Prerequisite: ARTH-135 and ARTH-136 or equivalent courses.) Lecture 3 (Spring).
Business Practices and Career Planning
This course is an introduction to professional practice for interior designers. Topics emphasize business practices, project management, legal and ethical responsibilities. Students prepare for job search and employment. (This course is restricted to 4th year students in the INDE-BFA program.) Lecture 3 (Spring).
General Education – Immersion 1 (WI), 2
The course will introduce students to multi-story and multi-purpose design, building, zoning, proprietary and zoning codes, and ADA legislation. (Prerequisites: INDE-302 and INDE-303 and INDE-304 or equivalent courses. Co-requisites: INDE-407 or equivalent course.) Studio 6 (Fall).
Health Care Design
The course will introduce students to the specialization of health care design. Students will complete a comprehensive and complex design project based on a typical medical facility. (Prerequisites: INDE-401 or equivalent course.) Studio 6 (Spring).
This course will introduce students to contract documents relevant to the interior design profession. Students will complete an architectural drawing set and develop an understanding of requirements to communicate design solutions. (Prerequisite: INDE-304 or equivalent course.) Lecture 2, Studio 4 (Fall).
Interior Design Capstone I
This is the first of two courses designed to advance a student towards completion of their undergraduate capstone. This course will focus on human-centered design projects that advance design thinking for the global context. Students will work toward a meaningful and significant capstone in their relevant discipline. At the completion of this course, students will present work in progress at a milestone defense and submit a manuscript draft with a completed literature review and research agenda including a proposal for a creative agenda to be completed in Capstone II. (Prerequisites: INDE-302 or equivalent course. Co-requisites: INDE-401 and INDE-407 or equivalent courses.) Studio 6 (Fall).
Interior Design Capstone II
The second of two courses designed to advance a student towards completion of their undergraduate capstone. Students will focus on human centered projects that advance design thinking in a global context. At the completion of this course, students will defend their capstone in an oral defense and submit required documentation of their year-long design project. (Prerequisite: INDE-411 or equivalent course.) Studio 6 (Spring).
General Education – Immersion 3
General Education – Elective
|Total Semester Credit Hours||
Please see General Education Curriculum (GE) for more information.
(WI) Refers to a writing intensive course within the major.
Please see Wellness Education Requirement for more information. Students completing bachelor's degrees are required to complete two different Wellness courses.
* CAD Studio elective courses are any College of Art and Design course with a studio or lab component, per catalog restrictions.
†Course is 4 credits until Fall 2022-2023. Students admitted Fall 2021-2022 will likely take this course at 3 credits and as calculated above.
For all bachelor’s degree programs, a strong performance in a college preparatory program is expected. Generally, this includes 4 years of English, 3-4 years of mathematics, 2-3 years of science, and 3 years of social studies and/or history.
Specific math and science requirements and other recommendations
• Studio art experience and a portfolio of original artwork are required for all programs in the schools of Art and Design. A portfolio must be submitted. View Portfolio Requirements for more information.
Transfer course recommendations without associate degree
Courses in studio art, art history, and liberal arts. A portfolio of original artwork is required to determine admissions, studio art credit, and year level in the program. View Portfolio Requirements for more information.
Appropriate associate degree programs for transfer
Related programs or studio art experience in desired disciplines. A portfolio of original artwork is required to determine admissions, studio art credit, and year level in the program. View Portfolio Requirements for more information. Summer courses can lead to third-year status in most programs.
Learn about admissions, cost, and financial aid
The interior design program maintains accreditation from the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA), which includes student achievement data.
December 13, 2021
Innovation Square invites college students to downtown living
Some communities are known as college towns, but developers are hoping downtown Rochester becomes a college city, as they offer high-rise housing for students from several area colleges, including RIT.
September 7, 2021
New leadership roles, faculty hires highlight changes in College of Art and Design
RIT's Schools of Art, American Crafts, Film and Animation, and Photographic Arts and Sciences are all under new leadership.
August 6, 2021
RIT students take on accessibility and medical care challenges by design
College of Art and Design participated in this summer's Studio930 design consultancy, an interdisciplinary studio that focuses on the development of assistive healthcare solutions by leveraging the use of technology, art, and design.