Why This Matters


    According to the International Interior Design Association, commercial design — especially in the hospitality and workplace sectors — is showing “robust expansion.”


    At the graduate level, designers learn digital rendering skills, animation techniques, and computer-aided design (CAD), all cutting edge skills that make them more desirable on the job market.


    Interior designers can expect to earn $58,000 or more annually with a master’s degree. Those who work with architectural, engineering, and related services should be at the high end of the scale.

Our Research

This list includes programs that lead to a master of fine arts or master of science in interior design or interior architecture. They include both on-campus programs and those which can be completed online, as well as hybrid options that are primarily online, but do require some presence on campus.

A few of our programs are accredited by the Council for Interior Design Accreditation. Others feature accreditation from the higher education agency that is active in each school’s region. This includes the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, and the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. Accreditation is a rigorous process that ensures your courses will be up-to-date and relevant.

We evaluated each program on the basis of flexibility, faculty, course strength, cost, and reputation. Then we calculated the Intelligent Score for each program on a scale from 0 to 100. For a more extensive explanation, check out Our Ranking Methodology.

  • 58 hours to write this article
  • 52 universities and colleges we assessed
  • 200 education programs we compared

The Top 27 Master’s in Interior Design Degree Programs

Best Master's in Interior Design Degree Programs
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What You Should Know About This Degree

Interior design in the 21st century is far removed from the profession as it was practiced 20 or 30 years ago. Interior designers today need to be as software-savvy as they are design-savvy, since many of the tools of the trade are the computer programs that help designers and their clients envision and plan the final product.

Another change in the profession is the fact that designers are increasingly operating as part of a team that may include architects, landscape designers, contractors of all kinds, and more. An interior designer needs to be able to communicate clearly and operate as a member of a tightly-organized group of professionals.

There is no national-level licensing required for interior designers. Several areas, including Nevada, Florida, Louisiana, Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico, require state registration to practice interior design legally. Other states offer certification or registration that can lend legitimacy to a practice and allow designers to differentiate themselves from their competition.

What’s Next?

Here are some questions to ask when researching master’s in Interior Design programs:

  • Am I eligible for this program? Many master’s programs in Interior Design are intended for those who are already working in the field and wish to expand and deepen their skill set. Some programs are willing to accept students with a bachelor’s degree in art, design, or a related field. Generally, you will need to have had a GPA of 3.0 or higher at the bachelor’s level. The application process may include a portfolio review of your best work.
  • How long does it take to complete this online degree? The length of time it takes you to complete your master’s in Interior Design depends largely on whether you attend classes full-time or part-time. Full-time study may allow you to complete the program in as little as one year; part-time attendance may take three to five years.

If you are interested in an online program at a school that is far from your home, note that some online programs include a requirement to meet on campus once or twice a year. Ask an admissions counselor if you’re uncertain of the requirements of any program you’re interested in — they are usually available via phone, email, or live chat.

Most colleges and universities offer both need and merit-based scholarship assistance to students. You may also find financial aid in the form of scholarships, grants, or loans through your place of employment or professional organizations to which you belong.