VCU Bulletins

Interior Design, Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.)

Special requirements

  • Students may enter the Interior Design program in the fall semester only.
  • Students must earn at 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.

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.

Degree requirements for Interior Design, Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.)

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 and public service.
  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.
  3. Student work will demonstrate knowledge of interior design. Students will demonstrate knowledge and application of the design process and two- and three-dimensional design elements and principles in the development of the spatial envelope. Student work will demonstrate programming skills, including problem identification, identification of client and user needs, and information gathering research and analysis (functional requirements, code research, sustainability issues, etc.). Student work will demonstrate competent schematic design, concept development and problem-solving (concept statements, conceptual drawings, space planning). Student work will demonstrate competent design development skills (selection of finishes and materials; furniture selection and plan, plans, elevations, sketches, and study models; luminaires and lighting sources; design justification solutions in relation to the program and concept; appropriate selection and application of decorative architectural elements). Student work will demonstrate competent skills in preparing drawings, schedules and specifications as an integrated system in a single project. Student work should demonstrate an understanding of appropriate selection and application of art and accessories, the ability to custom design interior elements, way-finding methods and graphic identification. Student work must demonstrate understanding that design solutions affect and are impacted by building systems and interior materials. Students must demonstrate 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. Student work will demonstrate competence in drafting and lettering, both manual and computer-aided techniques; illustrative drawing; and presentation of color, materials and furnishings. Students must express ideas clearly in oral presentations and critiques; communicate clearly in writing of specifications, schedules, and contracts and other business-related documents, such as project programs, concept statements, reports, research papers, resumes and correspondence. Student work must demonstrate the student’s ability to successfully render the design intent using two- and three-dimensional methods (manual and computer-aided).
  5. Students will demonstrate a foundation in business and professional practices. Students will demonstrate understanding of project management (estimating, budget management, contract administration, information management, conflict resolution, assessment processes including post-occupancy evaluation). Students must demonstrate knowledge of licensing and registration requirements for interior designers and professional design organizations, Students must demonstrate understanding of basic business computer applications (word processing, spreadsheets) and business procedures (marketing, strategic planning).
General Education requirements Credits
University Core Education Curriculum (minimum 21 credits)
UNIV 111 Focused Inquiry I 3
UNIV 112 Focused Inquiry II 3
UNIV 200 Inquiry and the Craft of Argument 3
Approved humanities/fine arts 3
Approved natural/physical sciences 3-4
Approved quantitative literacy 3-4
Approved social/behavioral sciences 3-4
Additional General Education requirements (minimum 9 credits)  
General education electives 6
General education elective (300- to 400-level) 3
Collateral requirements (20 credits)  
Art Foundation Program  
ARTF 131 Drawing Studio 3
ARTF 132 Surface Research 3
ARTF 133 Space Research 3
ARTF 134 Time Studio 3
ARTF 139 Project 2
Art history  
ARTH 103, 104 Survey of Western Art 6
Major requirements (64 credits)  
IDES 201 Introductory Interior Design Studio I 4
IDES 202 Introductory Interior Design Studio II 4
IDES 211 Interior Graphics I 3
IDES 212 Interior Graphics II 3
IDES 231 Fundamentals of Interior Design 3
IDES 251 Historic Environments: Ancient through 19th Century 3
IDES 252 Historic Environments: 20-21st Centuries 3
IDES 301 Interior Design Studio I 4
IDES 302 Interior Design Studio II 4
IDES 311 Advanced Interior Graphics I 3
IDES 312 Advanced Interior Graphics II 3
IDES 321 Interior Materials and Textiles 3
IDES 323 Light and Color in Interior Environments 3
IDES 400 Senior Interior Design Studio I 4
IDES 401 Senior Interior Design Studio II (capstone) 4
IDES 422 Building Systems 3
IDES 431 ID Business Practices (ethics) 3
IDES 441 Senior Design Seminar I (capstone) 2
IDES 442 Senior Design Seminar II (capstone) 2
IDES 493 Interior Design Internship 3
Art/design electives (minimum 6 credits)  
Art/design elective (any) 3
Art/design elective (300- to 400-level) 3
Total minimum requirement 120

Click here to download a sample outline. [PDF]

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: IDES 201, 202, 211, 212, 231, 251, 252 and 311.
  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, 302, 400 and 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 “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: IDES 211, 212, 231, 321, 324 and 431.
  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.



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Last update: 3/22/2013

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