The Best Interior Design Programs in the United States

The Top Interior Design Schools in the United States


The process of becoming an accredited Interior Designer in the United States requires an actual degree in Interior Design, followed by passing the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ exam). Before you take on clients and build a portfolio, pursuing an Interior Design degree in a quality program will give you the professional and experiential foundation you need to properly kick-off your career. Here are the best schools to study Interior Design in the United States. 

New York School Of Interior Design New York, NY

Course work can be completed on a full-time or part-time basis, with requirements including Modern Architecture and Design, Textiles for Interiors, Residential Design, and Introduction to Adobe Photoshop. The best part of this program is the student-faculty ratio of 10:1, resulting in a 94% job placement rate within 6 months of graduating.

SCAD (Savannah College of Art and Design) Savannah, GA

With a school dedicated to art and creativity, SCAD has unlimited resources to make the most of your design program. Students are able to work on dual majors and experience related programs in their education such as Architecture, Furniture Design, and Service Design. SCAD also has Interior Design programs in Atlanta, Hong Kong, France, and online. When we asked SCAD Graduate and Ivy Designer Rachel Holmes Kelly about the most important thing she learned from SCAD, she shared “I learned to think critically and holistically about the narrative of space, and that aesthetics divorced from function are meaningless. Go 🐝!”

George Washington University Washington, D.C.

With newly renovated facilities and the advantage of location, GWU offers a terrific program to gain a B.F.A. and / or M.F.A. for students pursuing an education in Interior Design. In a city that provides over 75,000 jobs, contributing $5 billion annually to the design sector, GWU is in prime location for students to gain experience outside of the classroom with trade shows, exhibits, internships, and galleries.

Parsons The New School for Design New York, NY

Established in 1906, The New School offers over 25 programs, including a B.F.A in Interior Design, B.F.A. in Design and Technology, B.S. in Urban Design, and M.F.A. in Interior Design. Students have access to NYC’s major firms and showrooms, as well as the exclusivity of connections from one of the best and oldest interior design schools. The program focuses on collaborative work, allowing students to work with others in different degree programs, preparing them for real interior design work with collaboration in differing fields.

Pratt Institute New York, NY

Located in one of the hubs of design, Pratt offers a special focus in surface embellishment and research. Students are expected to solve problems using on-campus tools such as a wood and furniture shop, rapid prototyping lab, and interior design office maker bots. Graduates had a 93% success rate in finding jobs after graduation last year, and in the past, 100% of the May graduating class was employed or enrolled in graduate programs within 8 months.

Rhode Island School of Design Providence, RI

RISD has one of the highest concentrations of artists in the country, making its interior design program well-known, especially for its practical instruction and coursework. Students learn how to develop and assimilate theater, exhibition, and retail design, while gaining hands-on experiences in sustainability and construction. RISD has almost endless possibilities for graduates due to the small class size (less than sixty students in the entire program) and the “interior studies” program’s high ranking.

Cornell University Ithaca, NY

Cornell is the only Ivy League school offering an interior design program, making it competitive and rigorous. Their Design and Environment Analysis program, at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, provide students with hands-on experiences in research and innovation, with a special focus on the impact of design on the environment. Students work in various labs and are able to complete work in three fields: Design Strategy, Sustainable Futures, and Health and Wellbeing. Graduates are skilled in research, business strategy, design, and psychology, preparing them for almost any future in the design field. When we asked Cornell Graduate and Ivy Designer Lucie Macelova Ayres about the most important thing she learned from Cornell, she shared, “Project Management – the BEST !”

University of Cincinnati Cincinnati, OH

The School of Architecture and Interior Design at University of Cincinnati offers a 5-year program emphasizing the physical, psychological, and social needs of clients and customers. 92% of students have been employed within 3 months of graduating (71% with starting salaries higher than $40,000 a year), and are able to resolve problems, think critically, and use cutting-edge technologies in the field. Coursework is hands on in studio, as well as specialized in classes, such as Furniture / Millwork, Communication Skills, Design Science, Business, and Lighting.

Written by Annie Raifaisen

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