Interior Design, Bachelor of Science

School of Art

College of Arts and Letters

This degree introduces interior design students to the terminology, marketplace, and professional issues of practice, while an experiential curriculum emphasizes both studio and workshop to stimulate creativity, experimentation, problem solving and innovation. Important values are creativity, passion, diversity, commitment, collaboration, excellence and vision.

This program is accredited by the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA).

  • To receive a bachelor's degree at Northern Arizona University, you must complete at least 120 units of credit that minimally includes a major, the liberal studies requirements, and university requirements as listed below.

    • All of Northern Arizona University's diversity, liberal studies, junior-level writing, and capstone requirements.
    • All requirements for your specific academic plan(s).
    • At least 30 units of upper-division courses, which may include transfer work.
    • At least 30 units of coursework taken through Northern Arizona University, of which at least 18 must be upper-division courses (300-level or above). This requirement is not met by credit-by-exam, retro-credits, transfer coursework, etc.
    • A cumulative grade point average of at least 2.0 on all work attempted at Northern Arizona University.

    The full policy can be viewed here.

In addition to University Requirements:

  • At least 75 units of major requirements. Note that PHO courses, ART 100, and ART 101 do not fulfill the requirements of the B.S. Interior Design.

  • Up to 9 units of major prefix courses may be used to satisfy Liberal Studies requirements; these same courses may also be used to satisfy major requirements.

  • Elective courses, if needed, to reach an overall total of at least 120 units.

Students may be able to use some courses to meet more than one requirement. Contact your advisor for details.

Minimum Units for Completion 120
Major GPA C
Highest Mathematics Required MAT 114
University Honors Program Optional
Progression Plan Link View Progression Plan

This program may lead to licensure.

Purpose Statement

Our degree in Interior Design introduces students to the terminology, marketplace, and professional issues of practice, while an experiential curriculum emphasizes both studio and workshop to stimulate creativity, experimentation, problem solving and innovation. n this program, students learn about principles and application of design, critical design thinking, anthropometrics, ergonomics, construction and building systems, building codes, allied building professions, professional consensus building, computer-assisted design, effective communication, the history of art and design, business practices, and how to do research for innovative design solutions. Throughout the program, we cultivate the values of creativity, passion, diversity, commitment, collaboration, excellence and vision in our students.

Student Learning Outcomes

Outcomes align with Standards from the National Association of Schools of Art & Design Accreditation

  1. Understanding of the basic principles and applications of design and color in two and three dimensions, particularly with regard to human response and behavior. Design principles include, but are not limited to, an understanding of basic visual elements and principles of organization and expression. Color principles include, but are not limited to, basic elements of color theories of harmony and interaction, and applications of light and pigment. These are developed throughout the degree program with particular attention to interior design, but begin with studies of art and design fundamentals in both theoretical and studio applications.
    • Apply elements and principles of 2D and 3D design, color principles and theories in design solutions (ST-9&10)
  2. Development of critical thinking, professional values, and processes through a global perspective of interior design and a basic understanding of human behavior and its variations due to culture.
    • Use design decisions with global, ecological, socio-economic, and cultural contexts (ST-2)
    • Show knowledge of behavioral science and human factors (ST-3)
  3. Skill in the application of design and color principles in a wide variety of residential and nonresidential projects. This requires an in-depth knowledge of the aesthetic properties of structure and surface, space and scale, materials, furniture, artifacts, textiles, lighting, and the ability to research and solve problems creatively in ways that pertain to the function, quality, and effect of specific interior programs.
    • Familiarity with research theories and methodologies to understand why problems occur and application to design solutions.
  4. Understanding of the technical issues of human factors, including areas such as programming, environmental control systems, anthropometrics, ergonomics, and proxemics. The ability to integrate human factor considerations with design elements is essential.
    • Apply design processes for creative solutions that support human behavior within the interior environment.(ST-4)
  5. Knowledge of the technical aspects of construction and building systems, and energy conservation, as well as working knowledge of legal codes and regulations related to construction, environmental systems, and human health and safety, and the ability to apply such knowledge appropriately in specific project programs.
    • Have knowledge of interior construction and building systems (ST-13).
    • Use lighting, acoustics, thermal comfort, and IAQ to safeguard building occupants (ST-12)
    • Use laws, codes, standards, and guidelines to design interior spaces.(ST-14)
  6. Understanding the importance of collaboration between interior designers and other design and build professionals  to understand how work is interrelated/ dependent and improve interface between disciplines.
    • Engage in multidisciplinary collaborations and consensus building (ST-5).
  7. The ability to hear and communicate concepts and requirements to the broad spectrum of professionals and clients involved or potentially involved with interior design projects. Such communication involves verbal, written and representational media in both two and three dimensions and encompasses a range from initial sketch to finished design. Familiarity with technical tools, conventions of representation, and systems of projection, including perspective, are essential. Computer-assisted design (CAD) is also essential.
    • Communicate design solutions effectively, both orally and visually ( ST-6)
  8. Functional knowledge of production elements such as installation procedures, project management, and specification of materials and equipment.
    • Select, specify and manage FF&E and finish materials in interior spaces (ST-11)
    • Understand rules and process of how materials fit together.
  9. Understanding of the history of art, architecture, decorative arts, and interior design.
    • Apply historical and cultural contexts of built environment (ST-8)
    • How work done today is influenced by and fits with historical movements; why movements emerged; appropriateness of different styles.
  10. Functional knowledge of basic business practices and ethical practices in interior design.
    • Use ethical standards of practice and are committed to professional development ( ST-7)
  11. Opportunities to become oriented to the working profession including field experience, internships, and participation in interior design organizations, supported through strong advising.
    • Create an effective resume as well as gained insights into the interview process and the types of behaviors that are most likely to elicit a job offer.
    • Gain insight into the types of behaviors most likely to lead to success in the workplace.
    • Develop an understanding of the career options available as both an intern and as a college graduate.
    • Expose students to a variety of professional practices.
  12. Recognize when information is needed and have the ability to locate, evaluate, and effectively use the needed information to successfully specify products.

Major Requirements
General Electives
  • Additional coursework is required if, after you have met the previously described requirements, you have not yet completed a total of 120 units of credit.

    You may take these remaining courses from any of the academic areas, using these courses to pursue your specific interests and goals. You may also use prerequisites or transfer credits as electives if they weren't used to meet major, minor, or liberal studies requirements.

    We encourage you to consult with your advisor to select the courses that will be most advantageous to you.

  • You must have completed all of the coursework used to fulfill these requirements within the last 10 years.

Additional Information
  • Laptop Computer Requirement
    Beginning with the Fall 2010 semester, students taking second year Interior Design courses must own a laptop computer of the required specifications as their coursework will include in-class computer-based assignments. Details about systems, software, and departmental support is available on the Interior Design website-content and structure page.

    Professional Organization
    Northern Arizona University currently supports a student branch of the American Society of Interior Designers; upon graduation from the B.S. in interior design, you may apply for associate membership in the ASID.

  • Be aware that some courses may have prerequisites that you must also successfully complete. For prerequisite information, click on the course or see your advisor.