School of Family and Consumer Sciences


Interior Design

The Interior Design program in the School of Family and Consumer Sciences is part of the Arts Division in the Buchtel College of Arts and Sciences.  The program is a four-year professional B.A. degree and is accredited by the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA).  With a wide variety of courses, students develop the essential creative, technical, and interdisciplinary skills needed to be successfully employed in a variety of positions within the fields of interior design.  The focus is on designing environments that enhance the health and well being of individuals, families, and communities.

To learn about interior design and our CIDA and NASAD accredited programs visit their websites at http://accredit-id.org/ and http://hasad.arts-accredit.org.

Program Mission

The four-year Bachelor of Arts in interior design degree strives to provide a comprehensive program of study that promotes and maintains high standards of student and program performance. It works to promote scholarship and advancement of the profession. The interior design graduate is an entry-level professional who has the foundational skills to synthesize information, analyze problems, and respond and/or adapt to changes in the profession and society. The interior design graduate has the academic preparation to enhance the function and quality of interior spaces for the purpose of improving the quality of life, increasing productivity, and protecting the health, safety, and welfare of the public.

Program Goals

1. To provide a broad-based general education by requiring a broad-based core of liberal arts and sciences course which develop the skills and knowledge essential for all graduates of four-year baccalaureate programs.

2. To provide a common core in the School of Family and Consumer Sciences by requiring a broad-based core of family and consumer science courses which provide the common knowledge-base for understanding the role of serving individuals and families in the environments in which they live and work.

3. To provide a common body of knowledge of interior design by requiring a core of courses which reflects the common body of knowledge required in professional level programs of interior design.

4. To maintain high-quality standards for interior design education through professional accreditation.

5. To promote an agenda for scholarly and creative activities.

6. To promote advancement of the profession through NCIDQ (National Council for Interior Design Qualification) certification.

Admission to the Interior Design Program

Interior design is very much the combination of art and science, that is, both creativity and technical application or systems. While it is helpful for the student to have artistic abilities, it is not necessary. All essential aspects of interior design are taught. With dedicated application of the instruction, the student will succeed.

Students gain basic knowledge and skills in the understanding and application of the design process; of programming and space planning; of furniture selection and layout; of design and decorative elements; of building and other regulatory codes, regulations, and barrier-free requirements; of building, environmental, and furniture systems; of the profession itself; of environmental concerns; of universal design; of computer applications applicable to interior design; and of the selection and application of lighting and color. Students also develop drafting, communications and presentation skills, and study the basic and creative arts. Methods of instruction include lecture, site visits, speakers from industry and the profession, as well as studio work.

The program works to emphasize breadth and depth in design education, drawing on a variety of disciplines and programs within the University including Fine Arts and the technical college, Summit College, as well as courses within Family and Consumer Sciences.

  1. Freshman Students with high entrance scores can be directly admitted into the interior design program in the Buchtel College of Arts and Sciences (BCAS).  If not directly admitted, students can declare their intent to be interior design majors, but must complete 30 hours of course work, including English and Math requirements, with a 2.3 or better grade average before they can transfer into BCAS.
  2. To be admitted to the upper-level studio courses of the junior and senior years, students must have completed 31 credits of the University General Education courses and 33 credits of the Interior Design core requirements, with a grade of C- or better in all interior design core courses.  They must also receive a successful Portfolio Review of their studio work at the end of their sophomore year.
  3. Acceptance into the Junior/Senior studio course sequence will be based on the grade point average (GPA) for the freshman and sophomore years, completion of
    7100:144   Foundation 2-D Design
    7100:491   Architectural Presentations
    7400:158   Introduction to Interior Design 

and on a successful evaluation of the portfolio.  With advanced studio space limited, the best prepared students will be accepted into the last two years of the program.  An Interiors Merchandizing option, also leading to a B.A., is available to junior and senior students as an alternative.

Course Sequencing
Course Prerequisites

Transfer Credit

Transfer students from non-CIDA accredited interior design programs will be designated as Pre-Interior Design Candidates.  Transfer students from CIDA accredited programs will be admitted directly into the program if they have an overall grade-point average of 2.50 and Program Director approval of a submitted portfolio.

Post-baccalaureate students seeking an additional degree must have an overall grade-point average of 2.50 in all previous college-level work and meet with the Interior Design Program Director prior to enrolling in any Interior Design course.

Incoming transfer students from CIDA accredited or other interior design programs who seek transfer credit must supply prior course bulletin descriptions, syllabi, and their resultant student effort (the portfolio of completed interior design and art work) to the interior design advisor for evaluation along with the accepted transcript.

The Interior Design Internship course provides a real-world work opportunity for students at the conclusion of their third year in the program. This field experience, involving interior design business and the related industry, extends students' formal education and is further preparation for successful completion of their capstone senior studio coursework as well as preparation for entry-level positions in interior design.

Two senior courses in particular help the student with the reality of preparing for employment in the field. One necessity is the creation of the portfolio which documents the student's past work in a physical format that is understandable to prospective employers/clients. Senior Portfolio Review accomplishes this. The other course, The NCIDQ Examination, prepares students with a mock test for some understanding and experience when later taking the real exam after the required work experience. The NCIDQ exam is the basis for states' interior design license requirement and professional-level membership in professional associations.

Additionally, each spring the Program holds Senior Showcase which presents graduates and their work to potential employers as well as friends, family, alumni, and the public. This event is also good opportunity for students interested in interior design and the program to see student work and to speak with graduates.


"Being a part of the Interior Design program at the University of Akron helped me to grow as a person as well as a student.  As a non-traditional student going to college was a bit daunting yet the instructors and staff showed support at every turn.  They gave help and advice when needed yet gave me the space to find things out for myself.  I was encouraged to participate in professional interior design organizations, introducing me not only to professional interior designers, but people who eventually became dear friends.  The program offered trips abroad which enriched and enlightened my undergraduate experience, helping me to think globally and appreciate the rich cultures found throughout the world.  Throughout the coursework the instructors emphasized green design, influencing how I think about sustainability as a whole.  My time as an undergraduate encouraged me to branch out and explore different possibilities on the direction of my life.  I am currently working towards my master's degree in the University of Akron's School of Family and Consumer Sciences, Clothing, Textiles, and Interior Design Program with a certification in environmental science.  My experience in the program opened doors of opportunity and offered new ways of thinking, giving a new dimension to my life that I never thought possible."
Suzanne, Kroll, Interior Design Graduate 2012
Attending Graduate School, University of Akron, Family and Consumer Sciences

"The small class sizes allowed me to build relationships with my professors and my fellow students that were very similar to a typical design career environment.  The class sequencing was organized in an appropriate and understandable way for a student transferring into the program."
Jillian Gerbasi, Interior Design Graduate 2011
Store Planning Coordinator, Jo-Ann Fabric and Crafts Stores, Inc., Hudson, OH

"Great program that provides you with the support, resources, and information to create a strong foundation in the design industry."
Stephanie Black, Interior Design Graduate 2010
Lighting Design and Sales, Sommer Electric Corp, Canton, OH

"The design program at the University of Akron provides a well-rounded education.  The program is accredited, and the opportunity to succeed in this environment is tremendous due to the balance of professor support and personal drive."
Laura Wack, Interior Design Graduate 2010
Architectural Designer, Diebold Incorporated, North Canton, OH

"This was a great program, the knowledge we gained as design students from a CIDA accredited program helped me land an internship with a prominent firm in Akron.  The on the job experience from the internship helped me gain my employment currently."
Kayla Ciraco, Interior Design Graduate 2010
Internship at Schumacher Design, Akron, OH

The University of Akron

Akron, OH 44325
Phone: 330-972-7111
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