September 7, 2017 Interior Design Changes Name to Interior Architecture

The School of Interior Design has changed its name to the School of Interior Architecture to reflect its educational intent and scope of work. The name change also clarifies the school’s connection with its counterparts in the college—the School of Architecture and the School of Landscape Architecture.

In interior architecture, students use art, math, and science, as well as an understanding of cultures and the human sciences, to design interior spaces that address functionality, interaction, and engagement within the spaces. Students also learn to manipulate light, color, function, time, and form to create purposeful places for commercial and residential use, and they collaborate with other design disciplines to achieve an overall design.

Over the past two decades, following a national shift, the interior design curriculum has moved toward broader and more rigorous architectural content. About 35 percent of the top 20 programs in the nation, as ranked by 2016 DesignIntelligence, are now called “interior architecture.”

“Our former name didn’t reflect the rigorous and broad work required of the students in our school,” said David Matthews, director of the School of Interior Architecture. “Our new name clarifies what our students are learning. This clarification should improve recruiting of new students and result in a more diverse student body, and the more accurate degree name should assist with job placement for our graduates.”

David Matthews


Matthews said the name clarification also reflects the expertise of the faculty who hold degrees in interior architecture, interior design, and architecture—many with dual degrees.

“The expertise of our faculty is an ongoing distinction of the school,” he said. “We offer a unique aspect to our curriculum that brings students from all three schools together in interdisciplinary studios in their first year and again in their final year. This reflects a similar trend in the design profession.”

“The name clarification strengthens our position as a leader in design education by demonstrating the legacy of progressive and innovative education we provide our students every day,” Matthews said.

The school will continue to hold accreditations from the Council for Interior Design Accreditation and National Association of Schools of Art and Design.

The name change underwent a comprehensive process, including research and investigation for two years; thorough vetting within the College of Architecture and Design; and review and approval from the college’s curriculum committee, comprising representatives of all three schools, and from the university’s curriculum committee before final approval by former Chancellor Jimmy Cheek.

The name change is effective with the fall 2017 semester. The degree associated with the school has changed to Bachelor of Science in Interior Architecture.