What is Interior Design?
Interior design practice creates useful, meaningful and inspiring spaces within buildings. It provides for the physical and cultural needs and aspirations of people at work and leisure. The bachelor of science in interior design program prepares graduates for a critical engagement with practice through an academic and professional grounding in problem-solving, formal design skills and pertinent historical and technical knowledge. The program forms strong links with the architecture program in the school, starting with a common curriculum in the first four quarters.
Interior designers execute projects for the whole spectrum of human activities. Examples include business and commercial establishments (offices and shops), places for recreation and hospitality (hotels, restaurants, resorts), health and cultural institutions (hospitals, schools, theaters, museums, places of worship), and residential interiors.
People who are successful in the interior design field have visual and kinesthetic/tactile learning styles. Interior designers are creative, imaginative and artistic, as well as disciplined and highly organized. They enjoy putting things together. Combining technical knowledge (involving structural requirements, materials and products) with aesthetic vision, interior designers work with clients and other design professionals to develop design solutions that are safe, functional, attractive and meet the needs of the people using the space.
They must possess strong communication skills and be comfortable in meeting with many different types of people, as well as being attentive listeners. Interior designers must have excellent time- and project-management skills, and must understand business planning. They need to know how to create informative and persuasive proposals and maintain good client relationships.
The term interior design is often confused with interior decoration. The latter term refers to the selection of finishes and furniture; it is concerned with surface treatments. UC graduates enter the practice of interior design, which addresses interior space planning and experiential space sequences in addition to designing and specifying materials, lighting and furnishings. Most graduates work in interior design and/or architecture firms, which often employ other design professionals as well.
While the great majority of these offices have fewer than 10 employees who typically assume a wide range of responsibilities, interior designers in large firms may focus on more specialized roles such as design, technical support, business management and marketing, facility programming or historic preservation. An interior design degree can also lead to a career as a facility programmer, computer software designer, facility manager or university teacher.
Majoring in Interior Design
The five-year bachelor of science in interior design at UC's College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning (DAAP) is comprehensive from the beginning. Because interior designers must be able to integrate practical, technical and aesthetic factors in designing building interiors, we introduce students immediately to that challenge. Each level of the student’s education engages knowledge and skills in problem discovery and resolution, critical and imaginative thinking, verbal and visual communication, and appropriate technologies.
Following two foundation years, interior design content studios provide students with opportunities to develop further their creative abilities through design projects for a variety of human activity settings. Interior design students complete a total of five semesters of co-op work experiences during years two through five. Culminating the curriculum is a capstone senior project in which students exercise their acquired knowledge and skills in a design project of their own choosing.
Minoring in Interior Design
Interior design is not offered as a minor.
This curriculum information is intended as a general information guide for students considering enrollment in this program. These online tools are designed to assist you, but are not a substitute for planning with an academic or faculty advisor.
If you are currently confirmed or enrolled, you can check your degree requirements online. If you are considering transferring to this major from another school, use u.select to see how credits you have earned will transfer to UC. See course descriptions by college.
For an updated curriculum, please visit http://daap.uc.edu/academics/said/interior.html.
UC Advantages and Special Opportunities
- The city of Cincinnati, once called the "Queen City of the West" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, provides an excellent array of cultural resources for students who intend to pursue a degree in the visual arts. It offers the energy and assets of a larger city, along with quiet neighborhoods steeped in rich traditions. Cincinnati offers live music venues that range from top-notch symphony and opera companies to a growing pop and rock community. Home to the Cincinnati Art Museum, the Taft Museum and the Contemporary Arts Center, the city also enjoys the presence of numerous art galleries and a strong support system among practicing artists. Cincinnati is situated within driving distance of Chicago, Pittsburgh, Atlanta and New York City, allowing DAAP students to take advantage of the rich cultural resources of these cities as well.
- The College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning is one of the most comprehensive colleges of its type in the country. A collection of nationally respected design and art programs is housed in a unique and educationally stimulating architectural setting. Interior design students have opportunities to enroll in courses in a range of related disciplines and to participate in interdisciplinary studios or special projects.
- Students learn creative and technical skills in the studio environment, taught by a passionate faculty who interact with their students on a daily basis. The goal is to guide students as they grow both intellectually and professionally.
- The DAAP College Library has an outstanding collection of books, periodicals and visual resources supporting architecture, planning, design, art history and related subjects. Access to library holdings is provided by an automated online catalog, UCLID, which provides access to the University of Cincinnati Library information database, and through OhioLINK, the holdings of other academic libraries throughout Ohio.
- The Computer Graphics Center is a state-of-the-art university facility with hardware that includes PCs, Apple computers and peripherals such as scanners, plotters and digital video-editing suites. Students have access to sophisticated graphics equipment and receive hands-on instruction to augment the use of laptops in the classroom. All computing equipment is linked by high-speed Ethernet to facilitate access across the campus.
- The college supports a Rapid Prototyping Center, which is the home of state-of-the-art equipment that allows students to create communication aids for their design projects. Using CAD (computer-aided design) models, students are able to create physical models using three basic methods: 3-D printing, large format laser-cutting and CNC (computer numeric control) devices, including a Kuomo CNC Router. This facility is intended for all DAAP students to use in creating large-scale designs.
- Co-op (also called professional practice or cooperative education) gives special character to interior design education at the University of Cincinnati, which invented the concept 100 years ago. Salaried practical experience arranged from a roster of over 500 firms all over the U.S. and overseas complement students’ growing academic understanding of the discipline. Our graduates’ advanced professional experience and self-reliance makes them singularly valuable to employers. Interior design students integrate five semesters of work experience in their five-year curriculum in cities all over the country and overseas. Most are employed by interior design and/or architecture firms, but they also work in other design-related offices, public agencies and commercial companies.
- Computer Requirements: All undergraduate students entering the School of Architecture and Interior Design in the interior design program are required to purchase a personal laptop computer. Each discipline has its own specific requirements for hardware and software. You can review the current requirements at http://daap.uc.edu/admissions/computer_requirements.html. Please note that these requirements may be slightly altered as equipment evolves. The requirements listed on the Web site will always be the most recent and accurate. Therefore, students new to DAAP are encouraged to delay their computer purchase until the summer prior to entering to make the most informed computer purchase. Many of our programs have additional technology requirements for students in the later years of study.
Applicants will be reviewed for admission on a rolling admission (first-come, first-served) basis, if they have submitted a complete application.
The academic credentials of the pool of applicants seeking admission to the interior design program vary each year. The program is highly competitive and has a limited number of spaces available. Please see the Freshman Class Profile for this major in the Quick Facts sidebar on this page for the range of academic credentials typically accepted into this program. Test scores in the lower range may be acceptable with higher class rank and/or GPA.
Freshmen applying to this program should also have completed the following college-preparatory subjects:
- 4 units of college prep English
- 4 units of college preparatory math, including 1 unit of pre-calculus, calculus, or advanced math
- 1 unit of physics
- 1 unit of additional science
- 2 units in one language
- 2 units of social studies
- 1 unit of fine arts
- 2 additional college prep subjects
Transferring to UC Requirements
Students seeking to transfer from another regionally accredited university or college must have at least a 3.25 cumulative grade point average in previous college work to be considered for admission. For priority consideration, complete transfer applications should be received by March 1 for the following fall quarter. All applicants must have completed the equivalent of the fourth year in college-prep math (pre-calculus, calculus or advanced math) and one unit of physics to be considered.
Transfer applicants are encouraged, but not required, to submit a design portfolio directly to the School of Architecture and Interior Design for admission consideration. If offered admission, transfer students from other architecture, art or design programs seeking advanced standing must submit a design portfolio to the school for evaluation.
Changing Majors within UC Requirements
Students seeking to transfer from other colleges and programs at UC must have at least a 3.25 cumulative grade point average in previous college work to be considered for admission. For priority consideration, complete transfer applications should be received by March 1 for the following fall quarter. All applicants must have completed the equivalent of the fourth year in college-prep math (pre-calculus, calculus or advanced math) and one unit of physics to be considered.
Students must complete lecture hours and studio hours for a total of 130 credit hours for graduation. Students must also complete five semesters (or six quarters) of mandatory professional practice (co-op) and receive a satisfactory (S) for all required work quarters. Students must obtain a minimum overall grade point average of 2.0 and, in addition, must have at least a 2.0 grade point average for the senior year to be eligible for graduation. In order to be eligible for graduation with honors, a student must have completed a set number of credits in the college and have earned at least a 3.6 grade point average. Courses in physical education, performance, and ROTC are not accepted as elective credits toward degree requirements in Interior Design.
Prospective high school students are advised to apply as soon as possible after September 1 of their senior year. Admission to this program is highly selective because many more qualified students apply than can be accommodated.
Students seeking transfer from another college or program at UC or another regionally accredited university or college should submit a complete application for admission by the priority deadline of March 1 for the following academic year.
The University of Cincinnati is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
The interior design program is accredited by the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA).