Master of Fine Arts in Interior Design Professional Level

The professional-level Master of Fine Arts in Interior Design (MFA-1) is a three-year program designed to provide an advanced interior design degree to students who have a baccalaureate degree in a field unrelated to design.

The focus of the MFA-1 program is on the ability to formulate, propose, and work out design solutions that are safe, sustainable, and aesthetically pleasing. The comprehensive curriculum emphasizes research and analysis applied to a wide range of user groups, taking into account global practice, sustainable design, and social justice. The program is also structured to allow for ample opportunities to work outside the classroom, with an Experiential Learning course offered in the summer where students can do internships, independent study, study travel, or community/service learning. In addition to the off-site learning opportunities, NYSID faculty teach the corresponding course in an online format, allowing students to be off campus from mid-May until September.

Graduates of the program are provided with the necessary skills to participate in leading the discipline into the future and to broaden the understanding of how interior design can serve society. In combination with the required professional experience, the curriculum satisfies the educational requirements for membership in national and local interior design associations and with work experience, allows graduates to sit for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam for interior design certification.

Read a Q&A with Barbara Lowenthal, director of MFA programs.

Read a profile with MFA-1 student Sheria Butler.

MFA-1 Curriculum (90 credits) - Read all course descriptions here.


1st Semester

501 Historical Styles I (2 credits)
517 Design & Drawing I (3)
519 Textiles for Interiors (2
528 Interior Design Studio (4)
541 Color for Interiors (2)
Electives (2)

2nd Semester

502 Historical Styles II (2)
527 Design & Drawing II (3)
530 Codes (2)
538 Interior Design II (4)
587 Materials & Methods of Construction (2)
Electives (2)

SUMMER: Experiental Learning I (3)

3rd Semester

532 Construction Documents (3)
608 Interior Design Studio III (3)
601 Modern Architecture & Design (2)
629 Building Systems (2)
633 Lighting I (3)

4th Semester

602 Modern Architecture & Design II (2)
618 Interior Design Studio IV (3)
631 Kitchen & Bath Design (3)
639 Advanced Graphic Communications I (3)
628 Interior Design Practice (2)

SUMMER: Experiential Learning II (3)

5th Semester

628 Interior Design Studio V (4)
634 Advanced Detailing (2)
638 Interior Design Studio VI (3)
642 MFA-1 Thesis Prep (2)
643 Lighting II (3)
646 Advanced Graphic Communications II (2)
Electives (4)

6th Semester

635 Theory of the Built Environment (2)
644 Furniture Design (3)
648 MFA-1 Thesis (4)
Electives (3)


MFA Program Advisory Board

Randy Fahey, design director, Gensler
Alan Gaynor, principal, Alan Gaynor and Company
Andrew Laing, director, North America, Strategy Plus (formerly DEWG)
Mark Morton, principal, Gensler
Adam Tihany, principal, Tihany Design
Alexandra Champalimaud, president and principal, Champalimaud Design

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