Master of Fine Arts
in Interior Design

Commercial interior_MFA 2017.jpg

If you have a bachelor’s degree in a field unrelated to design, our MFA is a full-time program that provides a fundamental and comprehensive interior design education in just three years. 

The professional-level Master of Fine Arts in Interior Design (MFA-1) is designed to provide an advanced interior design degree to students who have a baccalaureate degree in a field unrelated to design. Most of our master's programs classes are held in our award-winning Graduate Center, and no portfolio is required to apply.  

For more information about the MFA program, contact Barbara Lowenthal by email at or
call 212-472-1500.



"Our typical graduate class size is 12, so our students have a great deal of contact with their instructors inside and outside the classroom. Instructors get to know each student individually and try very hard to ensure that each student succeeds. Some schools just throw students ‘into the deep end.’ That’s not NYSID” says Barbara Lowenthal, Associate Dean. “We support students in all sorts of ways – from special tutorials to extra class time to academic advising. I have office hours, but nobody really pays attention to them - students are always welcome to drop by."

Our faculty’s interest in our students doesn’t end in the classroom. Most of our instructors are professional, well-networked designers, and the relationships they develop with students often create internship or other professional opportunities."


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 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. 

Graduates of the program are provided with the necessary skills to participate in leading the discipline into the future. 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.

  • The program requires full-time study

  • The program is accredited by the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA)

  • Applicants can have an undergraduate degree in a field unrelated to design; portfolio is optional for admission

Per CIDA’s requirement, MFA-1 graduates are required to complete 30 semester credit hours of diverse college-level liberal arts and science courses. Most students satisfy this by combining NYSID courses with courses taken from previously attended institutions. If a student does not have sufficient liberal arts and science courses from prior institutions, they will be required to take additional courses at NYSID that comply with CIDA’s requirement.

Master of Fine Arts in Interior Design (MFA1) curriculum (90 Credits)

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

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

    SUMMER: Experiential Learning I (3)

  • 601 Modern Architecture & Design I (2)
    608 Interior Design Studio III (4)
    617 Building Systems (2)
    633 Lighting I (3)
    636 Construction Documents (3)
    Electives (1)

  • 602 Modern Architecture & Design II (2)
    618 Interior Design Studio IV (4)
    631 Kitchen & Bath Design (3)
    639 Advanced Graphic Communications I (3)
    641 Interior Design Practice (2)

    SUMMER: Experiential Learning II (3)

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

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


NYSID Faculty

New York School of Interior Design is a great learning institution because of its faculty. They come from a wide variety of backgrounds and bring practical and theoretical experience from their professional lives.

We have more than 100 faculty members who are practicing designers at many of the top design firms in the country: GenslerHOKPerkins+Will, Rockwell Group, and Robert A.M. Stern Architects to name a few. Many are also principals of their own firms--for instance Kati Curtis of Kati Curtis Design, Stefan Steil of Steilish Interiors & Architecture, and Warren Ashworth of his self-titled architecture firm.

NYSID Student Profiles

Advisory Board

NYSID advisory boards are voluntary boards of leaders who serve to guide and advocate for the college's programs.

The Graduate Center

Located at 28th Street and Park Avenue South, NYSID’s LEED-Platinum certified Graduate Center, designed by Gensler, is home to 150+ graduate students. The Graduate Center houses classrooms, studios with dedicated workspaces, exhibition space, a materials library, and a student lounge. Interiors & Sources magazine called it a “facility that fosters community and collaboration, and embodies the essence of the ‘studio’ atmosphere.”