What Are the Different Types of Interior Design Degree Programs?

Florence J. Tipton
Florence J. Tipton
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Interior design degree programs are generally offered through various academic levels. With each interior design degree program, students can learn design methods for residential and commercial settings. Two-year and four-year undergraduate interior design degree programs may provide a formal academic foundation. Some institutions offer interior design certificate programs that may take less than two years to complete, but provide adequate training. Diploma degree programs in interior design might offer less formal studies and also take less time.

Courses may vary for either type of interior design degree programs. In general, students receive instruction through courses that develop skills for success in the interior design industry. Usually, the program curriculum includes a combination of general, required, and elective courses.

For example, students could study required courses that teach interior design principles related to core concepts of successful designs. Other courses might cover planning techniques for interior space usage. In addition, students could receive training on effective ways to use indoor lighting. At the same time, students may need to take general education and elective courses unrelated to interior design.

Two-year interior design degree programs usually offer students a foundation for working in the industry. Generally, students may learn design methods through hands-on projects for residential and commercial settings. Upon completion, most students are prepared for entry level positions or entrepreneurial opportunities.

Four-year interior design degree programs could be viewed as a continuation of academic studies for an interior design career. This program normally builds on what the two year degree covered and provides further instruction for developing interior design skills. Through completing this degree, students might receive more in-depth academic training and credentials to enter the field.

Most students can enroll in courses that expand technical skills for creating aesthetically pleasing rooms. These courses, combined with a creative imagination for designing commercial and residential spaces, might help build student confidence. Additionally, a four-year degree program might also offer business courses for a well-rounded interior design training experience.

Certificate degree programs allow students to take courses similar to those offered in two or four year degrees. A noted difference is abbreviated studies in interior design methods, which in most cases require less time to finish. For some students, this is an affordable alternative to receiving a comprehensive degree in interior design.

The diploma in interior design is less formal, but still an opportunity to get started in the industry. Several are usually self-paced, distance-learning diploma programs where students can learn basic design and decoration techniques. With an interior design diploma, most students receive basic education without the structured environment often associated with formal degree programs.

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