Program accreditation
Council for Interior Design Accreditation

Program goal

The mission of the Department of Interior Design in VCU’s School of the Arts is to provide an intellectually rigorous, studio-based experience grounded in the issues of interior architecture. The department develops in its students an enduring passion and curiosity for their work, a determination to continually seek quality in their endeavors, an ability to reflect constructively upon their actions as individuals, and a responsibility for their lifelong education. The department focuses a student’s professional activities while encouraging connections between these activities and a larger forum of ideas that enrich their culture and their environment.

Student learning outcomes

  1. Students will demonstrate professional values.
  2. Student work will demonstrate advanced design theory.
  3. Student work will demonstrate advanced knowledge of interior design.
  4. Student work will demonstrate effective communication.
  5. Students will demonstrate a foundation in business and professional practices.

Concentration in interior environments – post-professional option

The post-professional option is a subconcentration of the interior environments concentration, one of about 10 available nationally, that allows students who already have undergraduate degrees in interior design or architecture the opportunity to develop an individualized direction in scholarship. Admission is highly selective and open only to students who have demonstrated a high caliber of work at the undergraduate and/or master’s level.

VCU Graduate Bulletin, VCU Graduate School and general academic policies and regulations for all graduate students in all graduate programs

The VCU Graduate Bulletin website documents the official admission and academic rules and regulations that govern graduate education for all graduate programs at the university. These policies are established by the graduate faculty of the university through their elected representatives to the University Graduate Council.

It is the responsibility of all graduate students, both on- and off-campus, to be familiar with the VCU Graduate Bulletin as well as the Graduate School website and academic regulations in individual school and department publications and on program websites. However, in all cases, the official policies and procedures of the University Graduate Council, as published on the VCU Graduate Bulletin and Graduate School websites, take precedence over individual program policies and guidelines.

Visit the academic regulations section for additional information on academic regulations for graduate students.

Degree candidacy requirements

A graduate student admitted to a program or concentration requiring a final research project, work of art, thesis or dissertation, must qualify for continuing master’s or doctoral status according to the degree candidacy requirements of the student’s graduate program. Admission to degree candidacy, if applicable, is a formal statement by the graduate student’s faculty regarding the student’s academic achievements and the student’s readiness to proceed to the final research phase of the degree program.

Graduate students and program directors should refer to the following degree candidacy policy as published in the VCU Graduate Bulletin for complete information and instructions.

Visit the academic regulations section for additional information on degree candidacy requirements.

Graduation requirements

As graduate students approach the end of their academic programs and the final semester of matriculation, they must make formal application to graduate. No degrees will be conferred until the application to graduate has been finalized.

Graduate students and program directors should refer to the following graduation requirements as published in the Graduate Bulletin for a complete list of instructions and a graduation checklist.

Visit the academic regulations section for additional information on graduation requirements.

Apply online today.

Admission requirements

Admission requirements
Degree:Semester(s) of entry:Deadline dates:Test requirements:
M.F.A.FallFeb 1TOEFL or IELTS scores for international students only

Special requirements

In addition to the general admission requirements of the VCU Graduate School, applicants must meet the following minimum requirements:

  1. An interview (recommended, but not required)
  2. Previous university/college transcripts (one official copy)
  3. Three letters of recommendation to be submitted electronically through the online application process
  4. Essay: three-to-five page (minimum) sample of academic writing
  5. Written personal statement (one to two pages)
  6. A resume
  7. TOEFL score (international students only) – 600 paper/2500 computer/100 Internet
  8. A portfolio with samples of design work (Applicants will be directed to upload portfolio images and/or video after they start the application process.)

Degree requirements

In addition to general VCU Graduate School graduation requirements, a minimum of 60 credit hours is required within prescribed courses. A research-design project is required to complete the program of study. This project is undertaken and developed in the context of IDES 699 and must consist of the testing of an original idea that is supported by research. This information will be synthesized through the design development process and culminate in an individual creative project of complex scale and scope. Documentation must follow established guidelines and be presented in a form that can be retained by the department and the university. On completion of the thesis, students participate in an oral examination and a graduate exhibition.

Curriculum requirements

IDES 601Graduate Interior Environments Studio6
Select one of the following:18
Advanced Design Studies
Teaching Practicum in Interior Environments
Open electives
Take 12 credits in the following course:12
Graduate Seminar in Interior Environments
IDES 693Interior Design Internship (optional; may substitute additional elective credit hours)3-6
IDES 699Creative Project - Thesis6

The minimum total of graduate credit hours required for this degree is 60.

Sample plan of study

Semester 1Hours
IDES 601Graduate Interior Environments Studio6
IDES 690Graduate Seminar in Interior Environments3
Design/arts electives 16
 Term Hours: 15
Semester 2
IDES 601Graduate Interior Environments Studio6
IDES 690Graduate Seminar in Interior Environments3
Design/arts electives 16
Candidacy review occurs upon successful completion of the second semester 
 Term Hours: 15
IDES 693Interior Design Internship (optional; may be substituted for elective credit hours) 13-6
 Term Hours: 0
Semester 3
IDES 601Graduate Interior Environments Studio6
IDES 690Graduate Seminar in Interior Environments3
Select one of the following:6
IDES 635Teaching Practicum in Interior Environments6
IDES 623Advanced Design Studies6
Open electives6
 Term Hours: 15
Semester 4
IDES 623Advanced Design Studies (or open electives)6
IDES 690Graduate Seminar in Interior Environments3
IDES 699Creative Project - Thesis6
 Term Hours: 15
 Total Hours: 60

At least 12 credit hours of electives must be studio classes. Electives must be graduate-level and approved by the program director.

Roberto Ventura
Associate professor, graduate director and interim chair, Department of Interior Design
(804) 828-1713

Additional contact
Robert D. Smith
Assistant professor and graduate program director
(804) 827-4574

Program website: