BFA Interior Architecture & Design

Corcoran Interior Architecture and Design BFA

* For Fall 2015 enrollment, prospective undergraduate students should apply to the Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interior Architecture & Design. Applicants are required to submit a portfolio. 

The Interior Arcitecture & Design program is the only CIDA-accredited program in DC, and GW is the 2nd highest ranked university that offers interior architecture and design according to US News and World Report.  The BFA program begins with a strong liberal arts foundation with general requirements as stated from the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences and progresses to 60 credit hours of interior design courses.  As a part this intellectual environment, the curriculum focuses on aspects of the profession from sustainability to interior materials to graphic communication to lighting to history of design. 

The Interior Architecture & Design program believes in fostering an environment that encourages creativity and pushes the boundaries of design with an emphasis on conceptual thinking and the design process.  Our studio-based curriculum, the core of our program, is where students learn to design three-dimensional space through the use of dynamic concepts, cutting edge materials, and innovative methods and techniques.

Design projects take advantage of our location within a research university in the nation’s capital with interdisciplinary studies that collaborate with diverse GW departments.  Adaptive re-use projects positioned within historic contexts in DC compliment the global vision of the university. 

Opportunities available to our BFA students include: the US Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon; ‘Design in Schools’, a local high-school outreach program; the annual non-profit design charette; a summer study abroad program that focuses on the history and design of international cultures; and our Annual Distinguished Designer Lecture, which brings world renowned designers to GW.

For more information about class requirements, please view the BFA Interior Architecture & Design program.

Careers and Internships

The field of interior design offers a wide range of professional opportunities for transforming inhabitable space, allowing for truly unique careers paths. Additionally, the unique skill set of designers, specifically the use of design processes and "design thinking," allow our students to expand the bounds of their career opportunities to additional markets and industries. 'Design thinking' is a thought process able to address complex issues through human-centered thinking, iterative exploration, and problem solving.

Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interior Design program students compete for and achieve highly desired jobs and internships at established companies, including Gallagher & Associates, District Design, LLC, Huntley & Company Interior Design Inc., Alter Urban, LLC, Alliance Architecture, and HVS Design.

Career Opportunities:

  • Corporate Office Designer
  • Hospitality Designer
  • Healthcare and/or Assisted Living Designer
  • Transportation Facility Designer
  • Retail Designer
  • Government Facility Designer
  • Educational Facility Designer
  • Residential Designer
  • Transportation Facility Designer
  • Cultural Facility Designer
  • Lighting Designer
  • Set Designer
  • Furniture Designer
  • Product Designer
  • Exhibition, Event, or Temporary Space Designer
  • In-House Designer
  • Environmental Designer or Wayfinding Specialist
  • Historic Preservation or Adaptive Reuse Specialist
  • Hand Rendering Specialist 
  • 3D Renderer
  • Drafting Specialist
  • BIM (Building Information Modeling) Expert
  • Project Manager
  • Specification Writer
  • Purchasing Agent
  • Sales Representative
  • Interior Design Educator
  • Art Consultant
  • Facility Manager
  • Interior Design Writer or Blogger


The following curriculum is for Corcoran legacy students in the Interior Design program, defined as those students who began taking classes at the Corcoran prior to the fall 2015 semester. Students enrolled beginning in fall 2015, should contact Amanda Kleinman.

As in other undergraduate design programs at the Corcoran School of the Arts and Design, the curriculum focuses on design processes, methods, communication strategies, and professional skill sets.

Year 1 Courses

  • Art History I + II
  • Writing I + II
  • Design Fundamentals I + II
  • First Year Studio I + II

Years 2, 3, and 4 Courses

  • Interior Design Sophomore and Junior Studios I, II, III, + IV
  • Interior Design Senior Thesis I + II
  • Perspective and Interior Rendering
  • Digital 3D Design
  • Interior Lighting Design
  • Materials, Finishes, Methods
  • 20th Century Art
  • History of Architecture and Interior Design
  • History of Design
  • Humanities I + II
  • Professional Practices for Interior Design

Sample Studio Elective Courses

  • Color Theory for Interiors
  • Representation/Documentation
  • Selected Topics: Restaurant Design
  • Resume + Portfolio Design
  • Interior Design Internship
  • AutoCAD/Revit
  • Visualization

Courses subject to change.

Department Life

The Undergraduate Interior Design Program is a cultural laboratory of critical discourse and inquiry into contemporary design issues. Students engage in topics ranging from social issues, sustainability, human factors, and theory to current market and industry trends, design as an "agent of for social change," and professional practices and skill sets.

The College's studio culture provides a collaborative experience, allowing design students to become part of a community of professional designers and educators. Faculty members—professional designers, themselves—serve as mentors, teachers, and creative directors to students throughout their undergraduate studies. The studio spaces offer an immersive work environment through instruction, demonstration, discussion, critique, and visiting designers lecture series.

Students in the Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interior Design program form constructive relationships with their peers and faculty as class sizes remain intimate with 18 students or less.

Students are also encouraged to join student groups in professional design organizations, which assist students in developing professional networking opportunities and industry connections. These groups include the AIGA DC Student Chapter, the United States Green Building Council Student Chapter, and the American Society of Interior Designers Student Chapter.

Undergraduate Design Department Visiting Designers

Design students have the opportunity to meet well-known and established designers through the Visiting Designers Series, a curriculum-integrated lecture series where professional designers visit our department. Visiting Designers discuss their design studio projects, practices, and methods. In addition to lectures, Visiting Designers serve as Senior Thesis critics, providing individual portfolio critique sessions and professional advice to students working toward graduation.

Recent visiting designers include:

  • Gail Anderson
  • Nancy Skolos and Tom Wedell
  • Justin Cone of PSY/OPS
  • Jeremy Mende
  • Lucille Tenazas
  • Rick Valicenti of THIRST
  • Seymour Chwast
  • Marian Bantjes
  • Chris Pullman
  • Mike Jakab of Agency Collective
  • Kenya Hara
  • Elizabeth Emerson - E/L Studio
  • Lisa Adams - Adams Design
  • Keith Fritz - Keith Fritz Fine Furniture

Student Groups

United States Green Building Council (USGBC) Student Chapter

The Corcoran's Interior Design programs host a student organization of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). With the guidance of a faculty advisor, students build their resumes and peer relationships by holding positions on the board or by participating as a general member of the group. The USGBC Student Chapter hosts professional symposiums, panels, and information fairs related to sustainability. It also serves as a study group for students pursuing the LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) exam. For more information about USGBC, go to

American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) Student Chapter

The Corcoran's Interior Design programs host a student organization of ASID. With the guidance of a faculty advisor, students build their resumes and peer relationships by holding positions on the board or by participating as a general member of the group. The group actively engages in community service projects and provides networking opportunities through organized tours of local design firms and newly designed spaces as well as by hosting guest lectures. For more information about ASID, go to


The Undergraduate Design Department hosts annual professional events for all students in the Bachelor of Fine Arts programs, including those in graphic design, digital media design, and interior design. Annual exhibition events include OPEN, NEXT at the Corcoran, and BY DESIGN.

NEXT at the Corcoran is the annual student thesis exhibition. Undergraduate Interior Design seniors exhibit their thesis projects alongside those of seniors in other departments. This event showcases undergraduate and graduate thesis projects in the galleries of the Corcoran School building.