Chatham University

Interior Architecture (MIA) Curriculum

The Master of Interior Architecture is a Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA) accredited first professional interior design program consisting of 72 semester credits. This degree is for students with an undergraduate degree in a field other than interior design or architecture. The curriculum includes foundation courses in interior architecture a dynamic studio sequence, an internship, and a capstone studio. The Master of Interior Architecture prepares students for practice in an interior design or architecture firm.

Interior Architecture Program Mission

The Mission of the Interior Architecture Program at Chatham University is to prepare its students to excel in the profession of Interior Design, to be engaged stewards of the environment, and to provide lasting contributions to global society. Central to this mission is a holistic, evidence-based program that integrates knowledge and appreciation of architectural and design theory with ethical, responsible, and entrepreneurial practice.

Interior Architecture Program Goals

  1. To accept a sustainable approach to interior design and make “green design” a minimal standard and not a trend.
  2. To transform students into critical thinking professionals who see inquiry as the norm.
  3. To prepare students to identify, research, and solve design challenges with a logical methodology while promoting creative solutions and applied spontaneity.
  4. To provide pathways and opportunities for applied research.
  5. To produce professionals able to present their ideas with authority by drawing on their education, a strong design vocabulary and professional communication skills.
  6. To train globally-conscious interior design professionals with consideration for the responsibility and outcomes of design and the needs of all user groups.

Interior Architecture Program Philosophy Statement

The philosophy of the Interior Architecture program at Chatham University is fundamentally founded in responsibility for the outcome of design and global public service. The Interior Architecture program believes in evidence-based design and ethnography, an approach to analyzing user needs by studying the user, their practices, and artifacts in the context of their existing interior environment.

With a curriculum that balances spontaneity and creativity with the critical thinking and problem solving skills necessary to meet practical concerns, our graduates are prepared to excel in the profession of interior design. Our students must be able to solve design challenges, communicate, and present their solutions with authority, a strong design vocabulary, and professional communication skills.

We believe it is our responsibility to train engaged stewards of the environment, globally conscious interior design professionals with consideration for the responsibility and outcomes of design and the needs of all user groups.

Program Highlights

A holistic design approach is stressed throughout the two-year program. Students are encouraged to consider all factors that influence the design of interior spaces from human behavior, aesthetics, and building technology to the views from windows and doors that penetrate the surrounding architecture. Specifically, the curriculum focuses on the design of residential and commercial spaces – how space is organized, developed three-dimensionally, finished with materials and color, lit, furnished, and designed to incorporate user needs and building codes.

Program Requirements

+ Degree Requirements

23 courses (72 credits), including:

IAR502 Theory of Interior Architecture

This course cultivates the ability to use formal architectural ordering to develop creative abstract designs that translate into three-dimensional compositions of space and form. Architectural theories and manifestos are explored through process tools and applied utilizing design exercises including concept development, abstract ideation, physical embodiment, architectural composition and analytical review.

IAR505 Environment and Behavior

The designed environment influences and is influenced by human activity patterns and behavior. This course is an introduction to significant theories concerning the interaction of people and interior architecture. Emphasis is placed on shared human needs and differences based on age, culture, gender, and occupation.

IAR510 Drafting Studio

This course develops graphic literacy as a language and philosophy for observation, analysis, expression, and presentation of interior architecture. Students are introduced to a number of techniques and methods of drawing used by interior designers, including freehand drawing, use of colored pencils, markers, and mechanical drafting through various exercises. An understanding is developed of architectural scale, plans, elevations, and sections. Additional work is spent on values, colors, palettes, and shadowing techniques that culminate in a final project.

IAR515 Digital Drawing

Students learn the basic computer drafting and drawing skills associated with AutoCAD software. Projects include creating new work from scratch and working from existing files. An understanding of drawing layers, detailing, layout, and printing will be presented. Pre-requisites: IAR 510 or permission from the instructor. Additional fee: Course Computing Fee

IAR518 Building Codes

Students learn and apply relevant building codes as they relate to the hearlth, safety, and life safety of the occupant. This course addresses energy laws, the priciples of Universal design, and accessible code compliance. Pre-requisites: IAR520, IAR535

IAR519 Drawing and Model Making

Students will develop the skills needed to generate design drawings using markers and colored pencils which communicate interior environments. One-point, Two-point, isometric, and axonometric drawing methods will be covered. Students will explore three-dimensional model making techniques. Pre-requisite: IAR510

IAR520 Interior Architecture I

This studio addresses problem identification and problem solving in the context of small-scale projects of modest scope. Emphasis is placed on human factors, space planning, spatial experience, scale, basic elements of 2-D design, concept development, space planning, scale, textiles, and color with respect to user needs. Prerequisite(s): IAR502, IAR510

IAR525 Interior Architecture II

This studio addresses problem identification and problem solving in the context of small scale projects of modest scope. Emphasis is placed on programming human factors, space planning, spatial experience, scale, materials, furniture, fixtures, equipment, and color with respect to user needs. Prerequisite(s): IAR 520, IAR515. Additional Fee: Course Computing Fee

IAR530 Interior Materials

This course is intended for majors or potential majors and addresses architectural materials and finishes. Students learn to select, specify, and apply architectural finishes. They create specifications, execute take-offs, and produce cost estimates for interior construction. Manufacturing processes, installation methods, maintenance requirements, code regulations, and testing standards are covered.

IAR532 Color and Textiles

The first part of this course examines theories of color in relations to light and space. In the second part, key topics include the selection, specification adn application of textiles based on their properties adn performance criteria, sustainability, installation methods, maintenance requirements, and regulations and standards.

IAR535 Construction Methods

Intended for interior architecture majors, this couse provides an overview of architectual building systems, including exterior and interior construction methods and terminology.

IAR557 20th & 21st Century Architecture

This course is designed to relate the impact of architecture on both public and private spaces throughout the 20th century and provide a view towards the future of architecture in 21st century. The course will guide you through the major styles of architecture of the 20th century and investigate the socio-historic context of the works and determinants of that architecture. Emphasis will also be placed on the interior spaces, furnishings, and the arts and artists of the day.

IAR559 History of Interior Architecture

This survey course examines world architecture from prehistoric times through the 19th century, including the built environmnet of Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and the Americas. Emphasis is placed on the role of interior spaces, furnishings, and art within architecture.

IAR610 Advanced Computer Applications

This advanced course focuses on Building Information Modeling (BIM) that integrates and synchronizes three-dimensional building modeling for us in all phases of the design process. Students are instructed to REvit and Sketch-up. Graphic skills are also developed to help students communicate interior design schemes. Prerequisite(s): IAR 515. Additional fees: Course Computing Fee

IAR615 Construction Documents Studio

Construction techniques are studied through the production of a set of construction documents. Issues addressed include the selection and assembly of materials, construction methods, detailing of interior finsh systems and cabinetry, building codes, and accessibility. Prerequisite(s): IAR620 and 630. Additional Fees: Course Computing Fees

IAR616 Visual Communication Studio

This course explores color theories, typology, branding, graphic organization and compositional layout relative to interior design presentation, communication, and development. Pre-requisite: IAR515, 519, 610. Additional fees: Course Computing Fee

IAR640 Internship

An internship experience prvoides students with a greater understanding of professional practice. With instructor approval, students work full-time in an office environment under the supervision of a practitioner. Pre-Requisite: IAR620. Co-Requisite: IAR645

IAR620 Interior Architecture III

This advanced studio addresses concept development, design development, and detailing of medium- and large-scale projects. Emphasis is placed on program analysis, user needs, space planning, three-dimensional spatial development, design language and composition, materials and assemblies, color, lighting, acoustics, environmental systems, and building codes and life safety. Prerequisite(s): IAR 525, 635, 610, 518. Co-Requisite: IAR630. Additional Fees: Course Computing Fee

IAR630 Building Systems

This course provides an overview of environmental control systems, including HVAC, plumbing, fire protection, power distribution, security, building codes, and data/voice telecommunication. Emphasis is placed on energy consumption and conservation, human comfort, and health and safety. Pre-requisites: IAR 535, 518

IAR631 Sustainable and Green Design

Global issues of energy use, resource depletion, and indoor air quality have prompted design professionals to re-evaluate design and construction processes. This course provides students with the knowledge of the US Green Building Council (USGBC) and Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification system to promote environmentally responsible design.

IAR635 Lighting and Acoustics Studio

This course is an introduction to lighting and acoustics. Emphasis is placed on the psychology of lighting, visual comfort criteria, measurement and calculations, available technologies in lighting design, the selection of fixtures, and the application of computer aided lighting simulation tools. Principles of acoustics, acoustic properties of materials and building systems in relation to building structures, sound transmission between rooms, and design methods in room and building acoustics are also addressed. Pre- requisites: IAR 525, 515. Additional Fees: Course Computing Fee

IAR645 Professional Practice

In this course, students are introduced to the specialized services provided by the professional interior designer. Emphasis is placed on office operations and personnel issues, marketing strategies, project management, contract documents, ethics, and the legal and financial aspects of professional practice.

IAR650 Interior Architecture V: Capstone Studio

This course stresses evidence-based design. Students create a program for a project selected by the instructor using the latest research and literature available. The program and research findings serve as a foundation for the investigation of a design problem from concept generation through design development and detailing. Prerequisite(s): IAR 620. Additional fees: Course Computing Fee

IAR655 Graduate Research Methods

This graduate seminar is a review and analysis of published research in the disciplines of interior design and architecture. Students are introduced to various methods for gathering information and conducting research with emphasis placed on the selection and utilization of data collection strategies and tools, culminating in the development of a research proposal. Cross listed as LAR680 and LNS680