University of Oregon

Department of Architecture

Programs in Architecture and Interior Architecture

Interior Architecture

Building interior renderingThe Interior Architecture Program, situated within the Department of Architecture, provides a comprehensive interior design curriculum that provides students the opportunity to act as independent problem-solvers and valuable design-team members. Shared coursework with architecture in the early stages of the program provides an interdisciplinary context for study and learning, leading to advanced courses that explore theory, technology and practice.

The Interior Architecture program is highly regarded by both design educators and leading design firms from across the country and is consistently listed as one of the top interior design programs in the country. CIDA (Council for Interior Design) accredited degrees are offered at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. A post-professional degree focused on research is offered for students who already have a professional degree.

Opportunities for students preparing to enter professional practice include interior design within an architectural firm or as an independent interior designer, lighting designer, exhibit designer, set designer, facilities manager and furniture designer.

The Interior Architecture curriculum centers on developing knowledge of adaptive re-use (urban/suburban/rural) strategies and the design of interior spaces for specific uses including various institutional, commercial, residential/housing and mixed-use projects. Design coursework covers professional, functional, technical, and theoretical topics concerning: interior design history; interior construction methods; social and community issues; integrating programming, human behavior and the making of atmosphere; surface materials and detailing; developing and building conceptual/functional furniture prototypes; furniture theory; advanced electric lighting design; and color theory. Considerations of sustainable design are integrated throughout the curriculum.

Design studio courses are the core of the curriculum and are augmented by courses in theory, technology and practice. Knowledge gained in specialized coursework in design history, construction and materials, color theory, furniture design, electric lighting, and professional practice is integrated in studio work.

A fully-equipped furniture design workshop allows students to design and construct furniture prototypes and details. Professional programs culminate in an individualized comprehensive design project developed by each student.

The program offers students the flexibility to explore other disciplines represented in the College of Design, including architecture, landscape architecture, historic preservation, art, arts and administration, and art history. In many cases, interior architecture students enrich their academic experience by participating in departmental study programs in Portland, Rome and Denmark.


Professional degree programs in the field of interior design are accredited by the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA) and by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). CIDA and NASAD recognize multiple degree titles including the Bachelor of Interior Architecture (or interior design), and the Master of Interior Architecture (or interior design). A program may be granted a 6-year, 3-year, or 2-year term of accreditation, depending on the extent of its conformance with established educational standards.

The University of Oregon Department of Architecture offers the following NASAD and CIDA-accredited degree programs:

B.I.Arch. (225 undergraduate credits)

M.I.Arch.:  Track I (non-pre-professional degree + 147 credits); and

M.I.Arch.:  Track II (pre-professional degree + graduate credits needed to fulfill all M.I.Arch. requirements.)

The M.S.I.Arch. degree is a post professional degree and is not accredited by CIDA. These students must have completed a CIDA accredited degree or the international equivalent prior to enrolling.

The next accreditation visits for UO interior architecture programs are in 2015 for CIDA and the 2019-2020 Academic year for NASAD.


State laws vary widely in regard to interior design registration and/or licensure. In those states that have adopted legislation, a professional degree from a CIDA accredited program is the preferred prerequisite. Interior architecture students and graduates of the program must pass an examination established by National Council of Interior Design Qualification in order to become licensed as interior designers in those states with licensing or certification. Rules vary from state to state but generally two years of professional experience are required prior to taking the exam. Students should visit the CIDA, NASAD and NCIDQ websites for further information about accreditation and licensure.

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