Interior Architecture

Master of Arts in Interior Architecture

Learn more about this program
The Master’s in Interior Architecture is a CIDA-accredited first professional degree program. Candidates for the Master's degree must complete a course of study consisting of a maximum of 85 credits; up to 55 credits may be waived based on professional background and prior academic experience.

Degree Requirements: 12-30 courses, 30-85 credits maximum

Leveling Courses

Candidates who have not completed an undergraduate program of study substantially equivalent to a BFA in Interior Design are required to complete leveling courses. The graduate program director evaluates the unique background of each student at the time of acceptance into the graduate program to determine the number and type of leveling courses that are required. Some students may be required to complete up to 55 credits of leveling courses; others will be able to waive some number of these leveling courses based on prior undergraduate experience and professional background. An additional 30 credits of graduate-level coursework is then required to earn the MAIA degree.

Foundation Studies Leveling Courses (4 courses, 12 credits maximum)

Students complete or waive the following courses:

Prerequisites:

Non-majors interesting in taking art and design courses for elective credit should refer to offerings under the ART course listings

Credits:

3.00

Description:

Observational drawing is a fundamental way of understanding and communicating visual experience. This course stresses the development and mastery of traditional drawing skills, concepts, and vocabulary, and employs a variety of techniques and materials. Fundamental principles are introduced in structured lessons and exercises, which are supplemented by related outside assignments. Subject matter may include still life, portraiture, and the clothed and unclothed human figure.

Prerequisites:

ADF-S101 or Instructor approval; Non-majors interesting in taking art and design courses for elective credit should refer to offerings under the ART course listings.

Credits:

3.00

Description:

This course will refine the basic visual skills developed in Foundation Drawing I (ADF S101). The elements of color and mixed media are introduced to expand technical possibilities, while more intensive work with the clothed and unclothed human figure provides exposure to gesture, structure and complex form. As students begin to develop a more sophisticated and personal approach, issues of expression and interpretation and varied subject matter will be explored, focusing on personal style and expression.

Prerequisites:

ADF-S166; Non-majors interesting in taking art and design courses for elective credit should refer to offerings under the ART course listings.

Credits:

3.00

Description:

An understanding of form is critical to the development of the professional artist or designer. This course focuses on the use of line, plane, and volume in space. The role of scale, proportion, structure, surface, light, and display are addressed as students create and document objects that activate and convey a sense of space and engage the viewer. The course proceeds from work with simple forms and techniques to more challenging and comprehensive problems that employ a variety of media and approaches. Prerequisite: ADF S166 (2D/Color).

Prerequisites:

Non-majors interesting in taking art and design courses for elective credit should refer to offerings under the ART course listings.

Credits:

3.00

Description:

The study of color and design is supportive of every studio discipline and is vital to the understanding of all visual media. This course emphasizes the basic concepts and practices of two-dimensional design and color theory. Students employ an intensive, hands-on approach as they explore and master the elements of design (including line, shape, and value) and the three fundamental properties of color (hue, value, and strength). These skills are used in the construction of formally cohesive compositions, the development of arresting images, and the communication of visual ideas.

Interior Design Leveling Courses (14 courses, 43 credits maximum)

Students complete or waive the following courses:

Prerequisites:

ADI-S101 and ADI-S110

Credits:

3.00

Description:

Interior Design Communications teaches students how drawing media, observational drawing, perspective theory, color and design graphics can be integrated into the designer's process. In addition to exploring contrast, accent, reflection, shade and shadow, the course underscores the importance of freehand sketching as a tool to foster intellectual inquiry and convey design concepts to a wider audience. The course introduces students to manual and digital methods for composing work for conceptual expression, technical drawing presentation and portfolio purposes. Design comprises of a series of iterative steps where ideas, of increasing complexity, are conveyed with an increasing variety of visual tools. This course therefore introduces students to the techniques that designers employ in the process of creating interior spaces. Rather than merely illustrative devices, the course reveals how designers use drawings as tools. Like any tool, design communication requires practice and frequent application. The goal therefore, is to introduce a series of techniques that may be exercised in subsequent courses in order to convey ideas in studio and in design presentations.

Credits:

3.00

Description:

Students will employ a range of computer programs used in the design industry. Exercises will introduce students to Building Information Modeling, vector graphics and raster file formats. 2D and 3D compositional and graphic principles will also be explored in order that students better understand the importance of file hierarchies and the efficient organization of digital workflow. Import and Export functions will to enable students to work between applications in order to integrate images, drawings and vector graphics into their design presentations. Vector graphics will also be employed to generate 3D artifacts using digital fabrication tools. Prior drafting, Raster and Vector graphic experience recommended.

Credits:

3.00

Description:

This course will provide students with an understanding of orthographic principles and their importance to spatial thinking and design communication. Students will produce manual drawings in order to manipulate scale. Students will employ Computer Aided Drafting (CAD) software to create measured architectural plans, elevations and sections. The course will introduce students to file management skills and develop proficiency in using cloud based resources. Students will employ virtual workspaces to conduct work in, and out of class. Vector graphic software will also be used to compose work, manipulate technical drawings and illustrate plans and sections for portfolio use.

Prerequisites:

ADF-S152, ADI-S110 and ADI-S106

Credits:

3.00

Description:

This studio introduces students to basic design principles, design theory and concept development. Emphasis will be placed on design process, problem solving, spatial organization, anthropometrics, universal design awareness, and presentation techniques. Students will be given a series of projects of increasing complexity, utilizing and building upon the skills developed in the Foundation courses. Students will be expected to produce process diagrams, plans, elevations, models, and finish boards.

Prerequisites:

ADI-S201 and ADF-S102

Credits:

3.00

Description:

This course addresses residential interior environments on a large scale. Students will develop client contact and programming skills. Emphasis will be placed on residential precedents, design process, human factors, accessibility, building codes, diagramming, spatial organization, detailing, presentation techniques, furnishings, finishes and lighting.

Credits:

3.00

Description:

In this course, students will explore how physiological and psychological factors inform the design of space. Students participate in a series of design challenges that explore topics such as anthropometrics, ergonomics, and proxemics. The seven principles of universal design will be examined through a sequence of "charrette" exercises. Students will solicit input from User-Experts and employ a more inclusive design process to develop equitable design solutions. In doing so, culture, gender, age, and physical ability will be identified as catalysts for creativity and innovation.

Credits:

4.00

Description:

This course provides students with the skills to critically analyze historic styles and examine the impact they have had on design. Emphasis will be placed on chronological periods, from antiquity to the 21st century. By examining visual characteristics of each time period, the course reveals how geography, culture and societal values have shaped furniture and architecture for centuries. The course also introduces terminology germane to a study of contemporary furniture and architecture styles. Using the city of Boston as a reference point, students will explore issues of preservation, restoration, rehabilitation, and adaptive re-use in order to identify how the region's design landscape is adapting to environmental and social demands.

Prerequisites:

ADI-S201 (Concurrently)

Credits:

3.00

Description:

This course introduces students to the important individuals, ideas and issues that have shaped the direction of contemporary interior design practice in the twentieth century, building upon the historical foundation established by the Ideas of Art History and History of Furniture and Architecture classes. Intermixing lectures and readings with visits to important local buildings, it discusses the influences of culture, technology, fashion and media upon the work and thinking of the first generation of modern designers, as well as emerging social, moral and environmental imperatives that will form the basis of future practice; cultural identity, interdisciplinary collaboration, sustainability and universal design.

Prerequisites:

ADI-S110

Credits:

3.00

Description:

This course examines various interior construction assemblies of non-load-bearing walls, load-bearing walls, floors, stairs, elevators, fireplaces, ceilings, doors, interior windows, frames, millwork and fire-related construction. Emphasis will be placed on building codes including state, BOCA, Underwriters Laboratory, ASTM, state and federal accessibility codes and construction materials. Students will also be introduced to basic structural concepts and characteristics of structural materials.

Credits:

3.00

Description:

Students will study the visual qualities, technical characteristics and applications of the common materials and finishes used in interior installations. These materials include floor coverings, wall coverings, textiles, ceiling and sustainable materials. Related fire, health and safety codes, as well as maintenance and life cycle costs, will be discussed. Class material will be presented in the form of lectures, guest speakers and a tour of the Boston Design Center. Students will learn to analyze, select and specify materials and finishes for the appropriate applications, write specifications, and prepare a resource notebook.

Prerequisites:

ADI-S110. Prior drafting or CAD experience recommended.

Credits:

3.00

Description:

This course introduces students to the art and technology of lighting and explores the use of lighting as a design element in the interior environment. Class material will be presented as a series of lectures, readings and demonstrations. Students will learn to analyze interior lighting installations, calculate lighting levels for interiors, select appropriate light fixtures and prepare a lighting plan based on one of their studio projects.

Prerequisites:

Take ADI-S106 and ADI-S110 (Required) Take ADF-S101 (Recommended)

Credits:

3.00

Description:

As a continuation of the Interior Design Communication course, students will develop proficiency in communicating aspects of the design process. These "process" skills include digital wireframe modeling and manual drawings enhanced by digital tools. Students will employ three-dimensional rendering software to enhance perspectives and create walk-through visualizations of their digital models. Movie editing software will be used to create multimedia presentations and students will learn to employ a variety of media formats for presenting their work.

Prerequisites:

ADI-S201 and ADI-S264

Credits:

3.00

Description:

This course introduces students to the design process as it applies to furniture, addressing furniture ergonomics, materials, construction techniques, manufacturing and design. Students will research selected topics, and design seating, work/service pieces and cabinetry. Emphasis will be placed on furniture precedents, research, design process, human factors, accessibility, detailing, documentation and presentation techniques.

Prerequisites:

ADI-242

Credits:

3.00

Description:

This course studies mechanical, electrical, and plumbing technology and systems commonly employed in residential and commercial interiors. It will introduce students to the vocabulary, concepts and basic components of these fields of engineering. This will enable students to integrate these building systems in their design work and communicate ideas effectively with project engineers and contractors. The course will include commonly used heating, ventilating, air conditioning, plumbing piping and fixtures, fire sprinklers, electrical supply and distribution, smoke detection and fire alarm systems. Related mechanical, electrical and plumbing codes will also be discussed.

Interior Architecture Requirements (12 courses, 30 credits)

Credits:

3.00

Description:

This course provides students with the opportunity to compose a professional folio as well as prepare their Thesis process studies for the final exit portfolio review. Students will address key elements of portfolio content. Through in-class demonstrations and hands-on exercises, students explore mock up, layout and compositional techniques. In addition to composing their final Thesis studies, students will employ more advanced concepts pertinent to the composition and printing of multi-page documents.

Prerequisites:

Take ADI-S847 concurrently (Required) Take ADI-S202 (Recommended)

Credits:

1.00

Description:

The lecture component of this course will explore color's influence on the physiological and psychological disposition of human beings. In-class discussions and short exercises will provide students with hands-on exploration of these concepts in relation to their Thesis Studio project. In doing so elements of color theory will be made relevant to each participants own work. Terminologies pertinent to color theory will be explored in context to their use in the built environment.

Prerequisites:

ADI-S372 OR ADI-S772; Open to graduate students only

Credits:

3.00

Description:

Students are expected to identify a thesis topic, conduct research, interpret it abstractly, identify an appropriate design vehicle that will prove the thesis, then program the project, select a site, and begin pre-schematic design. The course is conducted in seminar format and is dedicated to self-directed independent research. Students learn research techniques, fact finding, scholarly writing conventions, and information organization, and are exposed to philosophical arguments that attempt to establish rules of language regarding design and art. Aesthetic theory, research, abstraction and programming are addressed as the basis of design. During class discussions, close attention is given to the construction of a thesis, preparation of its argument, and justification. Graduate candidates must earn a grade of B- or better in ADI 840, inclusive of any continuation courses, in order to proceed to ADI S842.

Prerequisites:

Take ADI-S372 OR ADI-S772;ADI 840

Credits:

3.00

Description:

Comprised an independent project executed by each student working with a team of advisors. Realization of the thesis project includes schematic design, design development and a final thesis presentation. Students must demonstrate an understanding of the historical, technological and aesthetic parameters of interior architecture and design. Students must demonstrate independence in relationship to their own design process and ability to realize an interior design project. Students unable to successfully complete the design development review will be required to enroll in the subsequent Thesis Studio Continuation. Open to graduate students only.

Prerequisites:

ADI S842 Open to graduate students only

Credits:

3.00

Description:

This course represents the final phase of the thesis process and constitutes the conclusion of the Master's program sequence. Having defined the design problem, and completed the research and design portions, the student will then document the project in written and visual form. The components will include construction documents and specifications, as well as a book in which the thesis proposal and results are composed in both text and images. The MAID thesis document serves as an exposition of the process and nature of the thesis program and ultimately serves as a resource of interior design research for the greater design community. Open to graduate students only.

Prerequisites:

Take ADI-808 concurrently (Required) Take ADI-S264 (Recommended)

Credits:

2.00

Description:

This course provides a platform for developing computer generated rendering skills pertinent to the Thesis Studio projects. Demonstrations and assignments will enable students to build upon familiar orthographic and perspective rendering techniques. Participants will employ new software and examine add-ons to more familiar digital tools. In doing so, students will enhance their ability to represent materiality, reflectivity, illumination, shade and shadow.

Credits:

3.00

Description:

This course will cover the business aspects of interior design, including firm management, client and contractor relationships, project management, proposal writing, and market resourcing. In addition, students will explore career planning practices and consider the importance of independent entrepreneurship. Strategies for creating physical and online portfolios will be covered along with resume composition. Participants will gain exposure to a variety of professional design and advocacy groups. Students will also participate in network and interviewing sessions with design professionals. Although students may complete the required internship hours prior to taking this course, every participant will systematically analyze their experiences of practice, characterizing the business models within which they have worked.

Prerequisites:

Take ADI-S853 concurrently (Required) Take ADI-S202 (Recommended)

Credits:

1.00

Description:

Students will learn how style culture and theory influence, or inform, the adaptation of buildings. Students evaluate two sites and establish criteria for determining the capacity of each to accommodate a new program of use. Students identify existing documentation for these buildings and create a weighting system to compare and contrast the two. Lectures, readings and research exercises enable students to assess geographic, environmental and technological conditions of each site and depict these conditions in a variety of maps and diagrams.

Prerequisites:

Take ADI-S202 (Recommended)

Credits:

3.00

Description:

This studio focuses on the design of work environments. The course will explore the history of the workplace and the social, economic and cultural factors that will shape our relationship to work in the future. Students will develop research, programming and planning skills unique to these environments. In doing so students will consider how workplaces integrate human factors, building codes, accessibility and regulatory requirements through spatial organization, detailing, furnishing systems, equipment, finishes, and lighting.

Prerequisites:

Take ADI-851 concurrently

Credits:

2.00

Description:

This course enables students to apply advanced technical information, and creative approaches, to lighting design. Students will study natural and artificial lighting techniques and consider the ways in which both impact the human experience of space. Color, lamp source, measurement methods, and lighting control systems will be addressed. Students will apply these topics to a studio exercise in order to better understand how site and planning constraints inform the designers lighting strategy.

Credits:

3.00

Description:

Building on the curriculum of Digital Orthographics, students will gain a more in-depth knowledge of computer aided design and building information modeling software. Students will employ new and familiar computer programs to draft, organize and compile a set of construction drawings. The course requires students to manage more complex layers of information and develop strategies for managing their work virtually.

Prerequisites:

Take ADI-S852

Credits:

3.00

Description:

This studio focuses on the design of environments for health and wellness. The course will conduct research into existing precedents in order to understand the social, economic and cultural factors that shape the way we design for human wellbeing. Students will develop research, programming and planning for a multi-faceted facility. In doing so students will consider how health and wellness integrate human factors, building codes, accessibility and regulatory requirements through spatial organization, detailing, furnishing systems, equipment, finishes, and lighting. Students will explore the physiology of the human being and consider how complex systems can be addressed at a human and architectural scale. Using the city of Boston as a platform for inquiry students will engage with a variety of stakeholders to better understand this evolving field of inquiry.

Note: the letter "S" preceding a course number indicates a studio course, for which a studio fee is assessed.

Thesis

The Master’s program culminates with the completion of the master’s thesis, an original interior architecture project that focuses on selected aspects of design theory and aesthetics. Thesis Research (ADI-840), Thesis Design (ADI-S842), and Thesis Documentation (ADI-844) are intended as the final three courses in the Master’s program curriculum sequence. Successful completion of Thesis Research is a prerequisite for enrollment in Thesis Design, and successful completion of this course is a prerequisite for Thesis Documentation.

Portfolio Review and Thesis Exhibition

Master's candidates who need to complete leveling coursework will be subject to the same policies regarding regularly scheduled portfolio reviews as undergraduate students. Master's students are required to complete an exit portfolio review and participate in the Graduate Student Exhibition.

Internship

With the assistance of the faculty advisor, each student will identify an appropriate internship site with a local interior design firm. All interns are required to complete 150 hours of work/study within the semester, working under the direction of a qualified design professional. Interns are expected to contribute to the host firm at a high level of design interaction. Although the internship experience is non-credit bearing; students will prepare documentation and share learning experiences as part of the course ADI-849.

Interior Architecture Learning Goals & Objectives

Learning goals and objectives reflect the educational outcomes achieved by students through the completion of this program.

Learning Goals Learning Objectives
Students will… Students will be able to…
Gain comprehensive knowledge of design theory, history, communication and design skills, sustainable and socially responsible design
  • Have a foundation in the fundamentals of art and design; theories of design, sustainable design and human behavior and discipline related history
  • Understand and apply the knowledge, skills, processes, and theories of interior design
Gain career oriented education
  • Demonstrate the ability to communicate design ideas effectively
  • Develop the attitudes, traits, and values of professional responsibility, accountability, and effectiveness
Demonstrate problem solving
  • Design within the context of the building systems
  • Use appropriate materials and products
Demonstrate critical reflection, independent inquiry, and imaginative interdisciplinary design solutions
  • Foster creativity and innovation in their work
  • Apply the laws, codes, regulations, standards and practices that protect the health, safety and welfare of the public

Interior Architecture Graduate Courses

Credits:

3.00

Description:

This course provides students with the opportunity to compose a professional folio as well as prepare their Thesis process studies for the final exit portfolio review. Students will address key elements of portfolio content. Through in-class demonstrations and hands-on exercises, students explore mock up, layout and compositional techniques. In addition to composing their final Thesis studies, students will employ more advanced concepts pertinent to the composition and printing of multi-page documents.

Prerequisites:

Take ADI-S847 concurrently (Required) Take ADI-S202 (Recommended)

Credits:

1.00

Description:

The lecture component of this course will explore color's influence on the physiological and psychological disposition of human beings. In-class discussions and short exercises will provide students with hands-on exploration of these concepts in relation to their Thesis Studio project. In doing so elements of color theory will be made relevant to each participants own work. Terminologies pertinent to color theory will be explored in context to their use in the built environment.

Prerequisites:

ADI-S372 OR ADI-S772; Open to graduate students only

Credits:

3.00

Description:

Students are expected to identify a thesis topic, conduct research, interpret it abstractly, identify an appropriate design vehicle that will prove the thesis, then program the project, select a site, and begin pre-schematic design. The course is conducted in seminar format and is dedicated to self-directed independent research. Students learn research techniques, fact finding, scholarly writing conventions, and information organization, and are exposed to philosophical arguments that attempt to establish rules of language regarding design and art. Aesthetic theory, research, abstraction and programming are addressed as the basis of design. During class discussions, close attention is given to the construction of a thesis, preparation of its argument, and justification. Graduate candidates must earn a grade of B- or better in ADI 840, inclusive of any continuation courses, in order to proceed to ADI S842.

Prerequisites:

Take ADI-S372 OR ADI-S772;ADI 840

Credits:

3.00

Description:

Comprised an independent project executed by each student working with a team of advisors. Realization of the thesis project includes schematic design, design development and a final thesis presentation. Students must demonstrate an understanding of the historical, technological and aesthetic parameters of interior architecture and design. Students must demonstrate independence in relationship to their own design process and ability to realize an interior design project. Students unable to successfully complete the design development review will be required to enroll in the subsequent Thesis Studio Continuation. Open to graduate students only.

Prerequisites:

ADI S842 Open to graduate students only

Credits:

3.00

Description:

This course represents the final phase of the thesis process and constitutes the conclusion of the Master's program sequence. Having defined the design problem, and completed the research and design portions, the student will then document the project in written and visual form. The components will include construction documents and specifications, as well as a book in which the thesis proposal and results are composed in both text and images. The MAID thesis document serves as an exposition of the process and nature of the thesis program and ultimately serves as a resource of interior design research for the greater design community. Open to graduate students only.

Prerequisites:

Take ADI-808 concurrently (Required) Take ADI-S264 (Recommended)

Credits:

2.00

Description:

This course provides a platform for developing computer generated rendering skills pertinent to the Thesis Studio projects. Demonstrations and assignments will enable students to build upon familiar orthographic and perspective rendering techniques. Participants will employ new software and examine add-ons to more familiar digital tools. In doing so, students will enhance their ability to represent materiality, reflectivity, illumination, shade and shadow.

Credits:

3.00

Description:

This course will cover the business aspects of interior design, including firm management, client and contractor relationships, project management, proposal writing, and market resourcing. In addition, students will explore career planning practices and consider the importance of independent entrepreneurship. Strategies for creating physical and online portfolios will be covered along with resume composition. Participants will gain exposure to a variety of professional design and advocacy groups. Students will also participate in network and interviewing sessions with design professionals. Although students may complete the required internship hours prior to taking this course, every participant will systematically analyze their experiences of practice, characterizing the business models within which they have worked.

Prerequisites:

Take ADI-S853 concurrently (Required) Take ADI-S202 (Recommended)

Credits:

1.00

Description:

Students will learn how style culture and theory influence, or inform, the adaptation of buildings. Students evaluate two sites and establish criteria for determining the capacity of each to accommodate a new program of use. Students identify existing documentation for these buildings and create a weighting system to compare and contrast the two. Lectures, readings and research exercises enable students to assess geographic, environmental and technological conditions of each site and depict these conditions in a variety of maps and diagrams.

Prerequisites:

Take ADI-S202 (Recommended)

Credits:

3.00

Description:

This studio focuses on the design of work environments. The course will explore the history of the workplace and the social, economic and cultural factors that will shape our relationship to work in the future. Students will develop research, programming and planning skills unique to these environments. In doing so students will consider how workplaces integrate human factors, building codes, accessibility and regulatory requirements through spatial organization, detailing, furnishing systems, equipment, finishes, and lighting.

Prerequisites:

Take ADI-851 concurrently

Credits:

2.00

Description:

This course enables students to apply advanced technical information, and creative approaches, to lighting design. Students will study natural and artificial lighting techniques and consider the ways in which both impact the human experience of space. Color, lamp source, measurement methods, and lighting control systems will be addressed. Students will apply these topics to a studio exercise in order to better understand how site and planning constraints inform the designers lighting strategy.

Credits:

3.00

Description:

Building on the curriculum of Digital Orthographics, students will gain a more in-depth knowledge of computer aided design and building information modeling software. Students will employ new and familiar computer programs to draft, organize and compile a set of construction drawings. The course requires students to manage more complex layers of information and develop strategies for managing their work virtually.

Prerequisites:

Take ADI-S852

Credits:

3.00

Description:

This studio focuses on the design of environments for health and wellness. The course will conduct research into existing precedents in order to understand the social, economic and cultural factors that shape the way we design for human wellbeing. Students will develop research, programming and planning for a multi-faceted facility. In doing so students will consider how health and wellness integrate human factors, building codes, accessibility and regulatory requirements through spatial organization, detailing, furnishing systems, equipment, finishes, and lighting. Students will explore the physiology of the human being and consider how complex systems can be addressed at a human and architectural scale. Using the city of Boston as a platform for inquiry students will engage with a variety of stakeholders to better understand this evolving field of inquiry.