Master of Arts in Interior Architecture



31-60 Credits

Suffolk’s Master of Arts in Interior Architecture (MAIA) program will provide you with a comprehensive education in the adaptation of design in architectural spaces. You will take inspiration from our ever-evolving historic city and many of its renowned design firms.

Suffolk’s downtown Boston location supports our student-centered mission to build experience through relevant, hands-on instruction that opens doors to internships and career opportunities. Guided by expert faculty, you will develop fluency in design process, drawing, making, and the use of cutting-edge digital technologies essential for contemporary practice.

As a student in Suffolk’s Master of Arts in Interior Architecture program, you will:

  • Deepen your understanding of sustainable and socially-conscious design issues
  • Enhance your knowledge of design theory and history
  • Develop professional visual and verbal communication skills
  • Broaden your awareness of lighting and furniture design
  • Reinforce knowledge of technical competencies and code adherence in practice

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Success after Suffolk

Here's a sampling of recent graduates’ current job titles and employers.

Junior Designer
Carter Design
Project Designer
Chas Architects
Junior Interior Designer
Eleven Interiors
Interior Designer
Hacin + Associates
Interior Designer
LDa Architecture & Interiors
Interior Designer
Maugel DeStefano Architects
Project Manager
Gary McBournie, Inc.
Interior Designer
Hutker Architects, Inc.
Interior Designer

MAIA Program Overview


The interior design program leading to the Master of Arts in Interior Architecture is accredited by the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA).

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The CIDA-accredited program prepares students for entry-level interior design practice, for advanced study, and to apply for membership in professional interior design organizations. The Master of Arts in Interior Architecture granted by Suffolk University meets the educational requirement for eligibility to sit for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification Examination (NCIDQ Exam). For more information about NCIDQ Exam eligibility, visit the NCIDQ eligibility page.
See our Student Achievement Data

About the Program

Our MAIA program is designed to meet you where you are. Leveling courses are built into the curriculum to help you build a strong foundation in design before advancing in your studies. Under the instruction of top artists and designers, you'll develop a comprehensive knowledge of design theory, history, and communication and design skills. Your courses will explore sustainable and socially-conscious design, lighting, and furniture design, as well as code adherence and professional practices. You’ll also develop fluency in the two- and three-dimensional design software and computer hardware contemporary designers use.

Our faculty and students hail from countries around the world. This diversity will enrich your education and provide you with valuable perspectives on the regional and global evolution of design. Suffolk’s extensive alumni network helps you identify internships at major firms across the country and beyond while you develop your own networks by participating in on-campus exhibits and attending interdisciplinary events throughout your time here.
View the MAIA Curriculum

The Art Gallery space

A&D Spaces

Transcript 0:00 [Music]
0:04 right now we're in our Suffolk's Sawyer
0:06 building on floor A and this is where
0:09 interior design students will spend most
0:11 of their time is it has some of our
0:13 largest Studio spaces down here they
0:15 feature large tables that we can all
0:18 gather and work around and then we also
0:20 have all of the crit space on the walls
0:22 around us so it's a great place to get
0:25 feedback from our peers and the critics
0:27 that our professors bring in you can
0:29 normally find students here on the
0:31 weekends and late at night working on
0:33 projects together so it really becomes a
0:35 second home each of our classrooms are
0:37 nice because they're not too big so you
0:39 still get that Community feel while
0:41 being really comfortable and able to
0:43 move around in the wood shop there's a
0:46 bunch of different resources there's
0:48 cutting tables there's a laser table
0:50 there's Blom rug tuter two 3D printers
0:54 spray booths and any kind of medium that
0:57 you want to work on as students come in
0:59 with different projects and ideas we
1:01 work with the students to make sure that
1:02 they can get the materials that they
1:03 need to execute those very ideas this is
1:06 the print Studio we're located on the B
1:08 floor of the Sawyer building here we do
1:11 all things print making we have cyano
1:13 types we have screen printing and then
1:15 we have more traditional things like
1:17 Lino cuts and etchings every art major
1:19 gets their own studi you have some space
1:21 where you can work on your assignments
1:24 here we're on the sixth floor Storer
1:25 where we'll find graphic design
1:27 classrooms Studio Art spaces and and the
1:30 Suffolk University Art Gallery at the
1:32 Suffolk gallery students are able to
1:34 Showcase their work in a couple shows a
1:36 year as well as outside artists being
1:37 able to come in and showcase their work
1:39 as well it's a really unique experience
1:41 that's part of the Suffolk Art and Design
1:43 community and it's really cool to be
1:45 inspired by the pieces that you walk by
1:47 every
1:48 day on Tuesdays and Thursdays we have
1:51 our studio classes 2 and 1 half hours in
1:53 the morning and then another 2 and 1/
1:54 half hours in the afternoon with a break
1:56 in between for lunch the sixth floor
1:58 also hosts our graphic design classes so
2:01 we have several classrooms computer labs
2:03 that all graphic design classes will
2:04 take place in we have a book findinding
2:07 machine we have a guillotine and as
2:09 someone that's really interested in
2:10 editorial design I take advantage of it
2:13 we also have an Epson printer the
2:15 quality is amazing and resolution really
2:18 matters when it comes to printing
2:20 especially as well as digital work this
2:23 is the sixth floor hallway where a lot of
2:24 the studio Majors who are taking either
2:26 the Tuesday or the Thursday class will
2:28 display some of their work so here's
2:29 some examples of what we do in our
2:31 Tuesday class actually this is a drawing
2:33 of the Tuesday class in
2:38 session right now we're on the 10th
2:40 floor of the Sawyer building and on this
2:42 floor is where all the foundational
2:44 courses happen for the Art and Design
2:46 Department here you'll take graphic
2:48 design courses you'll take integrated
2:50 Studio courses and drawing
2:52 courses I really fell in love with suffk
2:55 because it's located in the heart of
2:57 Boston and so I think that it's the
2:59 perfect place to to study when you want
3:00 to be surrounded by good youthful energy
3:04 here but you're also passionate about
3:06 your career and really want people that
3:07 will push you to be the best version of
3:09 yourself and get as much out of your
3:11 college experience as you can
3:14 [Music]


Full-time candidates, who are often career changers, complete the program in as little as four academic semesters and one summer. The curriculum also provides a shorter path for those with prior experience and part-time options for those wishing to extend their period of study.

For additional information about the program and the application, visit the MAIA Application Q&A page. Please contact the Graduate Program Director for additional information about program timelines.


Internships are your opportunity to apply your skills and explore possible career paths. MAIA candidates must complete at least 150 hours at an internship site under the direction of a design professional and take our Entrepreneurship with Internship course to fulfill the requirement.

Experience is Everything

Beyond the Classroom

In our program, you’ll design spaces for a myriad of people and purposes. A critical part of that process is learning how to take a client through a proposal with sketches, 3D renderings, and vivid descriptions that truly communicate your vision. That’s why our students present their work constantly—to each other, to faculty and alumni, and to industry professionals.

You’ll also have access to augmented and virtual reality technology through our faculty’s strong partnerships with the university’s STEM programs, allowing you to move through spaces as you design them and explain your ideas in 4D.

Interior architecture is a collaborative process. In many of your courses you’ll present your work to outside experts, gaining valuable perspectives from specialists in lighting, architecture, materials, and more. Learning to give and receive constructive criticism will help you refine your projects as you grow in skill and confidence.

Thesis Show

The MAIA program culminates in a thesis exhibition, where you’ll present your work in the Suffolk Gallery. Through research, design, review, and iteration, you’ll develop a unique body of work that represents who you are as a professional. Once the exhibit is up, you’ll gain critical experience talking about your work with peers and industry leaders during an opening event with the Suffolk community.

Student geturing at artwork hanging on a wall 

At Suffolk, you’ll learn to design spaces that balance form and function while also focusing on the wellbeing of people and the planet. You’ll become well-versed in international standards of sustainability and wellness and the concepts behind them, while cultivating the practical knowledge to apply them well and the curiosity to push beyond them.

You’ll visit locations nearby like the Boston Waterfront Innovation District to see how designers are reimagining neighborhoods to meet modern needs and enhance climate resilience. And in our Studio I and Studio II courses, you’ll take on the challenge of developing creative, practical, and sustainable designs that work within the constraints of real unoccupied buildings steps from campus.

Our faculty lead work across disciplines to help find meaningful solutions to urban ecological challenges. They collaborate with colleagues in environmental science, business, and other fields at Suffolk and around the world, including holding a joint International Workshop on Urban Ecological Security and Sustainability with faculty from the Center for Urban Eco-Planning & Design at Fudan University in Shanghai every two years.

Student gesturing at laptop screen showing design/CAD software 

Our program will prepare you to step confidently into your professional career—and by the time you graduate, you’ll have a good idea of what your first step should be. That’s because most of our students complete multiple internships in various aspects of the industry to gain experience and refine their goals.

You’ll form strong bonds with your fellow students and faculty here, and be welcomed into a creative community that includes alumni who are top working professionals in virtually every aspect of design. You can participate in events through the Interior Design Organization, a student-run group that provides networking and experiential learning opportunities. We also encourage our students to join professional organizations, and many have won competitions and awards from groups such as the International Interior Design Association of New England and the Designers Lighting Forum of New England.

Center for Career Equity, Development & Success

The Career Center will help you explore career options, plan your path, and land your dream internship or job. You’ll find practical help, like how to write an effective résumé or LinkedIn profile, along with valuable connections to leading employers and successful alumni. A specific career community for Humanities and the Arts provides events and information tailored just for our students.

Advising & Other Resources

Our Graduate Student Services team is here to support you every step of the way. From application advising to financial aid counseling and international student resources, we provide a wide range of services to help you get the most out of your education. You’ll also have the opportunity to participate in professional development workshops throughout the year, as well as lifelong access to all of the tools and resources offered by our Center for Career Equity, Development & Success.

Apply to Suffolk’s MAIA Program

Application Deadlines

  • Fall Semester: July 15 (International Applicants), August 15 (Domestic Applicants), then rolling
  • Spring Semester: December 1 (International Applicants), January 4 (Domestic Applicants), then rolling

Learn about the advantages of priority applications.

Application Materials

  • Completed application
  • $50 application fee (waived for students who visit campus)
  • Resume
  • Goal statement (essay)
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Unofficial transcripts of all post-secondary work. Admitted students enrolling in the program will need to have official transcripts, including proof of degree conferral, on file prior to their first class
  • Portfolio (12 - 15 pieces of recent original artwork) submitted via the online application
  • Official TOEFL, IELTS, Duolingo, or PTE-Academic Scores (international students only)

View details about application materials required.

For candidates without formal art or design training, there are certain foundational skills that should be represented in the applicant's portfolio during the admissions process:

  • Evidence of observational drawings (still life and figure studies)
  • Examples of analytical drawing (perspective and orthographic representations)
  • Demonstration of ‘process oriented’ making skills (architectural models, sculptural, or craft-based projects that are iterative in nature)
  • Evidence of graphic work demonstrating 2D compositional color studies
  • Rendered drawings of architectural interiors and/or orthographic projections
  • Evidence of introductory CAD, raster and vector graphic software

Cost of Graduate Study at Suffolk

View current tuition and fees for this program

Financial Aid for Graduate Study

Suffolk University is pleased to offer merit-based financial aid to graduate students—these awards can be up to $14,750 per academic year. Merit-based aid is awarded based on the applicant's academic credentials presented on the admission application. No separate application is required for merit consideration.

View estimated cost of attendance

Students with a background in art or design may be able to waive some or all of the courses in the leveling pathway. Candidates wishing to petition for such waivers must work with the Program Director before registering for academic coursework.

Interior Architecture Information Request