In 1906, Frank Alvah Parsons established the country’s first interior design curriculum, framing the field as an intellectually rigorous creative force in everyday life. Modern American interior design was both invented at Parsons in the early 20th century and redefined as a social engaged practice at the end of the last century. Today this research-based, design-intensive major gives you a solid foundation for careers in which you create comfortable, imaginative, and intelligently designed interiors. It also prepares you for graduate studies, particularly in the allied fields of Parsons’ School of Constructed Environments: architecture, industrial design, and lighting design.
This program is part of Parsons' School of Constructed Environments (SCE). Learn about the
SCE community and explore our
SCE blog to see what students, faculty, and alumni are doing in NYC and around the world.
You work with faculty, peers, and outside professionals designing interior environments that reflect an understanding of sustainability, cultural differences, and human needs for comfort and well-being. Courses guide you through the study of materiality and two- and three-dimensional form and space. The studio sequence introduces interior and architectural issues of increasing complexity, and you learn to conceptualize and develop interior designs using hand drawings, physical models, collage, and digital renderings.
Art and design history and theory courses build your research, communication, and conceptual skills.
Access to New York City’s globally influential firms and showrooms broadens your practice. “AfterTaste,” the program’s international symposium, explores the conceptual boundaries of interior design, bringing notable names such as Penny Sparke, Mayer Rus, Jorge Otero-Pailos, James Auger, and Sabine von Fischer to campus. And Parsons’ long-standing prominence and industry connections give you access to leading interior design firms, museums, galleries, and auction houses.
Graduates leave prepared to begin careers or pursue further education in interior design, lighting design, sustainable design, set design, exhibition design, historic preservation, and consulting.
This program is part of Parsons’ School of Constructed Environments (SCE). As a BFA Interior Design student, you benefit from this integrated academic community through access to students and faculty of related making disciplines at both the undergraduate and the graduate levels.
The Bachelor of Fine Arts degree is awarded upon completion of 120 credits, as designated by the program. A maximum of 60 credits of undergraduate-level coursework may be transferred from other institutions. Students must maintain a 2.0 cumulative grade point average and fulfill all requirements in a timely manner.
Note: This curriculum applies to students who enter Parsons as first-year students in fall 2013 and after. Current students who entered Parsons in a prior academic year and incoming and prospective transfer students with sophomore or junior standing should refer to the Parsons catalog appropriate to their catalog year. See
Academic Policies for more details.
*Objects as History and Sustainable Systems can be taken in either sequence, one in the fall semester and one in the spring.
**The three first-year studio courses — Drawing/Imaging, Space/Materiality, and Time — can be taken in any sequence, two in the fall semester and one in the spring.
Eleanor McMillen Brown
Van Day Truex
4 years, 120 credits
Full-time undergraduate major
A holistic degree program that immerses students in challenging studio courses, art history and critical theory, as well as the wider world of liberal arts. The course of study culminates in a thesis and qualifies alumni for further graduate study. Best suited to first-time college students.
1-2 years, 65 credits
Can be completed full-time or part-time
A professionally oriented course of study that provides essential foundation training and technical skills, enabling students to build a competitive portfolio and launch a new career in their chosen industry. Best suited to students who have previous college experience in an unrelated field and want to change careers.
Explore the AAS degree option
2 years, 60 credits
Full-time graduate program
A professionally oriented program that trains students in highly advanced, specialized design methods and technical skills, enabling students to advance their existing design practice. Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree in a related design field and/or work experience in interior design.
Explore the MFA degree option
All applicants are required to apply online using the
Common Application. Save your work frequently and print a copy for your records. You must complete all required fields and uploads prior to submission.
Any additional supporting documents that need to be sent by mail must include an
Application Materials Cover Sheet. All supporting materials must be received before your application can be reviewed.
See below for additional information regarding submission of transcripts and recommendations.
Some of your required materials will be submitted through
Learn more about what Parsons students, faculty, and alumni are doing throughout the city and around the world.
Explore the SCE Community
Cotter Christian, Program Director
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