The Master of Arts in Interiors prepares students for careers in environmental design, interior design, interior architecture, adaptive reuse, and exhibition design, as well as further study in Ph.D. programs focused on design of the built environment, design history and the humanities. Students hone visual communication, critical-thinking, research, and writing skills with special emphasis on the historical and theoretical discourse surrounding environmental design and interiority.
By combining making with design research and community advocacy, we provide a rich studio culture committed to environmental stewardship, speculation, and building. Guided by a humanistic approach, our faculty and students partner with community stakeholders and professional design organizations throughout the region to address real-world issues.
Based within a Research 1, land-grant university, the Interiors graduate program has access to state-of-the-art design fabrication facilities, world-class lectures, and many cross-disciplinary opportunities within the College of Design and the University.
The two-year Master of Arts in Interiors degree represents a next-level option for applicants holding an undergraduate degree in spatially-oriented design disciplines including interior design, interior architecture, architecture, environmental design, exhibition design, and industrial design. Students combine coursework, independent study and research to develop a degree plan tailored to their individual interests. Each student works with a primary professor and an advising committee to approve appropriate coursework and develop a written or design project thesis.
For applicants with undergraduate backgrounds unrelated to interior design or architecture while demonstrating a strong aptitude for graduate study in design, the School offers a Qualifying Program consisting of an additional 24 credits of required coursework.
Interior-focused disciplines must advocate for spatial expertise, bridging territories and scales as their primary distinction. The faculty of the graduate Interiors program encourage students to pursue diverse research paths that respond to their professional practice and scholarship interests. As design often centers on understanding communities, our students collaborate with partners at the University of Kentucky, in Lexington and Central Kentucky, and throughout the Appalachian region.
Divergent and human-centered design processes lie at the core of design. Because the study of interiors includes connections to both intimate settings and increasingly complex conditions, the faculty encourage students to move beyond conventional approaches to imagine transformative opportunities for the built environment.
Students may pursue a broad range of specializations in design processes and scales from interior urbanism to topical studies in hospitality, healthcare, workplace, housing, exhibit, and experiential design; as well as preservation, sustainability, adaptive reuse, design history, theory, and community engagement. Students may choose to concurrently pursue various graduate certificate programs including preservation, universal design, and community leadership.
In either of two speculative platforms — a thesis or a design project — students examine design issues through theory, design-build activities, community-based work, and the Studio Appalachia research group. Students explore diverse spatial applications to engage a complex field of relations, actions, and collective design practices.
A student model visualizing the geography of retail obsolescence in the Ohio Valley, comparing conditions of enclosed shopping malls alongside alternative forms of retail as a way to explore speculative proposals for adaptive reuse of obsolete retail facilities.