Introduction to Interior Design


The Interior Design program at Virginia Tech is dedicated to improving quality of life through design excellence, professionalism, and public service. With a curriculum that equally respects the importance of creative skill, history, building technology, ethics, innovation, and business practice, our graduates have the ability and confidence needed to immediately contribute to the profession.

Students in the Interior Design Program at Virginia Tech are challenged to think critically in their design of space and to develop solutions that not only enhance quality of life, but also protect the health, safety, and welfare of users as prescribed in the various codes and regulations that govern the work of interior designers. This philosophy is the core of our program. It establishes a foundation upon which each student graduates with creative ingenuity and professional responsibility.

The Interior Design program at Virginia Tech guides students to create a better world. The program grounds students in Practical Wisdom — learning by doing — and seeks to provide them with the knowledge and ability to think rigorously and design well. Through an emphasis on environmental responsibility, the interior design program at Virginia Tech prepares students to be able to make immediate contributions to the profession and society.

Students experience cross-disciplinary interaction with the other programs in the School of Architecture + Design and are grounded in a tradition of iteration and making. We provide connections to industry and the profession with leadership opportunities for the students. The overlap of theory, research, and practical knowledge culminates in a student’s skillful, thoughtful, and creative approach to design. Students collaborate and teach one another in fulfillment of the University’s pledge of service, Ut Prosim.

National Recognition

Our students are continually recognized for design excellence in international design competitions. Please see the news + events page for information on the most recent honors received by VT Interior Design students. In addition, our student interns and graduates often find employment with design firms listed in Interior Design Magazine’s top 100.

Accreditation and Certification

Our program, accredited by the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (formerly known as FIDER), prepares future designers for licensure and practice. A degree from a CIDA-accredited program is increasingly important as a requirement for professional certification and licensing of Interior Designers in the United States. Graduating from a CIDA-accredited program is the first step in a three-part process in achieving certification or licensing as an interior designer in various states. Candidates must then complete two years of work experience in interior design and pass the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination. A CIDA-accredited degree, work experience, and successful completion of the NCIDQ exam satisfy the requirements in Virginia for recognition as a “Certified Interior Designer.”

program goals

1. Provide interdisciplinary opportunities for students.

2. Center the curriculum around environmental responsibility.

3. Use input from professionals and industry to have a relevant and forward thinking program.

4. Provide opportunities for students to contribute to the community.

5. Provide the structure for students to teach one another and collaborate.

6. Include opportunities for iteration and making at all levels.


Each student is assigned a desk in their design studio each semester and has unlimited access to their workspace. Administrative offices, the Art and Architecture Library, and the Foundation Design studios are located in Cowgill Hall. Upper level Interior Design studios, a computer lab, classroom space, and faculty offices are located in Burruss Hall. Wood, metal, plastics, and ceramics shop facilities, a print making studio, faculty offices, and additional computer labs are located in Burchard Hall. These three facilities are all immediately adjacent to each other on campus, and they are all available to Interior Design students.

study abroad opportunities

There are several opportunities for interior design majors to study abroad. Students can participate in European summer traveling programs with credits offered toward the Bachelor of Science in Interior Design degree, and students can apply for acceptance in the residency program at Virginia Tech’s Steger Center for International Scholarship in Riva San Vitale, Switzerland.

Studio Residency students at Riva San Vitale interact with students from other Virginia Tech programs, sharing extensive library resources, well-equipped lecture rooms, studios, room and board accommodations and extensive private surrounding gardens. This centrally-located facility is a valuable resource for short trips into Italy, France, Austria, Germany and the surrounding areas of Switzerland. The studio has access to urban and rural, contemporary and historical built environments.


During the summer between the third and fourth year of the curriculum, interior design majors are highly encouraged to seek out an internship with an interior design or architectural firm. Students are responsible for finding their own internship position, but with the excellent reputation our program enjoys and an extensive network of alumni and professional friends of the school, our students routinely find paid internship opportunities with top firms.

awards, design competitions, scholarships

Alumni and industry partners contribute to the Interior Design Program, providing a source of funds for a number of awards and scholarships, normally given at the end of the academic year, including the Jeanette Turner Bowker Scholarship (please see awards presentations). Virginia Tech Interior Design students often receive honors in national or international design competitions (please see news + events).