Introduction to Interior Design
The interior design program at Virginia Tech prepares students to create a better world. The program is grounded in experiential learning and Practical Wisdom—learning by doing– and provides students with the knowledge and ability to think critically 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. We provide connections to industry and the profession with leadership opportunities for the students. The overlap of theory, research, and practical knowledge culminate in a student’s skillful, thoughtful, and creative approach to design. Students support each other and their communities in fulfillment of the University’s pledge of service, Ut Prosim.
The Interior Design Program at Virginia Tech educates thoughtful leaders in interior design. Immersed in the importance of environmental and social responsibility, Virginia Tech interior designers have the theoretical foundation and skills to fulfill their ideas through collaboration with other professionals both in and outside their own discipline.
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.”
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).