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Architecture, MS Specialization in Interior Design

Interior Designers

Redesign your future

Ranked one of the top architectural interior design programs in the U.S., this program is available entirely online.  Courses include history, theory and contemporary issues in interior design.


Program Description

This Master of Science, specialization in Interior Design degree program prepares individuals for leadership roles in developing theory and applying it to 21st century interior environments.

Ranked 6th in the nation by DesignIntelligence magazine, the University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s interior design graduate program is one of the best programs for preparing students for real-world success. The program was ranked by design professionals at more than 200 U.S. firms who make hiring decisions and performance evaluations of recent architecture and design graduates.

Students will gain research and theory-based problem-solving skills needed to address the increased complexity of interior built environments. Combining previous education, practical experience and scholarly inquiry, students will create new knowledge to advance the discipline and meet their career goals.

The program is for graduates of an interior design program. The courses are taught by award-winning faculty with real-world experience and are offered completely online.

Special Accreditation

In addition to the Higher Learning Commission accreditation carried by all University of Nebraska campuses, this program is also accredited by:

• Council for Interior Design Accreditation (formerly FIDER)

Delivery Format

Home Campus: University of Nebraska - Lincoln

Method of Delivery: 100% Online - what's this?Program can be completed fully at a distance. Courses are asynchronous, meaning students and instructor may access content at any time and do not have to be connected to the Internet at the same time. If your program includes an internship or practicum, experiences may be completed in the student's local area.

All online courses are accessed via the Internet and use a learning management system. Technology requirements may vary by program and course, but all campuses have basic recommended requirements. High-speed Internet is required.

Interaction with professors and other students may include:

  • E-mail
  • Online discussion boards
  • Phone or video conferencing
  • Other forms of electronic and print communication

Supplemental materials for some courses may include:

  • Printed material and scanned documents
  • Digital resources accessed through university libraries
  • Videos accessed via the Internet, CDs or DVDs
  • Other media

To be successful, students taking online classes should be reasonably comfortable using a computer and the Internet. Learn more about online student tips for success.

Academic Year 2015 - 2016

Tuition rates are effective for the academic year listed. Tuition is subject to change.

Nebraska Resident:

 TuitionDistance Ed. FeeTechnology FeeLibrary FeeTotal
Per credit hour$328.00$25.00$10.00$4.00$367.00
3 credit hour$984.00$75.00$30.00$12.00$1,101.00


 TuitionDistance Ed. FeeTechnology FeeLibrary FeeTotal
Per credit hour$552.00$25.00$10.00$4.00$591.00
3 credit hour$1,656.00$75.00$30.00$12.00$1,773.00

Note: In addition to the costs outlined above, students will be assessed a $20.00 registration fee each semester they enroll in courses.

This degree consists of a total of 36 semester hours. The curriculum includes the following components:

9 credit hours of Core Requirements

Core Requirements to include the following:

IDES 886 Evolving Issues in Interior Design (3 cr hrs)

IDES 856 Behavioral & Social Factors in Environmental Design Behavior (3 cr hrs)

IDES 870 Design Problems in the Interior Built Environment (3-6 cr hrs)

6 credit hours of Discipline/Theory requirements,

to be selected in consultation with adviser

The following represents possible course selections:
IDES 858 The Changing Workplace (3 cr hrs)
IDES 860 Preservation & Conservation of Historic Interiors (3 cr hrs)
IDES 882 Advanced Color Theory (3 cr hrs)
IDES 884 Material Culture: The Social Life of Things (3 cr hrs)
IDES 883 Domesticity & Power in the Colonial World (3 cr hrs)
ARCH 841 Architecture History & Theory II (3 cr hrs)
ARCH 842 Contemporary Architecture (3 cr hrs)
ARCH 857 Housing Issues in Contemporary Society (2 cr hrs)
ARCH 846 Architecture, Society, & Culture II  (3 cr hrs)
ARCH 863 Architectural Preservation (3 cr hrs)

6 credit hours of Research Methods/Analytical

Techniques, to be selected in consultation with adviser

ARCH/IDES 885 Research Methods in Architecture & Interior Design (3 cr hrs)
(to be selected from existing courses outside the department)
Quantitative Research Methods
Qualitative Research Methods
Historical Research Methods
3-6 credit hours of Campus-Wide Electives

In consultation with their interior design adviser,

students can chose campus-wide electives from

graduate courses within the disciplines of
psychology, sociology, anthropology, business
and history

3-6 credit hours of Independent Field Research

or Graduate Internship

6 credit hours toward thesis The thesis will be used to gain new insights
and to develop theory or to contribute to the
body of knowledge that can in turn advance
the discipline and practice of interior design

Total Credits: 36

Course Name
Course #
Core Courses

Behavioral and Social Factors in Environmental...

IDES 856

Behavioral and Social Factors in Environmental Design Behavior

(Arch 556/856) Prereq: Permission Survey of theory, methods, research and findings from the social and behavioral sciences as they relate to architectural design, interior design, and regional and community planning. Application of principles to architectural and interiors programs, designs, and the planning process.

The Changing Workplace

IDES 858

Prereq: Permission

Survey of theory, methods, research and findings from the social and behavioral sciences as they relate to architectural design, interior design, and regional and community planning. Application of principles to architectural and interiors programs, designs, and the planning process.

Cross-listed as ARCH 558/858

Design Problems in the Interior Built Environment

IDES 870
3 - 6
Design Problems with the Interior Built Environment - As a primary vehicle for design education, studio teaching is a critical component of any design program. This course explores strategies for teaching and learning directly related to studio education.

Color in the Built Environment

IDES 882
Lec 3. Prereq: Admission to the third year in architecture or interior design program; or permission Advanced color theories and their application to the Built environment.

Material Culture: the Social Life of Things

IDES 884
Lec 3. Prereq: Permission Theories and practices of material culture. History and interior design--and indeed the broad category of humanity itself--through the lens of material objects.

Architecture History & Theory II

ARCH 841
Lec 3. Prereq: For students in the professional program: formal acceptance into the architecture program by faculty or permission Selected aspects of the history and theory of nineteenth- and early twentieth-century architecture emphasizing the intellectual impact and material expression of cultural change.

Contemporary Architecture

ARCH 842
Lec 3. Prereq: For students in the professional program: formal acceptance into the architectural program by faculty or permission. Selected aspects of contemporary architectural theory and design from the mid-twentieth century to the present emphasizing the diversity of current thought and practice.

Housing Issues in Contemporary Society

ARCH 857
Prereq: Permission Survey of social, psychological, political and economic research regarding housing in today’s global economy. Focus on how the research can impact the practice of design at the interior and architectural as well as the community and regional planning scale.

Architectural Preservation

ARCH 863
Lec 3. Introduction to the principles, processes, and practice of architectural preservation and the conservation of historic districts.

Digital Environments

ARCH 897

Evolving Issues in Interior Design

IDES 886

Lec 3. Prereq: Admission to the BSD Program
Evolving issues in interior design. Contemporary and controversial issues designed to articulate and frame parameters in a manner that encourages depth of thought. The nuances of the field and practice of interior design and its relationship to the allied design disciplines.

African Architecture

IDES 847

Survey of the architectural traditions of the African continent, from pre-historic times to the present day.  Buildings - famous and typical- theories, and approaches that are appropriate to the specific cultural environments.

Women in Design

IDES 881

Prereq: Admission to the BSAS program or permission
Intensive study of particular historical and contemporary contributions by women to the design professions related to the built environment. Evaluation of design work by and about women seen in their aesthetic and intellectual context. Examinations of the roles and values of women in design and their impact on the assumptions and issues currently held by the profession

Introduction to Planning

CRPL 800

Lec. Field of community and regional planning is introduced in relation to the history of cities, urbanization, and regionalization. Origins and evolution of American urban and regional planning practice. The planning process as a response to social, political, physical, and economic factors is analyzed. Community comprehensive planning process, plan implementation, and functional
areas of planning.

Teaching Strategies for Design

IDES 891


Advanced Lighting Design

ARCH 835

Lec 1, lab 4. Prereq: ARCH 333 or IDES 335 or by permission. Translation of physical measurements of sensory stimuli into architectural-spatial relationships with respect to artificial and natural illumination; advanced lighting theories and techniques through lecture, discussion, simulation, and direct application to spatial design/development.

Architecture, Society, and Culture II

ARCH 846
Prereq: ARCH 542/842 or permission Theory and criticism in architecture since 1945 as they relate to contemporary American society and culture, with reference to those parallel in other humanities disciplines, including arts, linguistics, literary criticism, and philosophy.

Domesticity and Power in the Colonial World

IDES 883
Lec 3. Prereq: Permission Colonial architecture as a world-wide phenomenon. Re-examines the relationship between architecture, politics, and ethical values. The colonial domestic sphere are viewed as a counterpoint to the public arena.

Design Evaluation and Research


Research Methods in Architecture and Interior Design (IDES *885) Research methods employed by the diverse specializations within the disciplines of architecture and interior design. Methods which contribute to a theoretical and informational body of knowledge as well as those contributing directly to design application.

Portfolio Design

IDES 891

Tom Allisma, M.Arch., Assistant Professor

Rodrigo Cantarero, Ph.D., Associate Professor

Jeff Day, AIA, M.Arch., Associate Professor

Lindsey Ellsworth-Bahe, M.Arch., Assistant Professor

Betsy Gabb, Ed.D., IIDA, IDEC, Allied ASID, Professor

Rumiko Handa, M.Arch, M.S. Arch., Ph.D., Associate Professor

Steve Hardy, M.Arch, Associate Professor

Tim Hemsath, AIA, NCARB, LEED(R) Accredited, M.Arch., Assistant Professor

Mark Hinchman, M.Arch., M.A., Ph.D., AIA, Associate Professor

Peter David Hind, Assistant Professor

Mark Hoistad, AIA, NCARB, M.Arch., Program Director, Architecture

Nate Krug, AIA, M.Arch., Associate Professor

Sharon Kuska, PH.D., Professor

Yunwoo Nam, M.R.P., Ph.D., Assistant Professor

Richard Sutton, M.L.A., Ph.D., Professor

Gordon Scholz, M.B.A., M.U.P., M.Arch., AICP, Professor

Zhenghong Tang, Ph.D., Assistant Professor

Kim A. Todd, Associate Professor

Kim Wilson, M.L.A., Professor

Guidelines for Admittance

To participate in this program the student must have:

  • Applicants must have an undergraduate degree in architecture, interior design, or a closely related field
  • Maintained at least a B average in past academic programs


Application Checklist

  1. Apply and be admitted to Graduate Studies at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln.
  2. Apply and be admitted to the Architecture Department:
    • Entrance exam(s): GRE
    • Minimum TOEFL: Paper-550    Internet-79 
    • Three letters of recommendation
    • Statement of goals
    • Portfolio
    • M.S. only: Use GAMES for online submission of materials


Send department application materials to:

Members of the Graduate Committee
Attn: Pakiza Shirinova, Admissions Coordinator
232 Architecture Hall
Lincoln, NE 68588-0107

Application Deadlines

Rolling admissions. Applications are reviewed upon receipt of materials.

Graduate Studies performs a preliminary review after receiving your online application, application fee, and transcripts. Your file is then forwarded to the Department Graduate Committee for review.

  • Department Graduate Committee conducts a departmental review only after all materials are received. The Department Graduate Committee notifies Graduate Studies of their admission recommendation.
  • Graduate Studies conducts a final review. If you are admitted, Graduate Studies will notify you by e-mail and mail.



Online Worldwide Educational Representative

Program Contact
Phone: 402.472.2875


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