Interior Design Program

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About SJSU Interior Design

The award winning Interior Design Program at San José State University with its emphasis in Interior Architecture provides students with an excellent education preparing them to enter the design and technology rich environment surrounding Silicon Valley. Interior Architecture is a critical design discipline that influences social, economic and environmental forces and our curriculum supports these aspects of the profession by offering courses that focus on social demands and new client needs, new developments in technology, and sustainable design initiatives.

What to Expect

The program, established over 50 years ago, is open to all interested students both entering as recent high school graduates and as transfers from junior colleges. The curriculum provides our students with a strong foundation in conceptual design and development through a five-semester studio and visual communication sequence that introduces interior and architectural issues of increasing difficulty and detail. We also offer a broad range of courses that support the increasingly diverse and complex spectrum of knowledge that Interior Architects are expected to have. Students study lighting design, product and furniture design, digital design and fabrication, adaptive reuse and sustainable design. Taking advantage of our locale, our students often collaborate with civic partners, local professionals and engage in real client and community-based projects. This tradition, in addition to a required internship, helps prepare students for professional practice. Upon graduation, students are prepared for a lifetime of practicing Interior Design or continuing their education in a Master’s of Architecture program.

Award-Winning Talent

Over the last five decades SJSU students have won numerous design awards and competitions sponsored by the International Interior Design Association (IIDA), the Planning and Visual Education Partnership (PAVE) and the American Institute of Architects (AIA). Our graduates have been a critical in rethinking and reinventing the workplace by designing interiors for companies such as Apple, Facebook, and eBay. Many of our former students work for global design firms such as Gensler and have gone on to effect change throughout the world. Our graduates also often go on to establish their own successful design studios and become leaders in the profession.


Learning Outcomes                                                                             

The Interior Design Program curriculum at SJSU prepares students for entry-level interior design practice and positions them for future professional growth in the field of interior design. The responsibilities of the interior designer encompass all spaces within environments built for human habitation. Educational philosophies and goals facilitate the development of a creative professional who can analyze problems from many different perspectives and synthesize information.

We believe interior designers should have global views and weigh design decisions within the parameters of ecological, socio-economic, and cultural contexts. Additionally, students at SJSU develop concepts, principles, and theories of sustainability as they pertain to building methods, materials, systems, and occupants 

The work of interior designers is informed by knowledge of human factors and theories of human behavior related to the built environment. Students are taught to understand that social and behavioral norms may vary from their own and are relevant to making appropriate design decisions and apply the knowledge by appropriately applying theories of human behavior in the built environment, by selecting, interpreting, and applying appropriate anthropometric data when designing a space.

Entry-level interior designers need to apply all aspects of the design process to creative problem solving. The design process enables designers to identify and explore complex problems and generate creative solutions that optimize the human experience within the interior environment. Students at SJSU learn to gather, evaluate, and apply appropriate and necessary information and research findings to solve the problem (pre-design investigation) and are taught to synthesize that information and generate multiple concepts and/or multiple design responses to programmatic requirements.

All designers at many points during their career engage in multi-disciplinary collaboration. At SJSU students work in team structures and learn the nature and value of integrated design practices.

The basics are essential for employment. SJSU students are able to express ideas clearly through visual media (ideation drawings and sketches), to produce presentation drawings across a range of appropriate media and to produce integrated contract documents including drawings, schedules, and specifications appropriate to project size and scope.

Interior designers use ethical and accepted standards of practice, are committed to professional development and the industry, and understand the value of their contribution to the built environment. SJSU students learn about the contributions of interior design to contemporary society, research various types of design practices, document the elements of business practice and project management, project communication, and project delivery methods not only through course work but through a required internship. SJSU also has a course that teaches laws, codes, standards, and guidelines that impact the design of interior spaces. Students research and apply industry-specific regulations to interior design solutions such as federal, state/provincial, and local codes and accessibility guidelines, this prepares our graduates to become licensed, certified interior designers and to take the IDEX exam.

In our studios and support seminars, students gain an understanding of color principles, theories, and systems and learn how to select and apply materials, texture, light, and form and understand their impact on interior environments. They learn how to select and specify finish materials for interior spaces and how to select from a broad range of materials and products. Students are able to layout and specify furniture, fixtures, and equipment.