Interior Design Major

Elva Mankin

The Department of Interior Architecture offers a major in Interior Design leading to a Bachelor of Fine Arts. Within the Interior Design curriculum, all students in the major also complete a fine arts foundation and engage in Catalyst. Through the arts Catalyst curriculum, students gain an overall arts perspective, participating […]

The Department of Interior Architecture offers a major in Interior Design leading to a Bachelor of Fine Arts. Within the Interior Design curriculum, all students in the major also complete a fine arts foundation and engage in Catalyst. Through the arts Catalyst curriculum, students gain an overall arts perspective, participating in interdisciplinary workshops and coursework. The department also offers a non-degree seeking concentration in Pre-Architecture.

Students in this highly regarded program recently received recognition at the ASID/Summer Classic Teak Design Challenge in Birmingham as well as top honors at the Alabama Chapter of International Interior Design Association’s annual event.

Join our spring webinar April 24 at 11 a.m.

Due to COVID-19, we are hosting a virtual spring art and design visit to Samford. Join in to meet faculty, learn about our programs and ask questions.  Individual portfolio review slots will be available from 11:45-3 p.m.  

Register Here 

Overview & Mission

Samford fosters a holistic student learning approach to interior architecture instilling a passion for outstanding design that can shape and influence society for good. At the core, we produce graduates who appreciate aesthetic values with practical realties, are excellent communicators and problem solvers and are sensitive to global and cultural issues that impact design decisions.

The Interior Design major and the Pre-Architecture concentration students share a common curriculum for the first two years of study. These foundation courses introduce applicable theory and skills, preparing the students for a more specific design direction: interior design or architecture. (See pathways chart, below.) The Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interior Design introduces a fine art foundation in the curriculum. The BFA in Interior Design is accredited by CIDA (the Council for Interior Design Accreditation).

The Pre-Architecture concentration is a two-year, non-degree plan. Students choosing Pre-Architecture, and meeting admission requirements, may transfer seamlessly into the Bachelor of Arts in Architecture at Judson University, Elgin, Illinois, and continue into that school’s Masters of Architecture, a NAAB-accredited architectural program. This is the result of collaboration between Samford and Judson, with an articulation agreement outlining such. Pre-Architecture students who choose to remain at Samford University and complete the Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interior Design can then pursue the Masters of Architecture degree program at Judson University or at other universities that offer similar programs of study, pending application and acceptance.

Accredited by CIDA

The interior design program leading to the Bachelor of Fine Arts is accredited by the Council for Interior Design Accreditation,, 206 Grandville Avenue, Suite 350, Grand Rapids, MI, 49503.

The CIDA-accredited program prepares students for entry-level interior design practice, for advanced study, and to apply for membership in professional interior design organizations. The Bachelor of Fine Arts granted by Samford University meets the educational requirement for eligibility to sit for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification Examination (NCIDQ Exam). For more information about NCIDQ Exam eligibility visit:

CIDA’s Policy and Procedures, Section VII. Accreditation

Enrollment and Graduation

Our students have consistently demonstrated success in both advancing through the degree program and in finding employment — usually related to the major, and always benefiting from the skills they gain during their Samford experience. The program is demanding but fulfilling, and each class forms a strong bond of supportive community and growth, creating friendships that endure after graduation.

Fast Facts

Retention and Graduation (2015-17)

  • 11% completed their undergraduate degree in 3.5 years
  • 84% completed their undergraduate degree in 4 years
  • 5% completed their undergraduate degree in 4+ years

Job Placement (2015-17)

  • 92% of the Interior Design graduates have secured positions within the design field
  • 100% (as of fall 2015) of those individuals remain employed in a design-related field.

Positions Secured (2015-17)

Graduates entering employment in a design-related field secured the following positions:

  • 55% Interior Design within architectural and interior design firms, commercial and residential
  • 5% Retail
  • 5% Space planners for commercial furniture dealerships
  • 13% Sales within the architectural and design industry
  • 5% Construction
  • 17% Graduate School

Hands-on Experience

Field experiences are essential learning tools and include interaction with local design entities, travel to national design hubs and unique international mission projects. Samford works closely with the Birmingham business community providing internship opportunities, guest lecturers, jurors and professional critiques. Students visit construction sites, markets, showrooms, notable architecture and make valuable contacts within the industry.

The Catalyst/Design Education for World Impact is the senior project that allows students to apply their skills to a real-world project. Recent undertakings include a medical clinic in Kolkata, India, church related facilities in Ecuador and a senior living home in the Dominican Republic. Students not only plan, design, and build facilities but also have the opportunity to travel and impact lives both domestically and globally with their talents.

State-of-the-Art Studios

The interior architecture studios combine state-of-the-art technology and learning centers with a vertical integration of student interaction. Freshman and sophomores visualize their academic process through exposure to juniors and seniors who play a mentoring role. Students have access to up-to-date technology including 3-D printers, large format plotters and scanners to assist them with their projects. Students have access to these workspaces around the clock.

Student Achievement Data

Student Organization

Samford has become an International Interior Design Association (IIDA) campus center, providing enrichment activities, professional connections, and service opportunities to Interior Design students. Comprised of students from all grade levels, IIDA provides a variety of student organized programs and activities including ASID/IIDA Student Day, portfolio review and mentoring opportunities. The organization also regularly volunteers both in the community and within our own department to complete a number of service projects.


The American Society of Interior Designers (ASID)

Largest organization of professional interior designers in the world. Learn more

Environmental Design Research Association (EDRA)

International interdisciplinary organization dedicated to improving the understanding of the relationship between people and their built and natural environments. Learn more

Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA)

Accredits interior design programs at the post secondary level in the United States and Canada. Learn more

The International Interior Design Association (IIDA)

Internationally recognized organization representing professional interior designers. Learn more

Interior Designers of Canada (IDC)

National interior design association of Canada with member associations in each of the eight provinces. Learn more

The Interior Design Educators Council, Inc. (IDEC)

Dedicated to strengthening the lines of communication among educators, institutions, and other organizations concerned with interior design. Learn more

The International Federation of Interior Designers (IFI)

Association of associations. Members are national professional associations of interior architects/interior designers representing 25 countries. Its main activities are in the areas of education, professional practice, information and communication. Learn more

Leaders in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)

LEED is the most widely uszed green building rating system in the world. Learn more

The National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ)

Independent organization created in the public interest to establish standards for the qualification of professional interior designers. NCIDQ administers the qualifying examination that is a prerequisite for professional membership in participating design membership. Learn more

Alabama Interior Design Coalition (AIDC)

Coalition of professional interior designers focused on responsible legislation for the practice of interior design in Alabama. Learn more

academic chart of the program

Source Article

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