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Master of Fine Arts [Portfolio required; GRE exam NOT required]

The only program in nation’s capital that is accredited by the Council for Interior Design Accreditation, the MFA in Interior Architecture gives students access to urban resources, the top architecture and interior design firms in DC, and a studio-oriented curriculum that creates innovative, design thinkers. Through the studio-based core curriculum of 60 required credits, students learn about habitable environments ranging from small interiors to larger, more complex commercial and institutional spaces. With projects focused on current design issues as well as lectures and critiques from distinguished professionals, the IA program is a carefully sequenced series of courses building on theoretical, technical, and creative challenges and experiences.

Specific admission requirements are shown on the Graduate Program Finder.

Prerequisite: A bachelor’s degree in a field other than interior design, including a minimum of 30 credit hours of liberal arts and sciences courses. A portfolio consisting of examples of relevant work is to be submitted with the application to the program.

The following requirements must be fulfilled:

The general requirements stated under Columbian College of Arts and Sciences, Graduate Programs.


Requirements: 60 credits including:
IA 6200 Studio I
IA 6205 Interior Materials
IA 6210 Sketching Architecture and Interiors
IA 6300 Studio 2
IA 6305 Graphic Communications
IA 6310 Digital Drafting & Modeling
IA 6400 Studio 3
IA 6405 History of Modern Architecture and Design
IA 6410 Sustainability/LEED: Arch&Des
IA 6500 Studio 4
IA 6505 Lighting & Acoustics
IA 6510 Pre-Design for Studio 5
IA 6600 Studio 5
IA 6550 Structures and Building Systems
IA 6525 Professional Practice
  1. Prospective students must not have an undergraduate degree in Interior Design or Architecture
  2. Prospective students must have undergraduate degree with 30 credit hours of liberal arts and science courses*
  3. A portfolio is required (view portfolio requirements)
  4. The GRE exam is optional, but highly recommended


Course Descriptions PDF

Detailed Plan of Study 2014-2015 Bulletin

Detailed Plan of Study 2015-2016 Bulletin

Note: Students must follow the bulletin for the academic year they entered GW


Lectures are 3 credits and meet 2x a week for 1 hour 15 min each

OR 1x a week for 2-1/2 hours each

Labs are 3 credits and meet 2x a week for 3 hours each

Studios are 6 credits and meet 3x a week for 3 hours each

Internship Requirement: An internship of 120 hours is required in order to complete the BFA IA or MFA IA degree. The internship must be completed while the student is enrolled in the IA program. The internship must be pre-approved by the undergraduate or graduate advisor.  After completion of the 120 hours, the student and their direct employer must fill out the necessary paperwork and submit it to the instructor of their Professional Practice course (IA 4605 or IA 6605) in their last semester for final approval.

*Acceptance into the MFA IA First Professional degree track is contingent upon successful completion and verification of an undergraduate degree in a field other than interior design or architecture and a full review of all transcripts from all prior institutions of study, both undergraduate and graduate, verifying that a minimum of thirty semester credit hours of liberal arts and sciences courses have been successfully completed.

Liberal arts and science courses include: English composition, oral communication, logic, literature, foreign language, history, fine arts history, philosophy, biology, botany, zoology, mathematics, physics, chemistry, anthropology, archeology, sociology, psychology, economics and humanities, and do not include professional studies (e.g. business courses) or studies that are considered interior design coursework. The program is accredited by CIDA, Council for Interior Design Accreditation. Read their complete definition of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

5-Year MFA Data

Attrition Rate: 27%

Retention Rate (year-to-year): 73%

Graduation Rate: 77%

Job Placement (over the course of 6 months after graduation): 84%

Acceptance into Graduate Programs: 0% (Acceptance into other graduate programs are not necessary because a MFA in Interior Architecture is a terminal degree).

*Note: Percentages represent average over 5 years time. Data is updated with each graduating class.