- High success procuring internships
- Strong study abroad program
- Emphasis on opportunities for continuing education, mentoring and networking
- Faculty devoted to studio-format courses as the cornerstone of interior design education
Interior design at WMU is a multi-disciplinary course of study that includes courses in art, business and interior design. This comprehensive program addresses the aesthetic, functional, historic and social aspects of the interior design profession.
Graduates of the program are equipped to creatively design interior spaces that are functional and attractive. They are trained to meet all public health, safety and welfare requirements including code, accessibility, environmental and sustainability standards. They are also prepared to enter the business of interior design.
The interior design program at WMU prepares students for professional practice and continuing education through seeking and solving complex design challenges in the built environment. Students strive to redefine the status quo and discover how to enhance the quality of life through design.
The interior design program is accredited by the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA). The accreditation assures the public that our graduates are prepared "to be responsible, well-informed, skilled professionals who make beautiful, safe and comfortable spaces that also respect the earth and its resources."
The interior design program is also included in WMU's Art and Design program accreditation by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD).
Admission to the pre-interior design program
Freshmen and transfer students may be admitted to the university as pre-interior design majors. The Office of Admissions grants admission to Western Michigan University for undergraduate students.
Admission to the professional interior design program
In the fourth semester, students in the pre-interior design program will submit to a review, which is the basis for selective admission to the upper division of the curriculum. This review takes place annually toward the end of the spring semester. The purpose of the review is to encourage excellence in design and to recognize those students best prepared for the challenge of the upper-level interior design sequence of courses.
To qualify for the upper design courses, students must submit an application, meet the minimum cumulative GPA in interior design courses of 3.0 and make a formal presentation of their work. The application will include a statement detailing why they are interested in the field of interior design and what they perceive to be their strengths and weaknesses as a student of design. Application materials may also include an essay (topic to be selected by the faculty). In a 20-minute presentation to the interior design faculty, each student will present examples of their work that showcase their abilities in design, drafting, perspective, free-hand drawing and rendering.
Up to eighteen (18) students will be selected from the portfolio review applicants each year to continue in the upper level in the interior design program. Students who are denied advancement may retake courses or redo projects before reapplying for portfolio review the following spring semester.
For class listings, program guides and other resources, visit the advising page for the interior design major.
FCS 2020 field experience (three credits)
Interior design majors are required to earn three semester credits by completing 300 hours of supervised field experience with interior design, architectural, facilities management and retail firms. Field experience offers students the opportunity to apply theories and principles from their academic program to real world situations, as well as gain valuable work experience. Field experience may be completed during the fall, spring or summer sessions; it is currently coordinated by faculty in the fashion program but the work site will be related to interior design.
The architectural and design community in Kalamazoo is very supportive of the interior design program at WMU, and generously provides resources that benefit students. However, Kalamazoo is a small city. Design Think! was endowed to provide modest supplemental resources to assist faculty in bringing in guest speakers from a wider geographic area who can expand students’ horizons and supplement locally available expertise. It is hoped that the name will inspire broader and more creative thinking as well as promote cross-disciplinary interaction.
The National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) administers an exam that tests designers’ knowledge and skill. Designers must have a combination of six years of education and experience to sit for the exam. Interior designers who pass the exam show that they meet standards for professional competency in the interior design profession. Some states require this certification to use the title "Interior Designer." Many interior designers also earn LEED accreditation through professional experience and an exam administered by the Green Building Council.
Marcia Rarrick, Jones Lang LaSalle consultant to Whirlpool
Karen Quada, WMU Facilities Management
Sarah Joslin, Allsteel
Karl Kowalske, Progressive AE
Meghan Boyer, Tower Pinkster
Kelly Sinnema, Spectrum Health
Craig Boeve, Interface Flooring Systems
Kelly Cassidy, Bishop Distributing
Lauren Cole, Marxmoda