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Master of Fine Arts (MFA) Degree

The MFA program focuses on advanced techniques and theory of interior architecture and design. The curriculum—designed and taught by industry professionals—focuses on research, concept and design development, traditional and digital media, innovative ideas, and global issues.

MFA Interior Architecture & Design Unit Requirements
Major 27 units
Directed Study 18 units
Graduate Liberal Arts 12 units
Electives* 6 units
TOTAL 63 units
*Per director approval

MFA Interior Architecture & Design Degree Requirements

  • Successful completion of Final Thesis Project
  • Minimum 2.0 cumulative GPA
  • Minimum grade of C in all required 63 units
  • A minimum of thirty semester credits of college-level liberal arts and sciences (general education) must be completed
    (NOTE: this will include credits earned from the student’s bachelor degree)

Additional Information

MFA Program Learning outcomes

Graduate students will meet the following student performance criteria:

MFA Project

  • Present an idea/project worthy of the MFA degree
  • Produce an innovative project that contributes to the design community, demonstrating advanced interior architecture and design skills

Interior Design Skills

  • Meet industry standards in response to professional ethics, global issues and technological advances
  • Demonstrate creative approaches to layout, spatial organization, use of material, lighting, and relationship of interior design and furnishings to the architecture of the building
  • Demonstrate an understanding of building codes, safety, health and welfare, ADA and Universal Design principles by correctly applying professional standards to space planning and layouts
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the concepts, principles and theories of sustainability as they pertain to building methods, materials, systems and occupants by incorporating sustainable solutions into interior designs
  • Create construction drawings and documents
  • Demonstrate an understanding color principles, theories, and systems in interior design

Research and Problem Solving

  • Conduct research and synthesize findings to generate multiple concepts and design responses to programmatic requirements.
  • Interact with multiple disciplines representing different points of view and perspectives.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of movements and traditions in interior design, architecture and furniture by applying precedents to inform design solutions.

Presentation Skills

  • Integrate oral and visual material to present ideas clearly.

Technical Design Skills

  • Effectively apply principles of two and three dimensional design through both traditional and digital media.
  • Effectively apply color in all aspects of visual communication

Professional Readiness

  • Produce a professional portfolio that meets industry standards
  • Create a business plan demonstrating familiarity with business and professional practices

Academy of Art University Learning Outcomes
Graduates of the Academy of Art University will demonstrate the ability to:

  1. Produce a body of work suitable for seeking professional opportunities in their chosen field of art and design.
  2. Solve creative problems within their field of art and design, including research and synthesis of technical, aesthetic, and conceptual knowledge.
  3. Communicate their ideas professionally and connect with their intended audience using visual, oral, and written presentation skills relevant to their field.
  4. Execute technical, aesthetic, and conceptual decisions based on an understanding of art and design principles.
  5. Evaluate work in their field, including their own work, using professional terminology.
  6. Recognize the influence of major cultural and aesthetic trends, both historical and contemporary, on art and design products.
  7. Learn the professional skills and behaviors necessary to compete in the global marketplace for art and design.


Please see Degree Breakdown for requirements for the program. Explore our course catalog and take classes based on your interests, either online or in our world-class facilities in San Francisco.

Graduate Degree Breakdowns

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)
Gainful Employment Information

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Archana Myer

Director, Interior Architecture & Design

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