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Interior Design, B.F.A.

The mission of NYIT’s Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interior Design program is:

  • To CREATE globally engaged, environmentally sensitive professionals who possess artistic sensibility, intellectual ability, and hands-on technical proficiency
  • To PREPARE interior designers for a lifelong process of interdisciplinary exploration, reflection, and development and an acute understanding of human relationships and the built environment
  • To STIMULATE creativity and ENGENDER personal self-confidence, which is the earmark of leadership

2017 marks 50 years as a program for interior design at NYIT. The program moves forward into the next half century with cutting-edge technological tools and professional acuities, anchored by the strong influential foundations of Hans Schroeder, the department’s first Chair. Students starting September 2017 will follow a revised curriculum of 130 credits to achieve the Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interior Design (BFA). Additionally, the program now offers a 4+1 option, which includes the BFA sequentially followed with 30 credit Masters of Business Administration in Management with a Specialization of Design Management (MBA).

This program is offered at our Long Island (Old Westbury) campus and at our global campus in Abu Dhabi, UAE.

All students admitted to the interior design program begin their studies with a foundation year of design fundamentals, visualization, history, and design theory, along with some of the required NYIT Discovery Core courses. Many of these fundamental courses have the nomenclature AAID—which means Architecture And Interior Design—reflecting shared design concepts and principles. Combined cohorts of architecture and interior design students take these courses together. Direct admission into the first year of this curriculum requires a minimum combined SAT score of 1080 (critical reading and math only) or ACT of 21. Students failing to meet this requirement are permitted to matriculate with an undeclared degree status in the School of Architecture and Design. The designation for both disciplines reads as “ARCH Undeclared.” During this time, students take selected courses that foster the exploration of architecture and design and provide them with an opportunity to demonstrate academic success in a college setting. Completion of the first semester with a minimum cumulative grade average of 2.5 allows the ARCH Undeclared major access to the Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interior Design program.

Interior design has taken on a multifaceted identity. As the interior design profession has gained in professional stature, charged with public safety and welfare, the designer is now seen as an integral member of professional teams alongside other professionals such as architects and engineers. This has placed increased pressures on schools to maintain exacting standards and accreditation with councils charged with ensuring the students meet certain criteria related to maintaining the knowledge and expertise needed for this demanding new role. The interior designer, as opposed to the interior decorator, not only creates human environments that enhance the function and quality of public and private spaces, but also the expression of human values by providing a context for human activity, improving the quality of life, increasing productivity, all while protecting the public’s health and safety.

This course of study, leading to the Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interior Design, prepares students for the rewarding challenges of designing for the 21st century. The program focuses on the relationship between human performance and environment through an innovative mix of studio design projects, profession-specific coursework, community-oriented projects, and internships in the field.

Complementing these experiences, the program also incorporates study abroad and multiple site visits to furniture, fabric/textile, lighting, and other material showrooms. This is easily accomplished because New York City and Abu Dhabi are metropolitan areas with major centers of design, including showrooms of products, practitioners’ offices, and access to many public spaces. Links for the student are established with professionals through office visits and, wherever possible, with project sites. To enhance student learning, the program reaches out, not only locally and regionally, but also globally. In April 2012, the program was one of 18 schools from around the world invited to participate in the celebrated SaloneSatellite exhibition in Milan, Italy, one of the world’s most exclusive design and furniture fairs. “This opportunity has really opened my eyes to realize that there is an entire world of design happening around me that I am going to see firsthand,” expressed a second-year interior design student who was one of the students selected to travel to Milan.

The curriculum includes coursework that covers all aspects of professional interior design. A unique aspect of the program is that during the course of their studies, students of interior design and architecture join in classes that emphasize design fundamentals, building technology, and the history of architecture, thus introducing the close working partnership between the two professions. Advanced courses in interior design cover such topics as materials, perspective, color, computer-aided drawing (CAD), building codes, history of interior design, furniture design, lighting, business procedures, and special projects. There is a strong correlation between the different levels of courses. The curriculum is sequential, with the knowledge that the skills and design sensibilities gained at each level directly affect succeeding levels as students advance through the program.

A special aspect of the program is that faculty members are often practicing professionals in the fields of interior design, architecture, and other related professions. This cross-disciplinary approach mirrors real-world interaction and relationships. As the professions of interior design and architecture cross-reference each other more and more, this becomes a critical and important distinction for both programs.

Students’ cultural diversity and broad life experiences are integral to the program. To ensure opportunity for students with diverse backgrounds, freshmen are not required to submit portfolios as part of their admission process. However, all students are required to submit an Evaluation/Portfolio for review, and have a 2.75 cumulative index or a 3.0 average in interior design coursework after completion of DSGN 202 (Interior Design II). Since acceptance of this Evaluation/Portfolios is required prior to admittance to DSGN 301 (Interior Design Problems I), students must submit the Evaluation/Portfolios for review while enrolled in DSGN 202.

Transfer students who are applying for interior design, architecture, or fine arts credits must have a portfolio review with the department to determine their position in the program.

In order to realize the department’s commitment to a cross-disciplinary approach that fosters professionalism and other human values critical to a successful career in interior design, each student seeking admission to DSGN 301 will also be evaluated by faculty on presentation skills, interpersonal skills, and attitude, and the department reserves the right to deny or delay a student’s admission to DSGN 301 on that basis.

Students work closely with a faculty advisor who serves as an academic and professional mentor throughout their years at NYIT. To further refine professional development, students are required to participate in an internship through course DSGN 290. To be eligible, students must have sophomore or higher status and at least one semester in NYIT with 2.0 or better GPA. The course may be repeated; it is for zero credit. The internship, is for a minimum of 256 hours and affords the student the opportunity to gain practical experience, increase professionalism, develop a basic understanding of the work environment, and sharpen career focus. In the final year of study, students will develop a capstone thesis, which serves to showcase their skills and accrued knowledge in the design program. They develop and research a program, select a site, and conceptualize and design an interior environment. The research, drawings, and images that result are presented to a professional jury of practitioners and professors.

Scholarship opportunities specifically for NYIT interior design students include the Brendalyn Stempel Scholarships (selected by the donor and available to students entering their fourth year of studies), and the ELF awards through the local ASID chapter and awarded through the department each year. In addition, our students have applied for and been recipients of the National Donghia Scholarships, IIDA, and NEWH scholarships.

NYIT’s four-year Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interior Design program puts the student on a professional career path. Upon graduation and two years of interior design work experience (half of which may be possible to achieve while in school), U.S. graduates of the program are eligible to sit for the National Council of Interior Design Qualification exam. Passage of this exam, in conjunction with one additional year of work experience, allows for application to New York State to be licensed as a CID, Certified Interior Designer. Other states have similar certification and licensing requirements.

The interior design program at NYIT-Long Island has been continuously accredited by the Council for Interior Design Accreditation since March 1984. The 2013 CIDA visit for the Long Island (Old Westbury) campus resulted in a six-year professional level accreditation through 2019. The Abu Dhabi campus program is accredited by the Ministry of Education of the UAE.


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Admission Requirements

First Year

  • Minimum combined SAT score of 1080 (critical reading and math only) or ACT composite score of 21
    • Students who do not meet this requirement will be permitted to matriculate with an undeclared degree status in the School of Architecture and Design. The designation is ARCH Undeclared. During this time, students undertake selected courses that foster the exploration of architecture and design, while providing students the opportunity to demonstrate academic success in a college setting. Completion of the first semester with a minimum cumulative grade average of 2.5 allows the ARCH Undeclared major access to the Interior Design, B.F.A. program.

Transfer

  • A portfolio review by school design faculty is required for all transfer students seeking transfer credit for design coursework.

Application Materials

  • Completed application
  • $50 nonrefundable application fee
  • Copies of transcripts of all high school work, including college-level courses. Your midyear and final grades will be required. All final, official transcripts must be received prior to the start of your first semester.
  • Official SAT (critical reading and math only) or ACT test scores. You have the option of submitting results from the previous or redesigned SAT. If you have fewer than 24 credits of previous college work completed, you will need to submit official SAT or ACT scores.
    • NYIT SAT Code: 2561, NYIT ACT Code: 2832
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • 300–350 word essay on one of the following topics:
    • Tell us about your career goals and why attending NYIT would further these goals.
    • Describe the achievement of which you are most proud and why.

International Students Special Requirements

Progression in the Program

  • At the juncture between the second and third year studios, all students are required to submit an Evaluation/Portfolio for review and have a 2.75 cumulative index, or a 3.0 average in interior design coursework. Students must submit the Evaluation/Portfolios for review while enrolled in DSGN 204 (Interior Environments III), and approval is needed for admittance to DSGN 303 (Interior Environments IV). To realize the department's commitment to a cross-disciplinary approach that fosters professionalism and other human values critical to a successful career in interior design, each student seeking admission to DSGN 303 will also be evaluated by faculty on presentation skills, interpersonal skills, and attitude, and the department reserves the right to deny or delay a student's admission to DSGN 303 on that basis.