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Career Guide to JMU Majors

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Career Guide to JMU Majors:
Interior Architecture

Career Guide to JMU Majors

The Major

Who Succeeds

Careers

Internships

Learn More


The Major

Interior Architecture is a major offered by the School of Art, Design and Art History, a program within the College of Visual and Performing Arts.

Admission and Progression Standards:
Visit the Major Snapshots site to learn more about the admission and progression standards of this major.

Description of Major

Interior Architecture students learn from curriculum that is centered around a 6-studio sequence. The teaching of design process and a design ethos is at the heart of the program. Additional required coursework in interior & architectural history, materials & methods, computer drawing & modeling, mechanical drawing, and professional practices supplement the studio sequence and support design projects of increasing sophistication and complexity. The curriculum instills purpose, craft, technological competence and versatile thinking. The graduates are passionately dedicated to the creation of meaningful interiors. Supplementing JMU's general accreditation, all degrees offered by the School of Art, Design and Art History are professionally accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design.

Tell me more about this field of study

Interior Architects plan, design, and furnish interiors of residential, commercial, or industrial buildings. They formulate design which is practical, aesthetic, and conducive to intended purposes, such as raising productivity, selling merchandise, or improving life style. Many specialize in a particular field, style, or phase of interior design. Common responsibilities may include:

  • Confer with client to determine factors affecting planning interior environments, such as budget, architectural preferences, and purpose and function.
  • Advise client on interior design factors such as space planning, layout and utilization of furnishings or equipment, and color coordination.
  • Coordinate with other professionals, such as contractors, architects, engineers, and plumbers, to ensure job success.
  • Review and detail shop drawings for construction plans.
  • Estimate material requirements and costs, and present design to client for approval.
  • Subcontract fabrication, installation, and arrangement of carpeting, fixtures, accessories, draperies, paint and wall coverings, art work, furniture, and related items.
  • Formulate environmental plan to be practical, esthetic, and conducive to intended purposes, such as raising productivity or selling merchandise.
  • Select or design, and purchase furnishings, art works, and accessories.
  • Render design ideas in form of paste-ups or drawings.
  • Use computer-aided drafting (CAD) and related software to produce construction documents.

Tell me more about specialization

JMU’s Interior Architecture program is committed to the social aspects of contemporary design, including barrier free interiors, designing for under-privileged communities, projects that question ethical and political assumptions, and sustainability. Many Interior Architects work for the specialized design services industry or for architectural, engineering, and related services industries. In 2010, about 30 percent were self-employed. Interior designers make interior spaces functional, safe, and beautiful for almost every type of building: offices, homes, airport terminals, shopping malls, and restaurants. They select and specify colors, finishes, fabrics, furniture, flooring and wall coverings, lighting, and other materials to create useful and stylish interiors for building. Current emphasis on Equal Access for individuals with physical challenges is a highly sought specialty focus.

Common majors or minors that complement this major

The Interior Architecture curriculum is demanding and cannot usually accommodate another major or minor, unless the student takes classes in the summer or adds additional semesters. Related minors could include: Communication Studies, Computer Information Systems, Film Studies, or Technical and Scientific Communication.


Characteristics of Successful Students

Successful Interior Architecture students are creative, skilled at problem solving and have an entrepreneurial approach to their work and life. They enjoy working and communicating innovative and diverse ideas to others while integrating the impact of interior environments in the human context. 


Careers

Many graduates choose typical career paths associated with this major. However, some graduates choose unrelated careers that utilize skills and experiences developed during their years in college. Keep in mind, that some fields will require graduate study or further training. The listing below offers examples of possible career paths and is not meant to be comprehensive.

  • Certified Kitchen Designer
  • Color and Materials Designer
  • Commercial Interior Designer
  • Decorating Consultant
  • Design Director
  • Director of Interiors
  • Display Designer
  • Equal Access Specialist
  • Environmental Designer
  • Exhibit Designer
  • Furniture Designer
  • Interior Architect
  • Interior Architecture Coordinator
  • Interior Architecture Consultant
  • Interiors Photographer

Who employs graduates?

Many Interior Architects work for design firms. However they also work for: Architecture Firms, Colleges/Universities, Commercial Real Estate Companies, Department Stores, Galleries, Healthcare Facilities, Hospitality Industry, Industrial Design Companies, Interior Design Companies, Museums, Performing Arts Centers, Remodeling Contractors, and School Systems.


Internships and Practicum Experiences

Students are required to complete a professional internship. Frequent field trips, guest speakers and internship opportunities provide students with exposure to the professional field. On campus, students can get involved in specific Interior Architecture organizations such as student chapters of ASID and IIDA. There are sponsored activities such as artWorks Gallery and Sawhill Gallery that are also great ways to gain experience. Students should consult with their advisors about internship opportunities.

Learn More

A Day in the Life of an Interior Designer
American Society of Interior Designers
Interior Architecture
Interior Designer
Interior Designer (ONET)
Interior Designer
Interior Designers (OOH)
International Interior Design Association
Job Description for an Interior Architect

A broad range of resources on career fields, internships, and job search information is also available in the Career & Academic Planning Resource Center.

Make an appointment with a CAP career counselor to learn more about this major and your career options.

A few titles from our Resource Center related to this field include:


© Career & Academic Planning, James Madison University, 2013

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form without permission from JMU Career & Academic Planning. Content for each major has been written/reviewed by faculty in the respective department and is revised each year. Requests to update content can be submitted to the Career Guide editor, Nina Stensby-Hurst.