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    University of Tennessee, Knoxville
    Jun 27, 2022  
2014-2015 Undergraduate Catalog 
2014-2015 Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Interior Design Program

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Matthews, D. (Chair) M Arch – Miami University
  BS Interior Design – Ohio University
  BFA Studio Art – Ohio University
Associate Professor  
Aoukar, Ryann M in Product Design (DNSEP) – Ecole Superior d’Art et de Design, France
  BS Interior Architecture – Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Beirut
Mullikin, Lisa M Arch – University of Maryland
  BS Interior Design – University of Maryland
Assistant Professor  
Liz Teston M Arch – Georgia Institute of Technology
  BFA Interior Design – Savannah College of Art and Design

Interior designers imagine and design the spaces in which we work, play, and live. They are part of teams that shape the hospitality experiences in restaurants and hotels, wellness and healing in hospitals and clinics, deepen learning in museums and schools, enrich teamwork and collaboration in offices, and intensify personal and familial significance in our homes. Design tools are used by interior designers to enhance and strengthen human relationships and build cultural meaning in lives by shaping space and light, applying color theory, as well as selecting materials and furnishings in interior environments.

At the University of Tennessee students work with leading faculty to establish a strong foundation for a professional career in interior design. The Interior Design program at the University of Tennessee prepares students to practice in top ranked commercial and residential design firms around the world. To be successful in a global market, students learn how to design meaningful interior environments by engaging broad creative exploration and refining ideas with critical thinking. The following are key attributes of the University of Tennessee curriculum to prepare students for a professional career as an interior designer:

  • Apply Knowledge and Theory in a Project-Based Learning Environment

Students learn in dedicated design studios where they complete a wide variety of interior design projects and are assigned individual workstations. Students apply current and essential knowledge and skills learned in the classroom to their studio projects. Interior design faculty have ongoing research and creative design practice responsibilities that support the student’s core knowledge topics listed below:

°  Planning and Design of Interior Space and Form
°  Design and Architecture History and Theory
°  Furnishings and the Decorative Arts
°  Color and Light
°  Human Centered Design
°  Materials, Construction Systems, and Finishes
°  Building Regulations and Codes
°  Visual Communications (sketching, drawing, model making, and computer representations)

  • Experience International Studies and Professional Internship Opportunities

The interior design program requires either a professional internship or an international travel study experience. These opportunities build a relevant portfolio of experiences in school to allow students to gain access to the most desirable career opportunities. Design firms are seeking to hire individuals with a breadth of experiences to be competitive in a global market. The University of Tennessee provides a range of international experiences that have historically included studies in Finland, Japan, and Italy.

The College of Architecture and Design hosts annual career days where students can meet with representatives from design firms to potentially secure internship and entry-level positions. Internships are typically completed over the summer between the third and fourth year studios.

  • Engage Contemporary Technology

Students in the interior design program learn to engage a range of technical processes to enhance their ability to create the best design solutions. The technical opportunities range from the implementation of advanced building information modeling (BIM) software to the use of wood shop facilities. The College of Architecture and Design maintains a fabrication lab, digital three-dimensional printers, print center, photography studio, and wood shop. Students are required to purchase a program-specified computer and software to complete design studio projects.

  • Collaborate and Work in Multi-Disciplinary Teams

Working well together by building on the ideas of others is essential for career success. Contemporary practices in interior design require teams of expert multi-disciplinary designers to create successful projects. Students in the interior design program share a facility with the architecture, landscape architecture, and art programs. Opportunities are provided to prepare students for a multi-disciplinary work environment by participating in team projects and sharing common course work and classrooms across multiple disciplines. Students participate in discussions and juries of their design ideas with interior design, architecture, and landscape architecture faculty and students.

  • Practice Creativity and Critical Thinking

Interior design is learned by practice in a studio environment. Students work in a culture of design practice where they are supported in taking creative risk, applying knowledge in unique ways, and critically testing and evaluating ideas. Each semester students typically enroll in six hours of design studio. The design studio experience is the core of the interior design education and is where students build their portfolio that is the foundation to gain a position in a design firm or graduate studies. The interior design program is situated in a college that recognizes and cultivates a community of design practice that supports learning by experimentation. Students learn to mutually support their creative explorations and participate in the critical evaluation of their work.

Accreditation and Professional Standards

The interior design program maintains accreditation from the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA) and the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Students who graduate from the program and complete two years of work experience are qualified to sit for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam. The NCIDQ exam is an important qualification to earn in many states such as Tennessee. To call oneself a “registered interior designer,” one must successfully complete the NCIDQ exam.

Computer Requirement

Students enrolled in interior design are required to purchase a computer, software, and supporting components meeting technical specifications provided by the College of Architecture and Design. The computer specifications are typically reviewed at summer orientation. Students are strongly advised to wait until they receive their program computer specifications as created for their class and cohort prior to making a significant investment in a computer.

uTrack Requirements (for students entering Fall 2013 or later)

Universal Tracking (uTrack) is an academic monitoring system designed to help students stay on track for timely graduation. In order to remain on track, students must complete the minimum requirements for each tracking semester known as milestones. Milestones may include successful completion of specified courses and/or attainment of a minimum GPA. uTrack requirements only affect full-time, degree-seeking students who first entered Fall 2013 or later. uTrack does not apply to transfer students who enter prior to Fall 2015.

Progression Requirement

To progress to an IDS 300-level studio, students must meet a one-time requirement to progress to the third year in the program. The following is required after the completion of IDS 272 :

  • Earn a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or better in all College of Architecture and Design required program courses (including approved substitutions) earned prior to enrollment in an IDS 300-level studio.


  • Pass a summer portfolio review and earn a cumulative grade point average of 2.5 or better in all College of Architecture and Design required program courses (including approved substitutions) earned prior to enrollment in an IDS 300-level studio.

Progression’s Portfolio Review Process

  • Create a PDF portfolio document that includes student-selected work from ARCH 121 , ARCH 122 , ARCH 171 , ARCH 172 , IDS 271  and IDS 272 . Selecting, describing, and annotating portfolio work is the responsibility of the student and is part of the portfolio evaluation.
  • Each portfolio page is to be formatted in an 11X17 format with resolution suitable for printing.
  • The portfolio is a minimum of 10 pages.
  • Portfolios are due by June 15th, midnight.
  • Notification of progression status will be on or before July 1st.
  • Full time tenured and tenure track faculty will evaluate the portfolio and will mark either progress or not progress.
  • 50% or better faculty positive vote is required to progress.

Retention Requirement

  • Before enrolling in any program required course, a grade of C or better must be made in each prerequisite required program course.
  • A cumulative grade point average of 2.3 or greater.
  • A grade of I must be removed in prerequisite courses prior to enrollment in subsequent courses.
  • For graduation from the program, student must earn a C or better in all required College of Architecture and Design program courses.

Special Programs in Interior Design

Required Summer Internship

All interior design students are required to have a professionally based summer internship. The faculty will help students find appropriate placement, as well as monitor the student’s progress in the internship. The summer internship may be replaced by study abroad.

Professional Community’s Involvement

As the oldest accredited interior design program in the state, the interior design program tries to maintain a close relationship with the interior design community of the city, state, and region. Professionals regularly come to the school to attend and respond to student presentations, to conduct workshops, to participate in school events, and to interview graduating students.

Field Trips

All interior design students regularly participate in a variety of field trips to important works of design as well as to interior design conventions and product shows.

Opportunities for Foreign Study

Students in their fourth year of study may elect to spend one semester studying abroad in a design studio-based program organized either by the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, or by other accredited interior design or architecture programs. A range of program options are available for study abroad and off-campus study offered through the College, as well as study abroad opportunities with approved programs offered by other institutions. Consult the College website for current offerings. Non-studio study abroad tours are typically offered every year and can most often be taken after the first year of study.

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