Interior Architecture (M.F.A.)

Columbian College of Arts and Sciences

Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.)
Location(s): Foggy Bottom - Main Campus, Corcoran School of the Arts and Design

Program Overview

Students learn about habitable environments ranging from small, basic residential interiors to larger, more complex commercial and institutional spaces. With projects focusing on current design issues as well as lectures and visits from professionals to enhance assignments, the curriculum is a carefully sequenced series of courses building on theoretical, technical, and creative competencies.

Because of the program’s location in Washington D.C., students benefit from viewing exhibitions at the National Building Museum, pursuing research at the Library of Congress, attending trade shows such as NeoCon East, listening to lectures offered by the Washington Design Center and visiting such organizations as the United States Green Building Council. Taking advantage of these offerings moves learning outside the classroom and into the industry with practicing professionals in interior design.

The program is for candidates who have completed undergraduate work at an accredited institution in an area of study other than interior design or a related field, such as architecture. Students explore theory and research as they build toward a culminating final project.


Admission Requirements

Admission deadlines:

Fall – April 1 (February 1 for applicants applying for assistantships/fellowships)

Standardized Test Scores:

GRE is not required.

The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), the academic International English Language Testing System (IELTS), or the PTE Academic is required of all applicants except those who hold a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree from a college or university in the United States or from an institution located in a country in which English is the official language, provided English was the language of instruction. 

Minimum scores for the M.F.A. program are:

  • Academic IELTS: an overall band score of 6.0 with no individual score below 5.0; or
  • TOEFL: 550 on paper-based or 80 on Internet-based;  or
  • PTE Academic: 53

    Students who score are admitted with the requirement to take an English for Academic Purposes course must be available to take this course in the summer preceding enrollment in the MFA program

Recommendations required: 

Two (2) recommendations on business letterhead.

Prerequisite requirements:

A bachelor’s degree in a field other than interior design or architecture, including a minimum of 30 credit hours of liberal arts and science courses.

Prior academic records: 

Transcripts are required from all colleges and universities attended, whether or not credit was earned, the program was completed, or the credit appears as transfer credit on another transcript. Unofficial transcripts from all colleges and universities attended must be uploaded to your online application. Official transcripts are required only of applicants who are offered admission.

If transcripts are in a language other than English, English language translations must be provided. The English translation alone should be uploaded into your application.

Statement of purpose:

In an essay of 250 – 500 words, state your purpose in undertaking graduate study in your chosen field. Include your academic objectives, research interests, and career plans. Also discuss your related qualifications, including collegiate, professional, and community activities, and any other substantial accomplishments not already mentioned on the application.

In addition to the statement of purpose, applicants must submit answers of approximately 75-100 words to the following questions:

  1. In your own words, how would you define the profession of interior design?
  2. What current designers influence you and why?
  3. What are some considerations that an interior designer must adhere to while designing interior architectural space?
  4. How will your undergraduate degree and any previous work experience contribute to the MFA Interior Architecture Program?

Additional requirements: 

A portfolio that shows creative work (i.e., photography, sketches, and fine art) is required; an interview may be requested. Please note that the inclusion of interior design projects within the portfolio is not required nor expected. The objective of the portfolio is to see your artistic and design-related pursuits.

Portfolios must be uploaded to your online application or emailed to [email protected]. Digital portfolios must be submitted as one document. You may also mail your portfolio directly to the Interior Architecture Program:

500 17th Street, NW

Washington, DC 20006

Portfolios will not be returned.

The MFA in Interior Architecture is a first professional degree and not open to students with an undergraduate degree in Architecture or Interior Design.

International applicants only: 

Please review International Applicant Information carefully for details on required documents, earlier deadlines for applicants requiring an I-20 or DS-2019 from GW, and English language requirements.

For more information on the admission process, please visit the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences Frequently Asked Questions page.

Supporting documents (other than the portfolio) not submitted online should be mailed to:
Columbian College of Arts and Sciences – Graduate Admissions Office
The George Washington University
801 22nd Street NW, Phillips Hall 215
Washington DC 20052

Contact for questions:
[email protected] ~ 202.994.6210 (phone) ~ 202.994.6213 (fax)
8:30 am – 5:30 pm, Monday through Friday