Interior Design Degree

Interior Design Degree at Harper College

Start your career in interior design 

Career options  arts icon


  • Buying/purchasing
  • Interior design
  • Kitchen/bath design
  • Showroom management

Get a degree in interior design with this dynamic 72-credit-hour program ideal for students interested in pursuing careers in the furnishing and design industries. Take courses in interior design studio, history of furniture and interior architecture, materials and sources, interior detail/construction drawing, environmental design, kitchen design studio and more. 

Work alongside skilled instructors who are experts in their fields and well-respected in the interior design industry. Study in Harper's design rooms, which are equipped with drafting tables, displays, a lighting lab and kitchen cabinetry. A computer lab specifically for interior design students features modern equipment and allows you to hone your skills using professional design programs like AutoCAD/CAD Studio. The Interior Design Resource Room gives you access to thousands of sample fabrics, floor and wall coverings, hard and resilient surface materials and design magazines.

AAS degree program requirements

This 72 credit-hour program is designed for students interested in careers in the furnishing and design industry. The program offers creative, artistic and challenging career opportunities. Graduates are trained to work as kitchen and bath designers, retail designers/salespersons, interior design assistants, assistant buyers of home furnishings, manufacturers’ representatives or Merchandise Mart showroom managers.

Periodic field trips are required and will help students learn about current design trends. Students are encouraged to have computers at home although campus computer labs are available for student use. AutoCad and CAD Studio courses are required courses.

The Associate in Applied Science degree in Interior Design may be used to meet the interior design education requirement for registration of interior designers, the curriculum provides an overview of topics tested by the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam, which must be completed before interior designers may be registered by the State of Illinois. In addition, the program is endorsed by the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA).

By completing all required courses in this program, the World Cultures and Diversity graduation requirement has been met for this AAS degree.

F = Fall only course S = Spring only course U = Summer only course

FIRST SEMESTER:

Number Course Title Credits Category
ARC 116 3 Program Requirement

Description: Introduces computer hardware and state-of-the-art software as applied to applications in architecture, interior design and other related fields. Develops understanding of basic parameters for design and drafting technologies: entity creating and editing, printing and plotting, and file/data management. Projects are correlated primarily to architectural design issues.

ART 121 3 Humanities

Description: Introduces students to skills fundamental to two-dimensional visual organization. Explores elements such as line, shape and color, and principles such as unity, balance and variation. Provides a foundation for all areas of art and design. IAI ART 907

IND 100 2 Program Requirement

Description: Introduces students to theoretical principles and nomenclature of design. Studies theories pertaining to elements and principles of design, color theory, psychology and color phenomenology as it relates to interior design. Studies human environment, proxemics and spatial behaviors. Examines universal design, designing for specific cultures and genders as well as other topical subjects. Covers the interior design profession, professional organizations and career employment.

Recommended Corequisite: IND 101.

IND 101 3 Program Requirement

Description: Studies interior design room arrangement and furniture selection. Investigates the elements and principles of design as they relate to interiors. Studies aesthetic aspects of interior design. Develops interior projects using space planning, furniture selection, the development of furniture elevations, and presentation techniques. (NOTE: Students will need to purchase a drafting kit in addition to textbooks.)

Prerequisite: Prior or concurrent enrollment in IND 100.

IND 103  F   3 Program Requirement

Description: Surveys furniture, design motifs and structures from antiquity to the present. Studies authentic designs and their relationship to contemporary applications. Examines the basis for determining the taste level and quality of reproductions and adaptations to the market today.

IND 106  F   3 Program Requirement

Description: Studies the construction and finishing of materials other than those of a structural nature, including limitations, quality control, application, uses, installation methods, and quantity calculations. Examines sources available to the designer.

SECOND SEMESTER:

Number Course Title Credits Category
IND 102  S   3 Program Requirement

Description: Continues the study of interior space planning and furniture selection as it relates to a functional and aesthetic interior. Investigates the use of fabric, finishes, color, and texture to complement the interior. Explores aesthetic application of color in interior design.

Prerequisite: IND 101 and IND 106 with grades of C or better.

Recommended Corequisite: IND 103.

IND 107  S   3 Program Requirement

Description: Studies drawing and sketching methods of furniture and interior spaces. Develops drawing techniques for interior perspective views of buildings. Explores the use of axonometric drawing and the use of various medias to present the three-dimensional delineation of interior design. Examines balance and proportions of interior items within a three-dimensional space. Uses drawing techniques and color to define light and shadow, textures, material characteristics.

Prerequisite: ART 121, IND 100 and IND 101 with grades of C or better.

IND 110  S   2 Program Requirement

Description: Introduces the process of visual communication for interior designers. Identifies interior and architectural challenges and examines the design process of problem-solving through space analysis and planning. Utilizes collaborative methods to develop appropriate design strategies and solutions. Applies research and the use of elements and principles of design to skillfully manipulate interior spaces. Utilizes conceptual sketching and oral presentation to communicate design solutions.

Prerequisite: IND 100 and IND 101 with grades of C or better.

IND 114  S   2 Program Requirement

Description: Examines how interior building codes, governmental standards and federal regulations affect and are applied to interior design. References the International Codes, National Fire Protection Association standards and various accessibility requirements including the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Prerequisite: IND 101 with a grade of C or better.

IND 116  S   3 Program Requirement

Description: Studies the methods and materials of interior construction and the graphic methods of communicating this information. Practices fundamental drafting conventions and develops drawing skills necessary for the production of working drawings such as floor plans, elevations, sections, finish schedules, reflected ceiling plans, and details. Discusses methods of electrical, plumbing, and HVAC distribution.

Prerequisite: ARC 116, IND 100 and IND 101 with grades of C or better.

IND 220  S   3 Program Requirement

Description: Covers advanced CAD techniques for two-dimensional space planning and interior elevations. Introduces 3-dimensional CAD and 3-D sketching to develop perspectives and walk-throughs of interior spaces. Emphasizes development of computer graphics to augment and represent interior spaces.

Prerequisite: ARC 116 with a grade of C or better.

SUMMER SESSION:

Number Course Title Credits Category
ENG 101 1 3 Communications

Description: Emphasizes the writing of expository prose. Introduction to the critical reading of nonfiction prose. IAI C1 900

Prerequisite: ENG 100 with a grade of C or better. Other placement options. ENG_Placement_Grid.pdf ESL students need one of the following options: ESL 073 and ESL 074 with grades of B or better; ESL 073 and ESL 086 with grades of B or better; ESL 073 and ESL 099 with grades of B or better; ESL 073 with required writing placement test score; or ESL 074 with required reading placement test score.

SPE 101 3 Communications

Description: Theory and practice of oral communications. Development of poise, confidence and skill in speech organization and delivery. Emphasis on frequent speaking, development of standards of criticism and selection and organization of material. IAI C2 900

THIRD SEMESTER:

Number Course Title Credits Category
ART 130 or

Description: Follows the historical development of the visual arts produced by Western civilizations, focusing on major artistic styles, works of art and monuments. Works are examined as expressions of the ideas, beliefs and practices of artists, cultures and societies. Covers the history of art from pre-history to the medieval age. IAI F2 901

ART 131 or

Description: Follows the historical development of the visual arts produced by Western civilizations, focusing on major artistic styles, works of art and monuments. Works are examined as expressions of the ideas, beliefs and practices of artists, cultures and societies. Covers the history of art from the medieval age to the end of the eighteenth century. IAI F2 902

ART 132 3 Humanities

Description: Follows the historical development of the visual arts produced by Western civilizations, focusing on major artistic styles, works of art and monuments. Works are examined as expressions of the ideas, beliefs and practices of artists, cultures and societies. Covers the history of art from the nineteenth-century to the present time. IAI F2 902

IND 203  F   3 Program Requirement

Description: Studies advanced problems in three-dimensional interior design which concentrate on the development of relationships of interior furnishings, walls, floors and ceilings into a unified design. Applies principles and elements of design theory within a three-dimensional volume of space.

Prerequisite: IND 102, IND 107, IND 114 and IND 116 with grades of C or better.

IND 206  F   3 Program Requirement

Description: Examines artificial and natural lighting in interior design. Considers environmental comfort, effects on colors and information required for selection and placement of luminaires. Reviews lighting sources, sustainability, energy codes and human performance. Acquaints students with lighting documentation and calculation methods as they relate to the lighting design process.

Prerequisite: IND 101 with a grade of C or better.

IND 230  F   3 Program Requirement

Description: Examines the technical aspects and accessibility issues of designing kitchens. Practices fundamental drafting conventions including lettering, line work, dimensioning and symbol usage. Develops drawing for the kitchen including floor plans, electrical and lighting plans, elevations, and cabinet sections using NKBA guidelines and graphic presentation standards.

Prerequisite: IND 102, IND 114 and IND 116 with grades of C or better.

IND 281  F   3 Program Requirement

Description: Explores building systems and their impact on the environment. Indoor air quality, thermal control, lighting, acoustic and water systems will be studied including solar power, wind power and other sustainable design energy alternatives. Applies these systems to various sustainable design projects and practices. Investigates LEED certification and other legislative issues. Studies the physical and psychological implications of environmental stress, crowding and institutional living and applies them to projects.

Prerequisite: IND 101 with a grade of C or better.

FOURTH SEMESTER:

Number Course Title Credits Category
IND 207 3 Program Requirement

Description: Provides an opportunity for selected students who meet the prerequisite requirements to work with professionals in approved residential and contract design firms, retail stores, wholesale stores and showrooms specializing in interior design and related products. Students are exposed to various aspects of the interior design field and must present a report about their experience. Recommended preparation: ENG 101 or ESL coursework, or testing equivalency.

Prerequisite: IND 203, IND 206 and IND 230 with grades of C or better; or consent of program coordinator.

IND 209  S   3 Program Requirement

Description: Applies interior design skills and disabled access to contract interior projects, including floor plans, elevations or perspectives, cabinet drawings, lighting plans, selection of contract furnishings and finishes. Projects may include office spaces, restaurants, and other public buildings.

Prerequisite: ARC 116, IND 116, IND 203, IND 206, and IND 230 with grades of C or better.

IND 211  S   3 Program Requirement

Description: Examines the business principles required for a successful interior design practice, including establishing an interior design practice, design project business issues, billing, writing client contracts, interviewing and job opportunities.

Prerequisite: IND 101 with a grade of C or better.

IND 233 2 Program Requirement

Description: Examines the technical aspects and accessibility issues of designing bathrooms. Practices fundamental drafting conventions including lettering, line work, dimensioning and symbol usage. Develops drawing for the bathroom including floor plans, electrical and lighting plans, elevations and cabinet sections using NKBA guidelines and graphic presentation standards.

Prerequisite: IND 102, IND 114 and IND 116 with grades of C or better.

IND 250  S   1 Program Requirement

Description: Prepares students to enter the job market when completing this capstone course. Develops a professional presentation portfolio utilizing printed and multimedia applications. Explores, examines and executes various presentation options. Discusses writing and designing a resume, cover letter and interviewing techniques. Emphasizes organizing a strong body of work focused on a specific area of expertise dictated by the students' individual career goals.

Prerequisite: ARC 116, IND 203, and IND 230 with grades of C or better OR ARC 116 AND ARC 110 or ARC 213 with grades of C or better, or consent of program coordinator.

SUMMER SESSION:

Number Course Title Credits Category
Mathematics2 3 Mathematics
Social and Behavioral Science3 3 Social and Behavioral Science

1 - An assessment test, available in the Assessment and Testing Center, must be taken before registering for ENG 101.

2 - The mathematics requirement (MTH 065) for this degree can be met with Math Competency.  See Math Competency options for information. Students who utilize Math Competency to meet the mathematics requirement must complete an additional three credit-hour elective. Select from ARC 117, IND 217(U), or IND 232(U).

3 - See full list of AAS General Education Electives.

Program learning outcomes

Students who successfully complete this program will be able to:

  • collect, analyze and prioritize data about client needs.
  • formulate design concepts and special solutions that are appropriate, functional and aesthetic.
  • apply the elements and principles of design to interior environments.
  • create and present design solutions in two and three dimensions.
  • verbally and visually communicate and justify design solutions that reflect sensitivity to client needs.
  • prepare design and construction drawings, specifications and estimates utilizing both manual presentation skills and computer applications.
  • develop design solutions as they relate to greater societal, environmental and economic issues.
  • apply the history of interiors, architecture and aesthetics to design solutions.
  • apply the laws, codes, regulations, standards and practices that protect the health, safety and welfare of the public.
  • demonstrate knowledge and application of business, professional and ethical practices in design.

Related programs

Students interested in interior design may also be interested in:

Resources

Next steps

For more information about the Interior Design AAS Degree program, contact Admission Outreach at 847.925.6700, or submit a request information form. You can also apply online.