Types of Academic Institutions


There are a wide variety of institutions of higher education and interior design/ interior architecture programs can be found in a variety of settings. Below are some brief profiles of the most common homes for interior programs along with some attributes that may impact faculty appointments within these programs. Institutional Profiles were developed using information provided through The Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education

Associate Degree Granting Institutions: Institutions where degrees are at the associate’s level. For interior design programs, these are commonly Community Colleges or Vocational Colleges. Because these programs don’t culminate in a bachelor’s degree, Interior Design Programs offered at these institutions are not eligible for CIDA accreditation.  Some students may pursue a bachelor level interior design degree after completion of their associate’s degree.

Associate & Bachelor Degree Granting Institutions: Institutions where degrees are focused at the associate’s and bachelor’s level. These include a variety of institutions that provide private, post-secondary education.  For interior design programs, these are commonly Technical Colleges, Art Institutes. Professional programs at these institutions are often very “applied” in their mission.

Bachelor & Masters Degree Granting Institutions: Institutions with high undergraduate enrollments across multiple curriculums (liberal arts focused not professional focus) awarding both bachelor’s (undergraduate, or ‘UG’) and master’s level (graduate, or ‘G’) degrees.  Interior Design Programs at these institutions are typically located in colleges or departments that emphasize teaching, the scholarship of teaching and a cross-disciplinary education through a variety of academic programs.

Research Universities and Institutions: Institutions that award doctoral degrees in addition to bachelor’s and master’s level degrees. These institutions have a strong research focus in their mission and their tenure and tenure-track faculty are expected to participate in scholarly work and disseminate their findings beyond the institution.

Special Focus Institutions: Institutions awarding a range of degrees including associate’s, bachelor’s, and master’s level where a high concentration of degrees are in a single field or set of related fields.  Schools or Institutes of Art and Design, or Academies of Art, or Colleges of the Arts often fall into this category. Professional programs at these institutions are often very “applied” in their mission.