Proceeding from a Bachelor’s to a graduate program affords choices. At this next educational level, there are more areas of specialization. One of these might pique your interest. Furthermore, they may expand your career opportunities. This is a look at some of the concentrations when pursuing a Master’s degree in Interior Design.


This term applies more frequently to healthcare; however, this is one specialty worth considering. In 2016, the U.S. senior’s population (65+) surpassed 50 million. By the year 2020, the number is projected to exceed 55 million. These staggering numbers create an opportunity for the interior design industry. This shift demands qualified professionals who can address the impact the built environment has on older individuals, their health and quality of life.

In addition to earning your master’s, there are programs that offer a graduate certificate in gerontology. Through the addition of an 18-hour credit certificate to your master’s program, you receive additional training in this expanding field. There are areas of a senior’s home that may require alterations and renovations. This is in response to individuals decreasing mobility. Particularly in the bathroom that may need changes in the bathroom to make it more suitable.

Long-Term Care

An aging population also means more of the elderly will have to move into acute care and assisted living accommodations. This is another area of specialization for interior designers. For instance, additional floor space is typically required for equipment associated with serving geriatric patients. Another trend brought on primarily by older patients is the development of “boutique” facilities serving patients with conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease and cancer.

As not-for-profit hospitals continue to struggle to find money to rebuild and redesign, administrators put much of the responsibility on architects and designers to find approaches that are less expensive, yet still deliver on their expectations. These reductions in payments have led a number of physician groups to develop private hospitals that serve patients who can pay for a higher level of care. In fact, interior designers must be able to design for environments that target both the wealthy and the indigent.


There are other institutions offering graduate programs in this field. Healthcare interior design programs prepare you for this burgeoning field. A typical program provides practicing designers and healthcare professionals an opportunity to work together. This collaboration is possible through the acquisition of a broad knowledge of current issues, research, and theory in the design of healthcare interiors.

Courses include knowledge in research methods, history and theory of healthcare, environmental and behavioral studies, and applied design. Green design and lighting research related to health, productivity, and precision are integral parts of the course of study. The program is for students of varied backgrounds who understand that the healthcare field, business and interior design are intertwined.

Master of Interior Design

At the graduate level, there are programs that differentiate between First Professional and post-professional degrees. Here is a brief explanation of both.


This degree is for students entering with degrees other than professional degrees in Interior Design or Architecture, the Master of Interior Design is a first professional degree, with accelerated graduate professional courses designed to prepare the student for advanced work in Interior Design.

Before progressing into advanced Interior Design, first professional degree candidates must demonstrate a certain proficiency in design and communication skills through a qualifying review conducted by the faculty. Students entering without a background in Interior Design normally complete the first professional degree program in approximately three and one-half years of study in residence.


Students who have a professional Master of Interior Design (MID) degree from a program accredited by the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA) or from a program accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board, Inc. (NAAB) are eligible to apply for this degree.

Within the MID program structure, students may have the option to choose a field of concentration and complete electives within that area. Concentration areas examine the reciprocal interactions between humans and proximate environments, sustainable design, and psychological aspects of individuals within the interior environment. Other concentrations involve a design-based emphasis focusing on innovation and design of objects, materials, and their spatial implications to the interior environment.

Environmental psychology, for example, studies the complex interaction and impact of the built environment on human behavior through the context of social, behavioral, cultural, and environmental variables. The course examines the issues of social and cultural context. You will learn how environmental factors affect gender, health, and well-being. Additional influences include the characteristics of the built environment such as structure type and use, density, zoning, planning, development and transition, and transportation.


Interested in teaching? There are Master’s of Fine Arts in Interior Design that prepares students to teach at the college level and develop evidence-based design skills bridging practice and research. Students explore current issues in the interior design profession and develop skills to effectively communicate these issues to future students. Graduates develop and teach an undergraduate interior design course, form a research topic, prepare a thesis derived from their evidence-based research, and display their final design and teaching portfolios.

Career Opportunities for Graduates of this type of program include:

  • University or college professor
  • Specialist in the advanced area of design practice
  • Researcher in design practice