Samford's Master of Science in Design Studies is not accepting any new applications at this time.

Samford’s Department of Interior Architecture offers an online Master of Science in Design Studies (MSDS). The Design Studies program provides the opportunity for students to pursue further research specifically related to their design expertise or perhaps transition into an academic role in design education. The Design Studies program emphasizes critical analysis and design research for articulating transformative design solutions.

The Mission of the Department of Interior Architecture is to prepare credentialed design professionals through enriched, faith-based academic coursework to foster lifelong learning, and the attainment of personal career goals in order to heighten the graduates’ opportunities to serve as a design educator and/or researchers.

Program Outcomes

Upon satisfactory completion of the MSDS degree, all graduates will be able to demonstrate a broad knowledge and skills base in the core areas of design, academic research and the practice of design education.

Graduates will be able to:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of various research methodologies.
  • Examine current trends in architecture, interior design, and environmental design.
  • Demonstrate knowledge and skills for effective design research and/or education practice in their selected area of expertise.
  • Apply current research findings and the knowledge of professional standards to the practice of design education.
  • Engage in research activities that contribute to the body of knowledge in the field of interior design and/or design education.
  • Engage in analytical methods in order to effect optimal outcomes.
  • Transfer the knowledge of service to the academic experience.


The Master of Science in Design Studies is not accredited by the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA). This program is not accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB) nor is it a sufficient prerequisite for taking the architectural licensing exam.

Curriculum Model

The MSDS program is 24-months of advanced study with an emphasis on design, research and teaching. Cohorts begin every summer with an extended weekend on-campus orientation.

The curriculum requires 33 credits of master level coursework. The program includes course work in the following areas:

  • Design core, courses related to interior design, architecture, and design theory
  • Pedagogical practices within design education
  • Research, courses related to qualitative and quantitative research methods.
  • Master Thesis. The MSDS program culminates in the successful completion of the master thesis. The thesis should begin in the early stages of the program and continued throughout the course work. The thesis will be used to explore new insights thereby contributing to the body of knowledge that can in turn advance the discipline and practice of interior design and/or design education. The scholarly work is planned with a two-member committee.

Graduate Application Information

The MSDS program of study seeks candidates who have demonstrated professional experience in the design fields and who are interested in advanced study in design, research and teaching.

Candidates for the MSDS program of study typically hold a professional degree in interior design, architecture, or landscape architecture and applicable professional registration(s). Candidates with a design degree in a related discipline or who qualify for professional registration may also qualify for admission into the MSDS program of study.

To be considered for admission, all applicants must complete their online application on or before the posted application deadline. The Department of Interior Architecture Graduate Admissions Committee will review all applications. Partially completed applications will not be reviewed.


The deadline for submitting an application for Summer Admission is April 15.

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