Frequently asked questions
- My goal is to be an interior decorator. Is this the right major for me?
No. Western Michigan University does not offer a major in interior decoration; only an interior design program. It is quite common for people to be confused about the difference between these two professions. An interior decorator may or may not have a formal education in interior design. Their jobs usually involve the recommendation of finishes and furnishings within an existing space. For example, they may recommend fabric for a piece of furniture or the replacement of a floorcovering. An interior designer is qualified by education, experience, and examination to enhance the function and quality of interior spaces for the purpose of improving the quality of life, increasing productivity and protecting the health, safety and welfare of the public.
- Once I have started the interior design program, how long will it take me to complete my degree?
The interior design program is a four-year degree. The coursework is sequential and most classes are taught only once a year. Students accepted into the program must begin the program during the fall term.
- What are the performance expectations?
The interior design program at Western Michigan University is a professional program. Many interior design courses are in a laboratory or studio format and are very labor intensive. They each require between three and seven hours of weekly in-class time, plus a minimum of twice that or six to fourteen hours outside of class time per week.
The interior design program has an attendance policy which states that attendance is expected at all class meetings. Grade reductions may be given for more than three absences in excess in a semester.
Students who wish to continue in the professional interior design program are required to participate in portfolio review at the end of the fourth semester. In order to do this, the student must have completed specified classes with a minimum 3.0 GPA and achieved a WMU overall grade point average of 2.5 or greater. See the portfolio review policy for a complete explanation.
- What else should I expect in this program? As explained above, interior design is a time intensive major. Current full time students report having very limited time for work and social or extracurricular activities. They do develop close relationships with other students in the program.
Also, students must budget resources for tools and supplies in addition to textbooks. This can be costly. Students should understand that they are making an investment in their future careers as well as their success as students.
- Will I need a computer? The computer specifications below are based on the minimum requirements for a computer that will have the ability to run programs such as AutoCad, Sketchup Pro, Revit, etc. at the same time. Many computer brands will offer a computer with these specifications. Since the architecture and interior design profession is PC-based (using Windows as its operating system), a Mac would not be the best choice. Some programs are available for use with a Mac; however, there are limitations to the functionality.
- Processor: 7th Generation Intel Core (i7 processor or comparable AMD)
- Graphics Card: 3 GB minimum (Recommended: NVIDIA GeForce GTX)
- Memory: 16 GB DDR4 Ram
- Storage: 1 TB hard drive (An external hard drive can always be purchased to add additional space as well)
- 2 USB drives minimum (1 for mouse and 1 for flash drive)
- HDMI input (optional)
- 3 button wired/wireless mouse
DVD/CD drive is not necessary as most of our programs are downloadable. (Not having one actually brings down the laptop cost, as adding a disk drive usually adds $200 to the cost. If needed, external disk drives cost $30 and plug in via USB.)
- Are there high school courses that I should take that would contribute to my success in the ITD program?
Yes. A solid college preparatory background of high school courses that includes math and the sciences is important and helpful. Also, courses such as architectural drawing, art drawing and computer-aided design (CAD) involve skills that take time to develop. Students usually find prior coursework in these areas enhances their progress through the interior design program.
- Must I start the program during fall semester?
Yes. Admission to interior design is for fall semester only. The program is a highly sequenced one and most classes involve prerequisites. Since many courses are only offered once a year, it is important that students begin in the fall semester. This applies to incoming freshmen and transfer students.
- I am a Western Michigan University student. Can I transfer into the interior design program?
Yes. WMU students desiring to transfer into the interior design program may transfer as pre-interior design majors. They only need to declare interior design as a major and meet with a College of Education and Human Development academic advisor. Transfer students should anticipate that additional semesters of study will be required.
Students desiring to transfer into the interior design program must have a transferable grade point average (GPA) of 2.8 (on a 4.0 scale) or higher as computed by WMU Admissions. A student transferring from another school must be accepted by the University Transfer students should anticipate that it will take them four years at WMU to complete the required sequence of courses.
Can I transfer into the interior design program from another school?
- Can I transfer coursework from another interior design program at another university or community college?
Interior design coursework from another school or university is not always directly comparable. It is possible that coursework will transfer. Check a list of equivalents from Michigan Community Colleges. To determine if other interior design coursework will transfer as an exact equivalent, please contact the interior design program coordinator at Western Michigan University. Usually you will be asked to supply a course syllabus and project work as well as a transcript for review before a particular interior design course will be considered as an exact equivalent of an Interior Design course at WMU.