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Bachelor of Science in Interior Architecture and Design (BSIAD)


Interior architecture and design

If creating uniquely inspiring and purposeful spaces where people can live, work and play is your passion, the interior architecture and design program at Mercyhurst University is your answer.  A professional interior designer strives to create educational environments where we can learn and grow, healthcare environments where we can heal, and work environments in which we can be safe and productive. It’s about blending form and function – beauty and purpose. Are you up to the challenge?

All students are supervised through an internship/cooperative education experience with a real local business to build up their portfolio in a real-world professional setting. Previous students have received hands-on experience working on community projects at Safe Harbor Behavioral Health, Country Fair Cyber Café, Serafini’s Restaurant and the sustainable design dormitory at Mercyhurst.

Winston Churchill once said, "We shape our buildings, thereafter they shape us." See how the Interior Architecture and Design and Pre-Architecture Department can shape you to be ready for a successful and fulfilling career in interior design or architecture.

The professional opportunities in the field of interior design are expected to grow by nearly 20% from 2010 to 2020.  A degree from Mercyhurst prepares you for this exciting and dynamic career.


Bachelor of Science in Interior Architecture and Design (BSIAD)

  Associate of Science in Interior Design (ASID)

Ready to begin your journey in interior architecture and design?  Apply online today -- it's free and getting your application started takes only a few brief minutes.  Interested students may also consult the course catalog for more information.  As a liberal arts institution, all undergraduate students complete Mercyhurst's core curriculum

Interior architecture and design

The Interior Architecture and Design Department establishes its mission as the promotion of the intellectual, emotional, social, physical, and spiritual growth of the student as an effective citizen through liberal and professional education. Therefore, the program prepares the student not only for a career, but also for life. Faculty and students are challenged to integrate social responsibility with creative and intellectually strong career competence as well as a commitment to the human values of tolerance and mercy. Furthermore, program graduates are envisioned to be competent interior designers who instill in their profession, a regard for collaboration within the many disciplines, a commitment to community service; and who understand their unique role and responsibility within the context of an increasingly complex and global world.

The program philosophy centers on a belief that education is a life-long process of guided and purposeful activity, directed toward the development of the individual according to his/her needs, abilities, interests, and potential; that education is not merely a passive acquisition of knowledge but the meaningful interpretation of that knowledge, and an understanding capable of producing intelligent decisions and actions; that learning is a change in behavior brought about through experience; that the identification of learning outcomes is done cooperatively by the student and teacher; that self-discovery, self-growth, and self-expression are best achieved in a relaxed and open environment which remains sensitive and adaptive to the student's needs and abilities; and that the teacher is a facilitator of that self-discovery and self-growth. They further believe that learning in the professional environment, where students interact with clients and professionals and can apply theoretical principles, is very effective in developing professional proficiency as well as classroom/studio oriented education. The meaning of this philosophy for interior design education is that the curriculum should provide a judicious balance of learning experience with essential knowledge and understanding to be gained in the physical, behavioral and social sciences, humanities, professional sciences, and communicative sciences. As potential translators of architectural and interior science, the students need the science (knowledge) and the art (skill) inherent in the interior design profession. Only when they have cultivated moral values can they translate this science and art into action, in a wide variety of settings, with sensitivity, self-reliance, social concern, and genuine compassion for others.

  • Students will have a global view of their responsibility as stewards of natural resources and the impact of design decisions within the parameters of ecological, socio-economic, and cultural contexts. (University Core Values: Globally Responsible and Reflectively Aware)
  • Students will understand and address human needs (social, economic, political, psychological, and physiological) in the applied practice of interior design. (University Core Values: Socially Merciful and Compassionately Hospitable)
  • Students will respond with creative problem-solving by exploring complex problems and generating creative solutions that optimize the human experience within the interior environment. (University Core Value: Intellectually Creative)
  • Students will engage in multi-disciplinary collaboration. (University Core Values: generally all)
  • Students will effectively communicate visually, orally and in the written word using appropriate techniques and technologies.
  • Students will understand and adopt accepted standards of business and organizational practices with commitment to the highest levels of professional standards and ethics and will demonstrate a willingness to advance not only themselves but the profession of interior design as a whole. (University Core Value: Ambassadors of Service)
  • Students will develop a strong sense of the theoretical basis of art and design and will use historical and cultural context and precedence to enhance design decisions. (University Core Values: generally all)

Interior architecture and design

Interior design students must complete an internship in which the student works in the field gaining hands-on experience and earns academic credit . Internships are carefully supervised to assure that the student attains professional level experience. Students future career prospects are strongly enhanced by their on-the-job experiences before graduation.

Students may complete this requirement during the academic year or during summer terms at any location of their choosing. The Interior Architecture and Design Department provides placement assistance.

Student Portfolio

Incoming freshmen

Students are encouraged to begin development of a college-level portfolio starting in their freshmen year to prepare for Sophomore Review and placement in interior design internships and co-op learning experiences. Development of such portfolios is a natural outgrowth of the design studio environment.

In the spring of each academic year, the Mercyhurst University interior architecture and design department hosts its annual exhibition of projects . These projects are the culmination of 30 weeks of research and preparation over three terms. The exhibit is displayed in the Cummings Art Gallery on campus and is open to the public. An opening reception initiates the exhibition and invited guests include faculty, friends, family, professional designers and architects, and prospective employers. 

Interior architecture and design

State-of-the-art laboratory facilities are available for use exclusively by interior design students. Mercyhurst's on-campus design studios, materials lab, resource library, and state-of-the art computer labs with the latest computer aided drafting and design software provide students the technical expertise needed to enter the design industry. Studio spaces and laboratories are available to students 24 hours a day, seven days a week when the university is in session.


Donna Zariczny
Adjunct Faculty
Kathy Weidenboerner, ASID, IDEC,IIDA, M.Ed.
Department Chair and Assistant Professor
Keyman Asefi
Instructor of Interior Design