Interior Design

Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts
Academic Unit: 
The Design School

The Interior Design concentration addresses the discovery and inquiry into how people use and perceive space. The emphasis is on collaborative and hands-on learning experiences created in the stimulating setting of a multi-disciplinary school. Our curricula is strong and includes the study of history, theory, communication materials, lighting, construction methods, technology, and other topics pertinent in industry. All of this ensures a solid education, which leads to the acquisition of internships and full-time employment in prestigious architecture and design firms.
Any Barrett student who is considering majoring or minoring in Interior Design should contact the lead FHA.

Download Guidelines: PDF icon tds_barrett_honors_thesis_handbook_2019-2020-revised.pdf

Faculty Honors Advisors

Olivier Vallerand

Thesis/Creative Projects: 

During your final Interior Design Studio offered in the spring of your senior year, you will enter into a contract with your Studio Instructor and the Design School Barrett Honors Faculty Advisor to do work beyond the scope of the studio geared toward a research topic of your choosing. For example, if you are interested in “Sustainability in Interior Design”, you would focus on that research area in the Studio while still completing all the requirements of the studio as your instructor advises.
During the first week of the spring semester (or the end of the fall semester) you meet with the Studio Instructor (who will act as your Thesis/Creative Project Director*) and the Design School Barrett Honors Faculty Advisor to plan your course of study, deadlines, and deliverables for the Honors Thesis/Creative Project. You will propose to work on your design project for the studio at a much deeper and more resolved level than the other studio members, and the research lens through which you look at the studio problem would be your thesis topic and its application in Interior Design. Thus, you would do all the design work required for the studio while also integrating/applying your research interests into the project.
The written portion of your Honors Thesis/Creative Project is a document that illustrates an understanding of the research topic and current debates and issues surrounding it within your discipline, your methodology for integrating and applying the topic within your studio project, a conclusion as to the result of the application of the research in the design project, case-studies, a review of literature, a bibliography, and illustrations. It is normally no less than 25 pages of text, not including literature review, bibliography, and illustrations. The text can integrate your design solutions into the document as support for the argument of your thesis.

You can also decide to do a parallel comprehensive research project. You will still take a studio in the spring and you will do a separate Honors Thesis course with a These/Creative Director.

Academic Preparation: 

Timeline prior to the thesis/creative project
Freshman Year:
Enjoy college and classes in your discipline and in the Honors College.
Meet with your Faculty Honors Advisor early in the Fall and Spring Semesters.
In the spring of your freshman year begin to ask yourself questions such as:
• What am I passionate about?
• What local/global questions and issues might I use design to help answer and solve?
• What do I know a lot about or What do I want to know more about?
• What types of books, designs, issues, stories, etc. am I usually drawn to?
Sophomore Year
Meet with the Design School Honors Faculty Advisor early in the Fall and Spring Semesters.
In the spring of your sophomore year you should:
• Start a journal dedicated to honors thesis/creative project.
• Write weekly in your journal about your ideas for thesis, the things you know about your topics, the things you don’t know about your topics, goals you are setting for yourself.
• Ask your Faculty Honors Advisor which classes to take that deal with your topic, or which other professors might be experts in the topic that you are interested in and make an appointment to go and meet with those professors.
Junior Year
This is the year that you get serious about your Thesis/Creative Project.
• You will enroll 492 (required by the Honors College for Thesis/Creative Project) for the SPRING of your junior year. This is the class where you work on your proposal for your honors thesis with the honors advisor.

Other Honors Opportunities: 

Please discuss this with your Faculty Honors Advisor at the beginning of every semester.