Corcoran to launch second master’s degree in interior architecture this fall – the GW Hatchet


Trustees of the Corcoran School of the Arts and Design will launch a Master of Arts in Interior Architecture program this fall.

Kym Rice, acting director of Corcoran, said the school currently offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts and a Master of Fine Arts in Interior Design, but the latter is for those with a bachelor’s degree in any field. other than interior design. She said the new master’s, which is a one-year program, allows students with undergraduate interior design experience to hone their skills and apply for higher-level positions in the field.

“We have had significant interest in the new program and already have applications underway for fall 2021,” Rice said in an email. “Prospective students have been inquiring about this type of diploma for several years. “

She said officials had not hired new faculty and staff for the program, but would work with the University to reassess the need for additional faculty and staff for the program over time.

Rice said the COVID-19 pandemic has encouraged prospective master’s students to look to upgrade their skills to become “more competitive” in today’s job market. Higher education experts say applications for graduate studies have increased in recent months as some jobs have become scarce during the pandemic.

“The program is also uniquely designed to help them develop invaluable connections with the DC design community,” Rice said.

The program’s curriculum includes courses in architectural design theory and leadership in design positions, according to the program’s website.

Stephanie Travis, associate professor of interior design and head of the interior design program, said Corcoran officials have been discussing the program for “many years.”

She said administrators often receive “solid” applications for the existing interior design graduate program, aimed at those with no previous interior design experience, which they had to reject because applicants already had a degree in the field. The new program welcomes applicants with previous experience in the field, she said.

“We wanted to be sure that this program would challenge students who already have a background in design and that this degree would take them to the next step in their careers,” she said in an email. “We also had to get approval from a number of channels, including the National Association of Schools of Art and Design, of which the Corcoran is an accredited member. “

Travis said the master’s degree also welcomes undergraduates from Corcoran who have expressed interest in continuing their studies of interior design through the Grad2Grad program, which allows undergraduates to earn another degree. at GW with a 10% tuition discount after completing their bachelor’s degree.

“We worked extremely hard to create a studio program that would push students to think conceptually and creatively with an emphasis on leadership and collaboration,” she said. “Our unique location in the Flagg building, directly across from the White House, will allow for many Washington-based projects that involve the community or focus on global issues, which we’re really excited about.”

Architecture and design experts said the program should emphasize inclusiveness in design-related jobs and encourage students, many of whom can become leaders in the field, to think about how prejudices culture are present in the profession.

Mina Chow, an adjunct professor at the School of Architecture at the University of Southern California, said that upon entering the field of design, those she worked with sometimes mistakenly identified her as an interior designer. rather than as an architect because of his gender. She said it was crucial for the new master’s program to ensure that the program material is inclusive and supports diversity, equity and inclusion.

“There are a lot of things that need to be addressed when it comes to gender,” she said. “Things need to be updated as there is a lot going on in this country that is questioned about its fairness, diversity and inclusion, which should make us question traditional roles in design.”

Chow said those responsible for the program should provide a diverse group of faculty and staff who can serve as role models for under-represented students.

“They need to see people who are underrepresented in positions of power and their work has a positive effect on society,” she said.

Dennis Earle, assistant professor of environmental and interior design at Syracuse University, said the program should also encourage students to think about how prejudices and personal expectations might influence design practices and prepare students for “enlightened and progressive leadership” in the field of design.

He said the program is expected to impart more in-depth knowledge in interior architecture and should enable students to become leaders in the field of interior architecture.

“Part is just more time studying the profession and related subjects, which translates into more information and more practice using that information, and part is education at a higher level of complexity, of sophistication and performance, ”he said in an email. .

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