East Tennessee State University Engineering Technology, Surveying & Digital Media

Interior Design


thinking • engaging • creating

We invite you to join a dedicated group of designers who are thinking globally, actively engaging in dynamic design processes, and creating imaginative solutions which promote the awareness and knowledge of the contributions of interior design to health, safety, and the welfare of people in a sustainable built environment.  Graduates aspire to be active lifelong problem solvers, seeking to adapt current knowledge and emerging trends to meet the demands of a future marketplace.

To prepare new professionals who seek to make a difference in their chosen communities we as faculty embrace these core goals:

  • Diverse Student Learning Opportunities: Provide students with international, regional and local learning opportunities that promote design solutions that respect the diversity of the global community.
  • Design Thinking: Promote a creative dynamic design process that incorporates both illustrative and “making” techniques focusing on innovative design solutions.
  • Cross Disciplinary Appreciation: Facilitate collaboration across a wide variety of professions/majors to strengthen students understanding of integrated design processes.
  • Student Centered Learning: Create opportunities for direct engagement with faculty and practicing professionals in small studio focused learning communities.

Former Students

Our recent grads speak:

Danielle Brown

I just wanted to drop a HUGE thank you your way.  Words cannot express how grateful I am to have had you all and how thankful I am that I listened to your advice, no matter how hard it was to swallow. Tomorrow is my first day at A-Z Office Resources. I’m prepared for the challenge because I know I’ve been taught well, and that is the biggest comfort of all.  I couldn’t be happier with my first professional job, fresh out of college.

Danielle Brown (2012), Interior Designer, A-Z Office Resources

Zarah Brown

I firmly believe that our ETSU ID program is competitive and brings a personal approach to the classroom. The ETSU ID program is the best-kept secret in the region.

Zarah Cochran Brown (2007), Director of Interior Design, StudioFourDesign, Knoxville, TN.


For me Interior Design is about passion; a passion to help others enhance their quality of life. While at ETSU I saw-witnessed the passion that my professors had for Interior Design and I found it contagious. I’m so thankful for my education from ETSU. The challenges I faced while in school have molded me into the designer that I am today. Thank you ETSU Interior Design Department for the encouragement, knowledge, and passion that you have bestowed upon me.

Ashley Burton, Workspace Interiors, Inc.


Interior Design Is

Interior design is a multi-faceted profession in which creative and technical solutions are applied within a structure to achieve a built interior environment. These solutions are functional, enhance the quality of life and culture of the occupants and are aesthetically attractive.  Designs are created in response to and coordinated with the building shell and acknowledge the physical location and social context of the project.  Designs must adhere to code and regulatory requirements, and encourage the principles of environmental sustainability. The interior design process follows a systematic and coordinated methodology, including research, analysis and integration of knowledge into the creative process, whereby the needs and resources of the client are satisfied to produce an interior space that fulfills the project goals.

Interior design includes a scope of services performed by a professional design practitioner, qualified by means of education, experience and examination, to protect and enhance the health, life safety and welfare of the public.




Interior Design graduates are prepared for practice in the interior design profession regionally, nationally, and internationally by the enrichment of their professional and personal lives.  A four-year curriculum is organized around yearly conceptual frameworks.

  • Year 1: Design as Spatial Literacy. During the first year you will learn about the fundamentals of design and how multiple visual communication techniques can be used to illustrate design intent. Ergonomics, color theories, the elements/principles of design and anthropomorphic will be applied to a wide variety of projects.
  • Year 2: Design as Process. The importance of understanding human behavior and the design process to a successful design solution is the focus of the second year. Studios help students apply new computer skills, construction fundamentals, and interior materials. Your summer can be spent studying in Italy.
  • Year 3: Design as Profession. Third year courses focus on medical design and starting the transition into becoming a design professional. Evidenced based design and technical skills are balanced with professional practices to prepare students to succeed in their upcoming summer internships.
  • Year 4: Design as Social Responsibility. The fourth year focuses on using your newly acquired design knowledge to solve a social issue. Students work one-on-one with professionals to research, present design solutions, and prepare construction documents to a variety of interested parties.

To graduate from ETSU with a degree in Interior Design a student must complete a total of 120 hours. These hours contain:

63 hours in Core Design courses

INTD 1115 Studio 1: Architectural Drafting

An introduction to hand drafting and to lettering standards including terminology, symbols, orthographic drawings, and schedules within a construction document.


INTD 1105 Interior Design Fundamentals

An introduction and overview to the interior design profession including history, building systems, design fundamentals, design process, space planning, and interior finishes and materials.


INTD 1215 Studio 2: Visual Communication

Prerequisites: INTD 1105, INTD 1115, DIGM 1100. An introduction to three dimensional sketching techniques that promote creative, visual, and volumetric thinking. Rapid visualization, illustrative sketching, rendering, perspectives, and paraline drawings are emphasized. Studio experience included.

INTD 1205 Sustainable Design

Prerequisites: INTD 1105 and INTD 1115. A global perspective in the study of sustainable building theory, principles, and design practices and its application to interior design.

INTD 2115 Studio 3: ID Presentation

Prerequisites: INTD 1215. Introduction and application of oral and graphic presentations of interior design solutions communicated through the use of sample boards, collages, mock-ups, digital and hand presentations, portfolios, and/or 3D models

INTD 2105 Historical Interiors 1

A historical survey of interiors from antiquity through the 19th century; emphasizing the influence on today’s interiors and architecture. (fall)

INTD 2110 Design for Human Behavior

Prerequisites: INTD 1205 and INTD 1215. Exploration of the relationships between the designed environment and the behavior, feelings, and values of occupants. Introduction to proxemics, territoriality, way finding, and other environment/behavior theories.

INTD 2215 Studio 4: Residential Design

Prerequisites: INTD 2110, INTD 2115, and ENTC 2410. Design studio experience in residential interiors. Emphasis on problem solving within the design process, building codes, universal and barrier-free design, and sustainable design.

INTD 2205 Historical Interiors 2

Prerequisites: INTD 2105. A historical survey of interiors from 19th century through present day emphasizing the influence on today’s interiors and architecture.

INTD 2210 Materials & Finishes

Prerequisites: ENTC 2410 and INTD 2115. Study of fibers, textiles and other finish materials and components of interior spaces such as paints, carpet, flooring, and wall treatments with application to residential and commercial interiors. Appropriate selection, installation, specification, and cost estimating are emphasized.

INTD 3115 Studio 5: AutoCAD for ID

Prerequisites: INTD 2215. Computer-aided 2D and 3D architectural drafting and rendering through the use of AutoCAD and 3rd party rendering software.


INTD 3105 Interior Bldg Systems & Components

Prerequisites: INTD 2210 and INTD 2215. The study of interior building systems and components and their impact on the development of interior spaces. Emphasis on identifying, interpreting, drawing, and specifying interior building systems and components in contract documents that complete the building interior.


INTD 3215 Studio 6: Commercial Design

Prerequisites: INTD 3105 and INTD 3115. The study and application of the design process, codes, standards, and federal regulations pertaining to the interior of commercial buildings.

INTD 3205 Lighting

Prerequisites: INTD 3105, INTD 3115. An examination of the technical and decorative aspects of lighting, including principles, terminology, design requirements, and equipment utilized in interior environments. Students explore human visual perception, methods of light generation, fixtures and control, selection and specification, energy issues, and visual communication of lighting designs.

INTD 4115 Studio 7: Mixed-Use Design

Prerequisites: INTD 3215. Application of the design process based on social research to plan mixed-use environments for children, the elderly, physically challenged, or other special populations.


INTD 4105 Professional Practices

Prerequisites: INTD 3215. A study of the professional business practices of interior design: contracts, ethics, responsibilities, liabilities, etc. Emphasis includes development of professional portfolio, resume, and multiple marketing tools to support career strategies.


INTD 4215 Studio 8: Senior Design Studio

Prerequisites: Specialized and in-depth senior studio concluding in a comprehensive, culminating project that applies knowledge and skills needed for entry into the interior design profession.

INTD 4205 Interior Design Internship

Prerequisites: INTD 3215 and permission of the instructor. Supervised, multifaceted experience in which creative and technical skills are applied within a project based environment.

16 hours in Allied Design courses

DIGM 1100 Visual Thinking

An introduction to the problems, principles, and process involved in the ideation, conceptual design, and verbal/visual communication of media solutions. In this course students will learn to apply design thinking skills, rapid visualization techniques, and design process templates to define, design, and develop a comprehensive project proposal, product, and implementation plan. Fundamental to this course is the development of drawing skills using traditional media to thumbnail, draw, and diagram the information, visual interfaces, and user interactions associated with project/product design solutions. Lecture and lab. (fall, spring)

ARTA 1110 2D Design

A fundamental exploration of the elements of two-dimensional art (line, shape, texture, value, and color) and their relationship to the principles of design (balance, rhythm, variety, and unity). Stress is placed on visual thinking through the use of problem-solving structures.

ARTA 1204 Color Theory

Prerequisites: ARTA 1110 or ARTA 1201; or permission of instructor. An introduction to the basic principles of color theory as related to the visual arts to include both additive and subtractive color systems. An exploration of a variety of media and processes which stresses the use of a problem-solving structure.

ENTC 2410 Construction Fundamentals

Introduction to construction materials and systems. Emphasis on interpreting building prints and the analysis of materials of construction. Lecture and lab. (fall, spring)

Art History 2010 or 2020

ARTA 2010 - A survey of architecture, painting, sculpture, and the minor arts in the Western world from prehistoric times to the end of the Middle Ages.

ARTA 2020 - A survey of architecture, sculpture, and painting in the Western world from the Italian Renaissance to the present.

ENTC 4060 Project Scheduling

Prerequisites: Junior/ Senior standing or instructor approval. A detailed study in planning, organizing, and controlling projects. Computer software is used to schedule projects Emphasis is placed on time, resources, and capital considerations for the project. Lecture, team exercises, extensive laboratory, and presentations. (fall, spring, summer)

41 hours of General Education

ENGL 1010 Critical Reading and Expository Writing

Writing paragraphs and essays based on close readings of various texts, with an emphasis on clear, grammatically correct expository prose. Students must take this course during the first eligible semester at the university. Students must earn a grade of “C” or above to pass this course. These courses do no assign grades C-, D+, or D.

ENGL 1020 Critical Thinking and Argumentation

Prerequisites: ENGL 1010 or equivalent. Writing essays based on critical analyses of various literary texts. Emphasis on sound argumentative techniques. Requires documented research paper. Students must earn a grade of “C” or above to pass this course. These courses do no assign grades C-, D+, or D.

SPCH 2300 Public Speaking

The study and practice of preparing, delivering, and analyzing public speeches.

SPCH 2320 Argumentation and Debate

An introduction to oral argumentation and debate, including case construction techniques, case analysis and criticism, and research methods.

MATH 1530 Probability and Statistics – Noncalculus

Prerequisites: Two years of high school algebra. Descriptive statistics and its relevance, including probability, experimentation, measurement, sampling and surveys, informal statistical inference, and hypothesis testing are included.

Natural Sciences (8 Credits)

HIST 2010 The United States to 1877

A survey of the settlement and development of the colonies, the revolutionary period, the making of the Constitution, the diplomatic, economic, and political problems of the new government, the nature of economic sectionalism, Jacksonian democracy, territorial expansion, the Civil War, and Reconstruction.

HIST 2020 The United States since 1877

Growth of the United States as an industrial and world power since Reconstruction.

Literature (3 Credits)

Humanities (3 Credits)

SRVL 1020 Introduction to Service-Learning in the Community

Caring capacity of the individual. Emphasis is placed on oral and writing intensives and on familiarizing the student with potential career choices. Requires a 30- hour individual service placement and a group project. (fall, spring, summer)

Social/Behavioral Sciences (3 Credits)

The program curriculum, structured to meet accreditation standards, then provides a broad-based design education where sustainability practices, creativity development, and varied learning environments are infused across the entire 4-year experience.  Regional travel study tours, international travel opportunities, and service learning experiences expose students to a wide range of career building and professional mentoring opportunities.

A typical four year class schedule.

Future Students

Cost Info

For in-state freshman, a typical semester would cost approximately $3,264.50 in tuition and Interior Design fees, while out-of-state students would pay approximately $10,383.50 in tuition and fees.  You can do your own estimate using ETSU’s Tuition Estimator.


  • For entering freshman, start with this checklist on the Admissions page: Checklist
  • For transfer students, start with this checklist on the Admissions page: Checklist