Hey there interior design enthusiasts and future students,
If you’re an undergraduate who has never studied interior design formally before and you’re in the market for a good online interior design study program, hello and welcome!
In this post we are going to explore accredited online degree programs that you can access from anywhere in the world.
Don’t be fooled by all those content farm sites promising you lists of good schools for accredited online degree programs in interior design.
Throughout the course of our extensive online research we were disappointed to discover that only 5-10% of the schools listed as having online programs actually offered 100% fully online study!
We’ve done the hard work of researching 100% online undergraduate interior design degree courses for you so you can rest assured that if we list a school they are legit!
Design Baddie still recommends that you do your own research since programs and courses are subject to change.
Some background: I got my three-year degree from a UK school 100% online while living overseas as an expat in Taiwan. Being a mother or two with a full time job and living in a non-English speaking country made it tough for me to consider any options other than fully online study.
I also needed a program that allowed me to work at my own pace.
Online Interior Design Study Options
Actually, finding an online program was easier than I thought.
Since graduating I have discovered even more options out there than before. This has been helped along, no doubt, by more schools moving to support online study due to the pandemic.
Another bit of good news for the interior design online study crowd is that the explosion in general interest in interior design (so prevalent through 2005-2015) has subsided in recent years.
It sounds like a bad thing, but it is actually a good thing.
What this means to you as a future online study student is is that universities and reputable online schools are more motivated to find new students than ever before.
This gives you a higher chance of getting into the school you most want to study with.
Ready to explore?
Let’s find the school that’s potentially right for you!
What follows is some advice on choosing the right school for your needs. If you would like to jump straight to the best schools, please follow the links below:
Best International Schools for Accredited Online Interior Design Diplomas
Most Affordable International Schools for Accredited Online Interior Design Diplomas
Best Australian and South African Schools for Accredited Online Interior Design Diplomas
Choosing the Right School
In this article we are going to cover undergraduate interior design universities and colleges that offer reputable and certified interior design study programs one hundred percent online.
These are university level courses which are recognized by interior design councils and authorities on a global level. Graduating from any of these courses should put you in good standing to practice interior design at both the commercial and contract levels anywhere in the world (while respecting local licensing requirements).
Graduation from a great number of these courses enables you to continue your learning through graduate and even masters levels, should you choose, and if that’s something that interests you..
It’s good to be aware that if you are able to attend some classes in person there may be more options available locally where you live.
Finally as a disclaimer, this should not be considered financial or career advice. Always do your own research based on your specific needs.
Our criteria for this article is university-level diploma and professional level courses.
Again, if you want to take a lower commitment course you can find some that only take a year to do. We will cover these types of courses in a separate article on the site.
How to Know if an Online Interior Design Degree Program is Legitimate
In my case and for my specific situation, I spent a considerable amount of time figuring out what my best options for studying interior design online were. I did a lot of window shopping and thoroughly researched the schools I was interested in before committing. In the process came across a lot of schools, all offering online study options with varying degrees of flexibility.
I also learned what to watch out for when deciding whether a course of study was worth my money and time.
In the end I based my choice of online interior design program on these important criteria:
- Reputation and accreditation of the school
- Ease of access
- Support offered
Let’s cover these in a little more detail.
1. Reputation and accreditation of interior design schools online
Accreditation is a process that helps ensure that educational programs and institutions meet certain standards of quality.
It is usually administered by a third-party organization that evaluates an institution or program against a set of criteria to determine whether it meets certain standards.
In the case of interior design courses, accreditation is often seen as a way to ensure that students are receiving a high-quality education that will prepare them for careers in the field.
We feel obligated to point out that there are several benefits to obtaining an accredited degree in interior design
-For one, it can help students to feel more confident in the quality of the education they are receiving.
-Accreditation can also be important for students who are planning to pursue further education or seek certification in the field, as many professional organizations and licensing boards require that candidates hold a degree from an accredited institution.
-Fairly or not, employers may be more likely to hire graduates of accredited programs, as they may view such credentials as a sign of the candidate’s dedication to their education and their commitment to the profession as they require significant time, resources and tenacity to complete.
2. Ease of access
In general, anyone who is capable of completing the work required for an accredited online interior design degree should be able to earn their degree.
Bear in mind, though, that there could be certain admissions requirements that applicants must meet in order to be accepted into an online interior design program.
These requirements can vary depending on the institution and the specific program, but some ideas include things like a high school diploma or equivalent, a minimum GPA, and/or prerequisite coursework.
Be warned that online programs may require students to participate in the course in an interactive way, such as by utilizing online group discussions or through assigning group projects.
Depending on the course, these can sometimes require a high level of engagement and collaboration with your peers.
If you need to work on your own time schedule, as I did, you might want to ensure that the course you take is flexible enough for your needs. This is especially true if you are a parent or are employed full time while studying.
Another important thing to note is that earning an accredited online interior design degree is no cakewalk. In our experience it requires a significant amount of hard work and dedication.
Online programs can be just as challenging as traditional on-campus programs, and may require students to complete coursework, projects, and exams on their own time while still meeting certain time limits.
There are several important ways that online interior design schools can make it easier for students to complete their courses. These include two major points:
a) By allowing around-the-clock access
b) Not having mandatory, ‘set’ class times
Some of the detailed ways schools can help their international students include:
- Providing course materials and lectures online: By making course materials and lectures available online, students can access them at any time and at their own pace. This can be especially helpful for students who have busy schedules or who are working while completing their degree.
- Offering flexible scheduling: Many online interior design programs allow students to complete coursework and assignments on their own time, rather than requiring them to attend set class times. This can make it easier for students to fit their studies into their busy schedules.
- Providing support and resources: Online interior design schools should provide students with the support and resources they need to succeed, such as access to academic advisors, tutoring services, and online discussion forums.
- Using technology to facilitate communication and collaboration: Online programs can use technology, such as video-conferencing and online collaboration tools, to facilitate communication and collaboration between students and instructors. This can help students feel more connected to their classmates and instructors, even if they are not physically present in the same location.
4. Affordability of Online Interior Design Programs
There are several ways you can go about finding an affordable interior design program online. The following points should be enough to get you started.
- Research and compare different programs: Look for programs that offer the coursework and certifications you need at a price that fits your budget. Consider factors such as tuition, fees, and any additional costs such as materials or supplies. Find schools that are transparent about costs and offer payment plans over time.
- Check for financial aid and scholarships: Many online interior design programs offer financial aid options, such as grants, loans, and scholarships, to help students pay for their education. Check with the school or program to see if you are eligible for any financial assistance.
- Enroll in a community college or vocational school: Community colleges and vocational schools often have more affordable tuition rates than traditional four-year colleges or universities. These schools may offer interior design programs or courses that can help you get the education and training you need.
- Consider online courses or certificate programs: If you can’t afford a university education, you can still find less expensive options in private online design school courses. Online courses or certificate programs can be a more affordable option than a full degree program. These programs may be shorter in duration and focus on specific skills or topics, which can be a good option if you are looking to learn a specific aspect of interior design.
- Finally, look for discounts or promotions: Some schools or programs may offer seasonal discounts or promotions for students who enroll in their program through specific avenues (through advertising partners, for example). Keep an eye out for these offers and take advantage of them if they are available.
After selecting my intended future online degree program I went to the site a few times a month over the next six months to check for special offers and discounts which they sometimes had.
Another thing I did was to sign up for their newsletter via email so I could be kept informed of deals that way.
5. Support offered with online interior design degree courses
When selecting an online degree program for interior design, it’s important for you to consider the level of support the program provides to its online students. Some things to consider include:
- Access to academic advisors and other support staff: Many online degree programs have academic advisors or other support staff who can help students with course selection, scheduling, and other academic-related questions. It’s important to find out if these resources are available and how easy it is to access them.
- Technical support: Online degree programs often require students to use specific software or other technology to complete coursework. It’s important to find out if there is technical support available to help students with any issues they may encounter.
- Access to library resources: Many online degree programs provide students with access to online library resources, such as databases and electronic journals. It’s important to find out what resources are available and how easy it is to access them.
- Student services: Some online degree programs offer a range of student services, such as career counseling, financial aid assistance, and mental health support. It’s important to find out what services are available and how easy it is to access them.
- Community and students support groups: In our experience, the best programs encourage students to interact in the virtual space on their own time. Supportive student groups on Facebook or other social media platforms can be a huge boost achieving your study goals as you’ll be comparing notes, asking questions and getting help from people with the same interests and challenges as you. Sometimes you can even work with other students on projects, depending on the program.
Overall, it’s important to find an online degree program that provides a good balance of academic and non-academic support and gives you access to a community to help ensure your success as a student.
How to Get Started with your Online Interior Design Degree
Here on Design Baddie we believe that it’s well worth it to pursue an accredited degree in interior design if you’re able. Nonetheless, you need to know what you’re in for from the outset. To get a university level degree in interior design online, you will need to navigate most of these steps in the early discovery phase:
- Research programs: Look for online interior design programs offered by accredited universities or colleges. You can also consider whether you want to get a bachelor’s degree or a master’s degree, as well as the specific focus or specialty of the program.
- Meet program requirements: Most online interior design programs will have certain requirements that you need to meet in order to be eligible to apply, such as a high school diploma or a certain GPA. Make sure you understand and meet these requirements before applying.
- Complete the application process: Follow the application process for the online interior design program you are interested in, which may include submitting transcripts, letters of recommendation, and a personal statement.
- Enroll in classes: Once you are accepted into the program, you will be able to enroll in classes and start your coursework. This may involve completing assignments, participating in discussions, and attending virtual lectures or studio sessions.
- Complete the program: Work through the coursework and complete any required projects or exams to finish the program and earn your degree.
Bottom line: Earning a university level degree in interior design online can be a convenient and flexible way to gain the education and training you need to start a career in this field.
Please do make sure to research the specific program you are considering to ensure it is reputable and will meet your career goals.
What are the Criteria for Good Online Interior Design University Courses?
There’s no point spending money on a course that has unrealistic timeframes, asks you to attend online lessons when your time zone is miles apart and you are at work or asleep during class times.
You also don’t want to feel isolated and alone in your experience while learning interior design online.
For these reasons and yet others, here are some things you can consider when evaluating whether an online interior design course or program is good and reputable or not:
- Accreditation: Look for programs that are accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA). Accreditation ensures that the program meets certain standards for quality and prepares students for professional practice.
- Faculty: Research the faculty for the program to see if they have relevant education and experience in the field of interior design.
- Curriculum: Look at the curriculum for the program to see if it covers the topics and skills you need to learn to be successful in the field of interior design.
- Graduation and job placement rates: Find out what the graduation and job placement rates are for the program, as these can be indicators of the program’s quality and effectiveness in preparing students for careers in the field.
- Reviews and testimonials: Read reviews and testimonials from current or former students to get an idea of their experiences with the program.
- Affordability: Consider the cost of the program and whether it is affordable for you. Look into financial aid options that may be available to help cover the costs.
By evaluating these factors, you can get a better sense of whether an online interior design course or program is reputable and likely to provide a high-quality education.
Popular International University Courses for Studying Interior Design Totally Online
There are at least a dozen schools around the world that offer high-quality online interior design programs to international students. Here are a few great examples for you:
The Academy of Art (San Francisco, US): This institution provides three excellent online degrees for graduate and undergraduate interior design students. The degrees offered range from Associate to Master’s in Interior Architecture and Design, and can be fully earned online. The school’s website is well-organized and user-friendly, demonstrating their ability to effectively manage an online learning program. Their online Bachelor’s program in interior design meets the standards set by the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA).
Open College of the Arts (Open University UK): This is a highly flexible program allowing you to study part time and work toward your degree for up to nine years. This is an undergraduate program that does not have entry requirements, as students are judged on their merits in the course. This course allows you to earn a Bachelor of the Arts that is fully accredited by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA).
Keep in mind that these are just a few examples of schools that offer high-quality online interior design programs. There are plenty of other schools that also offer online programs in this field, so it is a smart idea to research and compare multiple options to find the program that best meets your needs and goals.
Top American and Canadian Courses for Getting Your Interior Design Degree Online
There are a few schools in the US and Canada that offer high-quality online interior design programs. Here are the most promising examples:
- The Academy of Art (San Francisco, US): This school offers quality and competitive online degrees from Associates through Masters in Interior Architecture and Design that can be completed entirely online. The school maintains a clean website with a good user interface, which speaks volumes about their capabilities to handle the needs of an online study program. Their online Bachelor degree program for interior design fulfils the requirements for accreditation by the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA).
- The Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design: This school is uniquely positioned to teach their Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interior Design program entirely online. They have a proprietary virtual learning management system which caters to the needs of online students. Their program is also accredited by the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA).
- Yorkville University: This distance-learning program was described as a temporary offering due to Covid-19 restrictions, so you may need to check if they still offer the course online. Their Bachelor of Interior Design is a CIDA accredited and ARIDO recognized. The school offers a Canadian work permit for graduates of the program.
These are possibly just a few examples of schools in the US and Canada that offer high-quality online interior design programs. There are likely to be other schools that also offer online programs in this field. Make sure that you research and compare other online options to find the program that best meets your requirements.
Top Most Reputable UK Courses for Getting Your Interior Design Degree Online
We are particularly fond of the United Kingdom’s easy approach to learning and progressing through the applied arts. In addition, the UK offers some world-class and highly flexible online interior design programs.
Here are a few examples:
- Open College of the Arts (Open University UK): This is a highly flexible program allowing you to study part time and work toward your degree for up to nine years. This is an undergraduate program that does not have entry requirements, as students are judged on their merits in the course. This course allows you to earn a Bachelor of the Arts that is fully accredited by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA).
- De Montfort University: De Montfort University offers a Bachelor of Arts in Interior Design that can be completed entirely online. To apply for the distance learning course you will need to go through the National Design Academy. This is a highly recommended course and is awarded by one of the UK’s top universities. The program is accredited by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA).
- National Design Academy (UK/International): The National Design Academy is well known in the United Kingdom as being one of the early pioneers of distance learning for the subject of interior design. You can choose from a variety of specialties in interior design after completing your foundation. Higher National Diploma level, Bachelor Degree and even Masters are all offered fully online. I have personal experience with several professors who themselves studied at this school and it comes highly recommended.
- University of Brighton: This undergraduate Bachelor degree program is offered fully online to part time students. The degree is offered through the KLC School of Design. The program can allow between five and nine years to complete it.
- University of Sussex: This fully online undergraduate Bachelor degree program is similar to the one offered by the University of Brighton (above) can be done fully online as a part time student. The distance-learning degree is also offered through the KLC School of Design. The honors program usually takes five years to complete.
These are just a handful of the most reputable schools in the UK that offer high-quality online interior design programs. There are certain to be other schools that also offer online programs in this field. It’s always wise to research and compare multiple options to find the program that best meets your personal study needs and goals.
Affordable and Accredited Online Interior Design Diploma Study Options for International Students
When the budget is an important consideration, you want to be more selective with your interior design school considerations. In fact, there are many schools around the world that offer high-quality and affordable online interior design programs, such as Associate degree level and Professional diplomas that don’t have to break the bank. Here are a few examples that you should totally check out:
- The Design Ecademy Higher National Diploma (UK/International): Typically, a Higher National Diploma program (Associate degree level, professional diploma) takes two years of full-time study. However, with their online HND in Interior Design, you have the opportunity to earn this certificate in as little as two years while still working in your current job. This program offers maximum flexibility, as you can work at your own pace and even move on to the final year of a BA degree later on, if desired. Additionally, there is no need for prior experience or qualifications – all you need is a willingness to learn and a dedication to your studies.
Affordable Online Accredited Interior Design Study Programs from the United Kingdom
True, UK design schools carry a lot of clout and are well respected. That doesn’t mean that they are all out of reach. Here are a few schools in the UK that offer reputable and slightly more affordable online interior design programs:
- British Academy of Interior Design (UK/International): This Higher National Diploma course will result in a professional qualification and access to the final year of a Bachelor degree through University which can also be completed online. In the UK this Associate’s level degree allows you the qualifications to start your own successful interior design business. You’ll not only manage your own design project, but also produce professional 3D visuals, forecast trends, design commercial and residential spaces, and collaborate with other designers. The course is structured with 30 practical assignments to gradually develop the skills, techniques, and understanding needed for success in interior design.
- International Career Institute (UK/International): This professional level diploma can be completed fully online in as little as 24 weeks with a maximum allowance of three years. This foundational diploma allows you to continue to BA and Master’s levels at most universities should you wish to. This is one of the most affordable options out there, and it is fully accredited IAPCC (International Association of Private Career Colleges) and the IIDA (International Interior Design Association).
Again, these are just some of the schools in the UK that offer reputable and affordable online interior design programs at the time of publishing. Be sure to do your due diligence find the program that best meets your own needs and budget.
Online Interior Design Programs from Australia, New Zealand and South Africa
Any discussion of international schools should include the English speaking countries of the southern hemisphere. You might want to consider these if you’re working with a lower budget and need something affordable, or if you plan to work in these countries.
Here are a few schools in South Africa, New Zealand, and Australia that offer high-quality online interior design programs:
- Interior Design Institute (Australia): This diploma course takes you through twelve modules that will teach you everything you need to know to become an interior design professional. The school offers a monthly payment option, and the course is fully online.
- Interior Design Institute (South Africa): The same program offered to Australian students is available in South Africa. The course offers access a Facebook community of over 30,000 students and a 24/7 help desk. They have no fixed schedules and offer flexible payment options.
- Open College (Australia): This Diploma of Interior Design is offered by a school that claims 125 years in distance education. The program is offered fully online and is self paced and flexible, with the expectation that it can be completed in 30 months.
These are just a sampling of schools in South Africa, New Zealand, and Australia that offer high-quality online interior design programs. There may be other schools that also offer online programs in this field, so it is a good idea to research and compare various options to find the program that best meets your needs and goals for learning interior design online .
We hope you’ve enjoyed our round up of the best interior design diploma options for students around the world to get their education fully online. As someone who has done this myself, I understand the value of a quality program and online learning environment and our goal is to make this knowledge more available for others. If you know of any other fully online diploma programs that should make the list please drop us a line so we can check them out and consider adding them.
Happy interior design online studies!
We are on a mission at Design Baddie to make basic interior design information accessible and free to all! We will be giving away our future introductory interior design e-books absolutely free.