The Art of Interior Design: Exploring the Program at University of Utah

History of Interior Design Program at University of Utah

University of Utah Interior Design Program History

The University of Utah has a long and prestigious history with its interior design program. The program started in 1975 as a minor in environmental design and was led by Professor John Sugden. Sugden, who was a licensed architect, was passionate about interior design and environmental design and laid the foundation for the program that has become one of the most respected interior design programs in the country.

The program grew rapidly in popularity and by 1977, it had been approved as a major under the College of Architecture and Planning. This allowed for an expansion of the program’s curriculum. The interior design program’s faculty was composed of talented and experienced professionals, who brought real-world experience and expertise to their teaching.

Throughout the 1980s, the program continued to grow in size and reputation. Design review boards and national accreditation requirements were established to ensure quality control and consistency of the interior design students’ work. The students were required to display their design skills and creativity in senior thesis projects, which were exhibited in the Fine Arts Gallery on campus.

The program had another milestone in 1995, when it became the first interior design program in the western United States to receive the highest level of accreditation from the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA). This achievement recognized the program’s commitment to providing quality education in interior design and environmental design.

As the program evolved, the curriculum added more emphasis on universal design, sustainability, and technology. Universal design prepares students to create spaces that are accessible to everyone regardless of their physical abilities. The program’s focus on sustainability explores eco-friendly and energy-efficient design solutions to minimize the negative impact on the environment. Technology has played an increasingly significant role in the curriculum, teaching students how to use design software and equipment effectively.

The interior design program has evolved with the times and has embraced emerging technologies, society’s changing values, and design trends. The program has been consistently ranked among the top interior design programs in the country. It has garnered various accolades, including being recognized by Design Intelligence’s “America’s Best Architecture and Design Schools” report.

The program has provided its graduates with the skills and knowledge necessary for success in the industry. Graduates have gone on to work in prestigious architecture and design firms, pursued advanced degrees in architecture, urban planning, and interior design, and have become influential educators and industry leaders.

The interior design program at the University of Utah is a testament to the institution’s commitment to providing quality education. Its history is rich with achievements, milestones, and recognition, and it has been continuously adapting to meet the changing needs of society and the industry.

Curriculum and Courses Offered in Interior Design Program

University of Utah Interior Design

The University of Utah’s Interior Design Program is made up of a comprehensive curriculum that equips students with the knowledge and skills required to be effective designers. The program is centered on the concept of evidence-based design (EBD), which prioritizes decision-making based on research.

The curriculum begins with foundational courses such as Design Theory, Graphic Communications, and Digital Media Tools for Designers. These courses provide students with a basic understanding of the principles and elements of design, as well as foundational studio skills. These courses also form the basis for more advanced study later on in the program.

University of Utah Interior Design Studio

Once students have a firm understanding of the basic principles of design, they move on to the advanced studio courses. These classes are the core of the program and focus on the development of design problem-solving skills, critical thinking, and collaboration. Advanced Studio courses are designed to provide the students an opportunity to apply their foundational knowledge to more complex design situations, by developing elaborate design projects. Advanced Studio courses vary in topics, including Hospitality Design, Workplace Design, and Healthcare Design.

Another critical part of the curriculum is the courses that focus on Human-Centered Design and Sustainability. These courses explore how the design of spaces can impact the well-being and health of people within, and how design decisions can lead to environmentally sustainable outcomes.

University of Utah Interior Design Human-centered Design

The Interior Design Program at the University of Utah has also incorporated courses in Building Codes and Construction Materials and Methods, which helps students understand the technical aspects of their designs. Additionally, elective courses are offered which allow students to specialize in areas like Lighting Design, Kitchen and Bath Design, Furniture Design, and Accessibility Design.

Apart from these courses, the Interior Design Program at the University of Utah, also provides students an opportunity to be trained in Internships and Field Study. These activities demonstrate how Interior Designers work and the challenges designers come across when working on complex projects.

University of Utah Interior Design Internships

In conclusion, the University of Utah’s Interior Design Program offers a curriculum that is both comprehensive and practical, catering to all aspects of Interior Design. The program’s emphasis on Evidence-Based Design makes it a valuable asset to graduates in their professional careers as Interior Designers. Students are provided with opportunities to collaborate, learn the technical aspects, specialize, and gain professionalism through internships, making them well-rounded designers equipped to take on challenging projects.

Faculty and Student Achievements in Interior Design Program

University of Utah Interior Design

The Interior Design program at the University of Utah has a long-standing reputation for excellence in both teaching and research. The faculty is composed of renowned scholars and professionals, who are dedicated to nurturing and inspiring students to develop their full creative potential. The program is also proud of its impressive tradition of producing graduates who are sought after by the top firms in the industry worldwide. The following are some of the notable achievements of the faculty and students in the Interior Design Program at the University of Utah.

Faculty Achievements

faculty members

The faculty of the Interior Design program at the University of Utah is composed of highly respected practitioners in their respective fields, who bring their vast experience and expertise to the classroom. Their achievements are numerous and include:

  • Being affiliated with highly respected professional organizations such as the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID), International Interior Design Association (IIDA), and the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA)
  • Winning multiple awards for their outstanding research and scholarly contributions to the interior design field
  • Contributing to major publications and journals, and receiving wide recognition for their published works
  • Maintaining active roles in various professional associations, and serving in leadership positions such as board members, chairpersons, and Presidents at national and international levels
  • Engaging in significant community service projects that help enhance the quality of life for diverse populations

Student Achievements

student workshops

The students of the Interior Design program at the University of Utah are the lifeblood of the program, and their hard work and dedication have borne exceptional results. Their achievements include:

  • Winning multiple awards in major competitions at local, regional, and national levels, such as the IIDA student design competition, the ASID student design competition, and the CIDA student competition
  • Showcasing their work in galleries and exhibition spaces locally and nationally
  • Completing internships with prestigious design firms across the country, allowing them to gain hands-on experience in the industry
  • Working on real projects for nonprofit organizations and small businesses, enabling them to hone their skills and make meaningful contributions to their communities
  • Presenting their research and design projects at professional conferences, gaining valuable exposure to new ideas and trends in the field of interior design

Overall, the Interior Design program at the University of Utah boasts a stellar reputation for excellence in teaching, research, and applied practice. Its faculty and students continue to make significant contributions to the field of interior design, and its graduates are well-equipped with the knowledge, skills, and creativity necessary to succeed in the industry.

Opportunities for Internships and Career Development in Interior Design

Interior Design Internships Career Development Utah

If you are a student pursuing a degree in Interior Design at the University of Utah, you are in luck because there are several opportunities for internships and career development available to you. These opportunities give students a chance to gain practical experience, hone their design skills and learn from professionals in the field. In this article, we will take a closer look at the various options offered by the university.

Internships with Local Design Firms

The Interior Design program at the University of Utah has established partnerships with local design firms to offer students the opportunity to work as interns. These internships are a great way to get hands-on experience as a designer and learn more about the design industry. During their internships, students get to work on real projects, interact with clients, and collaborate with other designers in the firm. It also gives them an opportunity to build their professional network, which is essential in this industry.

Design Build Bluff

Design Build Bluff Utah

Another opportunity offered by the Interior Design program at the University of Utah is Design Build Bluff, a program that allows students to design and build homes for Navajo families living in remote areas of Utah. This program gives students an opportunity to apply their design skills in a real-world setting and make a difference in the lives of people who need it most. This program also exposes students to the Navajo culture and helps them understand how design can be used to create meaningful spaces that reflect a community’s values and needs.

Study Abroad Opportunities

The Interior Design program at the University of Utah offers several study abroad opportunities for students to explore design in different cultures. These programs take students to different parts of the world, exposing them to a range of design styles and techniques. Some of the destinations include Italy, France, Japan, and China. Studying abroad not only allows students to gain a broader understanding of design, but it also helps them develop a global perspective, which is becoming increasingly important in today’s interconnected world.

Student Organizations

University of Utah Interior Design Student Organization

The Interior Design program at the University of Utah has several student organizations that provide students with opportunities to develop professionally and socially. These organizations include the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID), the International Interior Design Association (IIDA), and the Interior Design Student Association (IDSA). These groups organize events, invite guest speakers, and provide students with leadership opportunities. Being part of a student organization helps students develop leadership, networking, and communication skills that are essential for a successful career in design.

Career Services

The University of Utah’s Career Services office provides resources and support to help students find internships and jobs in their field of study. This office offers services such as resume and cover letter review, job and internship postings, and career fairs. The Interior Design program also hosts an annual career fair where students can meet with representatives from design firms and other companies in the industry. This event provides an excellent opportunity for students to network, showcase their work, and learn about different employment opportunities.

In conclusion, the Interior Design program at the University of Utah provides students with several opportunities to gain practical experience, develop professionally, and make a difference in the world. These opportunities prepare students for successful careers in the design industry and set them up for long-term success. Whether it is an internship with a local design firm, a study abroad program, or involvement in a student organization, students have a range of options to choose from that will help them achieve their career goals.

Facilities and Resources Available for Interior Design Students at University of Utah


The University of Utah’s Interior Design program provides exceptional facilities and resources to its students that empower them to hone their skills and become the best interior designers of tomorrow. Let’s take a closer look at some of the available resources and facilities for Interior Design students at the University of Utah:

Career Opportunities:


Interior Design students at the University of Utah can take advantage of the resources and opportunities provided by the department to help them launch their career. The department offers opportunities such as career fairs, job shadowing, internships, and mentorship programs that help students connect with potential employers and gain valuable work experience. With such an extensive network of connections, students can rest assured that they’ll find the resources they need to guide their career to the next level.

Materials Library:


The Interior Design program at the University of Utah features a comprehensive materials library stocked with a vast array of materials. The materials library serves as an invaluable resource for Interior Design students who can use it to explore and experiment with various materials, samples, and finishes that are commonly used in the industry. The materials library is regularly updated with the latest materials, allowing students to stay current with the industry’s standards and trends. Students can readily use the materials library to enrich their knowledge and improve their skills in material selection and specification.

Computer Labs:


The Interior Design program at the University of Utah has several computer labs that have been equipped with the latest software and technology to prepare students for careers in interior design. The labs are equipped with software such as AutoCAD, Revit, Sketchup, Adobe Creative Suite, and 3DS Max. Students can use the computer labs to refine their design skills, polish their visual presentation, create mockups, and other related tasks. The University’s computer labs offer Interior Design students ample opportunities to upgrade their technology skills and stay current with industry technology trends.

Design Studios:


Design studios at the University of Utah serve as the hub of the Interior Design program. Students have access to individual workstations that allow them greater flexibility and privacy while working on their projects. Each workspace is equipped with a drawing table, shelving, and lighting for maximum comfort and convenience. The Design studios provide ample space and resources for students to explore their creativity and express themselves without limitations fully.

The Beverley Taylor Sorenson Arts and Education Complex:


The Beverley Taylor Sorenson Arts and Education Complex is one of the most advanced educational buildings in the University of Utah. The facility houses the College of Fine Arts, which includes the Interior Design program. The facility features a modern-day classroom with state-of-the-art technology, teaching labs, exhibition halls, and design studios. Students at the University of Utah can benefit from the conducive learning environment offered by the Beverley Taylor Sorenson Arts and Education Complex, which provides all the resources and tools essential for students’ success in the Interior Design Program.

In conclusion, The University of Utah offers both experienced and aspiring interior designers with various facilities and resources to help them become the best in the industry. With these resources, Interior Design students can achieve their goals and transform their passion into a career that they’ll love.

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