Nov 29, 2020  
2019-2020 Undergraduate Catalog 
2019-2020 Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Interior Architecture and Product Design

Nathan Howe, Department Head
Stacey Chard, Academic Advisor
Jayna Elsasser, Academic Advisor
Lisa Last, Academic Advisor
Rachel Robillard, Academic Advisor
Carissa Scott, Program/Project Coordinator

Professor of Practice: Wempe
Associate Professors: Brown, Hubbell, Jani, and Lewis 
Assistant Professors: Davidson, Elcioglu, and Guler
Instructors: Gibson, and Gregorio
Emeritus Professors: Cutler, Hastings, Murphy, and Hastings
Emeritus Associate Professors: Borchers, Bullock, Owens-Wilson, Thompson, and Troyer

1087 Seaton Hall
Fax: 785-532-6722

Two tracks are available to earn the professional graduate degree in interior architecture & product design (MIAPD). The non-baccalaureate professional graduate degree track in interior architecture & product design is a five-year program (a one-year environmental design studies program is followed by four years including a summer course of study) and results in the Master of Interior Architecture & Product Design (MIAPD). The department’s five-year program of study is one of the first curricula in this profession to be recognized and accredited by the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA) and the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD) in the United States. The post-baccalaureate professional graduate degree track in interior architecture & product design is a three-year-plus program and results in the Master of Interior Architecture & Product Design (MIAPD). This track provides an additional entry point to the MIAPD for those with a previously completed bachelors’ degree.

The Department of Interior Architecture & Product Design has a long history (57 years), of providing an enriching educational experience in preparing graduates for professional careers. Situated in the College of Architecture, Planning & Design, we are among other professional programs (Architecture, Landscape Architecture and Regional & Community Planning) who each value the learning experiences associated with being in an interdisciplinary college.

Students in the Master of Interior Architecture & Product Design program  (5 years plus a summer for the non-baccalaureate track students and 3 years plus a summer for the post-baccalaureate track students) have the opportunity to gain competency in interior design, furniture design, and product design with a strong foundation of understanding the architectural features and constraints. The combination of coursework, experiences, field trips, and community involvement in a wide array of student organizations and interdisciplinary activities prepares students to be global design citizens. They learn to foster synergy, embrace successful collaboration, and recognize interconnectedness; with awareness of the responsibility of individual and collective actions in personal, social and environmental arenas; and, that positions them with the critical collaborative leadership skills to serve them throughout their careers.

Interior projects architectural design where the user’s needs are carefully considered in crafting interior space considering: programming, material and finish selection, furniture and fixture specification, signage and wayfinding; each with the underpinning of human behavior at the core. Throughout projects of all scopes, students learn to gather information using research, identify problem(s), and propose innovative solutions. Topics such as sustainability, enhancing human interaction and satisfaction, life-safety, materiality, and designing for the wide array of users is coupled with function and aesthetics and embedded throughout the curriculum.

Product design projects relate to the development of new and existing products using various manufacturing processes and materials such as woods, metals, plastics, and synthetics. Products can range in size from a small flashlight to a trade show or museum exhibit, to the interior of aircraft and other transportation vehicles. In furniture design studios, design process is combined with hands-on experience in producing models and full-scale prototypes of the students’ own designs in fully equipped wood, metal, plastic, and upholstery workshops.

Computers are integrated into studio beginning in the student’s 2nd year spring semester. Students are encouraged and aided by faculty in the use of CAD, 3D modeling, graphic design, word processing, spreadsheets, multimedia presentation, and internet software. Hand media is highly valued and taught as well, resulting in a hybrid approach to development of idea, projects, and communication.

Exposure to design in metropolitan areas is achieved through field trips that are a part of the studio curriculum, through the college lecture series, and through visiting critics and guests. During the curriculum, a one-week trip to a city such as Chicago or Dallas is planned to increase student awareness and experience. Faculty also arrange for students to visit appropriate places of interest related to assigned design problems throughout the curriculum. These visits are often to Kansas City, Topeka, Wichita, or another nearby community.

By the second semester of the fourth year and during the summer directly preceding or following the 4th year, students in the five-year non-baccalaureate track have several alternatives to staying on campus. Credit is earned by studying abroad, participating in the inter-disciplinary Kansas City Design Center, or participating in a professional internship. The Department of Interior Architecture & Product Design participates in an exchange program with a number of schools abroad including Trier and Coburg, Germany and Czech Technical University in Prague. Students also have the opportunity to study at DIS in Copenhagen, Denmark. The College of Architecture, Planning & Design offers an inter-disciplinary program in Orvieto, Italy. The professional internship, arranged with the aid of professors and the vast array of alumni and friends throughout the world, provides hands-on experience in the day-to-day arena of the profession. The rich array of experiences during the 4th year contributes to the vibrancy of the 5th year experience.

Career Opportunities

As a result of the diverse and comprehensive nature of the education in interior architecture & product design, our graduates are very much in demand and able to be nimble in their career paths. Employers especially value the core of knowledge in interior design, architecture, product design, and furniture design coupled with the “design-make” experiences students’ gain during their education. The combination of coursework and experience creates the ability to view problems through multiple lenses – from the handheld, highly human touch to the scale of large multi-story buildings. Graduates have chosen to work in design firms of various sorts types ranging from large architectural engineering firms, to architecture and interior design firms of all sizes. They also work in design-build firms, and even more specialized firms addressing the design of entertainment venues, residential projects, healthcare facilities, retail environments, pop-up environments, exhibits and theme parks. Their titles include interior architects, interior designers, furniture designers, facility managers, historic preservationists, or exhibit designers, or space planners. Others have become furniture and product designers for various firms from large office furniture manufacturers to small furniture workshops. They have become lighting designers and product designers with special-focus firms or as consultants. Some graduates have opted to work in the amusement or theme park arena, or become specialists in advanced materials design and development, designers of luxury yachts and cruise ships, or aircraft interiors.

Educational Content

In developing professional competencies in the fields of interior architecture, interior design, product design, and furniture design; interior architecture & product design students are educated in design, theory of design, sustainability, materials properties, history of design, ethics, business practices, building systems and structures, social and psychological effects of spaces and colors, ergonomics, anthropometrics, teamwork, leadership, and communications. Interior architecture & product design students develop an understanding of building and life-safety codes, lighting, construction documents, theory of product/industrial design, product design prototyping, furniture design and making, digital applications in design and communications including AutoCAD, Revit, Rhino, Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign, Fusion 360, and many others.

Interior architecture & product design values the craft associated with both analog and digital means. These range from hand sketches to digital media, and include hand- and machine-crafted products utilizing the CNC, laser cutters, 3D printers, and other fabrication techniques translating digital files to the creation of objects and our facilities and faculty encourage each of these techniques as appropriate to the design intention.

Interior architecture & product design faculty includes a diverse array of educational and practice backgrounds who place high value on the quality of teaching and student learning. Our faculty members are award-winners, scholars, makers, patent-holders, accomplished interior architects, interior designers, architects, industrial designers, product designers, furniture designers and entrepreneurs.

Refer to the department for current information regarding the interior architecture & product design program, including curriculum tracks, computer requirements, and activities. The program is subject to constant review and change and students obtain a copy of the current curriculum when they enter the program.



Master of Industrial Design

Master of Interior Architecture and Product Design


Interior Architecture and Product Design