Professional Certificate in Interior Design

Professional Certificate in Interior Design

Classroom Program


18-24 months


43 Units

UCR Extension

Interior designers are unique in that they generally possess an amalgamation of both left- and right-brain traits, as they need to be creative, imaginative and artistic, as well as organized, calculated and detailed when putting together a new design scheme.

Step into a new era of interior design by learning how to execute the fine balance between form and function. Build the core fundamentals of design through courses in color theory, drafting, history of architecture, building codes and business practices, and then explore your specific area of interest through electives in sustainable design, furniture design and more. Learn from practicing professionals who have successfully made their way, and transform your passion into a new career.

Join us for our annual event, May, 2017: Interior Design Career Workshop and Student Showcase

Designed For

Individuals who:

  • Are highly motivated to enter the design field.
  • Might benefit personally or professionally from directed study and practice in interior design.

What You'll Learn

  • Fundamentals of interior design principles, materials and resources
  • Drafting designs for residential and commercial spaces
  • Essentials of color theory, furniture design, and space planning
  • Professional presentation skills and business practices
  • History of architectural interiors and latest trends and techniques

What You Can Do With This Certificate

Certification and experience can prepare you for positions which are available in a variety of industries all over the world, and can be found in self-employment, firms, government, or nonprofit organizations. They might include:

  • Assistant to an Interior Designer or Decorator
  • Project Manager
  • Workplace Design Leader

Program Overview


30 Units


13 Units

“I have always been interested in interior design. I chose UCR Extension's program which provided me the knowledge and confidence I needed. I am grateful for the many opportunities I gained from the very talented and knowledgeable instructors who worked with me to discover and develop my potential. I have been applying that knowledge with every new client or challenge I face.”

Pierre Keshishian

Designer & Student Representative
ASID Board of Palm Springs
Inland Empire Chapter

Earning the Certificate

Prior to enrolling, please ensure that you meet the following minimum requirements:

  • High school education or equivalent.
  • A background in art or design is helpful, but not required.


Upon successful completion of our program, you earn a Professional Certificate in Interior Design, but professional certification is a separate, optional process.

  • You must pass the NCIDQ examination to become certified.
  • The eligibility requirements reflect the guiding principle that at least six years combined of college-level interior design education and interior design work experience are essential to prepare you for the examination and professional practice.

For more information see How to Earn a Certificate

Certificate Courses

Our certificate programs are designed to be flexible, allowing you the option to take just a few courses or to earn the complete certificate. If choosing to complete the certificate, we recommend you get the most out of your experience by following the suggested completion path below.

Quarter 1

Introduction to Interior Design

ART X461.A

3 units

Start your career in interior design with a firm foundation in basic design principles. This class covers the ABCs of creating a comfortable, functional, and beautiful environment. Topics include:

  • Design principles and elements
  • Beginning space planning
  • Lighting
  • Color
  • Surface treatments

Color Theory and Its Application

ART X461.1

3 units

This course covers all aspects of Color Theory in order to show you how to create harmonious color schemes in art and design. Lectures and lab exercise offer in-depth exploration of:

  • color interaction
  • color characteristics
  • color mixing

Additional lessons in color psychology and symbolism help students make informed decisions regarding color placement. Whether taking the course for personal enrichment or to build upon professional design skills, you will come away from the course with a more sensitive and discriminating eye for color. 

Quarter 2

Drafting I

ART X461.3

3 units

In this introduction to basic architectural drawing skills, you will practice and develop proper drafting techniques and skills. You will learn:

  • How to use drafting tools
  • About space and furniture plans
  • Lettering
  • Elevations, legends and perspective drawings.

History of Architectural Interiors I

ART X461.51

3 units

Study furniture and decoration styles in historical interiors from antiquity through the 17th century. This course relates major developments in the decorative arts to the historical and social events of the period and emphasizes significant designers and their crafts. Eras of study include:

  • Ancient Egypt
  • Ancient Greece
  • Ancient Rome
  • The Middle Ages
  • The Renaissance and Europe

First of a two-course series.

Quarter 3

Drafting II

ART X461.31

3 units

You will learn advanced drafting skills as you design your own residential or commercial space in this class. Plan to:

  • Include electrical plans, section elevations and detail drawings in your design.
  • Learn about document presentation
  • Create a full set of design construction documents for your portfolio.

Quarter 4

Materials and Resources for Interior Design

ART X461.5

3 units

Learn the basics of locating and selecting components for interior design. Topics include:

  • Elements of wearability
  • Content of materials and furnishings
  • Main resource centers for designers

Quarter 5

Perspective Drawing

ART X461.02

3 units

Learn how to draw both one-point and two-point perspective drawings of interiors. Also, learn how to replicate objects you see on to paper. These are essential skills for designers to be able to communicate ideas to clients.

Quarter 6

Building Codes

ART X461.37

3 units

Abiding by established building codes are just as crucial in design as application of color, choice of lighting fixtures, and room arrangements. In this class, you will study the uniform building code and barrier free (handicap) design requirements for all building types.

Quarter 7

Space Planning

ART X461.8

3 units

An introduction to the methodology used by interior designers to creatively plan and organize residential and commercial space. The emphasis is on understanding, developing and creating design solutions that incorporate parameters, such as:

  • Building codes
  • Architectural limitations
  • Client considerations

Quarter 8

Business Practices for Interior Designers

MGT X461.51

3 units

Survey of business principles and practices for interior design professionals. Topics include:

  • Customer relations
  • Cost estimating
  • Buying concepts
  • Psychology of sales
  • Government standards
  • Designers' fees
  • Writing contracts
  • Sources of supplies and information

“Interior Design has always been my passion, so it's natural for me to teach it to others. Join me and learn to create beautiful environments, and become excited to see how those environments enhance our everyday lives. We will talk about the interesting aspects of today's design world, and I will teach you to give your clients, with your best knowledge, the kind of space they want.”

Randall Hatch

Interior Designer & Instructor
Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising
Palm Springs & Los Angeles, CA

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