UCLA Extension

Master of Interior Architecture FAQs

What is the Masters of Interior Architecture and how does it differ from a Certificate of Interior Design?

In Certificated Programs the curriculum focus is very specific, an approach similar to that of a Master’s program. Our Certificated Program provides a highly intense education in design principles and interior design. Students who receive their Certificate have the same standing when taking the NCIDQ examination as graduates from degree-granting institutions.

Through a unique partnership with Cal Poly Pomona, UCLA Extension now provides a rigorous curriculum leading to the Master of Interior Architecture Degree. Not only is our program fully accredited by the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA), it’s the only one in the nation offered on a continuing education basis. This allows you to study at your convenience full time or part time and to apply for admission during any academic quarter.

Are the programs accredited?

Yes. UCLA is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). Our programs were developed and are administered in accordance with Extension policy and the regulations of the Academic Senate of the University of California, and are accredited by CIDA.

My undergraduate degree is in a different field. Am I still eligible?

For admission to the Master of Interior Architecture program, an applicant must have received a baccalaureate degree in any field, have attained an overall undergraduate grade point average of at least 3.0 and have completed the 82 prerequisite units or their equivalent. An applicant who does not meet these criteria may be admitted on a conditional basis if evidence of compensating qualifications can be furnished.

My undergraduate degree is in Interior Design or a related field. Can I apply directly to the MIA program?

Advanced standing is awarded on a case-by-case basis. Before applying to the program, a transcript evaluation by our Program Advisor is required in order to qualify for Advanced Standing. Be prepared to produce your transcripts, course descriptions, and a portfolio or samples of completed work. Click here to schedule an appointment online or call (310) 794-3747.

I’ve already taken some art and design courses at another school. May I get credit for them?

Advanced standing is awarded on a case-by-case basis. Before applying to the program, a transcript evaluation by our Program Advisor is required in order to qualify for Advanced Standing. Be prepared to produce your transcripts, course descriptions, and a portfolio or samples of completed work. Click here to schedule an appointment online or call (310) 794-3747.

What do I do if my undergraduate GPA is lower than 3.0?

An applicant who does not meet these criteria may be admitted on a conditional basis if evidence of compensating qualifications can be furnished.

Do I need to submit a portfolio if I’ve completed the prerequisite/Foundation Level at UCLA Extension?

Portfolios are not required for students who have completed Studio I & II in the Foundation Level.

Can I email my application materials?

Please send hard copies of all application materials to Cal Poly Pomona and UCLA Extension via regular mail.

Once I’m admitted to the program, can I take a quarter off from taking classes?

Students must maintain continuous Cal Poly Pomona enrollment in the degree program.

A lack of registration in degree coursework at Cal Poly Pomona for more than two quarters without an approved leave of absence will result in a discontinued status in the program and will require re-admission into the program. Enrolling in courses offered through UCLA Extension will not count towards residency requirements at Cal Poly Pomona, even though approved courses will count towards your MIA degree. 

What will my diploma say when I graduate?

The Master of Interior Architecture degree is conferred by Cal Poly Pomona.

Is financial aid available?

Federal financial aid is available for the six Advanced Level courses offered through Cal Poly Pomona. Please visit the Financial Aid website for more information. In addition, three scholarships are available: The James R. Northcutt Scholarship (beginning and advanced), and the Howard Hirsch Design Scholarship. For more information, see scholarships.

Does the Master’s program offer internship & job placement opportunities?

Students in the Master of Interior Architecture program have exclusive access to the Job + Internship Opportunity listings on our website. Access expires 4 years after your account is created, however eligible students can renew their account at any time by contacting the Arc+ID office at arc_id@uclaextension.edu or call (310) 825-9061.

Internships offer students the opportunity to work directly in a design office to obtain hands-on work experience. Interns also earn course credit. Local design firms request students for positions at a variety of levels. It is not uncommon for students to be hired upon completion of their internship.

In order to receive credit for an internship, the Internship Agreement form must be submitted to our office immediately upon starting your internship. Please review the Internship Process & Internship Program Description for more information.

If you are an international student looking to pursue an internship, you must review the Curricular Practical Training (CPT) Policy.

I earned my Master’s degree in Interior Architecture – can I now call myself an interior architect?

It is important to understand the distinction between a title used for providing professional services and the name for an area of academic inquiry. Designers are not permitted to use the term “architect” or “interior architect” in describing themselves or their professional services, unless they are, in fact, licensed architects. This precedent has been established to clarify the areas of legal responsibility in a construction project. However, with regard to investigating the nature of design in an academic program, the use of the use of the term “interior architecture” is appropriate when it demonstrates a special commitment to a certain set of intellectual principles. With that distinction in mind, students should nevertheless be aware of the following rules:

Graduates from this program cannot legally call themselves interior architects and cannot legally say they practice interior architecture, unless they are licensed architects.

Under California law, there is no such title as interior architect or a separate scope of practice called interior architecture. In California, you are either an interior designer, a Certified Interior Designer or a licensed architect.

Any interior designer – Certified or not – who advertises architectural services is breaking the law unless you are licensed.
Do not hold yourself out as an architect or say that you do architectural design, or interior architecture, as it is unethical as well as unlawful, and you can be subject to an embarrassing citation and an expensive civil penalty from the California Architects Board.

Regardless of which interior design program you graduate from, you can only call yourself an interior designer or the legal title Certified Interior Designer but only when you have applied to, and been approved by CCIDC.

In addition, the title Certified Interior Designer and appellation CID are both protected by statute in California. It is unlawful to use them without first being Certified by CCIDC (meeting all CCIDC exam, education and experience requirements.) Note that passing a national examination which emphasizes the word Certified does not make you a Certified Interior Designer in California.

What percentage of your graduates are working in the field?

90% of our graduates are working full- or part-time as designers or in related industries.

If I have additional questions, do I need to make an appointment with the program advisor?

Most questions can be handled over the telephone by Arc+ID staff at the 1010 Westwood Center, (310) 794-3747 or at the Extension Administration Building, (310) 825-9061. You need to make an appointment only if you have a problem, want to discuss advanced standing, or are arranging an internship. To plan your courses of study, follow the curriculum sequence published each quarter in the UCLA Extension catalog.