Interior Design: Foundation Level

This foundation level certificate provides beginners with a fundamental education in the field of interior architecture. It is the only program in the nation leading to a Master of Interior Architecture degree that is offered on a continuing education basis.

This program is perfect for...

  • Those exploring the possibility of becoming an interior designer
  • Interior designers interested in enhancing their skills
  • Individuals seeking more knowledge in the field of interior design
  • Students with a passion for interior design

What you can learn.

  • Explore the history of environmental arts, fundamentals of interior architecture in both commercial and residential interiors, color theory and more
  • Become skilled in using AutoCAD and/or Revit, two powerful computer-aided design (CAD) programs favored by major design firms
  • Develop skills for freehand drawing and drafting to communicate design concepts
  • Cover a diverse curriculum providing essential skills for going on to advanced degree classes

Design your future.

interior design

The Interior Design: Foundation Level Certificate is an open enrollment program taught by instructors who are practicing professionals in the fields of interior design, architecture, or fine arts. Its flexible scheduling allows for balanced class loads and scheduling. Internship, mentorship, and job placement opportunities are available through our program advisor. Certificate graduates are eligible to sit for the NCIDQ Examination after meeting 90 quarter units plus required work experience.

Further, students who complete the certificate with a grade point average of 3.0 or better and have a bachelor’s degree are eligible to apply to the Master of Interior Architecture degree*. 

*Domestic students applying to the Master of Interior Architecture program must reside in one of the states approved for out-of-state distance education, shown here under 'State Authorization Regulations'.

Expect more from your education.

Learn from Industry Leaders

"My favorite thing about teaching is being able to influence students wanting to change their career into a new world—a creative world in which they will enjoy doing what they do for the rest of their lives."

Luis de Moraes

Looking Ahead - Home Design in 2024

Explore new and emerging interior design trends for your next home design project in 2024.

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The amazing instructors taught me how to think as a designer, and provided me with all the tools to succeed in the field, from conceptualizing spaces to smart business practices.

Jennifer Casey
Interior Design Student

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Click below to view the required and elective courses, if applicable, for this program.

Required Courses
ARCH X 438
Typically Offered: Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer
Typically Offered: Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer
ARCH X 468.20
Typically Offered: Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer
ARCH X 467.17A
Typically Offered: Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer
ARCH X 452.1
Typically Offered: Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer
ARCH X 468.13A
Typically Offered: Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer
Typically Offered: Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer
Typically Offered: Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer
ARCH X 427.8A
Typically Offered: Fall, Spring
Typically Offered: Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer
ARCH X 427.8B
Typically Offered: Winter, Summer
ARCH X 427.7
Typically Offered: Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer
ARCH X 433
Typically Offered: Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer
ARCH X 427.8C
Typically Offered: Fall, Spring
ARCH X 467.15
Typically Offered: Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer
Typically Offered: Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer
ARCH X 427.8D
Typically Offered: Winter, Summer
see all courses
Defined Elective - Digital Presentation III
ARCH X 468.5A
Typically Offered: Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer
ARCH X 438.13B
Typically Offered: Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer

How to Get Started

Most courses in this program are open enrollment, meaning no admission decision is necessary for you to enroll. You will pay for courses individually. Establishing candidacy is required for all certificate students. You may take up to five courses before candidacy is required. 

Students are encouraged to follow the quarterly curriculum planner to efficiently progress through the program.

Curriculum Planner


Curriculum Note: In order to provide students an improved digital skill learning experience, the Interior Design Program has revised some parts of the Design Communication/Digital Presentation curriculum. If you have already taken some but not all of the following classes: DC III, AutoCAD, Revit or SketchUp classes and are not sure what to sign up for next, please contact an Arc+ID Program Advisor at arc_id@uclaextension.edu for guidance.

Establishing certificate candidacy gives you access to the following benefits:

  • Priority on wait lists.
  • Open an affiliate/Guest UCLA Bruin ID Card* for a number of student-related benefits. 
  • Get access to UCLA Recreation facilities as a student affiliate.*
  • Receive a gold-seal certificate upon completion of the program. 
  • Join us for the annual UCLA Extension Graduation Ceremony on campus to celebrate all your hard work.
  • Access to Handshake, UCLA Career Center’s online job board, with access to thousands of job and internship postings.
  • Access to UCLA Extension’s Career Resources including online career coaching, workshops and networking events.
  • Become a member of the UCLA Alumni Association (upon completing your certificate) and a nationwide network of Bruin family.
*Nominal Fee Required

How to Apply

  1. Click the Apply Now button below
  2. Login or create a new student account
  3. Once you are logged into the student portal, you can select “My Applications” from the left side menu at any time to return to your application. Click the yellow “Start” button to proceed.
  4. On the Certificate Application page, follow the instructions and click save. Then submit your application. 
  5. Proceed to checkout and pay the nonrefundable candidacy fee to finalize your application.

1.  Can I complete this program remotely/online?

Yes, the entire certificate program can be completed fully remote/online. Please note that many of our courses are offered in the remote format and require live participation during set meeting times via Zoom. Most classes are scheduled in the evenings, Pacific Time. Refer to Instruction Methods for additional information. 

2.  What are the application requirements?

This certificate program is open enrollment and does not have a formal admissions process. Anyone may enroll on a first-come, first-serve basis. The $250 candidacy fee is required for all program students— students may take up to five classes before candidacy is due.

3. When does the program start? When do I register?

Students may start the program any quarter of the year. Enrollment begins approximately two months before each quarter, on a first-come, first-serve basis. Classes fill up quickly and early enrollment is highly advised. All key dates are published ahead of time on the Academic Calendar.

4. Which courses do I take?

Scroll up to find the Curriculum Planner. This guide shows the recommended sequence of courses.

5. How many courses do I take each quarter? How long does it take to complete the program? 

The Interior Design: Foundation Level Certificate is comprised of 18 required courses. Full-time students usually take three courses per quarter to complete the program in six quarters/1.5 years. Part-time students typically take one or two courses per quarter. We require students to finish the certificate program within five years. 

6. How much time will I need to dedicate to each course?

A course unit represents approximately three hours per week. Therefore, a four-unit course typically requires about twelve hours per week. Actual hours may vary, depending on the course and student.

7. Is financial aid available? 

This program does not qualify for federal financial aid. Visit the UCLA Extension Financial Aid website for alternative resources.

8. What materials do I need?

A PC/Windows based computer with internet access is required. Students must purchase the following software: Adobe Photoshop & Illustrator, SketchUp Pro and Enscape Rendering Plug-In. These are typically available at a discounted student rate. Students must also obtain Revit & AutoCAD, provided free from AutoDesk as a 12-month student license. In addition, you will need to purchase various drawing, drafting, art supplies and textbooks throughout the duration of your studies. When applicable, the materials list will be included on the course syllabus. Select lists are embedded in the course descriptions on the website and can be viewed by clicking on “See Details.”

9. How do the online courses work?

UCLA Extension utilizes an online learning management system called Canvas. Within Canvas you can interact with your instructor and classmates, find course materials, activities, assignments and more. Course content is accessible in Canvas two days before the course start date. Canvas login credentials are emailed to you within a few hours of completing your enrollment for the course. For more information regarding Canvas, please review Student Resources for Online Learning.   

10. I’m on a wait list; what can I do?

Regardless of format, all of our courses are limited in capacity. If your desired section is full, join the wait list at no cost. If additional spaces become available, we will contact you via email and provide further instructions on finalizing your enrollment. Priority is given to program candidate students.

11. I’ve taken similar courses elsewhere, can they be applied toward my certificate?

You may be eligible to waive a limited number of courses if you have already taken equivalent coursework from another accredited institution. This must be confirmed by having a transcript evaluation with our Student Advisor prior to beginning any courses with us. Please email us at arc_id@uclaextension.edu for detailed instructions for the evaluation process. 

12. Am I eligible for the Master of Interior Architecture degree program?

Students who complete the Interior Design: Foundation Level Certificate (or equivalent*) with a minimum 3.0 GPA and have a four-year bachelor’s degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA from an accredited university are eligible to apply to the online Master of Interior Architecture degree program, in collaboration with Cal Poly Pomona. Please note that domestic students must reside in one of the states approved for out-of-state distance education (shown here under "State Authorization Regulations"). 

*If you have taken courses equivalent to our certificate program, please email us at arc_id@uclaextension.edu for detailed instructions to confirm eligibility.

13. Is an internship required? What career assistance is available?

An internship is not required in our curriculum. However, various career resources are available via UCLA Extension Career Services. Additionally, you may contact the Arc_ID Student Advisor for additional guidance.

14. What kind of job can I get after completing this program?

There's a wide range of opportunities one can pursue after studying interior design. One may find that they are drawn to a specific niche like residential, commercial or hospitality. Typical opportunities may include Design Assistant, Junior Designer, Designer, Principal, Project Manager, CAD Operator or Design Specifier. Some of our graduates have established their own design companies.

15. How do I become a Certified Interior Designer?

Certification is currently optional in the state of California. National certification is obtained via the Council for Interior Design Qualification. Graduates are eligible to sit for the NCIDQ Examination after fulfilling 90 quarter units of design education plus industry work experience.

16. Are there any networking opportunities?

We highly encourage students to join the largest ASID Student Chapter in the nation. The American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) is the oldest leading professional organization for interior designers in commercial and residential design, representing over 38,000 members.

Note: In order to earn the Interior Design: Foundation Level Certificate, all 18 courses must be completed with a recorded letter grade of “C” or better. The pass/no pass grading option is not permitted. A minimum GPA of 3.0 is required for the Master of Interior Architecture program. For all requirements pertaining to the MIA program, please see the MIA admission requirements.  

Estimated Cost Breakdown

All courses in this program are paid for individually, unless otherwise noted. An application form is required to establish candidacy in this program. From the 'Apply Now' button, complete the online application and pay the application fee if applicable.

Application & Candidacy Fee


Estimated Program Tuition


Estimated program textbook/materials


*The Application & Candidacy Fee establishes your candidacy in the program for a period of time covering normal progress toward completion and may allow you to access a variety of program benefits.

**Federal Financial Aid Gainful Employment Disclosures

The U.S. Department of Education requires colleges and universities to disclose certain information for any financial aid eligible program that, “prepares students for gainful employment in a recognized occupation”. This information includes program costs; occupations that the program prepares students to enter; occupational profiles; on time completion rate; and for the most recent award year: the number of students who have completed the program, the number of students who complete the program within the estimated duration, the job placement rate, and the median Title IV and private loan debt incurred by those who complete the program. For gainful employment information for this program, visit our Financial Aid page.

An internship in interior design can provide you with practical experience in a variety of job functions. Students are required to have completed at least 50% of the curriculum before eligible to enroll in the internship course.

Learn More

color swatches and design sketches

Take Your Career to the Next Level

Upon successful completion of the Interior Design: Foundation Level Certificate, students with a baccalaureate degree may continue on to the Master of Interior Architecture degree program, offered collaboratively with Cal Poly Pomona. Masters students further hone their design skills and technical abilities to create a professional portfolio, while also setting themselves up for greater access to advancement opportunities and a higher earning potential.

Learn More

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