Fairfield’s Online Interior Design Program Transforms Dreams Into Reality Fairfield University News


The Master of Arts in Interior Design program has emerged as a beacon of excellence in the realm of online education, having doubled enrollment and faculty in the last year alone.

Despite being fully online, the MA in Interior Design program at Fairfield University has garnered tremendous success, owing much of its triumph to the unique distinction of being exceptionally hands-on and personal. This approach not only sets the program apart but also paves the way for aspiring interior designers to transform their passion into fulfilling careers. In just this past academic year, the program has emerged as a beacon of excellence in the realm of online education, having doubled both student enrollment and its fleet of experienced faculty. Boasting a 388 percent growth rate from 2019 to this year, the program currently has 45 master’s students, 33 certificate students, and 15 faculty members.

Under the visionary leadership of Robert A. Hardy, ASID, IDEC, NCIDQ, program director and an independent interior designer with more than four decades of industry experience, and Dawn DeBiase, assistant dean for graduate studies in the College of Arts and Sciences, the program is flourishing. Hardy, with his gentle demeanor and insightful perspective, emphasized, “Our program stands out because we bridge the gap between traditional classroom learning and the digital realm. We have crafted a curriculum that not only imparts knowledge but also provides students with practical, hands-on experiences that are essential in the field of interior design.”

One of the key elements that make Fairfield’s Interior Design program exceptional is its commitment to maintaining a personal touch within the online platform. DeBiase affirmed, “We firmly believe in creating a close-knit community among our online students. Through virtual classrooms, interactive workshops, and one-on-one sessions, we ensure that every student receives individual attention. Our faculty members are deeply invested in the success of our students, providing mentorship and guidance every step of the way. Rob Hardy’s leadership has been instrumental in supporting the growth and prestige of the program. His student-centeredness is extraordinary and really (among other factors) differentiates our program from others.”

The program’s success can be attributed to its innovative use of technology, fostering an interactive and engaging learning environment. Students participate in virtual design studios where they collaborate on projects, exchange ideas, and receive real-time feedback from their peers and professors. This collaborative approach not only enhances their technical skills but also hones their ability to work effectively in a team — a vital trait in the professional world.

The Master of Arts curriculum is meticulously designed to encompass all facets of interior design, from theoretical foundations to practical applications. Students delve into topics such as spatial planning, color theory, sustainable design, and digital rendering, gaining a comprehensive understanding of the discipline. But what truly sets the Fairfield University program apart is its emphasis on experiential learning: through virtual site visits, students explore diverse architectural styles and design aesthetics, enriching their knowledge and broadening their creative horizons.

“We have strategically partnered with industry professionals and renowned designers who provide valuable insights and mentorship to our students. These connections open doors to internships, job opportunities, and collaborative projects, enabling our graduates to seamlessly transition into the professional world,” Hardy said.

Additionally, the program’s commitment to staying updated with the latest trends, technologies, and certifications ensures that students are well-equipped to meet the demands of a constantly evolving industry. Through webinars, workshops, and guest lectures, students gain exposure to cutting-edge design concepts, emerging materials, and innovative techniques.

The success of the MA in Interior Design program at Fairfield is a testament to its unwavering dedication to empowering students. By combining a personalized approach with state-of-the-art technology, the program not only instructs but also nurtures creativity, instills confidence, and fosters a strong sense of community. As aspiring designers graduate from this program, they carry with them not only a degree and an official certification, but also a wealth of experiences and skills that prepare them to make significant contributions to the world of interior design.

“The program has exceeded my expectations. The faculty and staff are highly interactive and make learning fun and exciting. I’m confident I will be well-prepared to work as a professional in the field upon graduation,” said Meghan Russo, a current interior design student.

Learn more about Fairfield’s online interior design master’s and certificate programs at Fairfield.edu/design.


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