2019-2020 Course Catalog

Master of Science in Interior Architecture

The Master of Science in Interior Architecture (MSIA) is a 30 credit post-professional degree for students with a first professional degree in interior design or architecture. Students develop a specialization in interior design that can be applied in practice or serve as a foundation for a career in higher education. The program is a recommended platform for students interested in pursuing doctoral studies where they can explore a specific building type, a particular user group, or address a critical design issue.

Program Highlights:
  • All incoming students must complete the MSIA Online Orientation in August.
  • Students who are taking classes on campus can participate in a supervised teaching experience with an interior design faculty.

Admission Requirements

Recommended application deadline for FALL entry: July 1
Recommended application deadline for SPRING entry: November 1
Note: applications will continue to be accepted and considered for admission as long as seats remain in the class

  • Have a completed baccalaureate degree in Interior Design, Architecture or Interior Architecture from an accredited college or university, with an overall undergraduate grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 or above on a 4.0 scale
    If a Student has below a 3.0 GPA, please feel free to apply if you show extreme promise through other achievements. Additional Admissions documents may be requested.
  • Complete application for admission, including:
    • Online application
    • In approximately 500 words, please explain why you are interested in pursuing this degree.  How will the degree impact your future personal and career goals? 
    • Copy of curriculum vita or resume
    • Two letters of recommendation
    • Official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended
    • Portfolio - The portfolio can be sent as an email attachment or weblink

Admissions Materials may be submitted to:
Chatham University
Office of Graduate Admission
Woodland Road
Pittsburgh, PA 15232
Fax:  (412) 365-1609
Email: graduate@chatham.edu

For specific questions about the Program, please reach out to Rachel Fiscus at 412-365-1141 or at r.fiscus@chatham.edu.

Integrated Degree Program

Chatham University undergraduates applying through the Integrated Degree Program (IDP) must complete all requirements outlined on their respective admission or track tab on the IDP Portal Site. All IDP applicants should work closely with their academic advisor to ensure they are meeting all requirements according to their IDP course of study.

Learning Outcomes

Students who have completed the Master of Science in Interior Architecture will:

  • have the knowledge and skills necessary to think critically
  • develop analytical skills
  • understand the research process
  • engage in research activities that contribute to the body of knowledge in interior design and related professions
  • see inquiry as the norm
  • demonstrate excellence in writing
  • be engaged stewards of the environment (ties in to the institutional mission)


+Foundation Courses

Foundation Courses (12 credits) which allow students a foundation for writing their thesis.

IAR655 Graduate Research Methods

This graduate seminar is a review and analysis of published research in the disciplines of interior design and architecture. Students are introduced to various methods for gathering information and conducting research with emphasis placed on the selection and utilization of data collection strategies and tools, culminating in the development of a research proposal. Cross listed as LAR680 and LNS680

ENG528 Academic Writing

Students develop the writing skills necessary for success in graduate school, including proper citations, time management, and the content and format for two types of research proposals. Students become proficient in the APA style and have the opportunity to resolve grammar and structure problems with the professor.

IAR680 Thesis Development

The thesis is independently taken by a student under the guidance of a thesis committee. The final project is a written thesis with original research or a creative design project that is supported by in-depth information gathering and written material.

IAR681 Thesis

The thesis is independently taken by a student under the guidance of a thesis committee. The final project is a written thesis with original research or a creative design project that is supported by in-depth information gathering and written material.


+Skills Courses

Skills Courses ( 12 credits) Students are able to select courses that correspond with their practitioner, scholarship, or teaching career goals.

IAR502 Theory of Interior Architecture

This course cultivates the ability to use formal architectural ordering to develop creative abstract designs that translate into three-dimensional compositions of space and form. Architectural theories and manifestos are explored through process tools and applied utilizing design exercises including concept development, abstract ideation, physical embodiment, architectural composition and analytical review.

IAR505 Design and Behavior

The designed environment influences and is influenced by human activity patterns and behavior. This course is an introduction to significant theories concerning the interaction of people and interior architecture. Emphasis is placed on shared human needs and differences based on age, culture, gender, and occupation.

IAR510 2D Visual Communications

Intended for interior architecture majors or potential majors, this course develops graphic literacy as a language and philosophy for observation, analysis, expression, and presentation of interior architecture. An understanding of design thinking and visualization is developed. One-point, two0point, isometric, and axonometric drawing methods will be covered. Additional fee(s): applied art fee.

IAR518 Building Codes

Students learn and apply relevant building codes as they relate to the health, safety, and life safety of the occupant. This course addresses energy laws, the principles of Universal design, and accessible code compliance. Pre-requisites: IAR520, IAR535

IAR519 Drafting and Model Making

Intended for interior architecture majors or potential majors. This course develops graphic literacy as a language and philosophy for observation, analysis, expression, and presentation of interior architecture. An understanding is developed of architectural scale, plans, elevations, and sections. Students will explore three-dimensional model making techniques.

IAR520 Architecture Studio II

This studio addresses problem identification and problem solving in the context of medium to large-scale projects of modest scope. Emphasis is placed on human factors, space planning, spatial experience, scale, basic elements of 2-D and 3-D design, concept development, space planning, scale, textiles, and color with respect to user needs.

IAR525 Interior Architecture Studio III

The studio addresses problem identification and solutions in the context of medium to-large scale projects of complex scope. Emphasis is placed on programming human factors, universal design principles, space planning, spatial experience, scale, materials, furniture, fixtures, equipment, and color with respect to user needs.

IAR530 Interior Materials

This course is intended for majors or potential majors and addresses architectural materials and finishes. Students learn to select, specify, and apply architectural finishes. They create specifications, execute take-offs, and produce cost estimates for interior construction. Manufacturing processes, installation methods, maintenance requirements, code regulations, and testing standards are covered.

IAR532 Color and Textiles Studio I

The first part of this residential studio examines theories in color in relation to light and space. In the second part, key topics include the selection, specification and application of textiles based on their properties and performance criteria, sustainability, installation methods, maintenance requirements, and regulations and standards.

IAR535 Construction Methods

Intended for interior architecture majors, this course provides an overview of architectural building systems, including exterior and interior construction methods and terminology.

IAR557 20th & 21st Century Architecture

This course is designed to relate the impact of architecture on both public and private spaces throughout the 20th century and provide a view towards the future of architecture in 21st century. The course will guide you through the major styles of architecture of the 20th century and investigate the socio-historic context of the works and determinants of that architecture. Emphasis will also be placed on the interior spaces, furnishings, and the arts and artists of the day.

IAR559 History of Interior Architecture

This survey course examines world architecture from prehistoric times through the 19th century, including the built environment of Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and the Americas. Emphasis is placed on the role of interior spaces, furnishings, and art within architecture.

IAR610 Digital Visualization III

This advanced course focuses on Building Information Modeling (BIM) that integrates and synchronizes three-dimensional building modeling for us in all phases of the design process. Students are instructed to Revit and Sketch-up. Graphic skills are also developed to help students communicate interior design schemes. Additional fees: Course Computing Fee

IAR615 Construction Documents Studio

Construction techniques are studied through the production of a set of construction documents. Issues addressed include the selection and assembly of materials, construction methods, detailing of interior finish systems and cabinetry, building codes, and accessibility. Additional Fees: Course Computing Fees

IAR616 Portfolio

This course will allow Interior Architecture students to solidify their professional portfolio for prospective internships and employment. Students will produce a physical and digital portfolio. Additional fees: Course Computing Fee.

IAR620 Interior Architecture Studio IV

This advanced studio addresses concept development, design development, and detailing of medium-to-large scale projects. Emphasis is placed on program analysis, user needs, universal design, space planning, three-dimensional spatial development, design language, composition, materials and assemblies, color, lighting, acoustics, environmental systems, building codes, and life safety. Additional Fees: Course Computing Fee.

IAR630 Building Systems

This course provides an overview of environmental control systems, including HVAC, plumbing, fire protection, power distribution, security, building codes, and data/voice telecommunication. Emphasis is placed on energy consumption and conservation, human comfort, and health and safety. Pre-requisites: IAR 535, 518

IAR631 Design for Sustainability

Global issues of energy use, resource depletion, and indoor air quality have prompted design professionals to re-evaluate design and construction processes. This course provides students with the knowledge of the US Green Building Council (USGBC) and Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification system to promote environmentally responsible design.

IAR635 Lighting and Acoustics Studio

This course is an introduction to lighting and acoustics. Emphasis is placed on the psychology of lighting, visual comfort criteria, measurement and calculations, available technologies in lighting design, the selection of fixtures, and the application of computer aided lighting simulation tools. Principles of acoustics, acoustic properties of materials and building systems in relation to building structures, sound transmission between rooms, and design methods in room and building acoustics are also addressed. Pre- requisites: IAR 525, 515. Additional Fees: Course Computing Fee

IAR645 Professional Practice

In this course, students are introduced to the specialized services provided by the professional interior designer. Emphasis is placed on office operations and personnel issues, marketing strategies, project management, contract documents, ethics, and the legal and financial aspects of professional practice.

IAR661 Interior Architecture Inquiry

This course will introduce students to architectural theory through specific readings that will enable them to establish basic critical reasoning skills utilizing theoretical works. the course will focus on reading and discussing seminal texts while understanding their historical importance to architecture and interior design.

IAR662 Issues in Interior Architecture

Students are introduced to current writings and discussion related to sustainability and globalization, which are then analyzed for their relevance to the decisions made by interior architects. An awareness of current issues and how the student may impact them provides a framework as students engage in research for their thesis.

IAR670 Supervised Teaching

Students have the opportunity to assist with a class in interior architecture under the supervision of a faculty member.

BUS511 Health Policy & Advocacy

Analyze and synthesize innovative approaches to issues in health care delivery at all levels. Politics, policy, market forces, and advocacy are used to assess how system approaches affect health care delivery. Transformational leadership for political and policy activism are emphasized, while exploring regional, national, and global health issues and trends.

BUS550 Innovation and Commercialization

This course focuses on how to successfully commercialize an innovation. Understanding commercialization activities such as pre-product launch planning, market testing, actual product launch, and post-launch follow-up is a major part of the course. The course provides a run-through of the complete cycle from idea to market entry.

BUS551 Informatics in Healthcare

This course is designed to assist the student in understanding the various database systems used within a healthcare setting. Key to this course is understanding how healthcare professionals can collect and extract data from database systems to assess the organizations performance and impact on patient outcomes.

BUS562 Global Procurement

In this course, students examine success factors, ethical challenges, legal issues, and managerial implications of global procurement. Students also develop a deep understanding of the impact of procurement on quality, cost, and efficiency of supply chain management through use of procurement tools, techniques, and methodologies.

BUS570 Global Business

This course introduces students to international business and management by studying cultural influences, government, and business structures in our global economy. Students also learn about trade relations, international finance and legal and labor agreements. Also covered, are topics on information needs, production systems, marketing and promotion, and career planning.

BUS575 Leading Organizations and Projects

Leading Organizations and Projects

BUS576 Sustainable Human Capital

Cultivate theoretical understanding and ethical and practical skills for managing human capital. Explore individual, group, and organizational levels of analysis focusing on topics of motivation, communication, group dynamics, decision making, culture, power, and politics. Analyze the effectiveness of tools for talent acquisition and development, such as compensation, feedback, and assessment.

BUS582 Foundations of Project Management

This course explores the knowledge areas and project stages from the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK). Students acquire concepts and skills in initiating, planning, executing, monitoring, controlling, and closing projects. The course examines the management of project integration, scope, time, cost, human resources, communications, risk, and procurement.

BUS618 Economics for Managers

This course teaches how economic tools and techniques can be used to solve business problems. Economics describes why firms do what they do and points to business strategies. The course focuses on economic applications. The course provides an understanding of how economics influences marketing, management, and other business-related decisions.

BUS623 Strategic Performance for Executives

Strategic Performance for Executives

BUS639 Sustainability and Assessment Reporting

An in-depth study of how to measure, track, and report on sustainability issues in a business. Includes a study of how to create effective Social Responsibility reports and the standards currently used to measure sustainability. Teaches students how to monitor and measure sustainability issues from within a business.

BUS641 Sustainable Supply Chain Management

This course provides students with an understanding of how supply chain works, how and where along the supply chain sustainability questions should be addressed/considered, and the impacts of those decisions on stakeholders further down the chain. Topics include: packaging, transportation, energy use, and waste.

BUS652 Managerial Accounting

This course examines accounting information that is used in managerial decision making within the organization. Focus is on interpretation of financial statements, cost accounting, financial planning and analysis, the development of internal controls, and constructing budgets.

BUS671 Marketing Management

This course takes the Chief Marketing Officer’s (CMO) perspective to explore marketing as a core business practice. Discussions focus on theories and principles for interfacing with customers, competitors, partners, and the external environment. Concepts are applied to planning and executing the conception, pricing, promotion, and distribution of goods and services.

BUS680 Complex Issues in Project Management

Case studies and simulations engage students in the examination of complex issues in project management, such as control, portfolio management, and rescuing failing projects. The Student will be able to analyze, evaluate, and optimize projects in specific environments and industries.

COM510 Health Communications

Course provides an introduction to the essential concepts and theories of health communication. Students study how individuals understand health issues and how communication processes help shape and influence our acceptance of health-related messages. Topics include health literacy, media coverage of health issues, and health risk communications.

COM515 Environmental Communications

Course offers an overview of environmental communications providing an analysis of how individuals, institutions and corporations describe and portray our interactions with the environment. Discussion topics include environmental discourse, environmental conflicts, risk communication, environmental disasters, environmental social movements, and the nature-society relationship.

COM550 Organizational Communications

Course covers current theory and research in the area of organizational communications. Includes formal and informal organizations and public and private organizations. Topics include organizational culture, employee information needs, decision making, leadership and power. Emphasis will be placed on developing the analytical tools to analyze and improve organizational communications.

ACT573 Business Law and Ethics

This course provides students with a broad-based understanding of legal issues that affect modern businesses. The course covers the following substantive law areas: Choice of Entity, Corporate Governance, Raising Money, Securities Regulation, Bankruptcy, Contracts, Intellectual Property and Employment Law.

SUS502 Sustainability and Systems

In this course, students will develop skills necessary to understand, describe, and communicate complex systems. Working from examples, exercise and interactive discussions, students will learn to identify key drivers and leverage points for change. Students will learn to solicit useful information, model, and enact change using a various systems-based tools.

SUS504 Foundations of Sustainability

This course provides students the skills to understand, communicate, and critique the fundamentals of sustainability at multiple scales and across disciplines and cultures. It explores sustainability's origins and foundations, application, and assessment. We evaluate the inter-relationships among environmental, societal, and economic well-being and the implications on individual and social decision-making.

SUS512 Sustainability in Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh and the surrounding region have experienced several waves of change; the current described as a "green renaissance". This course will provide a brief socio-ecological history then will visit various places and people that highlight the diversity in how Pittsburgh is striving to become a model of a sustainable city.

SUS516 Sustainable Decision Analysis

The class contributes to a foundation for sustainability management by exploring different quantitative approaches to sustainable decision-making including: Life Cycle Analysis, Ecosystem Services Valuation, Carbon and Water Foot printing, and DPSIR (Drivers, Pressures, States, Impacts and Responses) Society-Environment interaction framework. Finally, the class explores how quantitative decision-making is shaped by various stakeholders.

SUS580 Sustainable Behavior Change

This hybrid course combines classroom and online instruction with real-world application. Students learn the latest science concerning sources of environmental degradation. In teams, students apply motivational theory, collect secondary and primary data, and develop an action plan for increasing pro-environmental behaviors (PEB) in a specific context.

SUS601 Applied Ecology

The overall goal of this course is to examine the role that ecological science contributes to sustainability. Students will critically assess, process evidence, and enhance communication skills for scientific methods. All topics and applications considered will be centered on issues of sustainability in the ecological sciences, such as climate change, water pollution, land use change, and the loss of biodiversity.

SUS602 The Political Economy of Sustainability

This course will examine the economic dimensions of environmental change through the frameworks of political ecology, political economy, development studies, and sustainability. Through case studies and current theory, we will investigate the costs, benefits, and sustainability of environmental governance.

SUS603 Sustainability: Ethics, Equity, Justice

This course focuses on the role of the "social" as one of the three pillars of sustainability. It explores historic and contemporary notions of ethics, social equity and social justice. It examines how these concepts can be applied to sustainability by studying local and global case studies.

SUS611 Decision Making Under Uncertainty

The application of design principles to data provides a bridge between the increasing volume of information that we encounter everyday to evidence-based, decision-making toward sustainable systems. This course provides a hands-on introduction to data analysis, data visualization techniques, and software for translating complexity and uncertainty into useful products.

SUS617 Pathways to a Renewable Future

This course critically explores requirements and opportunities for transitioning all sectors -- residential, commercial, transport, industry -- to a fully renewable energy system. We investigate different energy technologies and the integration of renewables into the grid given electricity market restructuring and emerging options such as large-scale solar networks, micro-grids, and community solar.

SUS619 The Water's Edge: Science and Policy from Summit to Sea

The water's edge is rich with ecological and cultural activity. Through online discussions, field excursions, public service, participation in research, interactions with practitioners, and a curated exhibit, this course bridges theory with application for the science and policy relevant to the aquatic-terrestrial interface (e.g., streams, rivers, lakes, and coastal shorelines).

SUS640 Sustainable Community Development

This course explores how people can engage in creating more environmentally, socially and economically sustainable communities at multiple scales, from the local to the regional. The reading and assignments emphasize sustainable planning theory and practice as well as sustainable food systems perspectives. Students will engage in practice-based research and community projects.

PWR632 Science and Environmental Writing

This course focuses on the practice of writing about science, environment, medicine, and technology for audiences ranging from the general public to scientists and engineers. It starts with basic science writing for lay audiences, emphasizing organization and clear writing techniques and also explores problems of conveying highly complex technical information to multiple audiences, factors that influence science communication to the public, and interactions between scientists and journalists.

EDU505 Issues of Poverty in Education

This course focuses on the characteristics and effects of poverty on education. Definitions and types of poverty are examined. The impact of poverty on cognitive and physical development as well as learning and behavior on individuals is examined. The influences of poverty on classroom and schools is assessed. Strategies to teach students of poverty and combat poverty in schools are discussed.

EDU509 Trends and Issues in Early Childhood Education

Trends and Issues in Early Childhood Education

EDU634 Inclusion: Issues and Strategies

This course surveys practices of inclusion in education. It encompasses the historical precedents, underlying philosophy, education theory, instructional strategies, and practical implications of it implementation. Students participate in a variety of learning experiences throughout the course.

EDU605 Instructing Students With Autism Spectrum Disorders

This course is designed to focus on pertinent issues and topics that concern students with autism. Spectrum disorders. This course provides an overview of evidenced-based instructional strategies used to teach students with autism as well as ways to collaborate with individuals in the home, school, and community. Topics will cover specific instructional strategies, family/community relations, behavior, inclusion and transition.

EDU606 Adolescent Development and Learning Theory

This course addresses physical, social, cognitive, and moral development during adolescence. The physical, social, and cognitive changes during puberty are explored in terms of their impact on student participation and performance in school settings. Through the use of case studies, an understanding of the implications of growth and development on instructional planning for effective learning is achieved.

EDU607 Child Development and Learning Theory

Focusing on child development from the prenatal stage to age 12, this course emphasizes current research on physical, cognitive, and social development. Students examine the nature of adolescent development, implications of the cognitive and affective characteristics of adolescents in the selection of instructional methods and materials, and structural and organizational features of typical high schools.

EDU530 Diverse Family and Community Partnerships

Advocates, educators, and parents have called for more and better family-school partnerships for decades. Recently, a body of empirical evidence has indicated that partnerships can have a positive impact. A number of studies highlight the positive associations between parent involvement in schools and their children's social and emotional development and academic achievement. This course explores the form and focus of several types of partnerships. Must be taken with student teaching.

HCI502 Healthcare Delivery Systems

In this course, students will be engaged in dynamic content to gain an understanding of the role of information systems within healthcare delivery. The course provides an introduction to the use of information technology, information systems, data, and informatics in regards to health care delivery system entities and functions.

HCI503 Informatics Foundation and Health Care Technology

This course will assist students to develop a strong foundation of knowledge in understanding the impact technology and informatics has in the delivery of care across various settings. Student will be introduced to current and emerging technologies while exploring the impact on patient outcomes and staff satisfaction.

HCI504 Project Management I

This course introduces basic project management principles needed when altering workflow processes to include technology in various health practice settings (outpatient, inpatient, community health). Change management, quality assurance, and system redesign is introduced. By end of course, students will begin identifying a topic for their final informatics immersion project.

HCI582 Project Management II

This course emphasizes the concepts/theories/practices in handling the fiscal and leadership responsibilities of project management related to informatics. By the end of this course, students will have developed their Informatics Immersion Project proposal. Students must complete 40 internship hours under the supervision of a mentor in the field of informatics.

HCI631 Integrating Technology into a Healthcare Environment

This course will introduce students to key factors to be considered when integrating new technology within a healthcare environment. Understanding how to successfully create change, define current process, design future processes and complete a gap analysis using the four stages of a systems life cycle to successfully integrate or change technology.

PSY645 Environmental Psychology

Students will explore concepts, research, and practice related to the interface between environment and psychology. The course emphasizes the effects that environmental and climate change issues have on human health and well-being.

PSY501 Foundations of Counseling Psychology

The course introduces students to the field of counseling psychology, including the historical roots, current values, and training curriculum. The course also engages students in experiential learning of the theory and practice of basic counseling skills.



Electives (6 credits): Through advising students will select electives to enhance their practitioner, scholarship, or teaching career goals. Choose two graduate-level electives from any program.


Kyra Tucker

Program Director


(412) 365 - 2977