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June 11, 2015

As environmentally-conscious people demand greener buildings, North Texas interior designers have to keep pace with the latest trends.  

Next fall, interior design students will be able to increase their knowledge on green and sustainable design by pursuing a masters in sustainability at the University of North Texas. 

“We are looking at targeting two groups – one, our own undergraduates; two, those who are already working in the design field,” said Johnnie Stark, UNT Interior Design program coordinator. 

Sustainable interior design plays an important role in the green building industry by maximizing the air quality of buildings, conserving energy and water as well as driving the market for eco-friendly materials.

The M.A. in Design with a Concentration in Interior Design for Sustainability prepares students to not only study, but to define and re-invent solutions for the fundamental challenges that impact the interior design profession in an increasingly changing world.

“It is our goal that the graduates of this program will develop sustainable projects and plan courses of investigation that lead to the discovery of new insights into sustainable built environments,” said Cynthia Mohr, chair of interior design.  

UNT began teaching interior design courses in 1948 and the program, the first in the United States to be accredited by the Council of Interior Design Accreditation, has been continuously accredited since 1977.

“Our graduates work with design firms of all types – commercial and residential,” informs Stark.  “Some own their own firms, while some work for companies. Sustainability is an important topic and also part of a professional standard and something that students, practitioners and communities require.”  

Stark said that although UNT looked at the curriculum offered by other programs across the country, the idea for the M.A. for Sustainability is new and unique in this region because of the combination of the concentration of Grad Track, Design Professional and Recent Graduate candidate options. 

The Grad Track Degree Program refers to an accelerated bachelor’s and master’s degree program designed to allow highly successful undergraduate students to use graduate courses taken as an undergraduate to apply toward both the graduate and undergraduate degrees.

“These students can apply and be accepted for the Grad Track Degree Program their senior year and satisfy their bachelor’s degree (B.F.A.), which will satisfy the beginning portion of their M.A. degree,” she said.“After 36 hours over a period of two years, they will complete the sequence and when they graduate, they will have earned a B.F.A. and a M.A.”  

Already, a group of 10 seniors are currently enrolled for the College of Visual Arts and Design degree. 

All required courses will relate in some way to sustainability and most of the graduate courses for the M.A. for Sustainability will be offered in the Design Research Collaborative in downtown Dallas, 1901 Main Street, based on course availability and scheduling. The DRC location will provide convenient access to the program for the regional professional design community.  

Above, most of the graduate courses for the M.A. for Sustainability will be offered in the Design Research Collaborative in downtown Dallas. Courtesy of UNT.

However, applications from practitioners will not be accepted until spring 2016.  

Specific information about the program and courses can be found at on the department's website.

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