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7 Best Interior Design Schools in Canada in 2024

The interior design industry is growing and as a result, more people are pursuing a career in this highly creative and rewarding field. 

In fact, according to trend monitoring service Exploding Topics, the term “interior design jobs” garners over 27,000 monthly searches globally across Google and major social media platforms.

With the rising interest in this profession comes heightened competition for interior design roles. Consequently, for those interested in starting a career in this field, formal education is becoming essential.

That’s why in this article, we’re breaking down the seven best interior design programs in Canada. Our analysis consists of two main components: 

  1. A broad-level overview of the program’s location, type, length, and whether or not it is CIDA accredited. 
  2. An analysis of each program’s key highlights

Let’s get started!

Note* for a step-by-step guide on how to become an interior designer, check out our comprehensive blog post on the topic. 

Why Study Interior Design in Canada?

Canada is home to some of the best interior design schools in the world and studying here offers several unique advantages. These include:

  • The opportunity to study at Canada’s leading design institutes and universities.
  • Interior design curriculums in Canada tend to focus on technical skills and career development.
  • Most BID programs in Canada offer co-op and internship opportunities.
  • The chance to live and work in incredibly multicultural cities like Toronto and Vancouver, which have thriving design industries.
  • Potential to earn interior design qualifications and certifications for careers across Canada.

Another standout element of Canadian interior design schools is that most (not all) are CIDA accredited. For a refresher on what a CIDA accreditation means and why it’s important for aspiring interior designers, check out our blog post on the topic!

What Will I Learn Studying Interior Design in Canada?

Most interior design programs in Canada teach both technical skills and creative design thinking. Here’s an overview of some common curriculum areas across most Canadian interior design programs:

  • Design fundamentals: colour theory, spatial composition, drafting, model making
  • Design process: research, concept development, design development, specifications
  • Building systems: lighting, acoustics, HVAC, plumbing
  • Materials and finishes: textiles, flooring, ceiling, wall treatments, furniture
  • Building codes and regulations: Ontario Building Codes (OBC) and Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA)
  • Professional practices: budgeting, project management, working with clients
  • History of art, architecture, and design:

Many programs also incorporate hands-on learning through design studios and workshops. This allows you to apply your skills and gain practical experience.

Top Schools for Interior Design in Canada

Here are some of the best universities and colleges for interior design across Canada:

Yorkville University

Program Page

Delivery/Location: Fully Online or On Campus (Campus located at 2000 Steeles Ave W, Concord, ON L4K 4N1)

Type: Bachelor’s Degree

Length: 3 Years

CIDA Accreditation: Yes

Yorkville University offers a CIDA-accredited Bachelor of Interior Design program that covers all aspects of design theory and practices and includes 180 hours of real-world internship experience and 20 hours of volunteering. It’s also one of the only fully online CIDA-accredited programs in Canada. 

Program highlights include:

  • Accelerated Learning: Earn your Bachelor’s degree in Interior Design in as few as three years
  • Practical Experience: Students are required to complete at least 180 hours of internship work and 20 hours of volunteering, providing real-world experience alongside academic learning.
  • High Employment Rate: The program boasts a 100% employment rate after graduation, indicating strong industry acceptance and the effectiveness of the program in preparing students for their careers.
  • Industry Accreditation: The program is accredited by the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA) and recognized by the Interior Designers of Canada (IDC) and the Association of Registered Interior Designers of Ontario (ARIDO), ensuring that the education provided meets high industry standards.

University of Manitoba

Deliver/Location: On Campus (201 John A. Russell Building, 84 Curry Place, Manitoba, R3T 2M6)

Type: Master’s Degree

Length: 2 Years

CIDA Accreditation: Yes

The University of Manitoba’s Master of Interior Design (MID) program emphasizes creativity, technical skills, and design research. It is also one of the country’s only MA-level programs in Interior Design, meaning students must have completed a Bachelor’s degree to apply

Program Highlights:

  • Reputation for Collaboration: Graduates from the University of Manitoba are known for their successful collaboration within the building industry, indicating a strong emphasis on teamwork and interdisciplinary work.
  • Thesis or Practicum Completion: Students have the option to complete either a thesis or a practicum in their area of expertise, allowing for flexibility in academic pursuits and practical application of their knowledge.
  • State-of-the-Art Facilities: Students have access to facilities like a FABLab, CADLab, Workshop, Architecture/Fine Arts Library, and the Centre for Architectural Structures and Technology (C.A.S.T.), enhancing their learning experience.

Humber College

Delivery/Location: On Campus (205 Humber College Blvd., Toronto, ON M9W 5L7)

Type: Diploma

Length: 3 Years

CIDA Accreditation: Yes

Humber is one of Canada’s largest colleges, with campuses in Toronto. Humber’s interior design diploma program provides training in design software, building systems, project management, and more. An optional co-op term allows for real work experience.

Program Highlights:

  • Balanced Curriculum: The program emphasizes a balance between creativity and practical design thinking, ensuring that graduates can both innovate and pragmatically apply their skills.
  • Expert Faculty: The program boasts professors with real-world experience who are active in the industry, providing students with practical, hands-on training.
  • Industry Connections: In the fourth year, students work with industry mentors to research, develop, and document a large-scale interior design project, from concept to construction documentation.

George Brown College

Delivery/Location: On Campus (175 Kendal Avenue, Toronto, ON M5R 1M3)

Type: Advanced Diploma

Length: 3 Years

CIDA Accreditation: N/A

This Toronto college offers a three-year advanced diploma in interior design. It combines classroom learning with 500 hours of industry experience. Students gain expertise in areas like CAD, design communication, and professional practices.

Program Highlights:

  • Practical and Technical Focus: The program prepares students to be valuable members of the design team for interior additions, renovations, leasehold improvements, and new construction, emphasizing both the practical and technical aspects of interior design.
  • Co-op Program: There is an opportunity for students to participate in a competitive co-op program in their third year, providing hands-on experience in the industry.
  • Advanced Standing in Degree Programs: Qualified graduates may be eligible for advanced standing in George Brown College’s Honours Bachelor of Technology (Construction Management) degree program.

Kwantlen Polytechnic University

Delivery/Location: On Campus (5600 Kwantlen St, Richmond, Vancouver, BC V6X 3V8)

Type: Undergraduate Degree

Length: 4 Years

CIDA Accreditation: Yes

Referred to as KPU, this polytechnic institute has campuses across the Greater Vancouver Area. KPU’s Bachelor of Interior Design emphasizes sustainable and evidence-based design. Students complete two paid co-op terms to develop their skills.

Program Highlights:

  • Virtual Design Studio: The program simulates a professional design environment, offering integrated courses and curriculum, and emphasizes learning outcomes and essential skills throughout.
  • Preparation for the Real World: It prepares students for work in interior design and/or architectural offices, providing practical and theoretical knowledge that conforms to the definition and practice of interior design as described by the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ).
  • Diverse Student Body: Interior Design students at KPU come from a wide variety of backgrounds, ages, and experiences, all sharing a passion for sculpting interior space.

Mount Royal University

Delivery/Location: On Campus (4825 Mt Royal Gate SW, Calgary, AB T3E 6K6)

Type: Undergraduate Degree

Length: 4 Years

CIDA Accreditation: Yes

Located in Calgary, Mount Royal offers a four-year Bachelor of Interior Design focused on creativity, technology, and design theory. Small class sizes allow for close mentorship and project-based learning.

Program Highlights:

  • Internship: In their final semester, students undergo an interior design internship
  • Smaller Class Sizes: Mount Royal University prides itself on smaller, student-focused learning experiences, with a typical professor-to-student ratio of 1:20 in the Bachelor of Interior Design studio environment.
  • Unique Curriculum: The program offers a leading-edge, highly integrated curriculum that combines interactive learning in the design studio with an advanced level of theoretical, pragmatic, and professional knowledge. This approach supports the development and application of creative, abstract, and critical design skills.

Toronto Metropolitan University

Delivery/Location: On Campus (302 Church St, Toronto, ON M5B 1E9)

Type: Undergraduate Degree

Length: 4 Years

CIDA Accreditation: Yes

Ryerson’s School of Interior Design is located in downtown Toronto. It offers a four-year Bachelor of Interior Design program accredited by the Council for Interior Design Accreditation. The curriculum blends studio work, theory, and professional practice.

Program Highlights:

  • Access to Leading Practitioners: Students gain access to leading design practitioners based in Toronto and abroad, providing exposure to diverse professional insights and practices.
  • Student Showcases: The program features annual year-end exhibitions where students can showcase their work to industry professionals and the public, providing a platform for recognition and networking.
  • Professional Development: The curriculum is designed to prepare students to become leaders in the design industry, combining professional development with applied learning.

Key Considerations for Choosing a Program

With many great schools across Canada, here are some factors to consider when choosing an interior design program:

  • Delivery: Do you want to study in person or online?
  • Program structure: Do you want an undergraduate degree or diploma? 
  • Location: Look at opportunities in the surrounding area. Large cities offer more options.
  • Reputation and accreditation: Look for schools recognized by industry and accredited where applicable.
  • Specializations: Some schools offer focused electives or streams.
  • Teaching methods: Make sure the curriculum style matches your learning preferences.

Career Prospects for Interior Design Graduates

An education from one of Canada’s top interior design schools opens up excellent career opportunities, such as:

  • Residential design
  • Commercial design
  • Renovations
  • Furniture/lighting design
  • Design consulting
  • Teaching a diploma-level interior design course
  • Set design

Many graduates begin as assistants or junior designers and work towards becoming senior designers or studio managers. With experience, some choose to open their own firms.

Ready to Fast-Track Your Career in Interior Design?

Yorkville University offers a CIDA-accredited Bachelor of Interior Design program that covers all facets of design theory. The program also includes 180 hours of real-world internship experience and 20 hours of volunteering.

What’s more, Yorkville’s BID program can be completed completely online, making it one of the most flexible BID options in Canada. 

Sound interesting? Then check out our next virtual open house where you’ll join our program directors as they take you through:

  • The program curriculum and assignments that replicate industry processes
  • All the exciting careers our programs can lead to 

Our next virtual open house is on Thursday, February 15th, so register now.

Taegan MacLean

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