Lynn Jones, interior design program chair, congratulates Johnnifer P. Brown, a graduate of the MFA program, during the showcase of Brown's work at the annual portfolio exhibition at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta. (AJ Reynolds/Brenau University)
Lynn Jones, interior design program chair, congratulates Johnnifer P. Brown, a graduate of the MFA program, during the showcase of Brown's work at the annual portfolio exhibition at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta. (AJ Reynolds/Brenau University)

Brenau Master of Fine Arts in Interior Design Ranked No. 3 in U.S.

May. 14, 2017
Kristen Oliver

SR Education Group, a leading education research publisher, recently named the Brenau University Master of Fine Arts in Interior Design program No. 3 in the nation in its list of Top Online Colleges.

SR Education Group assembles its Top Online College rankings by analyzing accredited online schools across the nation, considering academic strength and rigor and annual tuition rates to provide a list of colleges offering the best value to students. Due to its high academic standards and commitment to affordability, Brenau ranked third in interior design degrees.

Brenau’s interior design master’s program began in 2010, helping designers to develop evidence-based skills bridging practice and research, as well as preparing graduate students to teach the subject at the collegiate level. It was the university’s first “terminal degree,” in academic parlance, meaning the highest academic degree in a profession or discipline. Brenau subsequently has added doctorates in nursing, occupational therapy and physical therapy.

“Many practicing interior designers and interior architects want to give back to their profession and serve as educators, but they need to know the language of academia,” said Lynn Jones, interior design department chair. “They also need to develop skills in advanced research methodologies and evidence-based design.”

The MFA was designed to offer solutions to these challenges. The program includes coursework from all four Brenau colleges with a special emphasis on studies in the health care industry and environmental solutions. In fact, the MFA was able to get quick acknowledgement from accrediting organizations because it built the pedagogy – or teaching the teachers – portion of the program around that developed for the Doctor of Nursing Practice curriculum.

“Even the College of Business & Mass Communication is involved with a required course in critical and creative thinking,” said Suzanne Erickson, dean of the college.

Students explore current issues in the interior design profession and develop skills to effectively communicate these issues to future students. Graduates develop and teach an undergraduate interior design course, form a research topic, prepare a thesis derived from their evidence-based research and display their final design and teaching portfolios at a master student exhibition. The entire course is online, with students coming to campus for presentations in their final year of study.

Research topics vary from “The Effects of Interior Design on Consumer Behavior in Women’s Fashion Boutiques,” developed by alumna Lauren Michelle Holland, to “Designing Sustainable Secondary Schools that Support Information and Communication Technology in Rural Rwanda,” from alumna LaJuana Case Gill.

Graduates from the program are working as full-time professors at universities as far as Oregon and as close as Tennessee, not to mention many part-time and adjunct professors in Georgia.

To view the SR Education Groups’ full list with additional details, go to http://guidetoonlineschools.com/degrees/interior-design#best-value/. For more information about the Master of Fine Arts in Interior Design at Brenau, visit Brenau’s Department of Interior Design webpage.

General inquiries: info@brenau.edu, (770) 534-6299 or (800) 252-5119 | Admissions: admissions@brenau.edu, (770) 534-6100 or (800) 252-5119 ext. 6100