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Why Our Program?

The contemporary discourse of design is undergoing unprecedented change. Addressing emerging opportunities within the field, the School of Design offers a B.F.A. in environmental and interior design degree (EDI) which enables students to become design leaders and innovators. Design is the focus of undergraduate studies, combining research with making and community advocacy. Historical, ecological, social, and cultural inquiries guide the investigation of alternative strategies for diverse spatial applications.

Guided by a humanistic philosophy, the EDI program endeavors to enhance the social, cognitive, performative potentials of the built environment. Faculty and students support research investigations across expansive parameters of environmental and interior design. The program activates its studio culture through community outreach, environmental stewardship, experimentation, and building. Gaining experience and guidance from a globally-connected faculty, students work together in a supportive and transdisciplinary environment enhanced by a premier digital fabrication facility.

The EDI faculty participates in research, teaching, and professional practice bridging the disciplines of environmental design, interior design, architecture, furniture design, historic preservation, adaptive reuse, fabrication, and emerging technologies. The historic and diverse post-industrial city of Syracuse provides our program with a dynamic urban context, while the larger Great Lakes Megaregion offers a transnational base for cross‐cultural exchange and next-generation innovation. Our downtown academic building—The Nancy Cantor Warehouse—facilitates the EDI program’s ongoing community outreach efforts on the Near West Side. Syracuse and the Warehouse offer students an extraordinary urban laboratory to explore challenges and identify opportunities that are transmutable to cities worldwide.

Mission & Goals

Environmental and Interior Design Program Mission Statement

The EDI program develops curious and critical thinkers who pursue diverse career paths. Immersed in a broad and transdisciplinary educational setting, students thoughtfully engage, challenge, and rethink the built environment by promoting positive change through design in a continually evolving global context.

Environmental and Interior Design Program Goals

The EDI program endeavors to teach students how to become creative problem-solvers and critical thinkers who excel in environmental design by fostering:

  • an openness to new ideas and the ability to question the status quo
  • an understanding that learning is the essential component in problem-solving and a way of life
  • an acknowledgement of the historical, cultural, contextual, psychological, and behavioral impacts of design
  • an awareness of social responsibility, building stewardship, multicultural diversity, and ecology
  • an embrace of advanced visual communication skills for conceptualizing, articulating, describing, and actualizing design projects


Environmental and Interior Design (EDI) Program FAQs

  • Program established in 1922
  • Currently Ranked 8th in the nation by DesignIntelligence
  • Program Attrition Rate: 13.6%
  • Program Retention Rate: 52% (Of the 21 freshmen who declared an EDI major in 2010, 11 continued with the program and graduated in 2014.)
  • Graduation Rate: 100% (Of the 11 freshmen who declared an EDI major in 2010 and continued on with the program, all 11 graduated within 4 years.)
  • Approximately 28 EDI students graduate every May
  • Job Placement: 86% of the students who graduated in 2013 are working in the Interior Design Field
  • Acceptance into Graduate Programs: 100% of alumni who apply to graduate school are accepted.
  • Firms that have hired our recent graduates:
    • SOM, Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill Architects, New York
    • Gensler, New York
    • Swanke Hayden Connell Architects, New York
    • Mancini-Duffy, New York
    • TPG Architecture, New York
    • Michaelis Boyd Associates Architects, London
    • Groupe SMCP, Paris
    • CO Architects, Los Angeles
    • CBT Architects, Boston
    • Continuum Architecture & Design, Philadelphia
    • QPK Architects, Syracuse
    • Hirsh Bedner Associates, Los Angeles
    • Ashley McGraw Architects, Syracuse
    • Shepley Bulfinch Architects, Boston
    • Francis Cauffman Architects, New York
    • ADD Architecture, Miami
    • Bargmann, Hendrie & Archetype Architects, Boston
    • DRG Architects, New Brunswick, New Jersey
    • Thom Filicia Design, New York
    • King & King Architects, Syracuse
    • SFA Design, Los Angeles
    • HLW International Architecture, New York
    • Design Republic Architects, New York
    • Ewing Cole Architects, New York
    • LaBella Associates Architecture & Planning, Rochester
    • KVD+ Architecture, Trenton
    • American Museum of Natural History, New York
    • Tandus Centiva, Boston
    • NBC Universal, Los Angeles
    • Whitehall Interiors, New York
    • Wimberly Interiors, Los Angeles
    • Coach, New York
    • Kate Spade, New York
    • ​Donghia, New York


The Warehouse

The environmental and interior design program is located on the sixth floor of SU's Nancy Cantor Warehouse, home of the School of Design. The building, located in downtown Syracuse, features professional studio facilities for each design program; two shared computer labs; a printing lab; and Design Works, a fabrication lab.

Learn more about The Warehouse

Visiting Designers

Designer Thom Filicia '93

Throughout the year the environmental and interior design program and the School of Design welcomes numerous nationally and internationally known visiting artists and designers to campus. Spanning the disciplines, these designers, some of whom are alumni, give presentations and lectures and often critique student work. They are a critical component of your artistic growth.

Recent guests have included designers Thom Filicia ’93 and Massimo Vignelli. Filicia worked with the EDI juniors in the spring 2012 semester as a visiting design professor. He developed a project for the class that focused on the specialized market segment in the hospitality industry. He invited the students to his office in New York City, and they toured through one of his projects.