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Discovering Interior Design


JULY 7 - JULY 20, 2024

A Summer Program for High School Students

With the historic city of Philadelphia at your doorstep for two exciting weeks, you'll experience college life by living on campus in Drexel University's dorms, and work in the design studios. Our program will introduce you to the all encompassing profession of interior design and experience what it's like to study interior design in college.

The core of this program emulates the Department of Architecture, Design & Urbanism’s curriculum in interior design and architecture, employing:

  • The process of design thinking
  • The iteration of ideas
  • Individual critiques with faculty
  • History/theory context
  • Sustainability and systems thinking
  • Drawing and sketching development
  • Presentation preparation
  • Portfolio guidelines
  • Student presentations to professional jurors as they defend their design decisions

Check back soon for when our 2024 application process goes live!

About the program

Drexel University Discovering Interior Design summer program has been running continuously since 2000. You'll experience what it's like to study interior design in college. You'll attend classes taught by Drexel Interior Design faculty members in studios, just like Drexel interior design students. You'll attend lectures by distinguished speakers and try your hand at interior design while working closely with an instructor. Our program will introduce you to this fascinating profession while helping to build your portfolio.


image of student work by H Jnasko
  • Travel about the city of Philadelphia discovering magnificent spaces, furniture, furnishings and the rhythms of the city
  • Experience the rich and diverse museums taking time to observe and sketch
  • Meet and make new friends from around the region, around the country and even around the world who share the same interests in the arts
  • See first-hand the types of projects interior designers work on, how they go about it, and the environment of a professional multi-disciplinary design office


image of student work anna fowler donghia board
  • Enjoy a strong foundation of sketching and drawing principles along with computer design

  • Meet distinguished speakers and guest lecturers

  • Experience classes taught by Drexel Interior Design faculty members in studios and labs used by Drexel students

  • Meet professional interior designers while presenting your final project to them at a jury (a discussion of your finished project)


  • Create the beginning of your own personal design portfolio that can play an important role in applying to college

  • Try your hand at designing the built interior environment in Drexel's design studios

  • Utilize three dimensional computer programs that bring your designs to life

Program format

image of student work final layout by perez


Design studio is at the heart of the program. Most afternoons will be spent in studio, developing design projects through drawings, sketches, models, and furnishings. We will do team building with cross-disciplinary collaboration to better promote cross-disciplinary perspectives and design ideation.

It is expected that students will spend some evenings at work in the studio as well. We will take advantage of being in Philadelphia, a UNESCO World Heritage site, by focusing on a topic currently relevant to the city.  The session will culminate in a presentation by students to faculty and invited professionals. Parents will have an opportunity to review the gallery show at the program’s closing reception.  


Students will be introduced to computer design, tutorials in 2D/3D software, including Sketch-Up Pro and Podium, a three dimensional modeling tool to help visualize and experience space in three dimensions. Using this latest technology, students will model three-dimensional forms on the computer and see its role in design.

Students will need to bring their own laptops to this program (Please see minimum requirements below).


Lecturers from Drexel's Westphal College faculty and visiting professionals will speak about interior design and related topics. There will also be informal lectures related to studio work.

Field Trips and Cultural Events

We will visit off-campus destinations throughout the two weeks. Students will sketch important interiors, visit museums, professional design, explore the interior environment.  We will also tour a construction site and hear from contractors who bring professionals’ designs to life.  An all-day field trip outside of Philadelphia is planned for the weekend. Philadelphia in the summer is alive with music and art. We have scheduled supervised trips to concerts, performances, and/or exhibits.

Special Activities

It is July after all! There will be opportunities to play volleyball in the evenings and enjoy other social events as a group and with students in other programs occurring during the same time, including architecture.

Computer requirements

Minimum Requirement
Device type  Apple computer or  Windows computer
Processor Intel Multi-core with 2 GHz or greater
Memory (RAM) 8GB or greater
Storage 15GB disk space for installation
Graphics Integrated or dedicated with 1GB graphics memory or greater and support for OpenGL 3.0 or higher
Display 1280 × 800 display resolution or higher with 16-bit color
Operating system PC: Windows 10 (64-bit) Mac: macOS Mojave, macOS Catalina, or macOS Big Sur

Additional requirements

  • 3-button, scroll-wheel mouse

General information

image of student work olivia sketch of st francis xavier church photo of church as drawing inspiration


Students will be taught by Drexel University Westphal College faculty members. In the design studio a faculty member and teaching assistants will work closely with each student.

Housing & Facilities:

Residential Option: Students enrolled in the residential program will reside together in a Drexel residence hall (Separate facilities for males and females). We are located in University City, adjacent to Center City Philadelphia, the University of Pennsylvania, and many cultural and historic sites. Around-the-clock staff supervision will be provided.

Non-Residential Option: Students enrolled in the non-residential program will be required to arrive to studio at 9:00a.m. daily. There is an option to either be picked up by a parent at 5:30 p.m. each day or remain for evening studio/activities and be picked up by 10:30pm. Additionally, students are welcome to attend weekend activities at no additional cost. Weekend pick-up and drop-off times will vary.

About Interior Design at Drexel

The Interior Design program at Westphal College in Drexel University is ranked nationally in the Top 10 interior design programs by Design Intelligence's report. We offer an excellent and innovative program for students who wish to explore a career in Interior Design. The four year Bachelor of Science program includes a six month co-op experience, when students work in a firm as an interior design professional. This valuable work experience allows students to enter the work force early and gain a working knowledge of the interior design industry as well as gain a head start on their professional careers. The interior design program is accredited by CIDA (Council for Interior Design Accreditation) and NASAD (National Association of Schools of Art & Design).

Tuition Registration

Eligibility: High school students at least 16 years of age who have completed their junior year by July 2023 are welcome to apply. Enthusiasm and seriousness about work are the only prerequisites. (15 years old is possible with a strong teacher recommendation letter).  Admission and acceptance are rolling, but this program fills very quickly!  To better your chances of not being put on our waitlist, we suggest you submit your complete application (with deposit) before April 5th, 2024.


Residential Program Tuition: The tuition of $3,475.00 covers all program related expenses including:

  • Supervised accommodations in residence halls
  • Three meals a day
  • Classes, seminars, and lectures/guest speakers
  • Supplies and materials
  • Academic field Trips
  • Use of resources and library
  • Recreational field trips and social events
  • Cultural events and planned leisure activities
  • The opportunity to interact with professional interior designers and interior design faculty

The opportunity to meet other high school students from across the globe who are also interested in Architecture

Non-Residential Program Tuition: The tuition of $2,750.00 includes the following program related expenses:

  • Lunch
  • Dinner if remaining for evening activities
  • If participating in weekend activities: Saturday; Breakfast Lunch + Dinner; Sunday; Snack + Dinner
  • Classes, seminars, and lectures/guest speakers
  • Supplies and materials
  • Academic field Trips
  • Use of resources and library
  • Recreational field trips and social events
  • Cultural events and planned leisure activities
  • The opportunity to interact with professional interior designers and interior design faculty

 The opportunity to meet other high school students from across the globe who are also interested in Architecture

Application, Registration, Payment

For consideration, please submit all three components of the application:

Discovering Interior Design Summer Program Testimonials

The Discovering Interior Design was an inspiring two weeks. My daughter gained practical tools, which will help her tremendously as she enters the world of interiors in a college setting.

I couldn’t believe the detail of the final project my daughter completed! It was clear this program was well thought out from beginning to end - from concept to finished project. Thank you Ada, and Drexel!

I came into the Discovering Interior Design knowing nothing and leaving with knowledge and experience I wouldn’t have imagined that I would have had before. The program is very dense and full of learning curves, but will give me the upper hand in college. I can see myself doing this same thing at Drexel for another four years! Thank you Ada!

Discovering Interior Design was a fabulous experience. It clearly defines for the students the work experience of a designer. The instructors were engaging and highly experienced. An overall excellent program; I would highly recommend.

Very impressive program and outcome. We selected this in lieu of another one because of the very realistic activities and opportunities students were given. Faculty and RA’s were excellent. Thank you!

General Questions? e-mail

Questions about Curriculum? Call 215-895-6931 or e-mail Ada Tremonte at