: CSULB : Taking the mystery out of transferring : What interior design program is best for you?

The California State University, Long Beach Interior Design program CSULB ID is my Alma Mater, and so visiting the campus is like going back home. I’m grateful to have had the opportunity not only attend CSULB ID but also to have taught there as well. It’s always exciting to connect with the professors and colleagues that I haven’t seen over the last several years. My education and teaching background from CSULB ID is what lead to the evolution of the current Mt SAC ID program. Our structure and curriculum was developed based on the knowledge, work ethic and rigger I gained here. CSULB ID’s methodology and implementation of philosophy is well proven. It gives its students a strong foundation of design and challenges the ideas of how shape and form can effect social, cultural and environmental awareness. I had the opportunity to sit down with Rachel Ryan, the undergraduate adviser, to look at the things that have changed since I have been there, and the things that will be changing on the CSULB ID campus.


California State University Long Beach Interior Design

Location: Long Beach, CA

Program Title: Interior Design

Department Chair: Martin Herman

Undergraduate Advisor: Rachael Ryan 562.985.4368 rachael.ryan@csulb.edu

For Department Tours please email: csulbdesignambassador@csulb.edu

Degree: Bachelor of Fine Arts

Program Length: 4 yr., Mt SAC transfer student 2 ½-3 years based on portfolio

Website: https://web.csulb.edu/depts/design/CSULB_DESN/Department_of_Design___BFA_Interior_Design___Home.html

How is CSULB’s program different than others?

California State University, Long Beach prides itself on having a very high quality design education. Their faculty is a mix of tenured and part-time professors who continue to work in the field and possess an ongoing mastery of the skill sets required to succeed in industry. There is also a constant flow of guest lectures and critics who keep the design discussion current and relevant preparing students for industry.

CSULB ID has both a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interior Design BFA and a Bachelor of Arts in Design BA. The BFA consists of 132 semester units. The first 2 years consist of foundation design work where you may be in studio with industrial design students and BA design students. In the 4th semester (end of the second year) you are required to submit a portfolio of work from your prior classes. For you as a transfer student this would mean many of your Mt SAC classes. Portfolios are reviewed by a panel of judges made up of CSULB ID professors.  If your work ranks among the top you will be moved ahead to your 3rd year where the upper division design studios begin (the 3rd and 4th years of the program).  If you choose this track you are most likely on the path to a career in the commercial interior design industry.

The Bachelor of Arts in Design program is shorter requiring only 120 semester units. It is structured for students who are interested in a more broad understanding of design. Many of the foundation classes overlap between the two programs and is strong in both. The two programs differ in how you decide to apply your knowledge. With this degree there is more opportunity to focus on a specific area of study such as lighting design, furniture design or user experience.


Are Mt SAC Students transferring well prepared?

YES! Mt SAC students have seamlessly transferred into both programs, and have proven to be successful in not only transferring, but passing portfolio review for the BFA program. We have gotten personal notes from faculty at CSULB in regards to how much they enjoy our students. Currently it is taking Mt SAC transfer students approximately 3 years to complete the CSULB ID program. There is a push however from the Cal State system to guarantee transfer students can complete in 2 years. The CSULB ID program is currently working on how to shift and combine classes in order to accomplish that, stay tuned.

As I mentioned, several classes are shared by both the BFA and BA programs. Often times transferring students are accepted into the BA program when ultimately the BFA is their goal. This should not be seen as a setback or a slight by any means. It is the opportunity to take the few classes Mt SAC ID cannot offer you and also prep your portfolio for review. Once you have reached the requirements to submit your portfolio and you’ve passed portfolio review you are then transferred into the BFA program.

Is there a portfolio required?

Yes! You must first apply to the college through the general admission process and meet the minimum major-specific requirements and competitive ranking based on the CSULB Supplemental Application. If you are successful in this process you will then be individually invited to submit a portfolio electronically through Slide Room to be reviewed by faculty.

CSULB Supplemental Application: http://www.csulb.edu/admissions/supplemental-application

BA and BFA: Transfer Students https://web.csulb.edu/depts/design/CSULB_DESN/Department_of_Design___BFA_Interior_Design___Transfer_Students.html

Once you have completed all the required lower division courses you must complete a portfolio review to enter the CSULB ID BFA program, junior and senior studio courses. The portfolio review is a competitive evaluation process. Your portfolio must include the work you completed at Mt SAC and anything you completed at CSULB ID. You will want to go over ALL of your work in fine detail to improve it. You will have experienced significant growth from your first few classes at Mt SAC and you will probably want to redo a lot of your former work. Do not wait until the last minute, start early.

BFA Interior Design Roadmap: http://web.csulb.edu/depts/design/CSULB_DESN/Department_of_Design___BFA_Interior_Design___Roadmap_files/BFA%20Interior%20Design-Roadmap%20AY2017-18-Transfer_1.pdf

The track for BA students is a bit different; there is not a second portfolio review. The first year consists of foundation level courses very similar to that of the BFA program, however in the 3rd and 4th semesters students are allowed to select from a list of upper division design electives of which you must take a minimum of 16 units. This is where you have the opportunity to follow a specific design career and create a program to suit your particular needs, desires and interests.

What classes transfer?

Most of our classes transfer. We have found the students who complete the Mt SAC ID program are more successful once they enter CSULB ID. Although all of the classes do not transfer directly, they set up a good foundation and skill level for going into the portfolio review. They may however articulate for a class that is not officially documented, but only if your portfolio is outstanding. So let’s all be outstanding!


What’s the studio environment like?

The junior and senior studio spaces are set up very much like corporate workspaces. Students share semi private workstations and have keys to access their respective studios 24 hours a day. Many, many, many hours are spent in studio. Each class has the ability to slightly customize the environment by bringing in sofas, futons and microwaves to make the environment cozier. Once you are in your upper division studios your professors come to you so this is your only classroom environment.

 Where are students getting hired?

Once a year, prior to graduation CSULB ID host a Sr. Show. The seniors are responsible for setting up the work, inviting guests and hosting the show. Professionals from industry are invited and this is one of the many opportunities graduating students have to promote themselves and their abilities to prospective employers. CSULB ID students also receive many exciting design opportunities including competitions, job and internship prospects. CSULB ID graduating students are highly sought after in industry.


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