More about the IxD Curriculum


The BS program is committed to teaching students, through user-centered design how to make human-digital interactions useful, innovative and delightful. Interaction is at the heart of the User Experience (UX)- what people think, feel and do. Our curriculum emphasizes core methods, tools and processes that prepare students to lead as new technologies emerge. The program begins with hands-on classes in graphic and product design, strategy, human-computer interaction and investigative research, as well as theory and criticism through the humanities and sciences. Students can expect to get very good at storytelling, modeling, sketching, paper prototyping and thinking about creative ways to convey user experiences. Coursework explores broad modalities in design—visual, physical computing, systems and mixed media as well as technology. In upper terms, students focus on developing their own design perspectives and devise new solutions to specific contemporary and future design challenges. We also offer our students transdisciplinary and elective studios so they can experiment, hone their skills and get exposure to other Art Center departments. The curriculum is made up of 3 distinct phases and several tracks:


Terms 1-3  Introductory Phase:

Incoming students learn fundamental human centered design methodology; deep user research, low to high fidelity prototyping skills, fundamental Computing Science and programming techniques as well as visual design, 3D and Industrial design fundamentals. Students are expected to do individual and team projects and begin collaborative Transdsiciplinary projects with other majors.   Core IxD Department Studio classes are required for all students during this phase.


Terms 3-6 Development Phase:

Students learn how to apply the fundamental design techniques and methods to different interaction design “canvases”, spanning the fields of graphic, spatial, transportation, entertainment, industrial and media design including physical computing. As well as participating in sponsored studios, students are encouraged to do 1-2 internships. This allows for further TDS and professional development. Core classes include electronic, data visualization, and physical computing,

Students are able to select from a range of Studio classes during this phase of the curriculum.   Studio Course offerings include Sponsored Studio Classes hosted by the Interaction Design Department, ArtCenter Transdisciplinary Design Studios (TDS) offerings hosted in collaboration with other ArtCenter Departments, and Studio classes offered through the Designmatters program.


Terms 7-8 Mastery Phase:

Many students identify areas of focus such as: entrepreneurship, design research, physical computing, and screen-based design, through development of their senior projects.   In addition to the selecting from a range of offered Transdisciplinary Design Studios (TDS) and Designmatters Studio classes, students take Senior Studio courses which allow them to define their own project subject matter.

Senior studios allow students to challenge methodologies, received understanding of human factors and technology platform limitations. They cultivate their own demonstrable Point of View based on user research, emerging technology strategy and UX vision. Projects are used in senior show, web portfolio and career development.