Interaction Design (BFA)

This program will launch in fall 2023.

The Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Interaction Design (IxD) at the University of the Arts offers a broad, interdisciplinary curriculum that integrates technological skills with a critical, theoretical and historical understanding of design, technology, and the arts.

As an Interaction Design student, you will learn

  • web design and development,

  • user interface (UI) and experience design (UX),

  • mobile application design and development,

  • physical computing, and 

  • Internet of Things (IoT).

As an interaction designer in the School of Design, you’ll learn to work with students in other programs to enhance your creative expression through collaboration. You’ll have access to facilities and resources that round out your design projects, including the Center for Immersive Media.

The program’s curriculum combines creativity with technology and integrates technical skills with critical thinking, problem-solving and design. This program is for designers, makers, tinkerers and producers—those with both conventional and nontraditional perspectives and approaches to technology. Delivering diverse and adaptable skills, the program equips graduates to address a wide range of 21st-century challenges and increasing opportunities in the creative economy. 

About the Curriculum

Sample Courses in the Interaction Design Major

Students graduating with a BFA in Interaction Design will be able to

  • demonstrate knowledge of designing and producing digital interaction projects in either 2-D, virtual space or physical space.
  • manage and execute interactive digital projects through the application of a process that includes research, usability, documentation and integrates design thinking and technical development.
  • show a solid understanding of basic design concepts through the development of user interfaces for interaction projects.
  • practice proven methods to master the different programming languages required for interactive development.
  • prepare for a career in interaction design by understanding the future in terms of the “internet of things.”
  • practice using different tools in UArts’ Makerspace in order to conceptualize and develop physical interaction design projects, such as installations and other events that highlight interactivity.

The School of Design Core courses–taken by all Design students–promote peer interaction and encourage cross-disciplinary activity. You’ll learn key principles of design, making, thinking, marketing and business that will help you build a solid knowledge base for further study in Graphic Design, Illustration, Product Design and Interaction Design.

A student watches the 3-D printers at work in the Makerspace

Total Credits: 120
Duration: 4 years, full-time

Major requirements: 45 credits
School of Design core courses: 24 credits
Discipline history: 12 credits
Critical Studies: 30 credits
Free electives: 9 credits

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First Year

Fall: 16.5 credits
Design Process, Theory & Communication (3c)
Drawing as Seeing (3c)
Digital Design Lab (3c)
Writing I Placement (3c)
Critical Studies (3c)
Free elective (1.5c)

Spring: 15 credits
Drawing as Thinking (3c)
Design Studio (3c)
Writing II Placement (3c)
Art history (3c)
Free elective (3c)

Second Year

Fall: 16.5 credits
Markup & Scripting I (1.5c)
Intro to Interaction Design (3c)
School of Design course (3c)
Design for Persuasive Visual Communication (3c)
Art history (3c)
Critical Studies (3c)

Spring: 15 credits
Markup & Scripting II (1.5c)
Making Interaction (3c)
Web Design I (3c)
Design History (3c)
Critical Studies (3c)
Free elective (1.5c)

Third Year

Fall: 15 credits
Intro to Business & Prep for Creative Practice (3c)
Mapping the World (3c)
User Interface Design (3c)
School of Design course (3c)
History of Media & Technology (3c)

Spring: 15 credits
Web Design II (3c)
School of Design course (3c)
Critical Studies (3c)
Critical Studies (3c)
Free elective (3c)

Fourth Year

Fall: 15 credits
Professional Practice (3c)
Creative Computing (3c)
Senior Thesis I (3c)
School of Design course (3c)
Critical Studies (3c)

Spring: 13.5 credits
Senior Thesis II (3c)
The Internet of Things (3c)
Critical Studies (3c)
Critical Studies (3c)
Free Elective (1.5c)

Faculty Spotlight

Director: Juan M. Parada

Juan M. Parada has been a part of the interaction design industry for over 25 years. Shortly after completing his Master’s Degree at New York University’s ITP (Interactive Telecommunications Program), he started gaining valuable practical experience in the 1990s’ emerging internet industry.

Parada worked with a number of early web development startups, as well as internet initiatives for existing media companies, such as The New York Times, NBC and Univision Television Network. By the late 1990s, he was working for a large Latin American internet portal company as managing director of product development.

In 2002, Parada moved to Philadelphia, where he founded an interactive design company and worked with clients including Wills Eye Hospital, Saxby’s Coffee, Steve Poses and JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation).

Parada has been a professor at University of the Arts since 2004 and has taught technology and media courses in a number of different programs. He was a guest speaker at the Global Creative Economy Convergence Summit in Philadelphia and at the Electronic Media, Art and Technology program at University of Tampa, where he presented “Cloud Computing, Telecommuting and the New Global Digital Economy.” 
 

The Center for Immersive Media

UArts’ new Center for Immersive Media (CIM) is a 5,600-square-foot facility dedicated to exploring the fields of virtual and mixed reality, performance motion-capture, and human-computer interaction. The space includes

Learn More

The space includes:

  • optical motion capture system for full body performance capture and location-based VR applications;
  • a four-channel audio system, multiple video projectors and lighting, as well as a control station; 
  • 16-station computing classroom with PCs optimized for real-time graphics rendering; and 
  • two large project rooms with ceiling grids for development of installations and virtual environments.

 

Scholarships & Aid

Nearly 98 percent of UArts’ undergraduate students enrolled on a full-time basis are eligible for some type of need-based aid. Additionally, some scholarship opportunities take need-based criteria into account. All students who are U.S. citizens or eligible non-citizens and are enrolled in a degree program are encouraged to apply by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Learn more about financial aid 

Learn more about tuition and fees 
 

How to Apply

The following materials are required for your application.

This program will launch in fall 2023.

Admissions Deadline: There is no set deadline. UArts operates on rolling admissions basis, which means we will receive and process applications throughout the year as space remains available in each program. 

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A completed application for admission
A nonrefundable $60 application fee

A nonrefundable $60 application fee

A personal statement
  • Your individual voice and personal insights play an equally important and valued role in an admissions review. Your personal statement allows you to share your story, express yourself and place a spotlight on your creative journey—past, present or future. It helps us get to know you and your dreams, ideas, challenges, opportunities and/or goals in a way your transcripts and other application materials can’t. 

  • Here are some questions to help you shape your personal statement. Interpret them as you wish. There are no right or wrong answers—there’s only your story.

    1. When and how did you realize you wanted to be an artist?

    2. How will University of the Arts help you achieve your creative and professional goals?

    3. How do you want your creativity to affect the future?

  • There is no word count requirement, but we recommend you share your story in 250 to 500 words. Upload your personal statement with your application for admission or email it to undergradcredentials@uarts.edu.

Official Transcripts
  • Official transcripts from the high school(s) you have attended are required. For transfer students, transcripts from each college you have attended are required. They must be mailed directly by your school in a sealed envelope to the Office of Admissions, emailed directly from your school, or sent through a secure electronic transcript delivery service. Transcripts sent or emailed by students are not considered official. They should be sent to the Office of Admissions, University of the Arts, 320 S. Broad St., Philadelphia, PA 19102 or via email to undergradcredentials@uarts.edu.
  • For transcripts from outside the U.S., refer to the instructions for international undergraduate students.
Your portfolio

All students applying to visual arts programs—those in the schools of Art, Film and Design—are required to submit 15–20 examples of original artwork. You may choose to include work from a variety of media or select one area of focus you want to highlight. Your portfolio should demonstrate your creativity, showcase your skills, represent the art forms you have studied and highlight your ability to communicate ideas. Get more tips about submitting your portfolio

International applicants must submit proof of English proficiency.

International applicants must submit proof of English proficiency

Optional Materials

You can also submit SAT scores, a résumé and/or letters of recommendation. None of these materials are required. Learn more about submitting optional materials.

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