Students work on a computer at a desk together

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

This program will launch in fall 2023.

UArts offers recommended priority deadlines; students who apply and submit all required materials by the priority deadline will receive first consideration for scholarship aid from UArts. Applications received after the priority deadline will be reviewed on a rolling, space-available basis. 

International students requiring an F-1 visa for study in the U.S. might be subject to earlier deadlines to provide time for completion of the visa process. Contact Admissions for guidance if you are an international student who wishes to apply after the priority deadline.

Spring 2022 priority deadline: Dec. 4, 2021

Fall 2022 priority deadline: Feb. 15, 2022

We cannot accept spring 2022 applications after Jan. 10, 2022, and cannot accept fall 2022 applications after Aug. 12, 2022.

The following materials are required for your application.

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A completed application for admission

 

$60 application fee
  • If you qualify for a fee waiver from NACAC, CollegeBoard, UArts or another source, indicate that on your application. If the cost of the application fee is a barrier, contact Admissions to request a fee waiver code.

Official high school transcripts
  • Official transcripts must be sent directly from your school by mail, email or a secure electronic document-delivery service. 

  • International transcript requirements 

  • Transfer student transcript requirements

    • High school transcripts may be waived for transfer applicants who have completed a minimum of 24 credits of college-level coursework, including a minimum of 18 academic, non-studio credits.

    • Official college(s)

      • Official transcripts must be sent directly from all the colleges you have attended by mail, email or a secure electronic document-delivery service. 

      • If you’ve attended college outside the U.S., you are required to have an official course-by-course evaluation of your college coursework sent to UArts. Additional guidelines for international transcripts are available. 

Portfolio
  • A portfolio is required for all Art, Design, Film and Writing programs. Your portfolio may be uploaded during the application process or via your applicant status portal after submission. You must confirm when your submission is complete via the linked electronic form before your portfolio can be reviewed for admission. View a full list of portfolio requirements by program.

International applicants must submit proof of English proficiency.
Optional letters of recommendation
  • Letters of recommendation from teachers or mentors are optional and may be submitted by the recommender via email to undergradcredentials@uarts.edu or by your high school through a secure electronic document-delivery service. 

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