M.S. in User Experience and Interaction Design

Curriculum Overview

The curriculum features a foundation based on establishing strong visual thinking and conceptual skills common to most art and design fields. In advanced courses, students develop the ability to visualize and produce work for richer information environments. They explore complex aspects of time-based, interactive design, web-based media, user experience, user interface and mobile communications. Additional emphasis can be placed on motion graphics, type motion, and animation techniques, in context with rich media experiences, including principles of effective story development and how to structure interactive narratives.

In the first term of study, students are engaged in a comprehensive course which establishes the essentials of being an interactive designer as well as builds tight bonds to fellow students in a collaborative working environment. Since each accepted student has a diversely different background, this course serves to equalize skills and establish expectations within the program. The final outcome is a portfolio quality project demonstrating a core skillset that will be reinforced and expanded through the following terms.

In the following two semesters, students explore concepts of User Experience design both in screen-based devices as well as more industrial input/output applications. Visual design and programming skillsets are expanded upon through supporting class materials. These semesters include a combination of required studios designed to develop the ability to complete complex interactive projects, with consideration of social and economic factors as they apply to communication strategies.

In the final semester, a final capstone research project allows students to synthesize all previous knowledge and skill to develop a final working prototype of a product, service, entertainment or publication of the student’s choice. The final project must demonstrate marketability and/or successful functionality within the larger community. This project prepares graduates to enter the rapidly expanding field of interactive design by closely emulating the professional interactive design environment, while providing an excellent resume and portfolio expanding piece.

Outcome Upon Graduation

Graduating students are required to demonstrate thought leadership in design. This is determined by a demonstration of expertise in software manipulation and code development, an understanding of the social implications of the emerging technologies, and an ability to produce aesthetically pleasing products that can inform and delight while serving the needs of a variety of commercial environments.

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