Red lights connected through circuits and wires

BFA in Interaction Design

Shape new technologies and design for problems that matter.

Accepting applications for Fall 2018. Apply now to be considered for the first class of undergraduate students in this exciting new program.

How to apply

Important information about the Fall 2018 Application Process for BFA in IxD

When applying for Fall 2018 via the GW Common Application, applicants interested in the BFA in Interaction Design should indicate their primary intended major as “Graphic Design, BFA.”

Then, after submitting the required BFA portfolio in SlideRoom, indicate your primary intended major as “Interaction Design, BFA.”  

What is Interaction Design?

Interaction designers make the products, services and interfaces that shape our world to be more useful, more delightful, more accessible and more equitable.

Are you a designer who wants to:

  • Build new mobile experiences that reimagine the way people connect with the services they need?
  • Make the things we use and the ways we get around more sustainable?
  • Creatively rethink technology to better connect people and ideas?

Interaction design seeks solutions to complex human and environmental challenges—from designing smart devices to reimagining educational environments. A unique and growing field, it explores the ways people engage with technology and their environments in their daily lives.

The Interaction Design Program at the Corcoran focuses on building compelling relationships between people and the systems around them. With two degree options for customized study, we focus on design in the context of technology, the designed world and the natural world. Moving beyond screen interfaces, Corcoran IxD is an incubator for design-based problem solving and the development of interactive spaces, products and services. Imagine, prototype and create concepts that ultimately shape people's interactions with the world in their everyday lives.

We live in a designed world. Help make it better.

Why Interaction Design (IxD) at the Corcoran?

Our cutting-edge IxD program is specifically designed and tailored by faculty to educate students in up-to-the-minute industry practices in the expanded field of interaction design. Why does that matter? Interaction designers always have to think about context and impact, so educational context matters.

Interaction Design may have grown up primarily in relation to technology, but social and environmental impact are critical to the future of the field. That’s a shift in practice that we’ve built in at the ground level. In order for students to have the opportunity to develop their design practice in a real-world context, they will work with community organizations through the program's innovative Engagement Lab. This curricular component enables students to embrace a human-centered collaborative approach to design.

At the Corcoran, you’ll find yourself in embedded in a creative community of practice where designers, artists, photojournalists, musicians and performers connect in the classroom and beyond. At the George Washington University, you can take advantage of a world class research university with the opportunity to connect to classes, peers and faculty that can expand your imagination of what design can do and build your capacity to make it happen.

The Corcoran is located in the heart of Washington, D.C., a global hub for policy makers, tech leaders, NGOs and cultural institutions. Major companies looking for artists and designers with Interaction Design backgrounds include Apple, Google, McKinsey & Company, Microsoft, NBC, 3M, Disney and financial institutions, to name a few. Become an innovator who can make a difference in start-ups, nonprofits, government and social innovation by studying Interaction Design at the Corcoran.

The Degrees

The Corcoran offers two degree options in Interaction Design. Both degrees are built around the same strong core. Both degree programs engage students in critical thinking and problem-solving to reimagine how people interact with physical and digital interactions. The curriculum focuses on key skills such as creative coding, prototyping, visualization, human-centered collaborative design and user research.

 

Option 1: BFA in Interaction Design

 

sculpture of wood, tires, and chains with a screen in the middleThe BFA in Interaction Design is a 78 credit, design-centered education. This degree allows students to expand their art and design education with additional coursework in design and creative technologies plus electives across the art and design programs. Students in this program also deepen their experience in human-centered design with additional time spent working in the program’s Engagement Lab. Creative and technical flexibility is critical part of design education. You’ll leave the program ready to embark on your career with experience and skillsets across a range of design and creative media.

 

Option 2: BFA in Interaction Design + Minor Field Track

two men looking at a computer screen and tv screen

Real-world design solutions rely on contextual understanding. Interaction designers draw on skills and knowledge from many sources, such as computer science for software development, ethnographic methods to support user research and area studies to understand the historical context of access and equity, just to name a few.

Students who want to contextualize their design study with a strong foundation in a related field can choose the BFA + Field Track. Students in this degree participate in the core studio curriculum (69 credits) plus 18 credits of study in a supportive field. This track is for you if you have a sense of the field in which you wish to work (such as health care or international development) or have a desire to build stronger skillsets in a related field (such as computer science or ethnographic research). While all BFA students can minor in an unrelated field, the BFA in Interaction Design + Field Track is specifically structured to inject cross-disciplinary thinking into the student’s design practice at all levels of the program.

Anticipated minor fields include but are not limited to the following:

  • Anthropology
  • Computer Science
  • Environmental Studies
  • Geography
  • International Affairs
  • Sociology    
  • Clinical Management and Leadership
  • Human Services and Social Justice
  • Public Health

 


Design Projects

photo of the fossil aka the egg musical instrument

The Fossil, 2012

This instrument, originally called "The Egg," was designed by Assistant Professor Kevin Patton as part of his Digital Poplar Consort musical interfaces series. It exploits hand-held motions with an embedded accelerometer and four pressure sensitive fingertip controllers.

Musicians are challenged to engage the entire gestural range of the limb (from finger to shoulder) to release the sound making potential of the instrument. 

photo from i sky you

I Sky You, 2010

This receipient of a prestigious Rhizome Commission is an installation that sonifies the radiance of chemically synthesized light, completed by Assistant Professor Kevin Patton in collaboration with fellow assistant professor Maria del Carmen Montoya.

Clear glass forms containing a solution of luminol & a chemical reagent hang overhead. Drop by drop, the luminol is released into the reagent chamber creating bursts of brilliant blue light that fill the otherwise dark room. Small video cameras detect the light and activate a computer program that in turn produces unique resonant tones based on each flare of light and tuned to the acoustic character of each vessel. Visitors experience an imaginary sky blooming with color.

Main Faculty

Kevin Patton

Kevin Patton

Assistant Professor of Interaction Design
Undergraduate & Graduate Advisor, Interaction Design

View All Corcoran Faculty 

The Curriculum 

Option 1: BFA in Interaction Design (78 credits)

Foundation Studios (12 credits):

CFN 1090: Drawing and Surface

CFN 1091: Form and Materials

CFN 1092: Time and Light

CFN 1093: Interaction

Interaction Design Major Requirements (33 credits):

CDE 1090/91: Design Fundamentals I + II (6 credits)

CIXD 2610: Creative Code

CIXD 2090: Narrative Media Design for Interaction

CIXD 2091: Systems Thinking for Design

CIXD 3090: Human Centered Design for Social Engagement

CIXD 3091: Prototyping and Fabrication for Interaction

CIXD 3910: Collaborative Design Projects

CIXD 4193: Design Leadership

CIXD 4090: Interaction Design Thesis I

CIXD 4091: Interaction Design Thesis II

Additional Studio Requirements (21 credits):

CIXD 3820: Engagement Lab (6 credits)

Time-based media or computational media electives (9 credits)

Studio electives, any art or design area (6 credits)

Design for social impact courses

Art + Design History and Theory (12 credits):

CAH 1091: Art History Then OR AH 1031: Survey of Art and Architecture I

CAH 1090: Art History Now OR AH 1032: Survey of Art and Architecture II

One design media history at the 3000-4000 level

One design research seminar at the 3000-4000 level

Option 2: BFA in Interaction Design (69 credits) + Field Track (18 credits) 

Foundation Studios (12 credits):

CFN 1090: Drawing and Surface

CFN 1091: Form and Materials

CFN 1092: Time and Light

CFN 1093: Interaction

Interaction Design Major Requirements (33 credits):

CDE 1090/91: Design Fundamentals I + II (6 credits)

CIXD 2610: Creative Code

CIXD 2090: Narrative Media Design for Interaction

CIXD 2091: Systems Thinking for Design

CIXD 3090: Human Centered Design for Social Engagement

CIXD 3091: Prototyping and Fabrication for Interaction

CIXD 3910: Collaborative Design Projects

CIXD 4193: Design Leadership

CIXD 4090: Interaction Design Thesis I

CIXD 4091: Interaction Design Thesis II

Additional Studio Requirements (12 credits):

CIXD 3820: Engagement Lab (3 credits)

Time-based media or computational media electives (6 credits)

Studio electives, any art or design area (3 credits)

Design for social impact courses

Art + Design History and Theory (12 credits):

CAH 1091: Art History Then OR AH 1031: Survey of Art and Architecture I

CAH 1090: Art History Now OR AH 1032: Survey of Art and Architecture II

One design media history at the 3000-4000 level

One design research seminar at the 3000-4000 level

Program Learning Outcomes

  • Communication Design Skills: Students will be able to create and analyze visual and textual forms of communication to convey ideas and information with a sense of aesthetics, clarity and ethics. Students will be able to employ narrative skills to shape experiences for others.
  • Design Process: Students will be able to independently and collaboratively brainstorm and design interactive systems, objects, interfaces, services, user flows and multi-modal experiences.
  • Design Research Process: Students will demonstrate a knowledge of the history of design practices. Students will be able to independently and collaboratively undertake quantitative and qualitative user research as well as research into practical, historical and theoretical questions as a basis for design work.
  • Innovation: Students will be able to approach the creation of inventive and contextually appropriate solutions using a variety of methods: iteratively research, prototype, develop and analyze design solutions. Students will be able identify systemic challenges and produce original design responses that are reflective of their analytical, critical and creative capabilities and which reflect their creative perspective.
  • Professional Ethics and Skills: Students will demonstrate an understanding of their responsibility to their clients, audiences and users. They will be able to articulate and clarify needs, structure design challenges, solve problems creatively, and address conflict through the design process.
  • Evaluate impact of design solutions: Students will be able to approach design solutions with a focus on potential environmental and social impacts over their lifecycle as well as their capacity to contribute to equitable outcomes.
  • Collaborative problem-solving: Students will understand and practice design as a process that relies upon generating, developing and communicating ideas informed by and responsive to their context.
  • Understand relevant technologies and establish the capacity to continue to build technical skills as tools change.

IXD BFA + Minor Field Track:

  • Apply methodologies and knowledge developed within field track (outside area of emphasis) to design products and processes.