Curriculum

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.

A student’s course schedule is based on whether they are on the traditional two-year track or the 18-month track, and whether they started in the fall or spring.

Two-Year Program – Fall Start

Fall - 1

  • Essentials of Interactive Design (6 credits)
  • Research & Design Process Methods (3 credits)

Spring - 1

  • Digital Experience Design (3 credits)
  • Information Architecture (3 credits)
  • Design Business and Entrepreneurship (3 credits)

Summer - 1

  • Elective (3 credits)*

Fall - 2

  • UXD Thesis Project Preparation (1 credit)
  • Prototyping Interactive Interfaces I (3 credits)
  • Cognitive Psychology for Design (3 credits)
  • Elective (3 credits)*

Spring - 2

  • UXD Thesis Project (6 credits)

Total: 37 credits

Two-Year Program – Spring Start

Spring - 1

  • Essentials of Interactive Design (6 credits)
  • Design Business and Entrepreneurship (3 credits)

Summer - 1

  • Elective* (3 credits)

Fall - 1

  • Digital Experience Design (3 credits)
  • Research & Design Process Methods (3 credits)
  • Cognitive Psychology for Design (3 credits)

Spring - 2

  • UXD Thesis Project Preparation (1 credit)
  • Information Architecture (3 credits)
  • Prototyping Interactive Interfaces I (3 credits)
  • Elective (3 credits)*

Fall - 2

  • UXD Thesis Project (6 credits)

Total: 37 credits

18-Month Program – Fall Start (only)

Fall

  • Digital Experience Design (3 credits)
  • Research & Design Process Methods (3 credits)
  • Cognitive Psychology for Design (3 credits)

Spring

  • UXD Thesis Project Preparation (1 credits)
  • Information Architecture (3 credits)
  • Prototyping Interactive Interfaces I (3 credits)
  • Design Business and Entrepreneurship (3 credits)

Summer

  • Elective (3 credits)*

Fall

  • UXD Thesis Project (6 credits)
  • Elective (3 credits)*

Total: 31 credits


Examples of Graduate User Experience & Interaction Design Elective Options

*All students are required to complete 6 credits of electives to fulfill their degree requirements. Although electives are suggested for specific terms in order to balance workload, students may enroll in electives in any term after the successful completion of IDD-510 - Essentials of Interactive Design. Students in the 18-month program may enroll in electives any time.

  • Prototyping Interactive Interfaces II (3 credits)
  • Database Management/Scripting (3 credits)
  • Interactive Narrative/Drama (3 credits)
  • Mobile Communication Design
  • Advanced Web Design & Strategy (3 credits)
  • 3D Modeling (3 credits)
  • Virtual Reality Design (3 credits)
  • Special Topic (3 credits, 1 credit or .5 credit)
  • Internship (3 credits, 1 credit or .5 credit)
  • Independent Study (3 credits, 1 credit or .5 credit)


For complete course descriptions, please visit the Thomas Jefferson University Graduate Course Descriptions here.