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Interaction Design Degree Programs

Students interested in design and website development may be interested in pursuing a bachelor's degree program in interaction design. Here we discuss admission requirements, common coursework and possible careers for this degree program.

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Overview of Bachelor's Degree in Interaction Design

Bachelor's degree programs in interaction design are available at several different design schools, as well as other postsecondary institutions in the country. These design programs train students to create various web-based platforms for different websites, including apps and desktop platforms. Throughout the program, students not only develop their design skills, but also their programming and problem-solving skills. Find out more details about the program below and how to choose the program that is right for you.

Admission Requirements for Interaction Design Programs

Admission to interaction design programs typically occurs after admission to the institution and requires a program application, personal essays and the submission of a portfolio. Some schools require students to apply to the program after the first two years of study and/or the completion of introductory design courses. In these cases, students may be required to have maintained a particular GPA in their design courses. General admission requirements to institutions vary, but requirements may include official transcripts, standardized test scores and letters of recommendation.

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Common Coursework for Interaction Design Programs

An interaction design program is obviously heavy-laden with various design courses, but also may include an internship, portfolio or thesis course and/or plenty of studio work. Below are a few examples of some of the most common courses for the program.

Design Methods

Many programs begin with a course in design methods to teach the basic principles of design, and the course may even be a requirement for admission into the program. The course discusses different fundamental methods of design and also looks into topics in design research. Other topics may include design selection, qualitative design methods and conceptual design.

Introduction to Interaction Design

Most programs also begin with an introductory course to interaction design. These courses provide a well-rounded introduction to the major and lay the groundwork for the necessary research and systemic thinking skills required in the field. The course usually requires a lot of project work that further develops students' problem-solving skills and provides hands-on learning.

Interactive/Visual Storytelling

Upper-level courses in the program are likely to include an interactive or visual storytelling course. These courses cover design and storytelling techniques to engage one's audience and communicate the intended meaning of the information. These courses typically have a hands-on component to allow students to create and experiment with different prototypes.

Interface Design

Interface design courses may come in an introductory and advanced version and/or in a studio format. Introductory courses may include topics in control systems, user flows, information displays and other fundamental interface design concepts that are used to create visual interfaces. Studio and advanced courses in the subject give hands-on learning opportunities as students study topics in cross-platform interface design, interactivity and isolation, interface evaluation and more.

Senior Studio

These courses vary significantly based on the particular program, but most programs require a final senior studio course of some kind. This course may give students adequate studio time to develop their professional portfolio or work on their senior project or thesis. At this point in the program students are combining and applying all of their cumulative learning and skills in the field to create a final design product.

How to Choose a Bachelor's Degree Program in Interaction Design

Choosing the best bachelor's degree program for you can be hard, but there are some important factors to consider when comparing programs in interaction design. Some of these programs may require an internship, but even if they do not, students should look for programs that offer plenty of hands-on learning and experience for their future career, such as programs that end with a professional portfolio or thesis project. Most programs also have specific laptop and software requirements for their students, which students need to be aware of and possibly budget for. Finally, students may want to consider the location of the institution to see if it has local connections with design companies and/or offers studio partnerships with surrounding companies and organizations, in order to gain exposure to different studio environments and resources.

Career Options for a Degree in Interaction Design

Most graduates of a bachelor's degree program in interaction design begin their careers as interaction designers. In December of 2017, Payscale.com reported that interaction designers made an annual median salary of $76,321. While the Bureau of Labor Statistics did not report on interaction designers specifically, they did predict a 13% expected job growth rate from 2016 to 2026 for web developers. Here are some additional careers graduates of the degree program may consider.

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