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DESIGN BA

The Design Bachelor of Arts degree suits students who are interested in a clear and targeted plan of coursework involving multiple design disciplines in the department in one of three areas of study: 1. Interdisciplinary Practice combines classes from Photography, Animation, Graphic Design, and Illustration* to form a focused course of study in studio practices that bridges selected disciplines. 2. User Experience and Video Game Design brings students into the world of human-computer interfaces that spans web, app, and video game design. 3. Design Studies engages students in the histories, theories, and research methodologies of the design field. Other proposed courses of study require faculty approval.

This degree gives students leeway to think and work across fields, becoming design generalists. Students wishing to explore more focused design careers are encouraged to pursue BFA degree program courses.

*We offer no courses in fashion design, interior design, or architecture.

1. Interdisciplinary Practice
The creative industry is evolving at a rapid pace as new technologies are paired with foundational principles to bring innovation into every area of focus. Preparing to be a part of these opportunities requires a curious mind and a dedication to your craft. As an interdisciplinary student, you’ll be able to explore the creative tools that will enable you to develop your personal artistic vision and collaborate with others to help them do the same. Additionally, your focus will be to gain a sound understanding of multiple methods and combine them as you lead creative teams to accomplish larger goals. Students who succeed in this endeavor will not only find multiple avenues for their creative endeavors but will also become leaders and innovators to address the challenges of today and tomorrow.

Possible futures:

  • Art Director
  • Creative Director
  • Chief Creative Officer
  • Design Lead
  • Creative Consultant
  • User Interface (UI) Designer
  • Director of Photography
  • Multidisciplinary artist
  • Lead guitarist in a punk band

2. User Experience Design (UX) / Game Design
User experience and game design create immersive interactive experiences and products for people.

User Experience designers discover how to make products and experiences easy to use. Creating a simple, easy to use website, app, or digital experience requires a deep understanding of the user of these products, from initial strategy and research to testing and implementation. User Experience designers often work with developers or engineers, visual designers, and business strategists to create engaging products. Because UX design sits at a nexus of various disciplines, UX designers need to be familiar with a variety of methodologies and workflows, even as you also become good User Interface (UI) designers, creating compelling visual interfaces to make digital products enchanting and delightful.

Game designers typically control the user experience of players for either video or board games, by discovering the ideal fusion between the visuals, the sound and music, the technology, the physical and graphical user interface, and the story of the game. Because of this, learning how to manage players’ experiences requires an understanding of a wide range of design disciplines. The emphasis on game design will give you specific experiences with video game design but will help you make connections between the principles controlling user experience and the various other mediums that game design shows up in.

Possible futures:

  • UX/UI Designer
  • Product Designer
  • Video Game Designer
  • Board Game Designer
  • Game Director


3. Design Studies
With an emphasis on design histories, theory, and research methodologies, Design Studies provides a basis for students who are interested in the “whys” and “hows” of the design world. Focusing broadly on different disciplines allows students to understand the underpinnings and contexts of creative cultures and how they operate. Classes are balanced between history, theory, and studio practices, grounding studies in practice and past and present contexts while looking ahead to possibilities and new frontiers.

Possible futures:

  • Design researcher
  • Project manager
  • Strategic planner/consultant
  • Critic, Writer, Historian
  • Graduate school
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Danny Burnham

Erin Ladd