Your opinion: Grad schools in interaction/experience design


I read some of the posts in the other forum on ID schools, but what do you think about other design programs that offer a more hybrid-interdisciplinary kind of design degree? My undergrad is in a mix of ID/Graphic Design degree and I want to specialize in interaction/interface design, user experience design, that kind of thing.

I’m starting applying this fall and I want to study in the U.S. I also want to go to a school that teaches skills in design research and is more interdisciplinary. I found several that fit my needs by researching online, but I’m not sure which ones are the best choice. I would really appreciate some advice from the wise collective intelligence of core.77. You never know if what you hear from just a few people (like only my professors) is any good.

If you were going for interaction/interactive media design, what school would you pick as your ‘Top 5 or 10’? I want to apply to maybe 7, tops. If you have time, maybe you can tell me what you think about the ones you choose, especially if you went there? If not, that’s ok–just your picks would be so helpful. I really really appreciate your help, and thank you! Diego

Art Center College of Design, Pasadena
California College of the Arts, San Fran
California Institute of the Arts, LA
Carnegie Mellon, Pittsburgh
College for Creative Studies, Detroit
Herron School of Art and Design, Indianapolis
Institute of Design at IIT, Chicago
Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore
North Carolina State University, Raleigh
Ohio State University, Columbus
Rhode Island School of Design, Providence
Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester
School of Visual Arts, NY
University of Cincinnati
University of Florida, Miami
University of Texas, Austin

MICA doesn’t really have any ID programs, but I hear their graphic design pretty good.

I’m currently going to Emily Carr @ Vancouver and they currently have the option to do a mix between ID and CD (graphics), and from what I hear about to have a new branch in ID for design research.

The School of Visual Arts program is completely BADASS. As it’s located in New York, the faculty comprises amazing web/interaction designers like Khoi Vinh, Jason Santa Maria… They released a website showcasing their grad show a few weeks ago. It’s a relatively young program. My friend will be attending it this fall, and I heard the average age is about 28. If that’s no concern, I’d say SVA is a good choice.

As for interdisciplinary… What kind of interdisciplinary are you talking about? What fields, specifically. If you are technologically oriented, CMU may be a good choice. Of course, I’m biased as a student of CMU. However, I’m not too sure about the grad life/taking classes from other schools, etc. However, there is a great deal of opportunity to take part in research in interaction via the Human Computer Interaction institute or the Robotics Institute, or if games are your thing, Entertainment Technology Center. Research projects are all year long, so contacting a professor and getting a job is relatively easy, if you have the skills they need.

Those are the only schools I really have any knowledge about.

thank you for your replies!

In terms of being interdisciplinary, I’m thinking of fields like cognitive psychology and/or other social sciences that get into how people interact with physical and virtual interfaces. My interest in a school that’s interdisciplinary, though, is about the curriculum; one that isn’t just some big fat studio course/seminar, but, instead a curriculum that is defined enough to offer research methods, or classes that let you work with other majors (including other design majors) in collaboration and other classes related to designing interactive media. I’ve seen graduate program curricula that are made up of one big studio + seminar and that’s all you do. Does that make sense?

Many of the schools that you listed have strong undergraduate programs but questionable graduate programs,such as the University of Cinncinati.

You should check out UCLA, which has a reputably strong graduate program. I would also check out USC and Pratt Institute. I would also check out MIT and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. .

RISD has a digital Media graduate program that is more human computer interaction like that of CMU.

This should give you a good start towards your investigation.

IIT & CMU have amazing established programs that fit your description. SVA on paper looks like a crazy school based on faculty and industry connection but only time will tell (and i’m sure with time it will definitely prove itself as a great program)