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“Epitaph,” an interactive installation, explores how we can extract the rich information that a tree will experience in its lifetime. Designed by students Alex Frankel, Azu Romá and Kinjal Shah.
“Epitaph,” an interactive installation, explores how we can extract the rich information that a tree will experience in its lifetime. Designed by students Alex Frankel, Azu Romá and Kinjal Shah.
Create an Experience
Learn How MFA Interaction Design Can Help You Pull the Future into the Present
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Our students are intimately attentive to human behavior and think holistically about products and services.
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Liz Danzico

Interaction design used to write the story so the world could see the future. Today, interaction designers are writing the story so the world can participate in the future. Interaction design creates opportunities to shape and guide behavior. It opens opportunities for experiences and exchanges not possible before. It makes the intangible tangible; it’s the discipline that communicates the pragmatic future. And where we stand in the history of the future is a tremendous opportunity for the design of interactions.

With an increase in design’s possibility for influence, designers are negotiating a whole new set of opportunities.

The Interaction Design program at SVA is a response to these opportunities for interaction. Designers find themselves influencing the future of products and services, education, journalism, health care, banking, cities and more.

Where once we were considering interfaces and interactions on screens, we’re now considering how these expressions tie into bigger systems. We live in a world where we carry hospitals in our pockets, banks in our watches, and find out about earthquake warnings from Twitter and birth announcements on Facebook. As data is more readily available and designers are informed by new formal and informal mechanisms for connecting, we are aware we are part of something bigger.

Why We Stand Out:
  • Create innovative approaches to human problems

  • Develop fluency in prototyping and the practical application of visionary ideas

  • Transform entrepreneurial concepts into new products and services

Student Work

More About the Department

The MFA Interaction Design program explores the strategic role of interaction design in shaping everyday life and intends to increase the relevancy of design to business and society so designers can make a difference. The definition of “difference” is something only students know—a personal exploration only they can do—and the program is designed to support that exploration over two years.

The program is collaborative. In a studio environment, students explore prototyping a range of experiences hat cross visual, conceptual and technical boundaries. Grouped in transdisciplinary teams, students work both in the studio and in the field to create inventive solutions to real-world problems.

The program is people-focused. We focus on teaching how people relate to one another through the products and technology we explore.

Alumni of the program have proceeded not only to found their own initiatives, but have become some of the brightest minds at today’s best-known companies: Apple, Facebook, frog design, IDEO, Johnson & Johnson, R/GA, Reuters, Twitter, Yelp and more.

The program is curated. During the first year, students advance through the concepts and methods of interaction design, starting with an understanding of people and the environments that drive their needs, goals and experiences. Course materials consider these social constructs and human experiences as the basis for approaching problems across media. During the second year, students apply the concepts and methods from the first year of study to shape their thesis projects. It is in the second year that students develop deeper business acumen through coursework and direct relationships with New York organizations. Optional summer internships with top companies are available between the first and second years.

The program is practice-based. The MFA in Interaction Design is a professionally focused program aimed at training graduates to become practicing designers, entrepreneurs and contributors intending to make a difference. Upon graduation, students are prepared to take risks, invent new forms with business and academia, participate in strategic decision-making involved with the creation of interactive products and services and are equipped with tools and methods to make smart choices no matter where they find themselves.

The program is your story. The courses are highly demanding, highly selective and highly rewarding. It will ask students to have a vision and make choices to align with that vision. Students study concepts central to interaction design, including design research, human-computer interaction, interface design, graphic design, information architecture and ubiquitous computing. Each class becomes a community and each choice a commitment with a story to build upon. The program seeks to cultivate interaction design as a discipline and further its visibility as a community of practice.

Degree candidates must successfully complete 60 credits, including all required courses, with a cumulative grade point average of 3.0. A residency of two academic years is required. In the final semester, each student must complete a thesis project, which must be reviewed and approved by the thesis committee and the department chair in order for the student to be eligible for degree conferral.