College Catalog

Interaction Design (IxD)


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Interaction Design blends the fields of design and technology, with a focus on ensuring that products are appealing, effective, and intuitive for their users. Interaction designers work closely with programmers to create smart objects and systems that optimize the user experience. There is strong demand for more interaction designers in today’s hightechnology industries.

Selected to participate in the pilot California Community College Baccalaureate degree program, Santa Monica College now offers courses that meet the requirements for its new Bachelor of Science (BS) degree in the field of Interaction Design. This degree will provide students with the skills necessary to enter this well-paying and exciting field. Students interested in the Bachelor of Science degree in Interaction Design should visit for more information and to sign up for email updates about the program.

Interaction Design, Bachelor of Science Degree

The Interaction Design Bachelor of Science degree program blends the fields of design, user experience (UX), and technology. The proliferation of innovations — from mobile apps, medical devices, and wearable technology, to connected appliances and self-driving cars — is creating strong demand for a new breed of designer who understands the user and employs a user-centered approach. The success of a new product or service in the competitive, fast-paced world of high technology hinges upon the quality of the user’s first experience with the product. Interaction Designers ensure that products and services are appealing, effective, and intuitive for their users by designing the behavior, organization, and aesthetics of the system to create successful end-to-end experiences. This is a four-year program with the lower-division Graphic Design courses providing students with the skills necessary to enter the upper-division courses in this field.

Program Learning Outcomes: Upon completion of the program, students will demonstrate knowledge of Interaction Design/User Experience Design history, practices, methodologies, tools, and project-based processes in designing for the user. Graduates will utilize human-centered design principles, user-testing outcomes, and ethnographic research insights, and will employ critical thinking, sketching, and iterative processes to define, develop, conceptualize, and solve problems. They will design and prototype correct affordances, interaction paradigms, and patterns for a range of platforms including web, mobile, and tangible systems. They will also collaborate effectively with customers and clients, and in team projects, brainstorming sessions, and in-class critiques. They will exhibit proficient visual, verbal, and written communication skills, particularly presentation skills necessary in the design industry. Students are required to complete a total of 120 units of lower-division and upper-division courses for the bachelor’s degree.

Lower-Division Preparation for the IxD Program. (These courses, or equivalent, are required prior to enrollment in the IXD courses. SMC has several articulation agreements with other institutions for these courses. Details available at

Area of Emphasis: (65 - 105 units)

The following courses will prepare you to apply for the IxD B.S. and help you develop your portfolio:

DESIGN 11,Design Foundations (formerly GR DES 31)(3)
DESIGN 12,Typography 1  (formerly GR DES 33)(3)
DESIGN 13,Digital Design Tools (formerly GR DES 18)(3)
DESIGN 23,User Experience Design 1  (formerly GR DES 61)(3)
DESIGN 31,Interactive Advertising(3)
DESIGN 32,Communication Design(3)
DESIGN 33,User Experience Design 2 (formerly GR DES 62)(3)
DESIGN 41,Industry Project(3)
DESIGN 42,Information Design(3)
DESIGN 43,Design Portfolio  (formerly GR DES 67)(3)

Required Lower-Division Courses: (25 units)

AHIS 3,Global Art History Since 1860 (3)
AHIS,(any AHIS course satisfies requirement; AHIS 3 highly recommended)(3)
BUS 20,Principles of Marketing(3)
BUS 63,Principles of Entrepreneurship(3)
CIS 54,Web Development and Scripting(3)
CS 7 ,Programming for Non-Computer Science Majors(3)
CS 87A,Python Programming (3)
ENGL 1,Reading and Composition 1(3)
ENGL 2,Critical Analysis and Intermediate Composition(3)
MATH 54 ,Elementary Statistics( )
MEDIA 4,Introduction to Game Studies (may substitute with COM ST 16 only if taken prior to Fall 2016)(4)
PSYCH 1,General Psychology(3)

Upper-Division Major Requirements: (31 units)

IXD 310,Interaction Design Studio 1(3)
IXD 330,Interaction Design Studio 2(3)
IXD 350,Interactive Storytelling(3)
IXD 360,Product Design(3)
IXD 370,Design for Community Change(3)
IXD 410,Project Management for Design(2)
IXD 430,Interaction Design Studio 3(3)
IXD 450,Interaction Design Portfolio (2)
IXD 460,Tangible Interaction(3)
IXD 470,Interaction Design Senior Studio(3)
IXD 480,Design for the Future(3)

Upper-Division General Education: (9 units)

COM ST 310,Organizational and Small Group Communication(3)
ENGL 300,Advanced Writing and Critical Thinking in the Disciplines(3)
PSYCH 320,Cognitive Psychology(3)

Optional Internship or Independent Study:

DESIGN 90A,Internship(1)
DESIGN 90B,Internship(2)
DESIGN 90C,Internship(3)
IXD 481,Independent Studies in Interaction Design(1)
IXD 482,Independent Studies in Interaction Design(2)
IXD 483,Independent Studies in Interaction Design(3)