We teach the practice and theory of interaction design—designing products, services, and interactions to change human behavior and improve the world.
Our emphasis is on addressing humanitarian problems. We focus on problems that matter, and students learn to recontextualize design in the space of large-scale "wicked problems."
Director Jon Kolko is recognized as a thought-leader in developing and advancing the role of interaction design in product development and social entrepreneurship. Our faculty are all world-class working practitioners.
Our program is affordable. Our annual tuition is just $15,000 for our one-year course, which runs 440 course hours. Compare this with other similar graduate programs that cost $60,000, $70,000, or even $80,000.
Our classes sizes are small—10 students a time—providing extensive face-time with professors and the opportunity to form lasting relationships with a growing support network.
We've developed a supportive, collaborative community of alumni to help current students succeed and to help one-another drive impact.
In a word, students who complete our program gain autonomy. This is a sense of entrepreneurial freedom—that your choices are not set or constrained, and that you have concrete skills to shape the world around you. These skills include qualitative research, synthesis and interpretation, sketching, the creation of storyboards and wireframes, entrepreneurial business modeling, service design blueprinting, and complex system diagramming. These skills represent the foundation of a career in product management, design strategy, interaction design, and social entrepreneurship.
More importantly, you'll gain an empathetic process and a unique, empathetic way of thinking about culture and technology. This process is broad, and can be used in corporate and consulting contexts, in startups or small businesses, and even in politics and government.
Design is for everyone, and our students have a variety of backgrounds. Some of our students are already designers, but most aren't. Our typical applicants have experience in marketing, engineering, fine arts, finance, or the service industry. Our program teaches design fundamentals in addition to advanced topics, in a rigorous, intense environment. There is no expectation that our students enter the program as designers; we take care of teaching that.
AC4D is a 440 course-hour program that runs from late August through early May.
Early admission applications are due by December 15th. Standard admission applications are due by May 15th. Learn more.
Our one year program costs $15,000. The first payment of $7,500 is due in the summer, prior to classes beginning, and the second payment is in January (at the half-way point).
AC4D is extraordinarily intense, time consuming and difficult. We’ve structured the program to include as much content and rich experience as possible and it requires a strong, formal commitment from students.
/* As a lover of ideas, Jeff Patton earned a degree in Philosophy from Texas A&M University where he also directed the University’s improvisational comedy group. After a brief stint in law school, he moved to Chicago to study improvisation at the iO Comedy Theater where many of his comedy heroes (Stephen Colbert, Mike Myers, Chris Farley, Tina Fey) got their start. He performed regularly at theaters across Chicago and eventually co-wrote and directed a sketch review at the famed Second Cit...
To be a good designer, you need to be able to design things. That wouldn’t seem controversial, except when you start to poke at “able”, “design”, and “things”, you encounter the unicorn problem. A unicorn is, of course, a magical and non-existent creature, and the metaphor implies that a designer who can research, sketch, code,…
I’m excited to share that I am starting as the new director at Austin Center for Design. Jon Kolko, the founder of the school, will be transitioning into an advisor role and remains as core faculty. I know many people will wonder what this means for the school, so I hope to take a moment…