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.
Callen Thompson is an artist and textile designer living in Austin, Texas. She studied art at Dartmouth College and Cranbrook Academy of Art. Callen was born in Melrose, Florida, a sleepy town with 27 lakes and one stoplight. She was raised in the woods, in a house her homesteading parents built by hand. As a sixth-generation Floridian, Callen was taught by her family to always respect the land, especially in a state that cedes often to the interests of development. She honors and protects th...
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,…
As Quarter 1 wraps up we are taking this time to look back on how we can ultimately improve conducting our research and synthesis. These are some of the primary skills I was most excited to learn more about from the program. Before I go into that I want to give a brief overview…