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."
Founder 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.
Application for 2018-2019 will open on Oct 1, 2017. They are due by Jan 15, 2018.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.
Eli Robinson moved to Austin four and a half years ago and continues to love it despite being raised a Vermonter. She moved here from Brooklyn, where she collected interesting work experiences and studied psychology and writing at the New School University. She has driven through every state in the continental US and sections of Canada and Mexico and studied in India, Egypt, Turkey, and at the Institute for Social Ecology at Goddard College. She spends her time playing with bicycles, children, d...
Jacob Rader graduated from AC4D in 2015. Since graduating, he has contracted at top design consultancies such as Big Tomorrow, Carbon 12 Creative, frog Design, and Projekt 202. Most recently, he has returned from a stint designing with Proximity Designs, an award winning social enterprise based on Yangon, Myanmar. I sat down with Jacob recently to…
As part of our Interaction Design and Social Entrepreneurship program, students immerse themselves in a wicked problem for a 24-week capstone project. This year, students partnered with the City of Austin Innovation Office to tackle civic engagement. For eight weeks, our students conducted design research by attending city council meetings, community events, and shadowing residents,…