About The Curriculum

Our 1 year program is intended for people who want to start their own companies, join existing creative consultancies, or change their career path. The curriculum combines traditional lecture-style courses with the creative learning-by-doing style of the design studio environment. Students rapidly acquire knowledge of various humanitarian issues, like poverty or nutrition, while formulating advanced design ideas related to synthesis, service and system design, and entrepreneurship. Learn more and apply here »


Who Should Apply?

Austin Center for Design seeks students who have an existing interest and proven track record in design, business, technology, art, or social affairs. The rigorous program in Interaction Design and Social Entrepreneurship brings together these students in a creative environment to launch businesses and produce working, multi-platform design systems. Students do not need to have an undergraduate degree in art, design or technology in order to apply. Learn more and apply here »


What Is Interaction Design?

Interaction Design is the creation of a dialogue between a person and a designed artifact - a product, service, or system. An Interaction Designer creates frameworks for behavioral change, on both a grand and small scale. Interaction Designers may create software, physical artifacts, environmental spaces, or systems of engagement; in all cases, the focus for the Interaction Designer is on the creation of a meaningful dialogue between a person and the designed elements.

After studying at the Austin Center for Design, students will have the skills necessary to develop interaction design solutions related to web sites, mobile phones, software, physical products, complicated systems, and services. Students will learn specific skills on how to craft these interaction design artifacts, and will also learn a process for managing the complexity that is associated with interaction design.

Additionally, students will learn a philosophical way of thinking about complexity, and managing ill-structured problem solving as it occurs in a job setting. This philosophy is one that is dependent on contextualized methods of synthesis in order to iteratively solve problems through prototypes and testing. Learn more and apply here »


What Is Social Entrepreneurship?

Social Entrepreneurship is the pursuit of a better world through problem solving. A Social Entrepreneur addresses some of the largest issues facing our world, including those of poverty, sustainability, inequality, access to natural resources, and education, through creativity and innovative uses of technology and capitol.

While the work of a Social Entrepreneur may appear altruistic, it frequently offers great personal, societal, and financial rewards. The problems addressed in this segment of work are large, and affect millions of people. A slight positive change in behavior can have an exponential repercussion when introduced into the world, and so Social Entrepreneurs commonly view problems both "in the small" and "in the large" at once.

Students at the Austin Center for Design focus exclusively on interaction design problems that are of a social nature, and work to change behavior through design. Students learn ways of presenting their work in a compelling manner, suitable for generating both positive public acknowledgement and also for raising capital for future endeavors. Learn more and apply here »

Outcomes and Competencies

The following outcome statements articulate the competencies, abilities, and skills a student will have as a result of successfully completing this entire certificate course of study in Interaction Design and Social Entrepreneurship. Students will...

  • demonstrate a comprehensive process for solving complicated, multi-faceted problems of design
  • develop original design solutions and approaches to large-scale social problems
  • develop a unique vocabulary of criticism as related to technology, allowing them to articulate objective and comprehensive responses and critiques to large-scale design problems
  • demonstrate the creation, application and verification of entirely new forms of design research that improve on the state-of-the-art.
  • develop and document new models to present various types of qualitative data.
  • develop original forms of synthesis that re-contextualizes familiar thought patterns.
  • develop original methods of framing issues, resolving conflict, and parsing complex situations into actionable objectives.
  • cultivate a culture of speed in the creation of demonstration prototypes in order to stimulate the collaborative process.
  • create interactive, working prototypes of digital design problems that allow for comprehensive user testing and the communication of diverse and complicated ideas
  • compose scholarly essays, papers, and documents of publishable quality that explore the nature of design and rigorously defend the assertions used to construct the argument.
  • participate in the global design infrastructure that exists within the business and academic world.
  • invent new forms of behavioral prototyping that inform the designer at an early stage in the design process.
  • develop the vocabulary to discuss their design solutions with other members of a product development team
  • develop the vocabulary to defend the social value of their design solutions