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How to apply to the Interaction Design Program

The Interaction Design Bachelor of Science degree at Santa Monica College focuses on preparing students for careers as User Experience (UX) and Interaction Designers (IxD). Our program consists of methodologies, best practices, project-based processes and "making" for Interaction Design.

The Interaction Design degree is made up of 2 years of upper-division IxD classes. The upper division curriculum requires a full-time commitment (12 or more units per semester), and must be taken in sequence.

Learn more about the IxD Interaction Design Bachelors Degree program by attending an info session.

Application Opens
December 1, 2024
Application Deadline
March 1, 2025
If Accepted, You Will Start
August 2025
estimated graduation
June 2027
Estimated cost
(For the entire degree, not including Financial Aid)
$10,000
This estimation is calculated for domestic students who are California residents. Read about the cost breakdown on the FAQ page.
SMC net price calculator
financial aid & Scholarships
Application Fee
None
Application Process

Meet the minimum requirements

Start online application

Respond to essay questions

Attach portfolio work samples

Submit your application!

1. Minimum Requirements to apply

Complete 60 semester units of California State University or CSU transferable courses.

Complete two college English classes - English 1 and English 2 in the CSU pattern or their equivalents. In addition, you’ll need one math class from a CSU general education pattern.

You should have a minimum overall GPA of 2.0 or higher at the time of application.

To be eligible for admission, students must meet these requirements by the end of Spring 2024.

Speak with an SMC IxD Counselor to establish your IxD Major Preparation plan. If you have taken classes outside of SMC and unsure if you've met the admission requirements, it is a good idea to meet with an academic counselor to confirm eligibility.

Students do not need an Associate’s degree to apply.
talk to ixd counselor

2. Timeline and Deadlines

We recommend that you start working on preparing your portfolio as early as possible. The portfolio will likely take the largest portion of the time spent on the application. If you feel like you need some help with your portfolio you can enroll in the SMC Graphic Design Portfolio class.

Application Opens
December 1, 2023
Application Deadline
March 1, 2024
If Accepted, You Will Start
August 2024
talk to ixd counselor

3. Starting your Online Application

Start by creating an account by going to https://smcixd.slideroom.com and clicking “sign up”.

To apply to SMC IxD you need to submit a package of supplemental materials through the SlideRoom web portal. You will also use SlideRoom to submit your responses to essay questions and your portfolio.

Quick tip: you will be able to save your application progress to complete at a later date. But keep this in mind: once you submit your application you cannot go back and edit materials again - so make sure you're ready before hitting that “Submit” button.

apply now

4. Submitting your Transcripts

You will need to obtain unofficial transcripts from the colleges and universities you have attended before and upload them as a part of your application in the SlideRoom web portal.

If your application is accepted into the program we will ask you to arrange for the official transcripts to be sent by July 15 of the year when you start your first semester at the IxD program.

If you only attended Santa Monica College you may skip this step.

talk to ixd counselor

5. Application Essay Questions

These questions will give you an opportunity to share your perspective on design, your passions and interests, and your career aspirations. There are no wrong answers! We are looking for authenticity and sincerity.

ESSAY QUESTION 1

Choose an example of a professional project or product of interaction design that has impacted or inspired your work as a designer.
What are the specific design decisions in that project or product that you feel have contributed to it being a success? Give specific and detailed examples.
Next, share what you feel doesn’t work well or could be done differently in that same project or product. Please share specific ideas you would propose to improve the design.
(200 Words Minimum, 500 Words Maximum)

ESSAY QUESTION 2

Share how you hope to use your degree in Interaction Design.
What tools, innovations and technologies are you passionate about participating in?
What are the challenge(s) that you would bring your design skills to? How would you contribute to improvements in those area(s)?
(200 Words Minimum, 500 Words Maximum)

Can I use AI?

We appreciate and embrace new technology! If you used an AI to help you write your responses to the design essay questions, we ask that let us know which one and how you used it. This allows us to better understand the ways students leverage this technology and as we look to integrate AI into the curriculum.

6. Portfolio

YOUR PORTFOLIO SHOULD BE:

3 to 5 projects reflecting your design work, edited to highlight your best and most relevant design work.

You can choose to include professional work, class assignments, or passion projects. There's a wide range of projects that can be included in your portfolio.

TYPES OF PROJECTS TO INCLUDE:

There's a wide range of projects that can be included in your portfolio. For example…

Websites

Mobile Apps

Architecture

Print Design

Products (physical/digital)

Interaction Design

User Experience Design (UX)

Motion Graphics

Game Design

Coding and Engineering

Passion Projects

Be sure to include the visual documentation of the process: scans of early sketches, photos of ideation sessions, graphs, wireframes, hi-fidelity mock-ups - any visual artifact you have produced along the way will help you tell the story of your project.

Written Documentation: You should include a statement about your specific role in the design process if you are showing a group project. Highlight the challenges in each project and the skills you used to step up to those challenges.

Be sure to include the visual documentation of the process: scans of early sketches, photos of ideation sessions, graphs, wireframes, hi-fidelity mock-ups - any visual artifact you have produced along the way will help you tell the story of your project.

Visual Documentation: Be sure to include the visual documentation of the process: scans of early sketches, photos of ideation sessions, graphs, wireframes, hi-fidelity mock-ups - any visual artifact you have produced along the way will help you tell the story of your project.

Documentation:
Written Documentation

You should include a statement about your specific role in the design process if you are showing a group project. Highlight the challenges in each project and the skills you used to step up to those challenges.

visual Documentation

Be sure to include the visual documentation of the process: scans of early sketches, photos of ideation sessions, graphs, wireframes, hi-fidelity mock-ups - any visual artifact you have produced along the way will help you tell the story of your project.

Be sure to include the visual documentation of the process: scans of early sketches, photos of ideation sessions, graphs, wireframes, hi-fidelity mock-ups - any visual artifact you have produced along the way will help you tell the story of your project.

Be sure to include the visual documentation of the process: scans of early sketches, photos of ideation sessions, graphs, wireframes, hi-fidelity mock-ups - any visual artifact you have produced along the way will help you tell the story of your project.

TECHNICAL REQUIREMENTS:

Submit each project as a PDF file at a maximum size of 10 megabytes per file. You may need to flatten and compress your files to meet the size requirements.

Remember you can't go back and edit your materials once you submit so make sure you're fully ready to take this step. Submit your best work we're here to help and we're looking forward to reviewing your application!

We will not accept URLs or other Web-based resources in your submission for the reasons of fairness, - because it is possible to change the content at those URLs even after the submission deadline.

CASE STUDIES FOR INSPIRATION

Take a look at some example work to see how you might approach this for your own projects. These should not be copied but used only as inspiration.

Contact an IxD Counselor

If you have questions about your eligibility, transferring units from another school, or other admission requirements, it is a good idea to meet with an academic counselor to confirm eligibility.

Ready to Apply?

Start your application in SlideRoom or attend an info session to ask questions and gather more information.

How to apply to the Interaction Design program

How to apply

Complete your portfolio and application in Slideroom. Learn more about the IxD Interaction Design Bachelors Degree program by attending an info session.

About

The Interaction Design (IxD) Bachelor of Science degree program blends the fields of design, user experience (UX), and technology. Interaction Designers ensure that products are appealing, effective and intuitive for their users. They create the experiences we have every day with smart objects, devices, and the web.

The Interaction Design degree is made up of 2 years of upper-division IxD classes. The upper division curriculum requires a full-time commitment (12 or more units per semester), and must be taken in sequence.

Requirements

  1. Speak with an SMC IxD Counselor to see if the IxD Program might be right for you and establish your IxD Major Preparation plan.
  2. Enroll at SMC and set ‘Interaction Design’ as your intended major.
  3. Complete 60 lower division units of CSU transferable general education and IxD Major Preparation Requirements, which can be fulfilled by completing SMC’s Design Associate’s Degree with a User Experience Certification and IxD CSU General Education pattern or the IGETC for CSU.

Courses from a regionally accredited college or AP/IB/CLEP credit may be acceptable pending Counselor approval. If you’ve attended another college, be sure to meet with a Counselor to review your transcripts and create an education plan.

Important Information

Application Open
December 1, 2023
Application Deadline
March 1, 2024
If Accepted, You Will Start
August 2024
estimated graduation
June 2026
Estimated cost
(For the entire degree, not including Financial Aid)
$10,000
This estimation is calculated for domestic students who are California residents. Read about the cost breakdown on the FAQ page.
financial aid
Scholarships
Present
Application Fee
None

Portfolio

Your portfolio should be:

  • 3-5 projects
  • curated body of work that demonstrates your understanding and interest in design
  • edited to highlight your best and most relevant design work. You can choose to include professional, class assignment and/or self-initiated works.

Your portfolio should be:

  • Websites
  • Mobile apps
  • Products
  • Interaction design
  • User experience design
  • Print

What does the IxD faculty expect to see in a portfolio?

  1. Show the way you think about problems. Faculty wants to read about your thought and decision making process.
  2. Show your process. How did you go from problem or concept to solution? Show your brainstorms, research, sketches, user tests and photos to visualize your process.
  3. Tell a good story. Use language, visual hierarchy and design to make your portfolio engaging and easy to understand.

How might you structure your projects in your portfolio?

You can use this outline as inspiration or guidance. However, you’re highly encouraged to tell your story in your unique way. Focus on telling an engaging story of you and your projects, and don’t be afraid to just go for it and submit your portfolio!

Application in Slideroom

  1. You must send official transcripts to Santa Monica College. Unofficial transcripts can be submitted in Slideroom.
  2. You will be asked to respond to two personal essay questions.