Jun 13, 2024  
2023-2024 Cal State East Bay Catalog 
2023-2024 Cal State East Bay Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Interaction Design and Interactive Art, M.A.

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Interaction Design and Interactive Art, M.A. Program

Program Description

The Master’s degree in Interaction Design and Interactive Art is a unique interdisciplinary program at the intersection of interaction design and interactive content development. The program emphasizes the creative and technical aspects of current and emerging technology and its use in creating, controlling, delivering, and presenting compelling content in an interactive form. This degree draws upon elements from many fields, including visual and interaction design, UX/UI, Fine Art, Computer Science, Education, Psychology, Journalism, and Telecommunications.

Our program embraces industry skills and practices by emphasizing teamwork and a project-based, hands-on approach in the creation of interactive applications and objects as part of designed user experience. Instruction focuses as much on the enduring creative process as on the transient technology so that students learn skills needed to adapt quickly to new environments in a rapidly developing and ever-changing field.  

The Interaction Design and Interactive Art, M.A. Program is a two-year degree program, and most coursework is offered in the evening to accommodate working professionals.

During the first year, students develop a theoretical foundation, enhance their creative and research skills, and learn to work effectively in teams. During the second year, small teams of students of various backgrounds and talents create innovative, professional interactive thesis projects. Ideas for projects originate from students, faculty, or external sources.

Students in the Interaction Design and Interactive Art, M.A. Program, enjoy many benefits including small student-teacher ratios and dedicated interdisciplinary faculty. Thesis project students have 24-hour access to a dedicated production studio, maker space, and secure workspaces equipped and maintained with the current technology and support staff.

Career Opportunities

Located in the San Francisco Bay Area, and across the bay from, Silicon Valley - the epicenter of the interactive digital art and media industry and technological innovation, the Interaction Design and Interactive Art graduate program prepares students for successful careers across many growing industries.

Interaction Designers create meaningful relationships between people and their interactive digital products, environments, systems, or services.

Creative Technologists are both strategists and innovators - technology-focused individuals integrated into a creative team.  

Cultural producers of interactive art are integrators who blur the lines between technology and creativity and create new ways of meaning-making, telling stories, and using technology.

Our graduates are skilled team members and innovators with a high degree of expertise in interactive content development. They are equally at home in tech startups, film and video studios, graphic and exhibition design studios, production and post-production houses, publishers, training and communication groups, scientific visualization teams, support teams for educational institutions and business presentations, supporting a user-focused design process by participating in researching, analyzing, developing, and testing phases of a design process.


Applicants are individually evaluated for admission to the graduate program using the following criteria:

  • A minimum GPA of 3.0 in the last 60 semester units of relevant undergraduate work,
  • A portfolio of work reflecting the applicant’s talents and abilities in digital and interactive media,
  • Evidence of professional experience in relevant fields.

To apply for admission to the graduate program, students must:

  1. Complete the online university application at CAL STATE Apply
  2. Complete a department application by submitting a statement of purpose, resume, work sample, two reference letters, and copies of academic transcripts. Applicants are selected by an admissions panel of the Program Committee.

Students are admitted for the fall semester only. See the Graduate Program website for the application deadline.

No entrance exam (GRE) is required for admission. However, international students must demonstrate proficiency in English outlined on the University website page.

Applicants who do not meet all prerequisite requirements may be placed in “Conditionally Classified Graduate” status if they can demonstrate the ability to complete these requirements.

Requirements for Continuation

Once admitted to the program, students completed all the prerequisite requirements.

Advancement to Candidacy is a University requirement for graduation. A student with “Classified Graduate” status may apply for Advancement to Candidacy after completing at least 20-semester units towards the master’s degree with a minimum GPA of 3.0 (a grade of “B” or higher). Before being Advanced to Candidacy, a student’s complete course of study and progress must be approved by the Program Committee.

Program Learning Outcomes

Students graduating with an M.A. in Interaction Design and Interactive Art from Cal State East Bay will possess the following skills:

  1. BUILDING: Able to analyze, imagine, ideate, create interactive systems, products, services, environments, and experiences. in the form of design interactions for physical and screen-based prototypes.
  2. COMMUNICATING: Use contemporary textual, visual, and plastic design skills to physically and conceptually communicate their work.
  3. PROCESS & COLLABORATION: Lead Teams and collaborate on projects employing quantitative and qualitative research methods, brainstorming, problem-solving, prototyping, critiquing and gathering user feedback and audience responses, in creating innovative and effective interactive experiences.
  4. SOCIAL JUSTICE, SUSTAINABILITY, DIVERSITY: Responsibly engage diverse communities, uncovering needs, and root causes of systemic neglect and injustice through developing sustainable and equitable responses.
  5. PROFESSIONALISM: Integrate arts related skills in developing professional practices and planning for ethical, sustainable civic engagement. Formulate a plan to develop and maintain a professional creative practice.
  6. CRITICAL THINKING: Examine issues, problems, and practices critically and contextually by employing evidence-based reasoning and descriptions of multiple perspectives to formulate a thesis/hypothesis that takes into account the complexity of an issue or problem and to develop design and artistic conclusions.

Degree Requirements (34 units)

Required Core Courses

The following 17 units of core coursework is required:

Interaction Design: Core, Electives, and Capstone

Interaction Design, 17 units, focuses on the creation of meaningful experiences expressed as interactive applications and objects. Students analyze interactivity in art, design, and everyday life; acquire skills and develop prototypes, and work in collaborative teams to creatively solve real-world problems.

Interaction Design Core

Two (2) courses for 6 units are required:

Interaction Design Electives

Choose two (2) electives for 6 units:

Interaction Design Capstone

The following 5 units are required to complete the program capstone:

Other Graduate & Post-Baccalaureate Degree Requirements

In addition to departmental requirements, every student must also satisfy the University requirements for graduation as described throughout this catalog. These include the 70% unit residence requirement; the five-year rule on currency of subject matter; the minimum number of units in 600-level courses; the “C” minimum grade for each graduate course; and the 3.00 cumulative grade point average.

Department Courses Listed by Course Type

Arts and Media Courses


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