Design » School of the Arts, Media, Performance & Design
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Program Overview

Define tomorrow’s design strategies while training at the intersection of information design, human-computer interaction and computation. You will learn to manage and communicate complex information through an interdisciplinary curriculum for meaningful human experiences in our increasingly visual world. Experience small class sizes, state-of-the-art facilities and placements with leading design firms, technology start-ups and cultural institutions like Facebook, Google, IBM, and more.  Upper-year concentrations include Interaction Design (UX/ Ul), Information Design, Visual Communication Design, Design Theory, History and Criticism (Design Studies).

Sample Courses

As a Design student you can take courses like:

Career Possibilities

As a Design student you can become:

  • User Interface (UI) Designer 
  • User Experience Designer
  • Graphic Designer
  • Creative Director

Degree Level
Undergraduate

Degrees Offered
Bachelor of Design (BDes)

Department
Department of Design

Duration
4 years

Evaluation process
Portfolio Review and Interview

Entry Options
Fall

Next Steps

We’re excited that you’re considering applying to York University's School of the Arts, Media, Performance & Design (AMPD). Check out our step-by-step guide to submitting an application.

Immerse Yourself in Design at AMPD

Access to RGD (Registered Graphic Designers) programming and competitions for all Design students; complimentary student membership for Design students in their third and fourth year of study.

Student licenses for Adobe Creative Cloud with 20+ desktop and mobile apps and services for design, UX, photography, video, web, and more.

Gain professional experience and engage in real-world projects in selected courses and through opportunities such as work-study and placement.

Our studios are state-of-the-art and with 24-7 access and a dedicated Fabrication Lab and Photo Studio. Design at York offers the most technology-enriched design education facilities in Canada.  

Low student-faculty ratio in student-centred learning environments.

Create your own pathway or specialize

  • Interaction Design/UX and UI
  • Information Design
  • Visual Communication Design
  • Design History, Theory, and Criticism (Design Studies)

Interaction Design/UX and UI

Interaction Design is for students excited to explore a human-centred and systems thinking approach to design physical, digital and mixed reality interfaces. They will learn to use design processes to discover the connections between people, objects, technologies, and environments.

What you’ll learn: 

  • Explore interaction design through a human centric focus such as designing for users’ experience and UI (user interface) design. 
  • Learn to design interactive mobile applications, physical products and mixed reality interfaces. 
  • Conceptualize, design and evaluate engaging user experiences across digital, physical and blended or mixed systems. 
  • Develop user-centered design processes to inform the connection between people, technology and environment. 
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Information Design

Discover how information design makes data meaningful, visualizes processes, reveals connections and enhances user understanding. Students gain the in-demand skill of data visualization as a powerful tool to facilitate audience understanding in an increasingly data-driven world. Students will also develop interpretive expertise and experiment with conceptual approaches to data-driven design.

What you’ll learn: 

  • Develop data literacy; translate data into usable and understandable visual displays, narratives and interfaces. 
  • Practice visualization through mapping activities, ranging from conceptual approaches to practical applications using print and digital media. 
  • Gain experience with data reporting and design methodologies to build engaging user experiences. 
  • Explore how typography relates to information design in print and digital systems.
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Visual Communication Design

Visual Communication Design courses develop branding systems, packaging, publication design, and motion graphics in the exploration of shaping meaning using text, images, and symbols. Experimenting with image-making, 2D composition, aesthetics, and typography, graduates will enter the industry prepared to invent new graphic forms and visual systems that communicate to audiences.

What you’ll learn: 

  • Develop visual systems including branding and identity, signage, packaging, editorial and publication design, and time-based communication. 
  • Study techniques and experiment with methods of image-making, 2D composition, aesthetics and typography and motion design. 
  • Invent new graphic forms and visual systems that communicate and delight for audience engagement. 
  • Explore how meaning is shaped and interpreted with text and images, and in the creation of signs and symbols.
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Design History, Theory, and Criticism (Design Studies)

Design Studies courses enhance and add breadth to our students’ design education. Taken concurrently throughout the program, Design Studies courses serve to expand and deepen students’ understanding of design history, communication theories, sociological discourse, professional practice, and creative strategies. Students learn to place their work in local and global contexts.

What you’ll learn: 

  • Learn design research skills that foster deeper engagement with design across all specialization areas. 
  • Deepen understanding of specific design histories, cultures and movements and their global social and political contexts. 
  • Critically examine the role that design, and designers play in addressing complex visual and cultural problems. 
  • Augment Design Studies with six electives taken from courses offered across York University in the humanities, social and natural sciences.
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Learning Objectives

Share your story, find your vision, build the future

Lay the Foundation

  • Expand your awareness through foundational courses on the techniques, theories, and histories of design. 
  • Develop new design skills, principles and methods for project-based learning.  
  • Broaden your perspective with design studies, and university-wide courses. 

Sharpen Your Focus 

  • Delve deeper into the fundamentals of design processes and practices. 
  • Advance your technical skills for both digital and print techniques. 
  • Extend your theoretical and critical understanding of design. 

Deepen Your Understanding

  • Specialize in Visual Communication, Information Design or Interaction Design, or create a personalized blend.  
  • Enhance your skills as a designer, using industry-standard tools and technologies.  
  • Gain real-world design experience in a required professional work placement 

Integrate Your Knowledge 

  • Refine practical expertise and critical design and research skills
  • Curate, organize, publicize, and mount an exhibition of cumulative design work.
  • Develop strategies and networking opportunities to enter professional design practice.

What AMPD Students Say

I chose AMPD because it has a diverse group of creatives who are like-minded to myself. What makes my program unique is the broad range of courses that allow Design students to branch off to different streams. The most valuable thing I have learned so far in my program is to not be afraid of experimentation. By taking leaps of faith and not being scared to try new things, I have received the chance to experience indulging in streams within my major that are offered outside of my comfort zone including package design, motion design, and branding. 

— Kesha U, Year 4 Design Student 

Explore Student Work

Jenny Samuels

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Atoosa Moshashee

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Mark Appleton

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John Francis

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Get in Touch

Reach out to us for more information on our programs, upcoming events, open houses, and applying to AMPD. We're here to assist you with any questions you may have and to help guide you through the application process.

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