Study interaction design at the University of Sydney. Enrol in a Bachelor of Design Computing.

If you are interested in design and technologies, the University of Sydney’s Bachelor of Design Computing is for you. This is the only undergraduate program in Australia to provide specialised training in design and coding, with a view to producing unique, innovative and user-focused interactive design applications.

Design Computing teaches you the approach necessary to invent elegant, commercially viable products and services using creative technologies and design thinking. You will learn to manage a trusted team of creators, working in a studio-model that firmly puts the focus on your expression and your solution. You will be empowered through a toolbox of skills in interaction design, user experience design, visual design, programming and physical computing. Most importantly, you will be taught to recognise what tools are needed for specific social and commercial challenges, and to use those skills to create original solutions in the digital product space.

Your first year of study will focus on upskilling, with units on Design Thinking, Visual Communication and Digital Media Production in Semester 1, followed by 3D Modeling & Fabrication and Sound Design & Physical Computing in Semester 2. In years two and three, your emphasis will be on applying these skills in studio projects, creating products and leading innovation in experimental directions. Through the studio projects you will build your portfolio and become extremely well-positioned for employment in this exciting, high-growth industry.

Students can also take electives from other faculties, meaning you are eligible to graduate from Design Computing with a minor in Information Technologies (IT). Our independent study options allow you to use your knowledge to prototype your own projects, leading to patents or even a startup business, rounding out a design degree that is exciting, focused, flexible and commercially relevant.

Scroll down for further details or to click ‘APPLY NOW’.


Graduates from the Bachelor of Design Computing typically find work in one of the following areas/roles: Interaction Designer, User Experience Designer, Creative Technologist, Design Strategist, Front End Designer/Developer, Web Designer/Developer, Digital Producer, and Art Director. They join teams to design mobile apps for banks, in-flight entertainment systems for large airlines, and interactive installations for museums and advertising campaigns. Through the Faculty’s strong links with the creative industries in Sydney, many of our students receive job offers during their final year. We host regular careers events to connect industry and our students.


Emila Yang

I studied a Bachelor of Design Computing (Hons) and graduated in 2014. My Honours project involved researching and designing an interactive experience of storytelling, which is one of my passions, and I was awarded the University Medal.

Since graduation, I’ve worked on many interesting projects as an Experience Designer at Massive Interactive—including the Emirates in-flight-entertainment system and the interface for Foxtel’s set-top box. Outside of Massive, one of my favourite projects so far was working on an installation used to browse a collection of paintings, which was set up for the Utopia Interactive Arts Festival in Singapore (and required a trip there!) I’ve also previously gotten involved with start-ups, and co-founded Edisse as the main designer, and designed a mobile chat interface for OpenLearning as a front-end developer.

The Architecture Faculty has some great facilities: 24-hour labs, woodwork and metalwork studios, 3D printers, multi-touch tables, kinects and projectors. I met some truly amazing people while studying here amongst the lecturers, researchers, and classmates. You only realise how good you had it when it’s gone!


You don't have to be a programming genius or technical whiz to do DesComp. You just need to be interested in design and be genuinely curious about how things work. The Design Computing studio environment and small lectures make for an excellent creative environment. In the final third year studio, I developed a jacket that would guide the wearer through the city without the need of a screen.

At the time, I wanted to develop what I initially called the Urban NavJacket, but I knew the technology and my skills were lacking. So instead, I completed Honours, travelled, and then worked a full-time job for a year. Whilst in-between jobs I found a bit of time to work on my own projects. I started to reboot the old code, and at the same time I was fortunate enough to meet up with one of my Design Computing classmates who happened to work at a company eager to establish a 'wearables' division. They needed some ideas, so I was brought in as a researcher/consultant. From there, I began developing and they began marketing what is now called the Navigate Jacket. The jacket was most recently featured in Vogue and showcased at GroupM’s mLab, alongside the likes of Google Glass. I think a lot of it was luck, but also knowing which trend was on the rise.


I started working at Syple Technologies towards the end of my 2nd year of the Design Computing program. Since then I’ve had the opportunity to work on huge projects that span various industries which are being used by thousands of people everyday.

Studying in the Design Lab of FADP was a great experience. The lecturers and tutors were very supportive and it was great to be surrounded by such a diverse range of peers, united by a love of design, technology and all things geeky!

Studying the Design Computing program has given me the ability to be effective in my role of designing solutions for various clients. I learnt the very important skills of iterative design and ‘questioning everything’ along with enough technical knowledge to allow me to communicate with developers involved in projects.

My advice to current and future students is to continually build, whenever you find a little annoyance in the world try and design a solution for it.

Mark Mitchell

My studies in Design Computing have equipped me with a diverse range of technical skills and design methodologies that can be readily applied to solve problems in an innovative way, as well as practical skills that allow these solutions to be rapidly implemented and evaluated. The studio work on large-scale projects created a stimulating environment for teamwork, critique, and innovation, and allowed me to explore my creative interest: intersecting design with technology and art. I hope to stay surrounded by design as theory, design as practice, and design as art: applying my knowledge to creative projects, or researching new innovations in the field of interaction design.

Design Computing Toolkit

Design Computing gives you many diverse skills. They’re all useful for creating new ideas and turning them into products, devices and services. When you study Design Computing, you get access to the Design Computing Toolkit. These skills can take you in many different directions. Click on the professions below to see how your skills are used across different industries.


Digital Production

User Experience Design

Digital Advertising

Web Design

Product Developer

Data Visualisation


What is the relationship between beauty and truth? How do we know what is beautiful? Does perfection have limits? Aesthetics gets you to question the furthest possibilities of design, form and function.

Agile Design

Using rapid prototyping and iterative development, Agile Design teaches you to start working on your solution right away and not get stuck in agonising design decisions.


Learn how to sell your ideas or promote valuable causes. A background in advertising teaches you the basics necessary to survive in a crowded media world.


Give your designs personality, flair and interactivity. Animationmakes all the difference to providing compelling, engaging content.


Use arduino boards to program directly. Embed these boards in everyday devices.

Artificial Intelligences

Understand the potential of artificial intelligence. Leverage the capacity of independent computer agency to free up human concerns. Embed these intelligences into your designs and prototypes.

Art Criticism

Learn how to critique art. Learn various historical, cultural, economic and social aspects to art. Then apply them to your personal design language.

Artistic Expression

Develop your creative skills and learn about material selection in a wide range of art workshops.

Audio Editing

Control multiple inputs; mix multiple tracks. Create the best atmosphere or most engaging soundscapes using filters and effects.

Business Intelligence

Learn the structures of business intelligence. Understand how decision support software influences business activity.

Collaborative – Design Skills

Work alongside others and learn how to synthesise your best ideas into a solution greater than its parts.


tell the world about your inventions. Learn to communicate clearly, effectively and sensitively to listener’s needs.

Concept Development

Turn ideas into concepts that can be tested. Learn how to evaluate ideas for their possibilities and relative strengths.


Learn how to work alongside clients to implement solutions. Apply your skills to help and instruct others in industry best-practice.

Colour Theory

Understand how colours relate and which work well together. Avoidembarrassing design gaffes through an advanced knowledge of colour theory.

Computer Graphics

Understand how colours relate and which work well together. Avoidembarrassing design gaffes through an advanced knowledge of colour theory.

Critical Theory

Understand how the evolution of society and our acceptance of social factors influences design approaches. An understanding of critical theory can help you find justifications for your design decisions as society continues to evolve.

Critical Thinking

Use logic to check assumptions and make sure your ideas are on target. Critical thinking gets you to think more deeply and develop your ideas more fully.

Cultural Critique

reflect on society’s progress to discuss where we are heading. Then design for that future.


Understanding databases is core to software and application development. Learn database theory to create apps that are dynamic and adaptable.

Design Language

Develop a ‘look and feel’ that can unify and simplify complex and varying types of content. Develop identities that are meaningful and impressive.

Design Thinking

Acquire and analyse information in a creative context to understand ill-defined problems. Combine empathy, creativity and rationality to produce contextually appropriate solutions.

  • /li>

Discourse Analysis

Understand how language is used to build social truths.


Stop designing and start building. Engineering skills get you to prototype and consider many challenging practicalities of making your ideas.


Turn your great ideas into profits. Learn how to research markets, identify customers and give them what they need - in exchange for their money, of course!


Assess the success of your design using a variety of metrics. Prove to businesses and employers the value of your solutions through evaluation procedures.

Film Theory

Learn how images and pacing contribute to narrative. Build these assumptions into your own films or other design works.

Game Design

Learn how to program games and understand how fun, interactive experiences can be part of a solution to many social problems.

Game Development

Build games that are fun and engaging, or terrifyingly scary. Use advanced programming and new interfaces to produce novel experiences that make people want to play again and again.

Generative Design

Use iteration to constrain and inform your designs. Leverage the power of algorithms to produce novel solutions to iterative problems.

Graphic Design Skills

Create logos, branding, publications and websites that are visually pleasing and intuitive through intelligent, considered designs.


HTML5 and CSS are essential to understanding web development. Use the newest standards to make modern and elegant websites.


Generate, develop and communicate new ideas. Understand how to produce new ideas and evaluate which ones are worth keeping.

Information Visualisation

Communicate convey complex information in simple ways to media, customers and the public. These skills are in demand by companies with large datasets, including government agencies.


A core programming skill, Java enables you to produce software for a broad range of platforms, including internet apps, interactive installations and Android apps.


The most powerful client scripting language, JavaScript animates your website to create engaging, responsive content.


Use lighting to create images, project displays or convey information. Lighting keeps your ideas bright and is great for developing things used at night.

Low Fidelity Prototyping

Turn an idea from a skeletal concept to a full-bodied prototype. Low fidelity prototyping gets you to embed content into your design concepts.


Develop full campaigns for your ideas. Don’t just advertise; market and commercialise your ideas for personal profit.


What is success and how do you tell if you’ve succeeded? Learn various strategies for assessing your work and proving your accomplishments.

Mind Mapping

Explore relationships between problems, solutions and approaches using mind maps. Understand how elements interrelate and demand unique, considered responses.

Mobile App Development

Define commercial niches and market your solutions for financial gain. Learn how to distribute your apps and generate revenue.

Music Theory

Don’t just use music – make it. Learn the fundamentals of music theory to improve your music selection for your creations.

Object Design

Would an iPad work as a triangle? Take units in object design, build your ideas and find out. Object design helps you turn your ideas into physical prototypes.


Learn to make applications for Apple’s mobile devices. Use our educational access to the Apple iOS Developer Program to develop and test your apps.

Object-oriented Programming

Learn object oriented programming methods such as classes and objects. Leverage this powerful level of programming to produce advanced applications and software.

Pervasive Computing

What happens when computers are everywhere. Learn about how the next step after mobile and embedded computing will influence future designs and demands.


Beautiful photography is a core part of most visual communication. Learn to take images that look great and tell a story.


PHP is a server scripting language that lets you create dynamic, web apps. Connect your design to a database to enable greater user interaction.

Physical Computing

Embed the digital into the physical. Blend the distinction between digital environments and the objects we use everyday.

Postproduction Skills

Craft soundtracks, special effects and animations for your videos and digital content.

Problem Solving

Learn techniques to get you from problem to solution. Understand how brainstorming, lateral thinking, abstraction and analogy give you the tools to address a wide range of design challenges.


Use processing to create tabletop multitouch installations and in-depth information visualisations by leveraging processing’s user-friendly and powerful coding capabilities.

Product Development

Produce digital and physical products and services that you can patent and turn into the core of a potential startup.

Project Management

Get it done on time, on budget and in the best way. Make sure everyone is on the same page using advanced project management and coordination skills.


Build physical and digital candidates for your design. Select from amongst prototypes to learn the strengths and limitations of various design decisions.


Why do some people hate Comic Sans with a passion? Why do others not care? Find out by studying psychology and try to understand your users better.

Public Art

Understand the relationship between art and the public. Skills in public art help you consider how to exhibit your works.

Role Playing

Step into someone else’s shoes to understand the strengths and limitations of your designs. Or consider other’s situations to find new design problems that you could solve. Role playing encourages the empathy necessary for ideation.


Analyse images for signs and symbols. Learn to use this design language in your work and to analyse the works of others for inspiration.


Learn how social measurement techniques can provide valuable metrics on the use and success of your designs. Sociology gets you to look at the structure of society and the capacity for individual action.

Sonification Software

Turn noise into sound. Understand how sound can be used to signify meaning and embed this into feedback systems in your applications, programs and websites.

Sound Design

Use sound to produce immersive environments for film, animations and games. Understand how to manipulate recordings to produce the best experiences for users.


Develop narratives for how users will step through your design solution. Look at how interactive elements will operate. Storyboarding gets your ideas into order.

User Testing

Learn from user feedback to modify your creations. Understand when to listen to users and when to trust in your design despite possible negative initial reactions.

Use Cases

Understand when your solutions will be used. Find out the different contexts that your design will need to address.

User Interface Design

Understand how user interfaces influence user expectations and uses. Produce device and program interfaces that help users, not frustrate them.

User Personas

Focus on who uses your products, not what they do with them. Understanding user personalities and needs makes sure your creations are engaging and suitable.

User Scenarios

Understand why a user would need your services and products. Create scenarios that let you see the need for your designs. Use scenarios to find new design problems in everyday situations.

Video Creation/Editing

Shoot and edit video using industry leading software, Avid and Final Cut Pro.

Video Creation/Editing

Understand how typography, page layouts and image selection are crucial to effectively organizing and communicating content and information.

Website Development

Develop corporate and personal identity on the web. Build your online resume – a personal, online portfolio that showcases your best work – essential to your employment in this field.


Sketch out important design elements and produce the very first versions of your designs. Learn how to produce simple diagrams that contain the core of your ideas.


Year 1 Year 2 Year 3
DECO1012 Design Programming
DECO1006 Design Thinking
DECO1014 Digital Media Production
DECO1015 Visual Communication
DESA1555 Safety Induction And Competency Unit
INFO2120 Database Systems 1
DECO2010 Designing Social Media
2 electives
DECO3100 Information Visualisation Design Studio
2 electives
DECO1008 3D Modelling and Digital Fabrication
DECO1013 Sound Design and Physical Computing
2 electives
DECO2200 Interaction Design Studio
2 electives
DECO3200 Interactive Product Design Studio
2 electives

You will take a total of 60 credit points (typically 10 units) as electives. You must take 18 credit points of Technical Electives and 18 credit points of Arts Electives. At least 6 credit points from each of the Technical and Arts streams need to be at second year level or higher. Your remaining 24 credit points can be split across Technical, Arts and Faculty Electives. Some sample subject areas from which you choose your electives are suggested below:

Technical Electives Arts Electives Faculty Electives
Computer Science(INFO) Digital Cultures(ARIN) Object Design(AWSS)
Electrical Engineering(ELEC) Marketing and Advertising(MKTG) Independent Study
Mechatronics and Robotic Experimentation(MTRX) Psychology(PSYC) Photography(AWSS)
Information Technology(INFO) Physics(PHYS) Advanced Interaction Design(DECO)
Information Systems(ISYS) Nanoscience and Technology Principles of Animation(DECO)
Business Information Systems(ISYS) Web Design and Technologies (DECO)
Management Honours Preparation

Note: These are subject areas and not individual units. Some units from other Faculties may have prerequisite requirements. Check the handbook for more information on individual units.

Learn more about Design Computing electives.

How To Apply

Year 12 Applications (UAC Admission)

Year 12 applicants (and those who completed a gap-year in the year preceding the course commencement) must apply through the University Admissions Centre (UAC).

Applicants are eligible for the Flexible Entry scheme

Non-Year 12 Applicants under the age of 21 (UAC Admission)

If you have completed the HSC or equivalent, and/or tertiary study, apply through the University Admissions Centre (UAC).

Your application will be evaluated by combining your ATAR and any applicable tertiary grades.

Applicants are eligible for the Flexible Entry scheme.

Mature Age Entry Scheme

If you are over 21 years of age and have not completed the HSC, its equivalent or more than one year of tertiary study, you can complete an approved preparation course through the University Centre for Continuing Education (CCE). Once you have completed this course, you can apply through UAC for entry into your degree of choice.

Contact the University Centre for Continuing Education for more information. You can call the Centre on (02) 9351 2907 or visit their website.

International Applicants (Onshore):

If you are an international student completing your HSC or equivalent within Australia or New Zealand, apply through the University Admissions Centre (UAC). You will be considered for a place based on your ATAR score. You are not eligible for the flexible entry scheme.

International Applicants (Offshore):

If you are an international student studying overseas (with the exception of students undertaking the HSC equivalents in New Zealand), you must apply directly through the University of Sydney’s course page.

You are not eligible for the flexible entry scheme. Find out how to apply directly or where to find an agent at the dedicated international student homepage

International undergraduate academic entry requirements

Check the International undergraduate academic entry grade requirement for Design Computing here

For a full list of international qualifications that are accepted by the University of Sydney for entry to undergraduate courses, visit the Recognised International Secondary Qualification page.

International Mature Age Applicants (Onshore and Offshore)

If you are over 21 years of age, are not an Australian or New Zealand citizen and have not completed the HSC, its equivalent or at least one year of tertiary study, you must apply through the University of Sydney’s International Office.

You are not eligible for the flexible entry scheme. Find out how to apply directly or where to find an agent at the dedicated international student homepage

International undergraduate academic entry requirements

Check the International undergraduate academic entry grade requirement for Design Computing here

For a full list of international qualifications that are accepted by the University of Sydney for entry to undergraduate courses, visit the Recognised International Secondary Qualification page.

Transfers into the degree

There are no direct transfers into the Undergraduate Degree and all applications should be directed to UAC. Where students have partly completed an architectural degree at another institution, credit may be awarded. Please download our FAQ document(PDF) for more information on what standardized credit may be available to you.

Flexible Entry

The flexible entry scheme is available to Bachelor of Design Computing applicants who fall under one of the following categories:

  • Year 12 applicants

  • Non-Year 12 applicants under the age of 21

  • Mature age applicants who are Australian citizens.

Flexible entry is designed to assist the University of Sydney to identify students who may not have achieved the required ATAR, but nonetheless demonstrate an aptitude for studies in Design Computing.

More details on flexible entry are available on the Alternative Entry Pathways page.


What subjects should I choose in Year 11?
There are no prerequisites but there are two subjects which are 'assumed knowledge'. These are Maths and Advanced English. Interpretive subjects such as History, Visual Arts and Geography are also recommended.

Where is the Faculty Located?
The Faculty of Architecture, Design and Planning is in the Wilkinson Building at 148 City Road, Darlington as are the Tin Sheds Gallery and Art Workshops. For more information, please see our How to find us page.

What textbooks do I need?
Most students do not buy textbooks as they have access to one of the best Architecture libraries in Australia, the Sci-Tech Library which is located close to the faculty. Some course notes are purchased throughout the program.

What equipment do I need?
On orientation day, you will be issued with a list of recommended equipment, along with prices and addresses of where to buy at a 10% student discount.

Do I have to be good at maths?
Mathematics is assumed knowledge, but it is not a prerequisite. This means you can get into our program without studying 2 unit maths. A maths elective is available in 1st year for students wishing to catch up.

Do I have to be able to draw - I have not done art or any technical drawing before?
You don’t need to have been taught drawing at school – we will equip you with the skills you need. Drawing is one of the design communication skills that is taught in first and second year.

Where can I park?
Most students come by bus or train. Many senior students and most international students live in the area. City Road has on-street parking which is subject to clear zones at peak hours and is heavily monitored. The Seymour Centre carpark on Shepherd Street offers parking for a reasonable daily rate and is only a few minutes walk from the Faculty.

Where can I eat?
We have a cafe in our building for coffee and food, otherwise you can eat at Wentworth Building on City Road about 100m from the faculty. There are lots of great cafes on campus as well as in Glebe and Newtown which are both in walking distance.

Any questions about Design Computing?
Contact the Acting Program Director Dr Oliver Bown

Student Work

James Dumesny

This project demonstrates how physical information such as printed material or hand-written notes can be augmented with associated digital information. The goal is to enrich both the digital and physical content by providing a means to access them both at the same time.

The digital augmentation is provided by a projector positioned overhead. Markers on the table below determine where the digital augmentation will appear. The markers are constructed from reflective safety tape. They reflect infrared light from a series of infrared LEDs attached to the projector. This reflected light is picked up by an infrared camera and processed to find the position of each marker on the table.

Ben Murphy
John Duncan
Delineative Rocks

This work uses the Microsoft Kinect depth camera and an Arduino board to allow people to control a re-purposed remote-controlled car through gestures. Moving their arms people can steer the car, which leaves traces of this interaction on the canvas underneath.

This work plays on two themes. The first explores the ever-changing surroundings and inner workings of The Rocks. The second is the idea of appealing to the right audience; we are seeking an interested and engaged audience that is keen to participate. While the shops and business within The Rocks and the skyline are ever changing, The Rocks themselves remain unchanged and stand as a tribute to Australia’s past. Our project will not work unless the crowd interact and give the work their attention. It pushes the audience to take interest in the work in order for them to see its full potential.

Geoffrey Lazarus
The Story of Plastic

The Story of Plastic is an infographic that details the lifecycle of plastic from extraction to disposal, and its polluting effects on our environment. It identifies the harmful aspects of each stage of production including the flawed nature of the various forms of disposal. Supporting statistics and facts illustrate the scope and severity of the harm plastic causes to our environment, while solutions are offered to combat these issues.

Amelia Lewis
Ronan Brett
Lucy Matchett
Little Boxes

Little Boxes is an interactive, digital time-capsule that allows viewers not only to become a part of the piece directly but also to explore digital information in an interesting way. Various wooden boxes of different sizes, shapes and designs are scattered around the space, each with their own screen stored inside. On entering the space, visitors are prompted to do two things; log into their Facebook account and choose a month and year they wish to view.

In so doing the visitor will be able to view varying content through the boxes, relevant to the selected time. Whether it is a newspaper article, song, Facebook status or even a photo of you from that month. However, the boxes don’t just display your personal history; they combine your history with those who have previously viewed the work, allowing you as a viewer to interact with society’s past and your own personal history alongside those who have previously interacted with the work

Tamara Chahine
What the bus

This project explores ways of improving the experience of public transport in Sydney through commuter-led efforts. Sharing and visualising data about the performance of transport services can potentially aid designers, researchers or government bodies in deigning more informed transport solutions that adapt to the way services are actually used by commuters in Sydney.

What the bus’ ( is a mobile application designed to allow commuters to share information about the performance of their buses in Sydney. The application allows users to easily contribute information about the location, lateness and fullness of their buses while they wait

This information is then combined with existing timetable information and fed back to commuters in a number of different ways: first, by enabling users to view real-time reports about their buses; and second, in the form of various data visualisations.

Ryan Gavan
Austin Lin
Morgan Carter
Gangs of the Rocks

This game pits the Gangs of the Rocks, who dominated the Rocks area in the late 1800s, against each other in arcade style mini games. Users are prompted to scan their fingerprint when they first approach and from this they are assigned to a gang. Their fingerprint is then stored in a database; repeated visits will assign them to the same gang, they have no choice

Each gang has advantages and disadvantages, and the gangs are not evenly balanced. Some may be significantly better than others, but the player can do nothing about this. They play the games with the skill set they’re assigned.