Master of Interaction Design and Electronic Arts

The Interaction Design and Electronic Arts program enables you to design for the future, using the emergent technologies of today.

This program infuses technological innovation with human‑centred design thinking. The result is an understanding of ways to design interactive products and systems that will have lasting cultural and commercial importance.

Learn to design across multiple platforms and scales – from wearable computing and mobile applications to interactive architecture, responsive environments, social media and urban informatics. Your ideas may become the basis of prototype products, patents or even start-up services.

Through a series of collaborative design studios and technical workshops, you will acquire the essential knowledge and skills for envisioning, creating and evaluating innovative solutions to a range of design challenges.

You can adapt this program to suit your interests by taking electives from other faculties. You will also build a compelling portfolio showcasing not only your design skills, but also your understanding of how best to convey the user experience of new products and services.

The course culminates in a capstone research project, industry internship or graduation design project.

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Interaction Design and Electronic Arts

  • We're ranked 1st in Australia and ranked in the top 15 in the world for architecture and the built environment.

    2017 QS University World Rankings.

Indicative Course Progression

Indicative progression based on a 72 credit point master’s degree with a Semester 1 enrolment.

* These units are corequisites

Note: In Year 2, Semester 1, you may pursue a capstone research project as a pathway to PhD research instead of the Graduation Studio unit.
You can further tailor your degree by replacing either of the 12 credit point capstone units (Graduation Studio or IDEA Research Internship) with two six-credit-point electives.

Our Students

Hugh Gaukroger

Master of Interaction Design and Electronic Arts
Virtual and Augmented Reality Team Lead, PwC Australia

“The master’s degree helps you stand out as someone passionate about digital design. Through the course, I was introduced to the PwC virtual reality internship, which has resulted in full-time employment. I have entered into a career focused on virtual and augmented reality. I want to push the boundaries of what is real versus virtual.”

Armando Bretón Olguín

Master of Interaction Design and Electronic Arts
Senior UX designer, Fairfax Media

“I have a design studio in Mexico where I design and develop projects related to graphic, industrial and editorial design. From time to time clients would ask me to work on projects that involved coding or web design skills, I would have to outsource. Design trends are evolving and focusing on digital and web sectors, leading me to enrol in the Master of Interaction Design and Electronic Arts to complement my existing skillset.

During my degree I had the chance to exhibit some of my work and projects with the Schools Tin Sheds Gallery. This helped me to find an internship, which has resulted in ongoing employment at Fairfax Media.”

Silje Johansen

Master of Interaction Design and Electronic Arts

I have a degree in information technology and I’ve been working for some years in the software industry as both a programmer and technical resource for sales. I wanted to find a degree where I could use my technical background at the same time as developing design skills and be creatively challenged. I’ve always had an artistic side to me and this degree seemed to be perfect. I’ve really enjoyed playing and experimenting with such a wide variety of technologies. I’ve especially enjoyed working with sensor based interfaces – making things talk using electronics combined with software.

For anyone considering this degree I’d say no matter whether you come from a technical or a more creative background, as long as you have a passion for design, and like working with ideas and cutting edge technologies, this degree would be a good choice.

Lavie Sak

Master of Interaction Design and Electronic Arts

I left my management consulting career and the States with the intention of only learning about new UX principles and design processes through the IDEA program—but in reality, I learned something far more applicable and important. I learned that design is so much more than what most people think: it means thinking about problems in new and unique ways, realising there are a multitude of solutions, and thinking about thinking itself.

With the help of the teaching staff and their broad range of expertise (art, technology, filmography, user experience, curation etc.), I was able to explore and develop my own ideas. The program’s flexibility allowed me to excel.

Since graduating, I founded Shot Stats, which was accepted into the leading hardware based accelerator HAXLR8R, in Shenzhen, China. Shot Stats provides valuable metrics using an on-racket device with accelerometers and gyroscopes. The M.IDEA program is a great place for creative solutions like Shot Stats to originate and flourish!"

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Lichen Huang

Master of Interaction Design and Electronic Arts

My first exposure to Interaction Design was through a photo-sensor system at Shanghai World Expo in 2010, which showed me that there was a strong link between the physical andvirtual environments. After that I wanted to achieve a new understanding of the interaction between computers and people and discovered the MIDEA program at Sydney University. The MIDEA program helped me expand my interests in the fields of information visualisation and pervasive interaction. Much of my Design Lab experience and team activity in the studio was extremely rewarding, allowing me to understand people’s needs, design cycles, interface evaluation and to use design thinking to explore usability prior to programming.

For example, my individual research project intended to demonstrate advanced connectivity between systems, for which I constructed a gestural interaction wall that visually represented Twitter interactions.

After graduation I was offered the position of User Researcher in Interaction Design at LKK Design, which is the leading industrial design company in China where I have worked on projects for Audi, Dell, Samsung and more, making use of many skills in design thinking—such as product definition, brainstorming, planning and business modelling—that I honed in the MIDEA course.

Claudia Núñez-Pacheco

Master of Interaction Design and Electronic Arts

I came to Australia with the help of a Becas Chile scholarship which enabled me to study IDEA and now continue on to gain my PhD. It’s been a very rewarding experience, especially at an intellectual level: within the Design Lab (IDEA’s home) is a very active and prolific research community, where I feel completely free to explore different areas of knowledge, including those that seems to be underrepresented in the field of Human Computer Interaction (HCI). This opportunity opens the door for the exploration of different approaches and disciplines, without being necessarily limited by current paradigms or predominant schools of thought.

My current research question asks ‘How do technology-enhanced garments assist in the amplification of bodily awareness and, by extension, self-discovery?’ I am now working on the elaboration of physical wearable prototypes to be tested and evaluated by various users, most of them practitioners of body-centred disciplines, such as Focusing. In order to do so, it is fundamental to understand the user's needs as well as the nature of the human body in context with technology.

The Sydney School of Architecture, Design & Planning provides a vibrant and creative environment for designing ideas and objects, with its supportive community and excellent fabrication facilities for prototyping my designs—but perhaps what I enjoy the most is the fact that it feels like home.

Michael Ford

Master of Interaction Design and Electronic Arts

The start of my career coincided with the emergence of the early days of the internet in Australia—basically on the back of an undergraduate degree spent punching green code onto black terminal screens. After 12 years outside uni I realised how different the technology landscape had become, so I used the IDEA program to reboot and reorient myself.

Early in the course I had my ‘Eureka’ moment when we watched Volkswagen’s Fun theory campaign. The piano stairs are the perfect example of how creative technology can entertain, engage and ultimately change behaviour. I’ve always had a love for technology and an interest in how it reshapes human interactions and culture; as technological capabilities change, the role of technology must be constantly reimagined, giving more opportunity to be part of the story rather than just spectators.

The IDEA program was instrumental in exploring these themes, giving a thorough grounding in human-centred design principles (UX, HCI), while using prototyping to put that theory into practice. Ultimately it gave me the language and tools to express ideas and unleash a creative side to myself I had previously dismissed.

Susana Alarcon Licona

Master of Interaction Design and Electronic Arts

After getting an Industrial Design bachelor's degree and working on interior and product design. my interest in using technologies as a medium and as an aim of my projects started to grow. The IDEA program was the ideal opportunity to obtain the knowledge, technical skills and inspiration to explore different approaches to design. The events, talks and exhibitions that take place in the School allowed me to make great contacts that translated into opportunities for work and invitations to exhibit my projects at the Powerhouse Museum.

The IDEA program was the ideal opportunity to obtain the knowledge, technical skills and inspiration to explore different approaches to design. The events, talks and exhibitions that take place in the School allowed me to make great contacts that translated into opportunities for work and invitations to exhibit my projects at the Powerhouse Museum.

The exposure to different disciplines and the freedom within the program gives you the chance to explore things more creatively and take more ownership of your work. For me, it meant I was able to find my passion in wearable and disability-inspired technologies, a research area that I will pursue in a PhD program at Design Lab

Our Program Director

Dr Lian Loke

Dr Lian Loke’s research is at the nexus of performance, somatics, design and technology, and explores the aesthetics of interaction with the body as a central focus. Her research interests lie in understanding the lived experience of people interacting with emerging technologies and exploring how to design future products and systems from such understandings. Her research contributes to one of the major issues confronting the built environment – its ability to foster healthy living. The relationship between creativity, movement and well-being drives the exploration of potential design solutions and methodologies.

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