Interactive Media Design


Bold exclamation pointIMPORTANT NOTICE

Admissions to the Interactive Media Design program will be paused for two academic years (2023-2024 and 2024-2025). Currently-enrolled students are not affected. We are reevaluating a program delivery model that will best serve our students and community. Please check back for further updates as they become available.

The Interactive Media Design major

The IMD major, managed by both the School of STEM and the School of Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences (IAS), provides students with an expansive understanding of the processes and methods involved in conceiving, creating, and evaluating technology-mediated experiences.

IMD students create media products ranging from video and immersive artworks to web-based and platform-specific apps while working in collaboration with their peers.

With its interdisciplinary approach to interaction design and emphasis on studio practice, IMD enables students to develop creative solutions to complex problems.

Learn how to apply to the IMD major.

Cohort-based learning

The two-year curriculum, grounded in an intensive cohort‐based learning environment, blends academic theory, human-centered design, artistic technique, process management approaches, and methods for gathering and analyzing critical metrics.

Career focus

IMD majors graduate with a design portfolio that prepares them for careers in the arts and industry, as well as for graduate study.  They are uniquely qualified to provide leadership across employment sectors concerned with interaction design in education, engineering, art, science, social media, and other forms of digital interactivity.

Learning objectives

Upon completion of the IMD degree students will be able to:

  • Understand and engage critically with theories and concepts related to analysis, design, development and implementation of interactive media experiences and their social context.
  • Use an interdisciplinary approach in the design and development of interactive media that applies engineering and user-centered, inclusive, community-based and universal design methodologies and best practices.
  • Collaborate effectively, creatively, productively, and ethically using team and communication skills imbued with respect and empathy.
  • Create interactive media experiences that engage unequal relations of power, knowledge, and difference, by learning from communities with multiple intersecting identities.
  • Utilize a variety of technologies and tools to explore, develop, and deliver interactive experiences on commonly used platforms and infrastructure, as well as on novel and experimental interfaces and systems.
  • Write and communicate clearly at all stages of project research, design, and implementation.

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Course requirements


Learn more about admissions prerequisites.

IMD 250 — Introduction to Interaction Design

  • Locative Media Art
  • Social Justice Design
  • Human Centered Design
  • Feminist, Queer, and Critical Race Theory
  • Java Script, HTML, CSS and Content Management Systems
  • Geolocation
  • New Media Art
  • Hacktivism
  • Tactical Media

IMD Core (55 credits) — effective autumn 2020

Studio Elements Sequence, Year One




B IMD 351 Studio Elements I (5)

B IMD 352 Studio Elements II (5)

B IMD 353 Studio Elements III (5)

B IMD 481 Integrative Studio I (5)

B IMD 362 Studio Elements II –Practicum (5)

B IMD 363 Studio Elements III – Practicum (5)

Integrative Studio Sequence, Year Two




B IMD 491 Integrative Studio I – Practicum (5)

B IMD 482 Integrative Studio II (5)

B IMD 483 Integrative Studio III (5)


B IMD 492 Integrative Studio II – Practicum (5)

B IMD 493 Integrative Studio III – Practicum (5)

A minimum 2.0 grade is required in each IMD Core course. View the sample course schedule.

Upper division electives (20 credits)

Students must complete a minimum of 20 credits of 300-400 level coursework beyond the IMD Core Courses.

A minimum 2.0 cum gpa is required in all courses applied to the major.

Independent study or undergraduate research courses

For IMD students who wish to do an Independent Study or Undergraduate Research, please complete these steps:

  1. First talk with a faculty member who will work with you and sponsor you on a project as soon as possible (ideally at least one month before the quarter begins).  Discuss which proposal/contract you will fill out together.
  2. Make an appointment or email your IMD Academic Advisor to learn about how this fits in with your major requirements. 
  3. Complete one of the proposal/contract forms listed below with your faculty sponsor. 
  4. Submit the completed form to the appropriate office.
Independent Study or Undergraduate Research Form Submission
Course Faculty Form link Where to submit
B IMD 498 Independent Study/Research or B IMD 499 Directed Study/Research IAS, IMD, or CSS B IMD 498 or 499 Independent Study/Directed Research Contract

The student submits the completed form (with faculty and student signatures) to Chris Shaeffer, IMD advisor

CSS 498 Independent Study or CSS 499 Undergraduate Research CSS CSS 498 or CSS 499 contracts

The student submits the completed form (with faculty and student signatures) to Chris Shaeffer, IMD advisor

BIS 398 Directed Study or BIS 498 Undergraduate Research IAS IAS Project Proposal Form and Faculty Approval Form Both student and faculty complete the online Project Proposal/Approval Form.  Once the Faculty Sponsor approves the project, an add code will be provided by the IAS office to the student for registration

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Sample course schedule

First Year

IMD 351 — Studio Elements I

  • Requirements Engineering
  • Project Development
  • Lifecycle Models
  • Waterfall / Agile / Iteration
  • Project Management Backlogs
  • Personas, User stories
  • HTML, Java Script, PHP
  • Use Cases Diagrams
  • Wireframes and Storyboards

IMD 352 — Studio Elements II

  • Media Production
  • Video Prototyping
  • Iterative Design Process
  • Interaction / Context /
  • Environment / Experiences
  • Non-linear Storytelling
  • Storyboarding
  • Media Art + Time + Technology

IMD 362 — Studio Elements II - Practicum

  • Visual Design
  • Creative Coding
  • Algorithmic literacy
  • Typography
  • Color
  • Motion
  • Interaction

IMD 353 — Studio Elements III

  • Digital Performance Art
  • Physical Computing
  • Human Centered Design
  • Feminist + Queer Theory
  • Critical Race Theory
  • Design for Difference
  • Community-Based Design
  • Contestational Robotics

IMD 363 — Studio Elements III - Practicum

  • UX Design
  • Cultural Probes
  • Research Methods
  • Paper Prototyping
  • Participatory Design

Second Year

IMD 481 — Integrative Studio I

  • Research in Design
  • Critical Global Issues
  • Human Centered Design
  • Access and Disability

IMD 482 — Integrative Studio II

  • Project Management
  • Backlogs
  • Risk Management
  • Motivation Theories
  • Quality Assurance
  • Human Centered Design

IMD 483 — Integrative Studio III

  • Portfolio Project

IMD 491 — Integrative Studio I - Practicum

  • Senior Year Ideation Research

IMD 492 — Integrative Studio II - Practicum

  • Build UX Eval
  • Create Art Project

IMD 493 — Integrative Studio III - Practicum

  • Polish
  • Validate
  • Present
  • Exhibit

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Hardware Requirements – Laptops

Effective starting Autumn 2021 quarter, the Interactive Media Design (IMD) hardware requirements have changed. All students enrolled in the Interactive Media Design (IMD) program are required to have a Windows or Apple laptop to use in classes and for their studies. IMD recommends the following minimum laptop specifications:

MacBook Pro Laptop Recommendation

  • Operating System: MacOS Catalina +
  • Processor: Intel or M1 (2019-Newer)
  • RAM: 16GB RAM +
  • Hard Drive: 512GB SSD +
  • Graphics Card: Integrated GPU or Discrete GPU

Windows Laptop Recommendation

  • Operating System: Windows 10 (64Bit) or Windows 11
  • Processor: (Such As) Intel – i9/i7/i5 10th Gen or AMD Ryzen 3000 or Newer Processer
  • RAM: 16GB RAM +
  • Hard Drive: 512GB SSD +
  • Graphics Card: (Such As) Radeon or NVIDIA GPU with 4GB or more VRAM 

UW Bothell highly recommends students purchase a warranty with their computer. 

Financial Aid or Discount Information

Software Requirements for IMD Majors

  • Adobe Creative Cloud subscription is also required for students in this program. This program is a monthly/yearly cost. Discounted versions of Adobe can be purchased online or in person from the University Bookstore. 
    • Other retailers may offer price matching or higher discounts.
    • Be careful when purchasing Adobe CC from auction sites and other discount retailers as software could be counterfeit.

Additional Recommended Software for Majors (Free)

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Research librarian

Need assistance?

Current IMD students

Chris Shaeffer, IMD Academic Advisor

Schedule an appointment online!

First year or pre-major students

If you are a current UW Bothell pre-major student, please contact a Pre-Major Advisor.

Transfer students

If you are a transfer student (this includes students studying at UW-Seattle, community colleges, and other universities), please contact the Admissions Office.


Please contact – Salem Levesque, Digital Learning Specialist, at

IMD student work

Interested to see the types of work our students create? View past student work.