Curriculum Overview

Our rigorous two-year, six-term program is composed of three overlapping levels:

The Advanced Foundation Level

(Level 1, three terms)
Focuses on research, business and design theory, as well as the development of process, visualization, prototyping and communication skills using new tools and methodologies.

The Projects Level

(Level 2, two terms)
Students work individually and in teams to apply Level 1 skills in projects, including industry-sponsored projects.

The Thesis Level

(Level 3, two terms)
Students define and execute an individual thesis project that demonstrates their understanding of the program’s methodologies as applied to a topic of their choice.

The first three terms of our curriculum are highly structured. For this reason, it’s imperative that entering students complete the first three terms before taking one off. In fact, most students complete the first four terms without a break, as the fourth term usually focuses on a studio project sponsored by an industry partner. During the first three terms, electives are available but not recommended, due to the demanding workload from the required daily classes. During the fourth term, one elective is required. During the fifth term, two electives are required. The selection of electives is at the discretion of each student, and many choose to take classes from our varied undergraduate curriculum. After the fourth term, students typically customize their program according to their individual goals. Options include taking a term off to work as an intern—we strongly encourage our students to secure an internship in either or both the fourth or fifth terms—or participating in one of our exchange programs, such as the INSEAD-Art Center Business program in France or Singapore, where students from both colleges bring their design strategies and business concepts together.

Curriculum by class and term


curriculumis a sample and is subject to change without notice
class name Instructor class description
M1 M Visualization 1 Ng, Eric Development of a rich 3D visual perception vocabulary through lectures on #D perception theory, rigorous visualization exercises with digital and analog drawing and rendering techniques, and extensive detailed critique.
M1 T Visualization 1
( CG lab )
Ng, Eric Development of rendering skills utilizing “ Photoshop” software for topics covered in Design Dimensions 1.
M1 T Materials and Methods 1 Palomares, Javier and ACCD shop specialists Familiarity with Art Center tools, materials and processes for modeling fabrication and prototyping. 
M1 W 3D Development 1 Palomares, Javier Basics of form and surface development utilizing rapid prototyping methods with CAD and manual tools and process. 
M1 W Visual Form 1 Kau, Dyna Universal principles of design . Theory lectures and projects that apply and show performance of understanding in drawings, digital, and print media. 
M1 Th M1 Studio Kong, Stan Tactical Design projects applying an iterative design approach and scope: design research, problem identification, experimentation, iterative concept development, design development, and presentation of solutions.
M1 F Sparks and Connections Bennett, Katherine Students work as a team to develop case studies of innovation that support a rationale and answer to the question: ”How many and what are the different innovation process story archetypes?”
class name Instructor class description
M2 M Visualization 2 Ng, Eric Weekly visualization exercises and an ntroduction to fundamental business dimensions through readings and discussion
M2 T Materials and Methods 2A Hamachi, Marshall Development of abilities and knowledge for 3D modeling, fabrication, materials and methods.
M2 W 3D Development 2 Palomares, Javier Intermediate level form and surface development utilizing rapid prototyping methods with CAD and manual tools and process
M2 W Visual Form 2 Kau, Dyna Universal principles of design . Theory lectures and projects with typography, layout, and graphic design in electronic and print media. Assignments overlap withDesign Dimensions 2, Design Investigations, and System Design Studio 1
M2 Th M2 Studio (Tactical Design ) KongStan
Chu, James
Tactical design projects emphasizing development to a proof of concept prototype including: research, problem identification, experimentation, iterative concept development, design development, presentation of solutions and implementation
M2 F Design Investigations Bennett, Katherine E. Research process theory applied to particular study topics such as understanding of the tools, process, and behavior of an expert
totals
class name Instructor class description
M3 M Visualization 3 Ng, Eric  Visualization techniques and development of strategy and ideas for the concurrent System Design Studio
M3 T Materials and Methods 3A Hamachi, Marshall Development of abilities and knowledge for 3D modeling, fabrication, materials and methods. 
M3 T Materials and Methods 3B Kong, Stan Development of abilities and knowledge for 3D modeling, fabrication, materials and methods.
M3 W 3D Development 3 Palomares, Javier Prototype development of a high performance scale racing vehicle in competitive teams and development and deployment of an annual event (Formula E)
M3 W Visual Form 3 Kau, Dyna Narrative and Story telling structure for writing, presentation and design.
M3 Th System Design Studio 3 Ogden, Andrew 
Chu, James
System Design – Students in competitive teams take on three different projects and present conceptual business models to a review boards of professional experts and potential investors.
M3 F System Design Research Bennett, Katherine E. Research process theory applied to a specific term longproject
totals
class name Instructor class description
M4 T Visualization Studio Ogden, Andrew  Development of strategy and ideas for the concurrent M4 Studio project
M4 Th Entrepreneur Methodology    Vocabulary, process and methodology for developing the business aspects of innovations by entrepreneurs both inside and outside of organizations
M4 Th M4 Studio (sponsored project)   Typically Industry sponsored design projects including: research, problem identification, experimentation, iterative concept development, design development, and presentation of solutions. 
elective Individual choice
M4 F Special Project Studio (sponsored project 2 ) In the event of two sponsored projects this would be instead of the elective: Industry sponsored design projects including: research, problem identification, experimentation, iterative concept development, design development, and presentation of solutions. 
class name Instructor class description
M5 W M5/M6 Studio
( thesis )

Ogden, Andrew
Kong, Stan

Thesis project development
M5 W Workshop 5 Studio 5/6 Ogden, Andrew
Kong, Stan
Thesis level students define and publish an evolving set of project and activity priorities for the design field and the department. Resulting topics guide the definition of their individual thesis efforts
elective TBD
elective TBD
class name Instructor class description
M6 T Entrepreneur Studio Marki, Susan  Development of business plans and proposals for the thesis projects of graduation candidates
M6 W

M5/M6 Studio (thesis)

Ogden, Andrew 
Kong, Stan
Thesis project development
M6 W Workshop 6
Studio 5/6
Ogden, Andrew 
Kong, Stan
students research, define and publish an evolving set of project and activity priorities for the design field and the department. Resulting topics guide the definition of thesis project activities for graduation candidates
elective
elective