Specialization Courses

students using a device that simulates dementia
a table with toy structures ready to be assembled
students working with faculty on an aging simulation activity
packaging student work designs

Specialized Knowledge Courses: Subject matter includes design history, digital media ethics, and copyright, as well as tools for measuring screen-based device usability and analytics. This knowledge supplements studio-based work.

Special Topics Design Studio | ART 560

A transdisciplinary design studio where undergraduate and graduate students from different design-related disciplines work collaboratively to address a range of topics via design thinking and doing. Topics change depending on instructor research agenda and interests.

Learners will be able to:

  • Plan a collaborative research and design process that effectively activates team members’ unique abilities.
  • Produce design outcomes that effectively address complex topics outside of design.
  • Present design outcomes and processes clearly to audiences with varying levels of topical familiarity.
  • Operate the design process from problem definition to problem solution with a high degree of detailed execution.

Studio courses emphasize learning through work on problem-based projects. This work involves iterative design processes where the creation of outcomes and ensuing critique from students and instructors facilitate learning. Examples of work that takes place in this course are in the table below.

Details about content in each of the Experience Design Studio courses.
Concept Activity Tools & Media Processes Outcomes
Design barriers Find instances where design makes life difficult for people and redesign them for access Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, drawing tools, photographs, PDF & image files sketches, mockups, storyboards, theme boards/mood boards, tight comps, material studies, image research, critique, ideation, iteration physical prototype, video documentation of prototypes, video presentation, presentation board, mockups, experience map
Designing with empathy Work as a group to identify a societal need where an empathetic approach to designing drives the process Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, Presentation Software, photographs, Videoconferencing, PDF & image files, Adobe InDesign observations, product testing, sketches, mockups, storyboards, theme boards/mood boards, tight comps, material studies, image research, critique, ideation, iteration physical prototype, video documentation of prototypes, video presentation, presentation board, mockups, experience map, smart phone app design, Kickstarter-type video, designed report PDF/book

Usability and Digital Media Design | IMS 513

Digital media present marketers with a tremendous range of new branding vehicles, many of which are only now being implemented into marketing communications. In this class, we will explore the role that these media play in stand-alone branding campaigns and as part of integrated marketing communications campaigns. To do this, we will also consider how traditional branding theory has evolved to accommodate theories of human-computer interaction. No prior programming experience is required, but some exposure to desktop publishing or computer graphics software is strongly recommended.

Ethics and Digital Media | IMS 524

Students will focus on key ethical issues related to online writing, communication, and visual design. The course will introduce key ethical principles, including principles of rhetoric, communication, and design ethics, as well as key principles of professional ethics as articulated in fields like professional writing, technical communication, and graphic design. Topics include intellectual property, access and universal design, privacy and surveillance, visual representation and manipulation, global communication and cultural difference, economic issues of justice and equity, and professional rhetorics.

Applied Experience Design: Walt Disney World | ART 536

An immersive course that combines online learning with one week of study at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida. Focuses on developing detailed observational skills and methods for identifying and analyzing multi-sensory design outcomes. Includes a survey of methods generally used in theme park design as well as specific techniques used by designers at Disney that simultaneously meet logistical needs and maximize entertainment access for guests with diverse abilities. Special attention paid to how detailed design decisions impact human behavior and experiences, facilitating usability and delight.

This course is recommended for the degree but not required. Offered every summer (two weeks online, one week at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, and one week online after the on-site portion of the course).

Experience Design Internship | ART 640

Students may choose to complete an Internship with a design agency, in-house design group, or other organization. Amount of credit earned is contingent on how many hours of on-site work would be completed. Internships count as elective credits. Only 3-6 credit hours may be earned for an internship.


The Miami University Bulletin series is the official source of information about the programs and courses of study offered at Miami University. Consult the bulletin for the most up-to date listings.