Undergraduate Program in Design


Program Description

In our global knowledge economy, ideas flow fast and far, creating extraordinarily elaborate systems of human connection. As designers, we facilitate understanding through devising objects, environments, and innovative platforms for interaction. 

In AMPD’s Department of Design, students actively explore and expand the boundaries of design in managing and communicating complex bodies of information for meaningful human experiences in our increasingly visual world. Grounded in an understanding of the designer’s specialized knowledge, methods, and skills, students learn to recognize complex problems as being comprised of systems of social, cultural, and technological networks. By identifying points of entry for design intervention, students acquire the agency to define their role as an inventor, author, curator, entrepreneur, advocate, and social innovator in the rapidly expanding world of design opportunities. 

York’s Bachelor of Design (BDes Specialized Honours) program recognizes that design is by nature an interdisciplinary endeavor. York Design draws strength from its home in a robust research university, offering students exposure and collaborative opportunities in areas such as business, engineering, technology, health, and more broadly, the sciences, social sciences, and humanities. Students in the Department of Design pursue creative solutions to real-world problems involving users, their contexts, and interactions; design for immersive experiences and intelligent technologies; the discovery of new knowledge through the visual presentation of complex information.  

Program Structure 

Design studio courses are kept very small to foster intimate, intensive learning. Through a comprehensive design curriculum, students may choose to focus their studies along with one of three pathways: visual communication, information design, interaction design, all of which are augmented by design studies that consider history, futures, and professional practices of design. From working with sensors and 3D information to user interfaces for mobile devices to creating branding experiences for the 21stCentury, students have the opportunity and resources to meaningfully personalize their design education within a real-world context. 

The Fabrication Lab maintains industry standard output and production equipment for Design students to make their ideas take form. High-end photographic, audio, and visual equipment enables experimentation with a range of media formats. Design studio facilities are dedicated to design student use 24/7.  

Experiential educational opportunities include professional placement in an active design studio during the summer between years three and four. Students may pursue a design study abroad for up to one full year. Talks by professional designers, workshops with renowned design educators, and visits from industry leaders augment York Design students’ exposure to various modes of design practice. 

After Graduation

York Design students graduate as design leaders, equipped with the knowledge and skills required to excel in the profession. Our undergraduates are highly sought-after both locally and internationally for employment in design studios, technology-based companies, and large corporations. Alumni hold positions in a wide range of international companies including Facebook, Google, Wikimedia, Amazon, IDEO, Barney’s New York, Visionaire magazine, LinkedIn, W Network, Wieden+Kennedy, The New York Times Magazine, The Toronto Star, Pentagram, Bloomberg Businessweek, Bruce Mau Design (BMD). Alumni have also become successful entrepreneurs, employing newer generations of York Design alumni throughout the GTA and beyond. 

*The York/Sheridan Program in Design is phasing out through 2022. Since 2019, students entering York’s Bachelor of Design program are experiencing an exciting new curriculum. York Design will be able to accept internal and external transfer students and second-degree students in fall 2021. 

Career Options in Design

This list is not exhaustive but it provides a solid idea of what fellow graduates have gone on to do and what potential careers a Design degree can offer. Some options are more directly associated with specific areas of Design than others.

  • Artist
  • Art Gallery Director
  • Artistic Consultant
  • Communications Consultant
  • Computer Games Designer
  • Curator
  • Editor/Publisher
  • Editorial Designer
  • Freelance Designer
  • Graphic Designer
  • Information Designer
  • Illustrator
  • Interactive Media Designer
  • Journalist
  • Marketing Director
  • Media Correspondent
  • Media Consultant
  • Museum Director
  • Packaging Designer
  • Painter
  • Photographer
  • Product Designer
  • Set Designer
  • Visual Arts Consultant

Some of these career choices may require additional education or preparation in the form of graduate studies, experiential education or professional formative courses and exams. 

Last updated Nov 2020

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About the School

Our world increasingly needs creative thinkers to ignite bold new ideas, invent transformative experiences, and develop innovative solutions for global challenges. As one of North America’s premier ce ... Read More

Our world increasingly needs creative thinkers to ignite bold new ideas, invent transformative experiences, and develop innovative solutions for global challenges. As one of North America’s premier centers for education in the arts, York University’s School of the Arts, Media, Performance and Design (AMPD) will unleash your creativity and prepare you to thrive in a world where the single most valuable asset is creativity. This is your opportunity to join Debra Brown (Cirque du Soleil choreographer), David Quilico (Vice-President of Sony/ATV Music Publishing Canada), Georgiana Uhlyarik (Associate Curator of Canadian Art, Art Gallery of Ontario), and Hael Kobayashi (Executive Director of Creative Intelligence, University of Technology, Sydney), as York AMPD graduates, uniquely defining what creativity means today and how it will be imagined tomorrow. Our School is committed to excellence, experimentation, and leadership. Learning by doing is the hallmark of our programs. We offer intensive professional training and in-depth academic studies in dance, design, digital media, film, music, theatre, and visual arts. Read less