2016 Master of Design installations at Henry Art Gallery

You are here

Bachelor of Design Application

The 2024 Design Application is now open. The deadline to apply is May 31 at 11:59pm. 

There is a $20 application fee for expenses related to reviewing and processing applications. This fee is non-refundable. No exceptions. By submitting your fee, you acknowledge that you have read and agree to this no-refund policy. For questions concerning the non-refundable fee, please email the School's Advising Office at uaskart@uw.edu.


To be eligible for application, you must be a current UW Seattle student who has taken DESIGN 166, or you must be a transfer student who has already applied for admission to the UW for autumn quarter. Note that UW Bothell and UW Tacoma students are considered transfer students to UW Seattle. For more information on eligibility, read our Bachelor of Design Admissions page.

If you have submitted a Design Application previously and wish to apply for admission again, complete the application form and follow its prompts related to reapplication.


The Division of Design does not share your email address, phone number, or other contact information with any other organization or individual. We are committed to following the UW online privacy policy.

Application Requirements

Application to the Bachelor of Design majors (Industrial Design, Interaction Design, and Visual Communication Design) requires the materials listed below. These materials should be submitted via the application form by the date/time listed at the top of this webpage.

The application form requires the uploading of a series of PDFs. Each of these is described further below. Please name your PDFs as follows:

  • lastname_firstname_Resume.pdf
  • lastname_firstname_Portfolio.pdf
  • lastname_firstname_Transcripts.pdf

The form also includes a series of questions for which you should be prepared. The questions are below.


Include the following information:

  • Name and contact information
  • High school name/location and GPA
  • Current UW GPA and total credits earned
  • Previous college GPA and total credits earned
  • TOEFL Score (if applicable)
  • Extracurricular Activities
  • Volunteer and/or Paid Work Experience
  • Photograph (optional)


See our sample portfolio (5.1 MB PDF file).

Your portfolio should consist of five to ten samples of design work. You can format your portfolio as:

  • A personal portfolio website
  • A multi-page Google slide deck (be sure to make the file visible to “anyone with the link”)
  • A multi-page letter-size (8.5 x 11”) PDF file

You can use multiple pages to describe a complex project and/or to explain your design process. Please number all pages. For each project, please include a short caption (1–2 sentences) that explains the work being shown. For example, if the project shown was completed in a class, explain the objective and time frame of the assignment. If you have taken DESIGN 166 at UW, please include all of your class projects. If you revise a DESIGN 166 course project after receiving your final grade, please show the original project as well as the revised work. Describe how and why you revised the project(s), and clearly label the new project(s) as "Revised."

For students interested in Industrial Design, we recommend showing:

  • Functional products you have designed (such as furniture, containers, tools, etc.). If possible, show key points in your design process, including prototypes and models.
  • Hand-drawn sketches. We are interested in both explanatory drawings (drawings that show/explain how a product or service works) as well as fine art and hobby-based sketches.
  • Other 3D objects you have built, especially those that show skills in fabrication and/or special materials. For example, hobby projects (model airplanes, drones, etc.) and art-based projects (sculpture, ceramics, etc.). Explain the purpose and context of the 3-D object shown.
  • 3D digital models, renderings or animations. We are interested in any skills you already have with digital tools and digital fabrication.


Because DES166 did not administer an Interaction Design (IxD) focused assignment this year, we require that all IxD applicants respond to the take-home prompt below. Additionally, you are welcome and encouraged to include additional material in your portfolio application beyond the take-home assignment. There is no page limit overall. However, the take-home prompt portion of your portfolio is limited to 20 pages maximum.

Take-home Prompt (REQUIRED)
For students interested in IxD, we require that your portfolio includes a section of no more than 20 pages that responds to the following take-home prompt:

Prompt: Envision a novel way of interacting with computing, environments, and people using Augmented Reality and/or Artificial Intelligence. Identify a promising and impactful application for this interaction. Share your envisioned experience with us in the form of illustrations, interface designs, and a storyboard or similar visualization that communicates an experience and scenario of using your envisioned technology.

You can find additional information about this take-home assignment here

We recommend submitting 8–12 pages of work (but not more than 20) in response to the prompt above. For example, you might devote one page to your project description, a one-page project to a hero image, four pages to a storyboard with 2-3 storyboard frames per page, and four pages to design details — key interface elements, physical components, voice interaction script, etc.

Additional work samples (RECOMMENDED)

You are encouraged to include work samples in addition to your responses to the take-home prompt. There is no page limit for this additional material. These can be past projects you’ve worked on, design projects from 166, or other things you are interested in. We are especially interested in the following aspects of your portfolio:

  • Design forms that communicate interactivity, time, and experience, such as storyboards, user flow diagrams, and screen mockups. These materials can be of any level of fidelity appropriate for communicating your design concept, ranging from thumbnail sketches to high-fidelity screen mockups or interactive prototype samples.
  • Evidence of systems thinking and argumentation, such as strong written rationales, diagrams, and visual frameworks that organize your design concept and the thinking behind it. 
  • Work that demonstrates an understanding of people, their needs and desires, and their interactions with and through technology. Examples include insights from user research, scenarios, and personas, and needs requirements. 
  • Hand-drawn sketches or annotations that show and explain how an interaction works (e.g., “tapping on this causes a drawer menu to slide up from the bottom of the screen” or “facial recognition is used to unlock the screen and send a message”). 
  • Futuring and experimentation: work that demonstrates your ability to envision bold, innovative, and experimental possibilities.
  • Any work you have that shows screen-based interface designs for mobile devices, web, voice interfaces, sensor-based systems, or other digital systems is potentially relevant and should be considered for inclusion. 
  • Visual design work: Because interaction designers work with type, layout, icons, motion, and many other visual elements, we are interested in any examples that showcase your visual skills.
  • Industrial design work: Because interaction designers sometimes work with physical objects and smart products, we are interested in any sketches, models, prototypes, or other demonstrations of 3-dimensional thinking you’d like to share.
  • Reminder: We don’t expect every IxD applicant to be good at everything! In general, we like to see some breadth from applicants demonstrating their skill across several areas of design coupled with some depth of interest and skills in interaction design. However, there isn’t a strict formula. Show us your best work!

For students interested in Visual Communication Design, we recommend showing:

  • Posters, page layouts, advertisements, etc., that show your ability to create and communicate a concept with words and images.
  • Screen-based designs such as websites and/or mobile/tablet app screens, etc. that demonstrate your ability to create and organize an interface.
  • Logos or sets of symbols/icons that show your ability to create and communicate with abstract graphic forms.
  • Photography. Explain the concept and/or context of the photo (for example, if the photograph was used for a specific purpose).
  • Hand-drawn or digital illustrations that show your ability to create and communicate with drawings and/or other mediums. Explain the concept and/or context of the illustration.


Include all college transcripts. Unofficial transcripts are acceptable.


These are the questions included in the application form:

  1. What aspects of your intended major (Industrial Design, Interaction Design, or Visual Communication Design) do you find most interesting and why? (Note: please avoid generic responses such as "everything is design.")
  2. What experiences or investigations have you had thus far in Industrial Design, Visual Communication Design, and/or Interaction Design? For example, have you completed any volunteer or paid design projects? Do you personally know or follow the work of specific professional designers? Are there specific instances where the design of something has impacted you positively or negatively in a unique way? (Note: please do not generally describe Apple products.)
  3. Why do you feel our Bachelor of Design program is right for you? (Note: your answer will be more compelling if it goes beyond financial incentives or issues of relocation.)
  4. What academic interests do you have besides design? Describe specific classes that you have enjoyed or fields of study that you have explored, and explain why you found them interesting.
  5. What are your extracurricular and personal interests? Are you involved in any clubs or student organizations? Are you passionate about specific activities? Do you work or volunteer at a company or organization while attending UW? Why have you chosen to be involved in these efforts?
  6. If you are not accepted into the Bachelor of Design program, what would you plan to major in and why?


Students will be notified by email of their status (accepted, rejected, or wait-listed) by June 22. Accepted students should contact the School's Advising Office by June 30 to accept the offer of the major and register for the Autumn sophomore design classes.

All decisions are final (there is no appeal process). If you are rejected, we suggest meeting with a UW academic adviser to discuss selecting another major. If you are interested in other majors within the School of Art + Art History + Design, we suggest meeting with one of our academic advisers. The UW Career Center also offers a variety of career exploration services.