FALL 2024 BCDI Courses




Design Foundations


ART 8/8A 001- Intro To Visual Thinking (4 units)

A first course in the language, processes, and media of visual art. Coursework will be organized around weekly lectures and studio problems that will introduce students to the nature of art making and visual thinking.

ENV DES 1 – Introduction to Environmental Design (3 units)

This course will teach anyone how to start to be a designer, not just of drawings and objects, but also buildings, landscapes, and urban spaces. And not just in isolation, but in the complex web of ecological and man-made systems which makes up our shifting environment. You will take from the course first-hand experience of drawing, measuring, and design — which form the basis of the professions of architecture, landscape architecture, and urban planning— and which culminate in a final design project in the course. The course is open to all undergraduate students.

DES INV 15 – Design Methodology (3 units)

This introductory course aims to expose you to the mindset, skillset and toolset associated with design. It does so through guided applications to framing and solving problems in design, business and engineering. Specifically, you will learn approaches to noticing and observing, framing and reframing, imagining and designing, and experimenting and testing as well as for critique and reflection. You will also have a chance to apply those approaches in various sectors.

THEATER 60 – Intro to Technical Theater & Production (4 units)

A practical introduction to the terminology, theories, approaches, and techniques of technical theater and production. The course will cover theatrical terminology, stage equipment and architecture, production personnel and processes, and design departments, including scenery, properties, costumes, lighting, sound, and video. The course has a laboratory component. Based on student preference and availability, assignments for work on departmental productions will be made to one of two types of lab: department shops on a regular weekly schedule throughout the semester, or as run crew for a production fulfilling all required hours including evening and weekend calls.


Design Skills


ARCH 11A – Introduction to Visual Representation and Drawing (4 units)

Introductory studio course: theories of representation and the use of several visual means, including freehand drawing and digital media, to analyze and convey ideas regarding the environment. Topics include contour, scale, perspective, color, tone, texture, and design.

ARCH 150 – Introduction to Structures (4 units)

Study of forces, materials, and structural significance in the design of buildings. Emphasis on understanding the structural behavior of real building systems. 

DES INV 21 – Visual Communication & Sketching (3 units)

Good ideas alone are not the key to being a great designer or innovator. Rather, it is the strong process and communication skills that will make you stand out as a design practitioner and leader. In today’s landscape of product design and innovation, great visual communicators must know how to 1) effectively and confidently sketch by hand, 2) understand and utilize the basics of visual design, and 3) tell captivating and compelling stories. This course, offered in a project-based learning format, will give participants practice and confidence in their ability to communicate visually. 

ENGIN 26 – 3D Modeling for Design (2 units)

Three-dimensional modeling for engineering design. This course will emphasize the use of CAD on computer workstations as a major graphical analysis and design tool. Students develop design skills, and practice applying these skills. A group design project is required. Hands-on creativity, teamwork, and effective communication are emphasized.

ENGIN 29 – Manufacturing & Design Communication (4 units) 

An introduction to manufacturing process technologies and the ways in which dimensional requirements for manufactured objects are precisely communicated, especially through graphical means. Fundamentals of cutting, casting, molding, additive manufacturing, and joining processes are introduced. Geometric dimensioning and tolerancing (GD&T), tolerance analysis for fabrication, concepts of process variability, and metrology techniques are introduced and practiced. 3-D visualization skills for engineering design are developed via sketching and presentation of 3-D geometries with 2-D engineering drawings. Computer-aided design software is used. Teamwork and effective communication are emphasized through lab activities and a design project.

MUSIC 158A – Sound and Music Computing with CNMAT Technologies (4 units)

Explores the intersection of music and computers using a combination of scientific, technological, and artistic methodologies. Musical concerns within a computational frame are addressed through the acquisition of basic programming skills for the creation and control of digital sound. Will learn core concepts and techniques of computer based music composition using the Cycling74/MaxMSP programming environment in combination with associated software tools and programming approaches created by the Center for New Music and Audio Technologies. Included will be exposure to the essentials of digital audio signal processing, musical acoustics and psychoacoustics, sound analysis and synthesis. The course is hands-on and taught from the computer lab.

THEATER 173 – Scenography: Scenic Design for Performance (3 units)

This introductory course teaches some fundamentals of scenic design. Design for live performance will be approached as an integration of all the performative tools – text, visuals, sound, space, kinetics, etc – with particular focus in this class on the overall scenographic environment. Through personal development and group explorations students will be given basic conceptual and art-making tools allowing them to evolve, communicate and realize scenic and environmental solutions. Previous art training is helpful but not essential. The student must provide most art supplies.  The final evaluation will include a presentation in lieu of an exam.

THEATER 174 – Scenography: Costume Design for Performance (3 units)

This studio class explores some fundamental approaches and techniques for designing costume. Performance design will be approached as a product of all the performative tools and contexts – text, visuals, sound, space, kinetics, etc – with particular focus for this class on the scenographic role of the performer. Through personal expression and collaborative investigation students will be given some basic tools allowing them to conceptualize, communicate and realize costumes. Previous art training is helpful but not essential. The student must provide most art supplies.  The final evaluation will include a presentation in lieu of an exam.

THEATER 175A – Scenography: Lighting Design for Performance (4 units)

THEATER 175A will introduce you to the tools, terms, and techniques of stage lighting through lectures and practical application. Working as part of a production crew (an additional 45 hours outside of class) will demonstrate the practice of stage lighting.  Class lectures and workshops augment the production experience. They will cover descriptions, explanations, and demonstrations of lighting concepts and equipment, and the initial elements of design.


Advanced Design


COMPSCI 294-137 – Immersive Computing and Virtual Reality (3 units)

CY PLAN 140 – Urban Design – City Building & Place Making (3 units)

The course is concerned with the multidisciplinary field and practice of urban design. It includes a review of historical approaches to urban design and current movements in the field, as well as discussion of the elements of urban form, theories of good city form, scales of urban design, implementation approaches, and challenges and opportunities for the discipline. Learning from cities via fieldwork is an integral part of the course.

INFO 215 – Product Design Studio (3 units)

This course is intended to give participants hands-on software product design experience based on current industry practice. The course will be project-based with an emphasis on iteration, practice, and critique from experienced industry designers. During the course, participants will work iteratively on a series of design projects (both solo and in groups) through a full design process, including developing appropriate design deliverables and gathering feedback. We’ll also cover specific topics, including design and prototyping tools, working with and developing design systems, typical phases and deliverables of the design process, and designing in different contexts (e.g. startups vs. larger companies). There will also be guest lectures from industry experts.

LDARCH 111 – Plants in Design (3 units)

Through lecture, research, and studio assignments, this course introduces the use of plants as design elements in the landscape, from the urban scale to the site-specific scale, focusing on the public open space. By analyzing historic, contemporary, and Bay Area examples, the course examines the spatial, visual, and sensory qualities of vegetation, as well as the interplay with ecological functions and engineering uses of plants. 

MECENG C178/BIOENG C137 – Designing for the Human Body (4 units)

The course provides project-based learning experience in understanding product design, with a focus on the human body as a mechanical machine. Students will learn the design of external devices used to aid or protect the body. Topics will include forces acting on internal materials (e.g., muscles and total replacement devices), forces acting on external materials (e.g., prothetics and crash pads), design/analysis of devices aimed to improve or fix the human body, muscle adaptation, and soft tissue injury. Weekly laboratory projects will incorporate EMG sensing, force plate analysis, and interpretation of data collection (e.g., MATLAB analysis) to integrate course material to better understand contemporary design/analysis/problems.

*See the Successfully Petitioned Course List for more Fall 2024 course options