Study interaction design at an advanced level and explore new approaches to design creating dynamic proposals that respond to the needs of our rapidly changing society.
At Sheffield Institute of Arts interaction design is cross-disciplinary and investigates human-technological futures via design related interactions that lie between the digital and the physical. Using a practice based approach you explore the designing of interactive digital products, environments services and systems.
Interaction design is most often studied by graduates from a variety of backgrounds including • interaction design • digital media • fine art • product design • graphic design • furniture design • architecture • computer science. Your projects are supported by lecturers who are design specialists, researchers and practitioners. Modules are supported by lecturers who are design specialists in areas as diverse as • exhibition design • HCI • medical products • materials development • design thinking • social design • design anthropology.
During the course you work with experts in other departments as well as outside of the University.
As a postgraduate design student you join an established network of creative people that encourage and support you to drive your studies to the next level. Our postgraduate framework of design courses has been designed to allow you to come together with students from different disciplines, backgrounds and cultures to share teaching and learning experiences and explore your creative identities through dialogue and practice.
The primary intention of the programme is to allow you to achieve your personal employment ambitions, whether as a design professional in the creative industries, or in related areas such as marketing or research. You are also well placed to go onto further study at PhD level.
The course has a strong vocational focus to prepare, encourage and develop your confidence for employment.
The MA/MFA programme has a strong relationship with the University’s Art and Design Research Centre (ADRC), who take an active part in engaging MA Design students in research, knowledge transfer and live projects. You are also encouraged to seek industrial sponsors or collaborators for your individual project work and are given advice and support in doing this. This long established link with our Research Department supports a continuing tradition of graduates from the MA/MFA working as research assistants and/or continuing their studies to PhD.
If you are a part-time student in relevant employment or on sabbatical, you have the opportunity to plan course projects based in your workplace and relevant to your own and your employer's aims. This brings real-world experience to the course. You may go on to work as a professionally employed designer or design manager, work independently as a designer/producer or work as a researcher in design or new product development. You may also wish to go into teaching design in further and higher education.
You choose your own project content and this is supported by lectures and seminars dealing with professional practice issues and reviewing your progress. You also take part in regular group and individual tutorials.
Your final major project is the culmination of your research and studio-based design practice. It demonstrates that you can deal with difficult contemporary questions and take a leading role as a design professional.
We are one of the oldest established art and design institutions in the UK, renowned for producing internationally recognised research. Your projects are supported by lecturers who are design specialists in areas as diverse as medical products, materials development, furniture and sustainability.
Vibrant and supportive learning environment
During the course you regularly take part in constructive critical debates about your own work and that of your peers. You need to communicate your research, ideas and designs in ways that are appropriate to professional leadership.
You study alongside MA and MFA Design students for part of your course and benefit from a vibrant, international, collaborative and supportive postgraduate environment.
Excellent facilities and creative resources
You have access to a huge range of creative resources to experiment and engage with including • 3D printing for rapid prototyping • state-of-the-art hardware and software • photography studios • a creative media centre • a gallery • well-equipped workshops.
You also have access to our award-winning learning centre featuring a specialist art, design and media library and extensive online resources.
MA and MFA study
MA and MFA students complete the same modules during the course except that MFA students complete an extra project module. The MFA project encourages you to develop professional skills that help you to identify, instigate, and deliver projects with external partners, such as communities, galleries or businesses. You find a project partner, agree a brief and then deliver the project to a professional standard.
This course is part of the Sheffield Institute of Arts (SIA), an amazing, diverse community of makers – where staff, students and partners work as equals to deliver real innovation and creativity. SIA opened in 1843 and is one of the UK's oldest Art and Design Schools. We have recently moved into the Head Post Office, a redesigned Grade II listed building. It includes state-of-the-art workshops which provide you with a unique studio-based learning environment in the heart of the creative community.
• project 1 • theory supporting practice
• project 2 • negotiated project
• major project
Semester four – MFA students only
• MFA project
Semester one (year 1)
• theory supporting practice • negotiated project
Semester two (year 2)
• project 1 • project 2
Semester three (year 3)
• major project
Semester four – MFA students only (year 4)
• MFA project
Assessment and feedback are vital parts of the learning process in creative disciplines. Most assessment is through individual project work which combines research and creative practice. Assessment calls for both excellent creative work and well-documented research.
As a graduate from this course you might become a • creative technologist • experiential marketer • interaction designer • artist • designer • maker • product designer • design researcher • interface designer • systems designer • UX designer • design academic • PhD student.
We educate designers who can articulate and develop cutting-edge practices in key areas of interaction design: tangible and sensor-based interaction, wearable and embodied interaction, game design, participatory design practices, critical design, social innovation and collaborative media development. Students approach these genres within a broad context that considers the social, political and ethical consequences of their designs. Our education is studio-based, bringing students into close contact with our design professors.
This is a one-year programme, which is also offered as the first year of a two-year programme providing a more well-rounded combination of design practice and academic research.
Interaction design is a rapidly changing discipline, and we maintain the relevance of our education by working with real-world design cases and outside clients that include local industry partners, as well as cultural and civic organisations. Navigating a shifting design landscape also requires the critical mindset of a scholar, and we foster reflective design by teaching research skills and involving students in active research projects.
Our programme was founded in 1998, making it one of the more established programmes of its kind. We focus on areas where our design and research excellence is internationally recognised: tangible and sensor-based interaction, wearable and embodied interaction, game design, participatory design practices, critical design, social innovation and collaborative media development.
Interaction design requires the fusion of multiple skill sets. We recruit students with different backgrounds – design, media, engineering, the arts, and social sciences – and focus our teaching on creating disciplinary synergy in the concrete design work.
The programme comprises full-time study for one academic year, divided into four courses starting with a studio-based introduction to multidisciplinary collaboration and mainstream interaction design. The next two courses address embodied interaction and collaborative media, two of our signature topics. The final course is a Master’s level graduation project.
Upon graduation, you are eligible for the second year of the two-year Master’s programme to learn more about interaction design research and theory. Read more about the two-year Master’s programme
The programme is based on a learning-by-doing pedagogy. This means that we encourage an iterative practice of experimentation and reflection. As teachers, we view ourselves as coaches guiding you in this process.
The programme is studio-based. You will also have access to computer labs, a materials workshop and a prototyping lab for electronics, sensor and microprocessor programming.
The primary method of learning is through group work in multidisciplinary teams with classmates and other stakeholders. Abilities to work in teams and with others – including user communities – are important parts of our curriculum, and several projects are organised to practice doing this.
With our humanistic approach, you will be practicing qualitative research approaches to support your design of tangible artefacts as well as digital and interactive services, systems and artefacts. We emphasize an understanding of people in their use situations.
Prototyping in the studio and real-world contexts is an integral part of becoming an interaction designer.
To practice reflective and experimental design activity, projects and courses integrate seminars and hands-on workshops introducing students to, among other things, ethnographic fieldwork, visualisation, low- and high-fidelity prototyping, microprocessor programming and video sketching, as well as evaluation of use qualities. All these practices are backed up by literature references and examples.
Your thesis project will be a combination of a design project and reflective writing that will involve communicating and discussing your design work. This is one result of a student's work in Thesis Project I.
Students have access to studio space, and we encourage a healthy studio culture. This is where we conduct group-work, seminars, workshops, presentations and discussions. Close by there is a well-equipped materials workshop and a physical prototyping lab for electronics and sensor work. Additionally, we often use the facilities at the MEDEA research centre for final presentations, exhibitions, seminars and programme-meetings.
Students enter the programme with different kinds of expertise, from art and design to engineering and social sciences. Upon graduation, you will have built a strong understanding of how your particular skills play a role in interaction design and how they combine with other specialities of fellow designers.
Most alumni move on to positions as interaction designers, user experience specialists or usability architects in the ICT, telecom and media industries. For some, this involves fine-tuning the interfaces and interactions of current products to users' needs; other interaction designers work on concept development for future products and services. Yet other alumni find their calling in strategic positions where the role of interaction design is considered in relation to market and business development.
Some interaction designers are also found in the role of change agents in public organisations and NGOs.
Design for Performance and Interaction is a novel academic field and UCL is one of only very few institutions where it can be studied. The core idea that drives the programme is that the creation of spaces for performance and the creation of performances within them are regarded as symbiotic design activities.
Students learn how to use software that simulates performance spaces and the behaviour of people in different conditions. They learn how to manipulate software and physical hardware to create both simulated and actual 1:1 performance space and performances in an architectural context
Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.
The programme consists of two core theory modules (45 credits), a skills module (30 credits), and three design modules (105 credits).
There are no optional modules for this programme.
Research project/design project
All students undertake a major design project, the 'Design Thesis Portfolio, Final Project' in combination with an individual research project, culminating in the 'Design Thesis Written Dissertation'.
Teaching and learning
The programme is delivered through design, fabrication and performance tutorials, skills workshops, seminars, lectures, site visits, group working and (optional) field trip. Assessment is via design and skills portfolios, written coursework submissions and verbal presentations.
There is a field trip as an optional part of the programme.
Maximum cost to the student is £500.
No placement is offered as a part of the programme.
Further information on modules and degree structure is available on the department website: Design for Performance and Interaction MArch
Careers in physical and virtual interaction design, the design of performance spaces and creation of performative events form one of the most vibrant parts of global design endeavour in the 21st century. They are also the subject of extensive academic research.
Students gain the following skill set:
The programme teaches students how to place design and performance skills in the context of 1:1 installation and 3D and 4D representation, including collaboration in real-time simulation, networked media spaces, and design for sensory and interactive environments.
Students will gain a working knowledge of sound systems, lighting systems, interactive computation and electronics, behaviour of individuals and crowds, and the equipment and software that is used to track this behaviour.
The programme has been developed together with a network from industry. The development team includes Umbrellium, Bompass and Parr, Jason Bruges Studio, Ciminod Studio, Soundform and Stufish. All have longstanding relationships with The Bartlett.
The Research Excellence Framework, or REF, is the system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. The 2014 REF was carried out by the UK's higher education funding bodies, and the results used to allocate research funding from 2015/16.
The following REF score was awarded to the department: Bartlett School of Architecture
81% rated 4* (‘world-leading’) or 3* (‘internationally excellent’)
Learn more about the scope of UCL's research, and browse case studies, on our Research Impact website.
The new master’s programme in Design offers a studio-based, interdisciplinary approach to design, tackling societal challenges. Established and innovative design concepts are incorporated in a unique collaborative setup across campuses.
Businesses, organisations and government agencies are facing ever more complex challenges that require innovative approaches. Increasingly, the field of design is expected to come up with answers and help achieve progress. The purpose of this programme is to train qualified and confident designers who can enter these complex contexts, take on a leading role and co-create solid, sustainable solutions.
We are reaching out to students with different backgrounds, not necessarily with previous academic design qualifications, but with excellent design abilities and a desire to develop design beyond specific materials and disciplines.
Please be advised that this programme has a multi-campus setup, with courses offered in Linköping and Norrköping, as well as through blended learning.
This programme incorporates established and innovative design concepts in a unique interdisciplinary setup. Studio courses form the backbone of the programme, providing the fundamentals of working with societal challenges. The challenges are defined on a yearly basis, ranging from Food Waste and Civility to Nomadic Welfare.
Theoretical courses and design projects run alongside studio work. You develop generic design skills and knowledge of design facilitation, co-design and creative practices and design history. You learn about designing and change, and how to make design a strategic practice that is embedded in organisations. Projects are carried out in mixed-competence groups, sometimes with students from other programmes, across campuses with blended learning, using physical and digital resources. You will work and interact with companies, organisations and entrepreneurs.
Elective courses are structured into tracks allowing you to develop skills and knowledge within an area of speciality.
The current tracks offered are:
Linköping University is one of Sweden’s leading design research universities, with world-class research into design for services, a state-of-the-art facility for visual media research, and a strong team devoted to design and sustainability.