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.
Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) is concerned with the design and use of computer and mobile technology, focusing on the interfaces between people and systems. This interdisciplinary degree programme sits at the intersection of engineering, behavioural sciences, and design. It combines academic rigour with practical and professional skills highly valued by employers.
Students develop an understanding of the relevance and application of human physical, cognitive, social, and affective knowledge to the design of interactive systems. They learn to analyse and test user performance, preferences and experience in relation to human-centred interactive systems. Students will be able to characterise and apply a range of human-computer interaction and user-centred design styles.
Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.
The programme consists of two compulsory 30-credit core modules, four 15-credit optional modules and a 60-credit research project.
A Postgraduate Diploma (120 credits, full-time nine months or flexible up to three years is offered) consisting of two compulsory 30-credit core modules and four 15-credit optional modules.
A Postgraduate Certificate (60 credits), full-time three months or flexible up to two years is offered. This consists of one 30-credit core module and 30 credits of optional modules.
The MSc project gives you the opportunity to conduct research in the area of human-computer interaction under the supervision of a member of UCLIC staff. A broad range of topics and questions are offered and you will work closely with your supervisor in selecting and carrying out your project. Many former projects have contributed to publications at leading international conferences, such as the ACM SIGCHI conference.
Teaching and learning
Our modules use a combination of lectures and practical activities. Activities are often structured around individual or group projects, such as the evaluation of a system or the creation of a prototype. Modules are assessed through a mixture of coursework and exams. Coursework is varied and includes design portfolios, presentations, videos, reflective reports, and online peer learning tasks as well as more traditional academic essays.
Further information on modules and degree structure is available on the department website: Human-Computer Interaction MSc
Our graduates are employed by technology multinationals, start-ups, government agencies, consultancies and in academia. They take up roles such as User Experience (UX) Researchers, Interaction Designers, Usability Specialists and Information Architects. Many progress to senior roles within a few years of graduation.
This degree is highly regarded by our colleagues in industry. Along with developing HCI research skills, the programme allows students to demonstrate skills in presenting, writing and collaboration that are valued by employers. We have a large network of alumni working in London and across the world. Many of them are involved with our industry speaker series and careers events, and they regularly send opportunities to our jobs mailing list for recent graduates.
This programme is taught by the UCL Interaction Centre (UCLIC), a world leading Centre of Excellence in Human-Computer Interaction, working collaboratively with industry and the research community. UCLIC, and before it the UCL Ergonomics Unit, have provided training in this field for over thirty years. We have excellent links with industry partners, offer students a weekly industry speaker series and run visits to consultancies and field sites.
Our modules use a combination of lectures and practical activities. Activities are often structured around individual or group projects, such as the evaluation of a system or the creation of a prototype. Assessments are varied and include design portfolios, presentations, videos and reflective reports as well as academic essays and exams.
The MSc research project allows students to undertake cutting-edge research in human-computer interaction. Many former projects have been published and presented at leading international conferences.
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: Division of Psychology & Language Sciences
83% 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 course will equip students with the skills to work within design, software and hardware development, product design and creation, and user testing such as behavioural modelling and a psychological understanding of interaction. Human Computer Interaction skills are also a common requirement for computer game companies.
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User Experience Design (UxD) is a highly sought specialist skill enabling the creation of compelling user experiences that keep individuals engaged with interactive computing products. This course is ideal if you have some existing programming skills and but wish to understand users and work with them to create technologies with positive user experiences. There is a growing demand for UX professionals and this course will provide you with skills and expertise needed to work in a team or individually to design and evaluate successful products. There is also a vibrant international research community developing new methods and theories that underpin UX within the broad field of HCI (Human-Computer Interaction) and more specific Interaction Design (IxD) and User Experience (UxD) areas, which you will encounter on the course. You will be taught by staff that are research active within the field of UX and working with UX practitioners within companies.
The course is delivered in the Computing and Technology Building at the City Campus in Preston. Students have access to the latest technology, and can study in a supportive environment. Facilities include a purpose built Human-Computer Interaction Suite which is used for the evaluation of software products
We aim to provide a challenging and stimulating environment in which you can develop and learn new skills. As an MRes student you will be supported in exploring your full potential through taught modules and an extended project. Teaching is done in small groups with plenty of opportunities for practical work, networking with students and staff, and to get involved with research activities.
Assessment methods will include individual and group assignments, presentation and seminars.
The goal of the course is to guide you, depending on your interests, to either go out into Industry or to progress to an academic research career. We aim to produce Interaction Design practitioners who understand how to create excellent interaction designs for a range of different scenarios.
Placement opportunities are available as an option for students who want to gain some work experience as part of the course.
We also aim to give you a grounding in the Interaction Design research area so you can apply the latest research in your career.
Our alumni have gone on to work a range of destinations including UX specialists, the BBC, and Tata.