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Human-Computer Interaction Design - MSc

Course Description

This course provides students with advanced knowledge, industry-valued skills and new design perspectives, empowering them to succeed in a User Experience (UX) career.

Who is it for?

This course is for people who share our ethos of wanting to design technology that meets user needs - interactive systems that are useful, easy-to-use and engaging. It is for people who get frustrated when they interact with unnecessarily complicated Websites, mobile apps or other interactive systems and think 'I want to be able to improve this.' It is for people that want to design technology based on an understanding of users' needs and to ensure that the products they and others design meet those needs. We welcome students who share this user-centred ethos.


This course will equip you with the latest academic research, theories and techniques in Human-Computer Interaction (HCI), User Experience (UX), usability and Interaction Design and encourages you to think about design in new ways - recognising that there are many 'right' ways to design interactive systems.

You will gain a mix of theoretical and practical knowledge, along with the necessary skills and experience to create engaging user experiences. You will study modules that cover the entire user-centred design and evaluation process; from understanding user needs, to designing interactive systems that meet those needs, to evaluating the usability of those (and existing systems) through user research.


You will have the option to undertake a six month UX internship, after the taught part of the course has finished.

All internships are paid and provide valuable work experience, enhancing employability. As an internship student you can apply the HCI/UX knowledge and skills you have developed on the course in real-world projects and build a UX work portfolio. This supports you in standing out in the job market. You will also get the opportunity to conduct your independent research project on a topic of interest to both you and the internship company. This helps ensure the practical importance of the research.

Previous internships include positions at:
-London UX agencies (e.g Webcredible, Foolproof, Bunnyfoot)
-The BBC
-The Telegraph

Academic facilities

You will benefit from the use of the City Interaction Lab - a combined commercial and research lab, where we have undertaken UX consultancy for prestigious companies including Virgin Atlantic. The lab is fitted with the latest technologies including a usability testing suite, mobile testing station, eye-tracker, interactive tabletop, brain interaction technology, 3D printer and more. We employ student consultants on some projects, providing the opportunity to work on real client projects.

Teaching and learning

The course is delivered by distinguished academics from City University London's Centre for HCI Design, who all have a passion for user-centred design. Industry professionals also participate in teaching and learning - by giving guest lectures, running practitioner tutorials and even by providing feedback on students' design outputs and input into module content, ensuring that students learn the knowledge and skills most valued by industry.


The course is delivered through a combination of lectures, online activities and interactive workshops and tutorials. It is assessed in a variety of ways, including:
-Examinations (which focus on applying HCI theory in realistic situations).
-Coursework (which range from written reports and essays, to posters, presentations and design documentation - e.g. wireframe prototypes). A range of both group and individual courseworks are set during the course. Group courseworks are often centred around realistic design projects.
-Independent research project (dissertation). The independent project allows students to conduct original research on an HCI topic of their choice.
-Each of these account for around one-third of the total course assessment. However, the exact balance varies according to the chosen elective module.


You will study seven core modules and one elective module that cover the entire user-centred design and evaluation process. Modules are delivered through a combination of lectures, online activities and interactive workshops and tutorials. These include sessions delivered by guest lecturers from industry. Full-time students spend eight hours/week in lectures and four hours/week in seminars/tutorials. Part-time students spend half this time in classes. Overall workload is around 36 hours/week for full-time and 18 hours/week for part-time students.

You will also undertake an independent Research Project, for which our module on Research Methods and Professional Issues will prepare you.

A series of optional, but recommended, practitioner tutorials supplement the taught modules. These include talks, workshops and field trips. Previous tutorials have featured HCI/UX practitioners from prestigious companies including Foolproof, Futureheads and eBay.

Taught Core Modules
-Interaction design (15 credits)
-Creativity in design (15 credits)
-Information architecture (15 credits)
.-Evaluating interactive systems (15 credits)
-Inclusive design (15 credits)
-Cognition and technologies (15 credits)
-Research, methods and professional issues (15 credits)

Taught Elective modules
-Web applications development (15 credits)
-Data visualisation (15 credits)
-Telemedicine (15 credits)

Career prospects

This course empowers students to succeed in a variety of User Experience (UX) roles in leading digital agencies, business consultancies, IT companies and commercial/government organisations.

Roles include:
-UX Designer/Consultant
-User Researcher
-Information Architect
-Accessibility Specialist.

There is an increasing need for specialists with a deep knowledge of Human-Computer Interaction design. As the industry continues to expand, there is no better time to become a Master in this field. The course is also an excellent starting point for those wanting to pursue a PhD in HCI.

Our course is highly respected by industry, with exceptional employability; Over 90% of students are employed within six months of graduating (City Graduate Destinations), in prestigious companies including Samsung, Tesco, Thomson Reuters and Google.

The median annual salary for our recent graduates is £34,000 per year (City Graduate Destinations).

Visit the Human-Computer Interaction Design - MSc page on the City, University of London website for more details!

(Student Profile)

Shamil Parbhoo

The MSc program in Human-Computer Interaction Design at City has thoroughly prepared me for a competitive role in the industry. I am currently on an internship at Fluent Interaction, working as a User Experience Consultant. The theoretical and practical skills that I picked up throughout the program have proved to be useful at my new role. Above all, however, the wide array of students at the university, along with the knowledgeable and approachable instructors have enriched my postgraduate education in a way that I did not expect. I would not have gotten this far without their guidance at every step of the way.

(Student Profile)

Johannes Schleith

'City appeared to be one of the most exciting places in the UK if not Europe, to study HCI and User-centred Design'.

Why did you choose to study at City University London?
During an academic internship I worked with Dr. Stumpf at City's Centre for HCID and got to know its fantastic staff and research. City appeared to be one of the most exciting places in the UK if not Europe, to study HCI and User-centred Design with an approach that integrates and encourages interdisciplinary thinking, building on current theories about cognition and creativity.

What do you enjoy most about your course?
Every part of the course is well thought-through. It combines individual as well as team work and employs a healthy mix of theory and practice, which really helps to understand and apply the concepts and approaches. As expected it was very intense, but by this also pushed us to work hard and learn a lot about the subject.

What has been your favourite module and why?
It is hard to pick one favourite from two terms of inspiring teaching. 'Cognition and Technology' encouraged to think about how information technology might support and extend human cognition and communication.

What has been the highlight of your course so far?
Teaching was complemented by external talks and tutorials about current research as well as tips and tricks by practitioners about careers in industry, e.g. during the HCID Open Day 2015.

Where was your internship and how was the experience?
I am soon to start an internship with the User Experience Consultancy, Spotless.

What do you plan to do after you graduate?
I am looking forward to apply good practice in user research and user-centred design on real world projects that make a difference and employ technology in a way that extends, rather than takes away human capabilities.

(Student Profile)

Vikram Singh

'City's Human Centred Systems program has been carefully developed over the years. It perfectly combines the academic with the practical.'

Why did you choose to study at City University London?
An excellent combination of the academic and the practical. Most other schools lean one way or the other quite a bit, but the Human Centred Systems program is well balanced and has been carefully developed over the years.

What do you enjoy most about your course?
The receptiveness of the teachers - they are passionate and extremely willing to help. Doing your Masters can be intimidating - they make it much less stressful and overwhelming.

What has been your favourite module and why?
Information Architecture. I love information architecture - how information is structured and how we respond to it. The teacher, Stephann Macri, was passionate and provided a highly participatory environment where everyone was encouraged to contribute. The coursework was excellent as we got to design an entire Information Architecture for a website with a topic of our choice.

What has been the highlight of your course so far?
Starting my MSc Project. It's so intellectually invigorating to begin researching your topic and realizing that you are actually contributing to the knowledge of a particular domain. The teachers too are highly encouraging and provide you with lots of resources for your project.

Where was your internship and how was the experience?
Well, I haven't started yet, but I've met the staff. It will be at Fluent Interaction, a user experience company in London. I really can't wait to begin learning and applying all I've learned in the courses. The staff themselves seem great and very welcoming.

What do you plan to do after you graduate?
Continue with my career in information architecture and user experience. I'm certain my MSc has given me the skills and credentials to succeed. However, my MSc has also made me realize how much I enjoy academia - hopefully after a few years, I'll do my doctorate, maybe at City!

(Student Profile)

Lan Huang

'The curriculum of City's MSc Human-Centred Systems is interesting and robust, and our lecturers are very well regarded in their respective domains.'

Why did you choose to study at City University London?
The curriculum of the MSc Human-Centred Systems is interesting and robust. The lecturers are also very well regarded in their respective domains.

What do you enjoy most about your course?
Meeting other like-minded people who are passionate about human-computer interaction.

What has been your favourite module and why?
Data visualisation. Jo Wood combined both theoretical and pragmatic learning elements to deliver an engaging module. The project allowed us to generate an output that we could put on our CVs and impress employers.

What has been the highlight of your course so far?
Developing a novel prototype on a project with three peers. It was fun, practical and very rewarding.

Where is your internship?
Tobias & Tobias.

What do you plan to do after you graduate?
I plan to work as a interaction design consultant at a digital agency. I am currently interning at Tobias & Tobias, a design firm that specialises in working with financial services clients.

(Student Profile)

Caroline Owen

Caroline chose City as it has a brilliant reputation in the UX industry, and offers a strong focus on academic research.

Why did you choose to study at City University London?
The HCS course, and City University have brilliant reputation in the UX industry. The university has a strong focus on academic research and always has the latest technology available to the students. I'm very excited about the 3D printer! The HCID lab is also great because it takes on lots of commercial projects and allows students to gain experience with real clients. When I was looking for MSc courses I was very keen to learn practical skills that employers will be looking for. City provides the opportunity to learn these skills and also balances it out with the theoretical side, based on world class international research.

What do you enjoy most about your course?
I love having access to academics who are actively working with the latest technology and carrying out cutting edge research. I also like that they're all very approachable and can often be found having a few drinks after lectures with the students.

What has been your favourite module and why?
My favourite module would have to be Evaluating Interactive Systems because it is directly applicable to a UX role. I'm very interested in user experience research and having experience with things like heuristic evaluations and user testing will hopefully help me when it comes to my next job!

What has been a highlight of your course so far?
Learning creativity workshop techniques (often involving Lego!) has been very useful and entertaining. I also think that being able to run workshops like this and having an awareness of the creativity tools available will be invaluable in the future.

What do you plan to do after you graduate?
At the moment I am working full time so I'm hoping to use the skills I've learned in my current role, but if this isn't possible then I'd be very interested to work for an agency. Luckily a lot of them seem to be based very near City University so it has been easy to network and make connections with them.


City University London, School of Mathematics, Computer Science and Engineering Studentships - 6 Awards

The School of Mathematics, Computer Science and Engineering at City University London is offering 6 full-time, three-year doctoral studentships, in the fields of Engineering and Computer Science, for 2016/17 entry. Applications are invited from exceptional UK, EU and international graduates wishing to pursue cutting-edge research in any of the School's key research areas.The School is investing in academic excellence following its success in the recent REF 2014 which highlighted the world class quality of its research.What is Offered
A doctoral studentship will provide:
- An annual bursary (£16,000 in 2015/16)
- A full tuition fee waiver for UK and EU students. Applications are welcome from overseas applicants but the applicant must make appropriate arrangements to cover the the difference between the overseas and UK tuition feeApplications are welcome from individuals wishing to pursue research in any of the areas listed below. You are encourged to discuss your application in advance with a potential supervisor in the School. Please follow the links to find out more:- Computer Science - Adaptive Computing Systems; Human‐Computer Interaction Design; Software Reliability; Machine Learning; Geographic Information Science.
- Civil Engineering - Civil Engineering; Civil Engineering Structures; Fluid-Structure Interaction.
- Electrical and Electronic Engineering - Biomedical Engineering; Systems and Control; Photonics and Instrumentation.
- Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering - Fluid Dynamics; Turbulence and Flow Control; Multi-Scale Flow Technologies; Fluid-Structure Interaction.Further Information:
Email: [email protected]
Visit: http://www.city.ac.uk/citygraduateschool

Value of Scholarship(s)



- Applicants must hold at least a 2.1 honours degree or merit level Masters degree in a relevant subject (or international equivalent)
- Applicants whose first language is not English must have achieved at least 6.5 in IELTS or a recognised equivalent
- Applicants must not be currently registered as a doctoral student at City University London or any other academic institution

Application Procedure

Applications must consist of:
- a research degree application form
- 3 page research proposal
- proof of academic qualifications
- proof of English language proficiency (if you do not speak English as your first language) and
- two confidential references (one of which must be an academic reference).The above documents should be compiled into a single document and submitted to [email protected] by the 26th May 2016.

Further Information


Entry Requirements

An upper second class honours degree in any subject, the equivalent from an international institution or three-plus years of UX-related industry experience. A practical background in computing technologies is useful, but not essential. Previous experience in Human-Computer Interaction or User Experience Design is not necessary. Programming experience is not necessary.

Last Updated

18 October 2016

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