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Human-Computer Interaction Design  MSc


Why study Human-Computer Interaction Design at City?

City University London's MSc Human-Computer Interaction Design, formerly known as MSc Human-Centred Systems, will equip you with the latest research, theories and techniques in Human-Computer Interaction (HCI), User Experience (UX), usability and interaction design - thoroughly preparing you for a career in user-centred design or user research. You will gain a mix of theoretical and practical knowledge, along with the skills and experience to create engaging user experiences. You will study modules that cover the entire user-centred design and evaluation process; from eliciting user requirements, to designing interactive systems that meet those requirements, to evaluating the usability of those (and existing systems) by conducting user research.

Students and academics discuss the unique aspects of the course

High-quality teaching on the MSc Human-Computer Interaction Design is informed by leading-edge academic research, offering an intellectually stimulating course relevant to the current and future workplace. We offer a healthy balance of theory and practice, with a strong focus on real-world applications, supported by guest lectures from industry. This course is led by the Centre for HCI Design, one of the largest and longest established HCI groups in the UK.

You will benefit from the use of the City Interaction Lab, which is equipped with the latest technologies including eye-tracking equipment, interactive tabletops, mobile testing stations and more, and offers opportunities for you to work on real client projects.

About the course

  • This course is offered as a 12 month full-time or 28 month part-time MSc.
  • A 6-month internship route is available, providing valuable work experience.
  • A maximum of 40 students will be accepted onto the course in 2016/17, ensuring a staff-student ratio that facilitates high-quality education.
  • You do not need a prior background in Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) or programming experience to apply for this course. A practical or academic computing background is helpful, but not necessary.

The MSc Human-Computer Interaction Design was previously called MSc Human-Centred Systems. The course content remains the same.

This course is accredited by The Chartered Institute for IT (BCS) for partial fulfilment of the academic requirement for Chartered IT Professional (CITP) status.

Entry Requirements:

Applicants should hold an upper second class honours degree, the equivalent from an international institution or an equivalent professional qualification.


Course Fees:

  • Full-time EU: £9,000
  • Part-time EU: £4,500 per year
  • Full-time Non EU: £15,000
  • Part-time Non EU: £7,500 per year

Start Date:

Autumn 2016

How to Apply

Entry Requirements

Applicants should hold an upper second class honours degree, the equivalent from an international institution or an equivalent professional qualification.

Previous experience with computer technologies and academic and commercial experience is also considered. A practical background in computing technologies is desirable. It is not necessary for students to have had prior exposure to human-computer Interaction or user-centred design.

Other Suitable Qualifications

INTO Postgraduate preparation Programmes

If you do not qualify for direct entry, our partner INTO City University London offers academic preparation programmes which focus on the skills you need. Successful completion of the Graduate Diploma in Science and Engineering at INTO City University London means guaranteed progression to this degree.

English Requirements

For those students whose first language is not English, one of the following qualifications  is also required:

  • IELTS: 6.5 (minimum of 6.0 in all four test components)

Please note that due to changes in the UKVI's list of SELTs we are no longer able to accept TOEFL as evidence of English language for students who require a CAS as of April 2014.

INTO English Language Programmes

If you need to improve your English language skills before you enter this course, our partner, INTO City University London offers a range of English language courses. These intensive and flexible courses are designed to improve your English ability for entry to this degree. Please click the links below for more information.

English for Postgraduate Study

Pre-sessional English

Visa Requirements

If you are not from the European Economic Area / Switzerland and you are coming to study in the UK you may need to apply for a visa or entry clearance to come to the UK to study.  

The way that you apply may vary depending on the length of your course; there are different rules for:

  • Students on courses of more than 6 months
  • Students on courses of less than 6 months
  • Students on a pre-sessional English Language course

Please note: If you require a Tier 4 student visa to study in the UK, you cannot undertake any City University London courses on a part-time basis.

For more information see our main Visa page.

Course Content

You will study seven core modules and one elective module that cover all aspects of the user-centred design and evaluation process. All modules are delivered through a combination of lectures, online activities and interactive workshops and tutorials. These include sessions delivered by guest lecturers from industry.

Course Structure

Interaction Design provides the core concepts and skills that underpin the design of interactive systems. You will learn fundamental design principles and you will design and evaluate interactive digital technologies using techniques such as personas, scenarios and prototyping. You will apply creativity tools and techniques to technology-driven service design, creating original and useful products in Creativity in Design. The needs of diverse user groups, including designing for Web accessibility to support disabled users, are examined in Inclusive Design. In Information Architecture, you will learn about the structural design of digital information environments, creating design deliverables such as domain models, wireframes and user journeys. You will also evaluate information architectures from a user perspective. You will gain further evaluation experience in Evaluating Interactive Systems, where you will discover the latest research and learn techniques for undertaking both quantitative and qualitative HCI evaluations - including user testing, Heuristic Evaluation and Cognitive Walkthroughs. You will understand how to design for users’ strengths and limitations from a cognitive psychology perspective in Cognition and Technologies, using frameworks such as Distributed Cognition and Activity Theory, to support the design of novel interactive technologies, e.g. gestural user interfaces and wearables. 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 highly recommended, practitioner tutorials supplement the taught modules. These include talks, workshops and field trips. Previous tutorials have featured HCI and UX practitioners from prestigious firms including Foolproof, Futureheads, eBay and Google.

Here is a summary of what you will learn from each of our core and elective modules:

Taught Core Modules:

Interaction design

  • You will appreciate the importance of good usability and User Experience for the design of interactive systems.
  • You will develop an understanding of important Interaction Design paradigms (e.g. User-Centred Design, Participatory Design, Contextual Design).
  • You will apply HCI principles and guidelines to the design of a wide variety of interactive systems.
  • You will be able to carry out user research, conceptual and detailed design and evaluation as part of the user-centred design process.
  • You will engage with seminal and cutting edge HCI research.

Creativity in design

  • You will understand the nature and roles of creativity in design projects.
  • You will be able to select and deploy different creativity techniques and methods in user-centred and co-design projects.
  • You will master creativity processes, techniques and tools in design work.

Information architecture

  • You will design the structural foundation of digital information environments, such as Websites and apps, to allow users to find the information they need and find it easily.
  • You will understand theory of how to organise, structure and label digital information to support user navigation and information-seeking.
  • You will create models and prototypes to drive the user-centred design of digital information environments (e.g. domain models, sitemaps, wireframes).
  • You will develop skills in evaluating information architectures from a user perspective.

Evaluating interactive systems

  • You will understand and apply a range of techniques for evaluating usability, including user-based and expert evaluation techniques (e.g. User Testing, Guerrilla Testing, Heuristic Evaluation).
  • You will compare and contrast the strengths and weaknesses of different evaluation methods and associated methods of data collection.
  • You will develop skills for evaluating the broader User Experience, beyond usability.

Inclusive design

  • You will develop skills for designing and evaluating accessible and inclusive interactive systems for a diverse range of users (e.g. children, older users, users with disabilities).
  • You will develop and understanding of theoretical foundations in Cognitive Psychology as they relate to inclusive design.
  • You will apply international accessibility standards and guidelines (e.g. WCAG 2.0, Section 508) to the design of inclusive interactive systems.

Cognition and technologies

  • You will understand the role of cognition on user behaviour when using interactive systems.
  • You will design complex novel interactive systems based on an understanding of cognitive theories.
  • You will analyse complex interactions from a cognitive perspective.

Research, methods and professional issues

  • You will acquire and develop skills for planning and carrying out independent, original research (which you will later apply when completing your Masters dissertation).
  • You will be able to use appropriate quantitative and qualitative techniques for data collection and analysis.
  • You will learn to find, interpret, and use existing academic research as a basis for your research activity.
  • You will explore the legal, ethical and professional implications of applied work in the information and computer sciences and use this knowledge in your research.

Taught Elective modules:

Web applications development

  • You will develop a detailed understanding of the core components of Web-based applications.
  • You will create Web applications that incorporate dynamic and engaging front-end user interfaces.
  • You will understand the importance of security and data access in Web applications.

Data visualization

  • You will understand and apply techniques for the visual presentation of data to support user exploration and understanding.
  • You will create an engaging data visualization to reveal the structure in data sets.
  • You will develop programming skills to support the development of interactive graphical applications for visualization.


  • You will develop an understanding of the fundamentals of e-health technologies and providing healthcare at a distance.
  • You will design interactive systems to support medical decision-making and patient care.
  • You will apply standards and guidelines to the design of healthcare systems

Teaching and Assessment

  • The course is available full-time over 12 months and part-time up to 28 months.
  • The course is assessed by a mixture of coursework and examination and an independent research project.
  • Delivery of the modules is by a combination of lectures, online activities and interactive workshops and tutorials. All modules are supported by the University's online learning environment.
  • The assessment for the project module is in the form of a traditional dissertation reporting your work.

Full-time study timetable

Teaching hours are Mon-Fri between 9am and 6pm. We try to keep to full days wherever possible. The timetables below are for guidance only and can change at short notice.

Semester 1

  • Wednesday: Interaction Design and Information Architecture
  • Friday: Creativity in Design and Research Methods and Professional Issues

Semester 2

  • Wednesday: Inclusive Design (plus elective module Web Applications Development)
  • Thursday: Cognition and Technologies and Evaluating Interactive Systems
  • Friday: Data Visualization/Telemedicine (elective modules)

Part-time study timetable

Semester 1, Year 1

  • Wednesday: Interaction Design and Information Architecture

Semester 2, Year 1

  • Thursday: Cognition and Technologies and Evaluating Interactive Systems

Semester 1, Year 2

  • Friday: Creativity in Design and Research Methods and Professional Issues

Semester 2, Year 2

  • Wednesday: Inclusive Design (plus elective module Web Applications Development)
  • Friday: Data Visualization/Telemedicine (elective modules)

Read the full programme specification


  • Full-time EU: £9,000
  • Part-time EU: £4,500 per year
  • Full-time Non EU: £15,000
  • Part-time Non EU: £7,500 per year


For up-to-date information about tuition fees, living costs and financial support, visit Postgraduate Fees and Finance.

Scholarships, bursaries and prizes

The School offers a range of generous scholarships, bursaries and prizes to applicants for this course:

Future Finance Loans

Future Finance offers students loans of between £2,500 and £40,000 to help cover tuition fees and living expenses. All students and courses are considered. All loans are subject to credit checks and approval for further details please visit the City Finance website.


After the taught part of the course is completed, you will have the opportunity to partake in a six month internship which gives you valuable work experience and increases your employability. Internships offer an exceptional opportunity to make you stand out in a competitive job market place. We have extensive experience in helping students to secure placement employment in the IT industry.  In 2014-15, over a third of our full-time students benefited from our internship programme. Learn more about internships in Industry at City.

Recent internship companies

  • BBC
  • Webcredible

What our students say:

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.

Shamil Parbhoo - MSc Human-Centred Systems. Internship - Fluent Interaction.null

Career Prospects

  • Our employability is very high with over 80% of our graduates in full-time employment within 6 months of graduation (Destinations of City graduates)
  • This course will equip you for a career as a usability and accessibility specialist, user experience consultant. interaction designer and information architects in leading business consultancies, digital agencies, IT companies, government and commercial organisations. (Destinations of City graduates)
  • There is an increasing need for HCI and UX specialists with a deep knowledge of Human-Computer Interaction design. In particular, companies involved in designing interactive systems (e.g. websites design, e-learning applications, multimedia design companies) are looking for graduates with an understanding and appreciation of the human elements in design.  This course is also an excellent starting point if you want to study for a PhD in Human-Computer Interaction (HCI).

The MSc is also an excellent starting point for students who wish to study for a PhD in the areas of Human-Computer Interaction (HCI).

Apply for MSc Human-Computer Interaction Design

You should submit your application by one of the following two methods:

1. Completing the online form; or

2. Completing a hard copy of the application form and sending this to the address below.

Please ensure you include your supporting documentation with your application. If you are applying online you should note that confidential references are only acceptable as originals sent in signed and sealed envelopes by post to the address below. References attached as supporting documentation to an online application cannot be considered.

International students: it is important you submit your application to us in sufficient time for you to arrange your visa before the start of the course.

Postal applications and supporting documents

Please send your completed paper application form, together with supporting documents, to:

Programmes Office
School of Mathematics, Computer Science & Engineering.
City University London
Northampton Square