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  1. Postgraduate
    1. 2020
Study at City

MSc Human-Computer Interaction Design

Entry Year:
Gain the advanced knowledge, industry-valued skills and new design perspectives you need to succeed in a User Experience (UX) career.

Key information

Start date

September 2020

Academic year dates


Full-time: 12 months (15 months with option of three month internship)
Part-time: 24 months

Full-time course will be 12 months if not taking internship option, 16 months if taking internship.

See more about duration


Full-time: £10,000

Part-time: £5,000 per year *


Full-time: £20,000

Part-time: £10,000 per year *


Northampton Square

Who is it for?

This course is for people who want to design technology that meets user needs, creating 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 want to improve them. This course will help you appreciate design technology based on an understanding of users' needs and ensure that the products you and others design meet those needs.


This course will help you to:

  • Understand the latest academic research, theories and techniques in Human-Computer Interaction (HCI), User Experience (UX), usability and Interaction Design.
  • Think about design in new ways - recognising that there are many 'right' ways to design interactive systems.
  • Gain a mix of theoretical and practical knowledge, along with the necessary skills and experience to create engaging user experiences.
  • 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.


BCS Accredited Degree

Accredited by BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT for the purposes of partially meeting the academic requirement for registration as a Chartered IT Professional.

Requirements and how to apply

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.

INTO City, University of London

If you do not meet the entry requirements, INTO City, University of London offers a range of academic and English language programmes to help you prepare for study at City, University of London. You will learn from experienced teachers in a dedicated international study centre.

These programmes are designed for international students who do not meet the required academic and English language requirements for direct entry. To prepare for this degree course, learn more about the Graduate Diploma in Informatics.

English requirements

If you are an overseas student whose first language is not English, the following qualification is required:

  • IELTS: 7.0 (minimum of 6.5 in all four components)

IELTS is the only accepted English language qualification for entry.

English language programmes

Don't meet the English language requirements? INTO City, University of London offers English language programmes to help prepare you for study at university. These intensive and flexible courses are designed to improve your English ability for entry to degree courses.

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 six months
  • Students on courses of less than six months
  • Students on a pre-sessional English language course.

For more information see our main Visa page.

How to apply

Thank you for having decided to apply to study a postgraduate course at the School of Mathematics, Computer Science and Engineering. Please note that the deadline for applications for the 2020/21 academic year is 31st August 2020, however we may close earlier if all places are filled.

Apply now

You will be expected to submit the following:

  • Your degree certificate and transcript of marks from your first degree (if you do not have your final results at the time of making your application, please upload a provisional certificate/interim transcript of marks). A transcript is required in order to have your application processed.
  • Please upload a detailed personal statement outlining why you wish to study this specific course, at City, University of London, as well as explaining how your past studies have prepared you for this course and how it will help you to progress in your career. If you require a Tier 4 student visa to undertake a Master's programme in the UK, then please note that the quality of your personal statement will also be taken into account by the visa issuing authorities when deciding to grant you a student visa or not.
  • If you are applying for a Part-time course, or have relevant work experience relating to the degree you are applying for, please upload a copy of your current CV/resume.

Please note: Academic references are not required when you submit your application. However, the admissions tutor may request them at a later date to help make a decision on your application.

Contact information for the Postgraduate Team

Tel: +44 (0)20 7040 0248

Postgraduate Courses Office, A302
School of Mathematics, Computer Science & Engineering
City, University of London
Northampton Square

Over 90% of students are employed within six months of graduating.
Our course offers a healthy balance of theory and practice, with a strong focus on real-world application.
Our course offers unique modules that cover the entire user-centred design process.
During your course

More about fees

Fees in each subsequent year of study (where applicable) will be subject to an annual increase of 2%. We will confirm any change to the annual tuition fee to you in writing prior to you commencing each subsequent year of study (where applicable).

If a student leaves City after commencing but before completing their course, City reserves the right to charge the student the tuition/course fee for the full academic year (or full course for capacity limited post-graduate courses - up to a maximum of 2 years fees) in question. The student may be charged the full fee for that year or course as applicable unless the student is able to present justification that exceptional and unforeseeable reasons for their withdrawal exist.

How to pay

City has introduced an instalment payment scheme which is available to certain categories of students, including taught postgraduate students. For students following the normal academic year, the annual fee may be paid in two equal instalments: the first on registering, the second on 31st January. If you wish to pay your fees by instalment you must pay the first instalment at or before registration, by cheque or credit/debit card. You must also supply your bank details or credit card details for payment of your second instalment which will be deducted automatically from your bank or credit card account on 31st January.

Benefits of the course

Academic staff, alumni and students discuss the benefits of the MSc Human-Computer Interaction Design at City University London.


After the taught part of the course is completed, you will have the opportunity to take part 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.

Learn more about internships in Industry at City.

Recent internship companies

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 table-top
  • Brain interaction technology
  • 3D-printer and more.

We employ student consultants on some projects, providing the opportunity to work on real client projects.


We offer a variety of accommodation options and support services for postgraduate students.

Read more about our postgraduate halls.

Our Accommodation Service can also help you find private accommodation.

Find out more about private accommodation.

Learn a language for free

We offer a free language course for City, University of London students.

Find out how to apply


Course timetables are normally available from July and can be accessed from our timetabling pages. These pages also provide timetables for the current academic year, though this information should be viewed as indicative and details may vary from year to year.

View academic timetables

Please note that all academic timetables are subject to change.

Student support

We offer an extensive support network during your time here at City, University of London – from Learning Support (including disability support) and counselling to financial and career advice – leaving you free to enjoy every opportunity campus life has to offer.

Find out more about the different types of student support available.

Course content and assessment

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. We also have close links with industry. Industry professionals help inform and shape the curriculum, setting briefs for the assessments and participating in teaching and learning - by giving guest lectures and running practitioner tutorials. They also provide 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 ranges from written reports and essays, to posters, presentations and design documentation - e.g. wireframe prototypes). A range of both group and individual coursework is set during the course. Group coursework is often centred around realistic design projects
  • Independent research project (dissertation). The independent project allows you to conduct original research on an HCI topic of your 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.


A 12-month full-time option during which you attend all the taught modules during Semesters 1 and 2, and complete your Project within the 12-month period of the degree. Teaching will be on 2-3 days per week, during the daytime (9:00-18:00).


A 24-month part-time option during which you attend half the modules in a first 12-month period, followed by the other half the next year.

Students are expected to complete all the modules in this two year period. The teaching periods are structured to deliver core modules in a sequence which permits engagement by part-time students alongside full-time students. The dissertation project is undertaken by part-time students in their second year.

Teaching takes place on one full day per week (with the possibility of some modules, such as elective modules, taking place on a different day). If studying alongside paid work, we recommend you ask your employer for at least 2 days per week to attend classes and for independent study.

All modes of study:

There is an optional series of industry talks, usually scheduled to run in the evening, on the same day as lectures. There are sometimes optional activities, e.g. user research boot camps in City Interaction Lab, scheduled during reading weeks (in the middle of each term). You will be invited to our Centre for Human-Computer Interaction Design research seminar series, where possible scheduled during your lunch break on the same day as lectures.


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.

If we have insufficient number of students interested in an elective module, this may not be offered. In rare cases, one or two elective modules may not run due to low interest or unanticipated changes in timetabling, including scheduling clashes, room and staff availability. If an elective module will not run, we will advise you at the beginning of every academic term or as soon as possible, and help you choose an alternative module.

Full-time students spend eight hours per week in lectures and four hours per week in seminars and tutorials. Part-time students spend half this time in classes.

Overall workload is around 36 hours per week for full-time and 18 hours per 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, such as Foolproof, Futureheads and eBay.

Taught core modules

Interaction Design (15 credits)

You will…

  • Appreciate the importance of good usability and User Experience for the design of interactive systems
  • Develop an understanding of important Interaction Design paradigms (e.g. User-Centred Design, Participatory Design, Contextual Design)
  • Apply HCI principles and guidelines to the design of a wide variety of interactive systems
  • Carry out user research, conceptual and detailed design and evaluation as part of the user-centred design process
  • Engage with seminal and cutting edge HCI research.

Creativity in Design (15 credits)

You will…

  • Understand the importance, nature and roles of creativity in design projects
  • Select and deploy different creativity techniques and methods in user-centred projects
  • Master creativity processes, techniques and tools in design work.

Information Architecture (15 credits)

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
  • Understand theory of how to organise, structure and label digital information to support user navigation and information-seeking
  • Create models and prototypes to drive the user-centred design of digital information environments (e.g. domain models, sitemaps, wireframes)
  • Develop skills in evaluating information architectures from a user perspective.

Evaluating Interactive Systems (15 credits)

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)
  • Compare and contrast the strengths and weaknesses of different evaluation methods and associated methods of data collection
  • Develop skills for evaluating the broader User Experience, beyond usability.

Inclusive Design (15 credits)

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)
  • Develop an understanding of theoretical foundations in Cognitive Psychology as they relate to inclusive design
  • Apply international accessibility standards and guidelines (e.g. WCAG 2.0, Section 508) to the design of inclusive interactive systems.

Understanding User Interactions (15 credits)

You will…

  • Analyse user interactions using key theoretical approaches in Human-Computer Interaction - cognitive, situated and beyond
  • Plan, conduct and analyse observations of complex user interactions with interactive systems
  • Analyse complex user interactions with interactive systems using key theoretical approaches in HCI
  • Propose implications and questions for HCI design and evaluation as a result of applying key theoretical approaches

Research Methods and Professional Issues (15 credits)

You will…

  • Acquire and develop skills for planning and carrying out independent, original research (which you will later apply when completing your Masters dissertation)
  • Select appropriate quantitative and qualitative techniques for data collection and analysis and justify your selections
  • Develop approaches to finding, interpreting, and use existing academic research as a basis for research
  • Explore the legal, ethical and professional implications of HCI research and use this knowledge to inform your research.

Taught elective modules

Web Application Development (15 credits)

You will…

  • Develop a detailed understanding of the core components of Web-based applications
  • Create Web applications that incorporate dynamic and engaging front-end user interfaces
  • Understand the importance of security and data access in Web applications.

Data Visualisation (15 credits)

You will…

  • Understand and apply techniques for the visual presentation of data to support user exploration and understanding
  • Create engaging data visualisations to reveal the structure in data sets
  • Develop programming skills to support the development of interactive graphical applications for visualisation.

Readings in HCI (15 credits)

You will…

  • Develop an understanding of foundational and leading-edge HCI research
  • Evaluate the validity, scope, soundness and significance of published HCI research
  • Be able to define a research goal, and plan accordingly in order to achieve it

The programme specification contains more information on how the course is organised, the requirements for progression for each part and credits required for awards.

  • Pia Steffes
    Student profile
    I’m enjoying every minute of my course and the new things I’m learning. I truly believe that what I’m learning enhances my skills and potential to work in the Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) field after graduation..
    Human-Computer Interaction Design MSc
  • Alumni profile
    Max Schubmann
  • Shamil Parbhoo
    Student profile
    My course at City provided me with hands-on experience and connections within the UX industry to get me started on the right foot..
  • Academic profile
    Portrait of Stephann Makri
    Senior Lecturer
  • Academic profile
    Portrait of Simone Stumpf
    Senior Lecturer
  • Academic profile
    Professor of Human-Computer Interaction
  • Academic profile
After you graduate

Career prospects

This course enables you to make informed decisions on how to apply your knowledge in original and creative ways. As a result, this course empowers you 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.

City alumna Emily shares her experience of studying the Human-Computer Interaction Design MSc at City, University of London and how undertaking this postgraduate course has helped her in her career.

94.1% of graduates in employment or further study six months after completing the course

Contact details

Programmes Office (room A302)

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