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User Experience Design - MSc

Currently viewing course to start in 2024/25 Entry.

The MSc User Experience Design course will provide you with in-depth theoretical knowledge and hands-on practical experience in designing, developing, and evaluating digital products across a range of platforms and state-of-the-art technologies....

  • Level Postgraduate Taught
  • Study mode Full Time/Part Time
  • Location City Centre
  • School School of Computing and Digital Technology
  • Faculty Faculty of Computing, Engineering and The Built Environment

This course is:

Open to International Students

Overview

The MSc User Experience Design course will provide you with in-depth theoretical knowledge and hands-on practical experience in designing, developing, and evaluating digital products across a range of platforms and state-of-the-art technologies. The course places a strong emphasis on the development of professional technical skills that are in high industry demand and will position you well for careers around the field of user experience (UX).

STEAMhouse building exterior

Introducing STEAMhouse

STEAMhouse is a centre for technology, innovation, creative thinking, prototyping and business development. Our brand new £70 million pound building is the new home for the School of Computing and Digital Technology.

Find out more

This course is open to International students.

What's covered in this course?

The course has been designed to support graduates from a wide range of disciplines (including those with technical and non-technical backgrounds) who wish to specialise in the area of user experience (UX) and Human-Computer Interaction (HCI). The key topics taught on the course include interaction design (techniques for user-centred design), front-end development (using industry standard development environments), visual design (creating interfaces with strong aesthetics), accessibility (methods for supporting inclusive design), and usability testing (collecting and analysing data via user evaluations). You will also have the opportunity to consider and create user experiences for technologies such as virtual and augmented reality, eye gaze tracking, speech interfaces, mid-air gesturing, haptic systems, and brain-computer interfaces.

The course philosophy is focused around industry and research-led activities, supported with assignments that are closely aligned to the development of essential knowledge and technical skills used in practice. You will therefore have the opportunity to work closely with academics, researchers, and industry partners on real-world project briefs thus supporting you in developing a strong portfolio of work (which is essential for gaining employment in this field). The course will also provide opportunities to collaborate with academics based in the School of Computing and Digital Technology’s Mixed Reality and Human-Computer Interaction research group to work on cutting-edge research projects. 

Graduates from the User Experience Design course will be well placed for industry roles that are in high demand including front-end developers, user experience designers/developers, information architects, usability consultants and UX researchers, web designers/developers, and interaction designers. The course will also position you well for undertaking further academic study and research through pursuing a PhD degree. 

MSc in User Experience Design is a great platform towards mastering the fundamentals of UX design, I have had a great learning experience with a welcoming staff in a friendly atmosphere, the course modules are aligned with business needs.

Syed Nizamuddin

Why Choose Us?

  • Highly employable graduates - Our graduates are well placed for industry roles in User Experience Design. 

  • Industry-focused and research-led The course philosophy is around preparing you for industry. You will have the opportunity to work with academics, researchers, and industry partners on real-world project briefs. 

  • Develop a specialised and professional portfolio - You will be supported to develop a strong online portfolio of work which is essential to gain employment in this sector. 

  • Excellent industry partnerships - Our links with leading organisations (e.g. BBC, Jaguar Land Rover, GlaxoSmithKline, Imagination, Konica Minolta, IBM, Microsoft) present opportunities for working on industry defined and mentored projects. 

OPEN DAY

Join us on campus where you'll be able to find out more about your course, learn about postgraduate finance and get an insight into studying at BCU. Booking for the next event isn’t open yet. Register your interest below and we’ll email you as soon as booking goes live.

Next Event: 29 June 2024

Register interest

Entry Requirements

Essential Requirements

A first Degree (2:2+) broadly related to User Experience Design (including Computing, Mathematics, Engineering, Business, Marketing, Psychology, Art and Design, etc.), with an interest in the technological/scientific approaches to User Experience Design.

Fees & How to Apply

Please select your student status to view fees and apply
  • UK Student
  • International Student

UK students

Annual and modular tuition fees shown are applicable to the first year of study. The University reserves the right to increase fees for subsequent years of study in line with increases in inflation (capped at 5%) or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament. View fees for continuing students.

Award: MSc

Starting: Sep 2024

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Full Time
  • 12 months
  • £9,710 in 2024/25
  • Full Time
  • 18 months with Professional Placement*
  • £10,685 in 2024/25
  • £1079 per 20 credits
  • Year 1 - 80 credits
  • Year 2 - 100 credits

Fees for Part-time students

This course can be studied on a Part-time study basis. The cost per year of study is based on credit requirements for that year.

Award: MSc

Starting: Jan 2025

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Full Time
  • 12 months
  • £9,710 in 2024/25
  • Full Time
  • 18 months with Professional Placement*
  • £10,685 in 2024/25

International students

Annual and modular tuition fees shown are applicable to the first year of study. The University reserves the right to increase fees for subsequent years of study in line with increases in inflation (capped at 5%) or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament. View fees for continuing students.

Award: MSc

Starting: Sep 2024

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Full Time
  • 12 months
  • £17,710 in 2024/25
  • Full Time
  • 18 months with Professional Placement*
  • £19,485 in 2024/25

Award: MSc

Starting: Jan 2025

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Full Time
  • 12 months
  • £17,710 in 2024/25
  • Full Time
  • 18 months with Professional Placement*
  • £19,485 in 2024/25

Access to computer equipment

You will require use of a laptop, and most students do prefer to have their own. However, you can borrow a laptop from the university or use one of our shared computer rooms.

Printing

You will receive £5 print credit in each year of your course, available after enrolment.

Field trips

All essential field trips and associated travel costs will be included in your course fees.

Access to Microsoft Office 365

Every student at the University can download a free copy of Microsoft Office 365 to use whilst at university and for 18 months after graduation.

Key Software

You will be able to download SPSS and NVivo to your home computer to support with your studies and research.

Key subscriptions

Subscriptions to key journals and websites are available through our library.

Media consumable items (optional)

This course requires the use of consumables.

Excess printing (optional)

Once you have spent your £5 credit, additional printing on campus costs from 5p per sheet.

Books (optional)

All module key texts will be in the University library, but in limited numbers. You may choose to purchase a copy.

Placement expenses (optional)

If you choose to undertake a placement, you'll need to budget for accommodation and any travel costs you may incur whilst living or working away from home.

Professional Placement option*

The Professional Placement option will allow you to complete a credit bearing, 20 week Professional Placement as an integral part of your Master’s Degree. The purpose of the Professional Placement is to improve your employability skills which will, through the placement experience, allow you to evidence your professional skills, attitudes and behaviours at the point of entry to the postgraduate job market. Furthermore, by completing the Professional Placement, you will be able to develop and enhance your understanding of the professional work environment, relevant to your chosen field of study, and reflect critically on your own professional skills development within the workplace.

You will be responsible for finding and securing your own placement. The University, however, will draw on its extensive network of local, regional and national employers to support you in finding a suitable placement to complement your chosen area of study. You will also benefit from support sessions delivered by Careers+ as well as advice and guidance from your School.

Personal statement

You’ll need to submit a personal statement as part of your application for this course. This will need to highlight your passion for postgraduate study – and your chosen course – as well as your personal skills and experience, academic success, and any other factors that will support your application for further study.

Not sure what to include? We’re here to help – take a look at our top tips for writing personal statements and download our free postgraduate personal statement guide for further advice and examples from real students.

Course in Depth

Module

Professional Placement (optional)

In order to qualify for the award of MSc User Experience Design with Professional Placement, a student must successfully complete all of the Level 7 modules listed above as well as the following Level 6 module:

Download course specification

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Course Strengths and Opportunities

The MSc User Experience Design course provides several unique strengths and benefits:

1. An inclusive approach to student recruitment presenting you with opportunities to work with peers from a variety of backgrounds (i.e. Computing/Engineering, Arts and Humanities, Business and Marketing, etc.)

2. The opportunity to work and contribute to cutting-edge research projects utilising innovative technologies (particularly in the areas of virtual/augmented reality, accessibility, and assistive technology)

3. Wide access to state-of-the-art technologies and well-equipped work spaces that can be utilised for project work

4. The chance to work on industry defined and mentored projects developed through the School’s existing links with leading external organisations

5. The adoption of a spiral curriculum promoting cross interaction between different modules, facilitating the development of substantial project work that can be incorporated into specialised individual portfolios

Course Details

The course will explore the key theoretical issues associated with Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) and their application in creating and evaluating user experiences across a range of platforms. A practical learning and teaching approach will underpin each of the main modules on the course ensuring that you gain “hands-on” experience in developing the necessary skills utilised in industry environments.  

The learning and teaching in the first semester will focus on building broader fundamental knowledge in the field to ensure that all students have a common understanding of key topics. These areas include human-centred design, UX development (using Bootstrap, Angular, etc.), and visual interface design. You will choose a key application theme to work on across the whole semester which each module will inform from a different (but complimentary) perspective.

For instance, the Human-Centred Design module will focus on processes for understanding and identifying user requirements, interaction design, information architecture, low-fidelity prototyping, and the evaluation of early design concepts. Low-fidelity designs created as part of this module’s assessment will be taken forward and utilised in the Visual Interface Design module. This module will teach fundamentals around key graphical and visual concepts (e.g. typography, colour theory, visual design process, etc.) which will be used to inform the production of assessed high-fidelity designs based on the low-fidelity prototypes.

These high-fidelity designs will then be incorporated into the UX Development module assessment which will focus on the application of front-end development frameworks, libraries, and platforms. The skills developed during this module will therefore be used to implement the designs produced during the other two complementary modules. One of the key outputs of the first semester will therefore be a substantial project that has been explored and developed across each of the key modules.

The second semester will build on this foundation through developing research and user evaluation skills (including experimental design and statistical data analysis), exploring the importance of inclusive design (e.g. developing solutions that are accessible for people with a range of impairments), and investigating how to design user experiences across advanced and immersive technologies (such as virtual and augmented reality). This will make you aware of future innovations in the field and will ensure you are prepared for designing experiences using emerging hardware and interactive technologies.

You will also undertake a more substantial individual research project where you will have flexibility in choosing a specialist skill or area you would like to focus on. For instance, if you are more interested in graphics and visual design, you will be able to focus on innovative projects in those areas. Alternatively, if you are more interested in technical front-end development projects or statistical analysis, you will also have the opportunity to specialise in these areas. This flexibility will enable you to build your identity within the sector and to position yourself for the UX jobs market.

Assessments

Assessments will be comprised of a mix of individual and group work where you will be required to present coursework through a combination of oral presentations, formal reports, and demonstrations of products. This will enable you to develop broader professional skills required in industry and academic environments (i.e. working effectively in teams, clearly communicating complex concepts, time management in working towards multiple deadlines, etc.), as well as providing an opportunity to develop your design thinking and critical reflection skills.

Our strong collaborative links with industry and leading academics also support the practice-based philosophy of the course – in particular, the assessment strategy aligns with industry design briefs (set by industry partners and research groups) and will be focused on enabling you to develop a tangible prototype or artefact at the end of each module (that can be placed in a portfolio of work). This is an essential focus of the course as a professional online portfolio of work is crucial in the UX field for improving the likelihood of securing employment within the sector.

The production of a portfolio over the duration of the course will therefore be mandatory, although it will not be formally assessed. Support will be provided throughout the course (via workshops and one-to-one personal tutoring) to assist you in building a personalised online body of work that emphasises your strengths, interests, and preferred specialism within the field.

Industry Engagement

The teaching team has close links with large leading industry organisations (BBC, Jaguar Land Rover, GlaxoSmithKline, Imagination, Konica Minolta, IBM, Microsoft, Native Instruments, etc.), third sector partners (e.g. Sense), and SMEs (e.g. Holosphere, Ultrahaptics, etc.). The course will also offer industry engagement through the use of guest lectures from industry experts and masterclasses led by practitioners working in the field. Furthermore, there will be the opportunity for you to align your coursework with active research projects at the university, thus enabling you to work on cutting-edge research with academics who specialise in their field of study.

Employability

Enhancing your employability skills

The primary aim of the MSc User Experience Design course is to provide you with the skills and experience required to work professionally in the User Experience (UX) sector. This field has grown substantially over the past decade as organisations have increasingly recognised the necessity and importance of optimising digital user experiences to meet their target audiences’ key requirements.

This, in turn, has led to increasing demand for practitioners who are skilled in working collaboratively within multi-disciplinary teams to design, develop, and evaluate digital products and services (across a range of platforms and technologies). This demand for UX expertise is also strong within major global sectors and markets (media, finance, education, health, etc.), as well as across larger established organisations, start-ups, SMEs, and the third sector.

The MSc User Experience Design course has therefore been designed and tailored to support you in developing key skills that are highly-sought after in industry, thus enabling you to be competitive in the growing UX jobs market. In particular, through the course you will study modules (informed by industry experts) that will enable you to develop highly sought-after skills using industry standard platforms and technologies.

Moreover, we will support you throughout the course in developing a specialised and professional online portfolio of work which is essential for gaining employment within this sector. We will also prepare you for a career by equipping you with a range of transferable skills, such as complex problem-solving expertise, the ability to analyse in a careful and considered manner, and working as a team member.

Our excellent partnerships and working relationships with leading international organisations (e.g. BBC, Jaguar Land Rover, GlaxoSmithKline, Imagination, Konica Minolta, IBM, Microsoft, Native Instruments, etc.) will also present opportunities for working on industry defined and mentored projects. These opportunities will further help you in building an outstanding portfolio of work and to mark yourself out as a highly employable graduate.

International

Birmingham City University is a vibrant and multicultural university in the heart of a modern and diverse city. We welcome many international students every year – there are currently students from more than 80 countries among our student community.

The University is conveniently placed, with Birmingham International Airport nearby and first-rate transport connections to London and the rest of the UK.

Our international pages contain a wealth of information for international students who are considering applying to study here, including:

Facilities & Staff

[00:00:02] Speaker 1 Hello and welcome to the computing tour for Birmingham City University.

[00:00:05] I'm Alex, a second year Computer Science student sitting here today, and I'll be taking you around the facilities here at BCU.

[00:00:11] Right now we're in STEAMhouse. If you're coming on to a computing course, you may be spending time here doing your Innovation Fest project, where you'll be presenting your project that you worked on to industry professionals. So STEAMhouse is a £72 million conversion of the old bike factory that used to be here.

[00:00:31] This is one of the larger learning spaces that we have here at STEAMhouse, completely built around computing. The entire building is modular. All these walls can be opened up and these classes can be made gigantic.

[00:00:43] So here's another space here at STEAMhouse for, sort of like, breakout rooms or for independent learning places you can go as a group to work on projects. To the left of us, there is the business space where visitors come in and they can work on projects there and also allows for students and staff members to integrate with the tech industry. If you'd like to learn more about STEAMhouse, the video link in description. And now I'm going to take you over to Millennium Point.

[00:01:13] Here we are at Millennium Point. This is the level four project space, the space you'll be using in term time to work on things such as the Innovation project. It is also the home of the Maker's Lab, which I'll be showing you in a little bit. It's a completely transformative and modular space.

[00:01:28] Recently, Birmingham City University has spent six and a half million pounds in revamping their Millennium Point building. It's also the area where we will be holding industry events. One of the things that I want to show you very quickly is the Lapsafe here. So Birmingham City University has one of the largest collections of Lapsafes in Europe. And they're not just here in the Millennium Point building. There's also ones over in Parkside and Curzon as well as STEAMhouse. You're allowed to take a laptop out if you haven't got one personally, and you can use it while you're at university for about six or so hours at a time. We also not only have Windows laptops, but also MacBooks.

[00:02:10] So here we are in the Makers Lab, and this is where you'll be spending time as a first year student working on the Innovation facilities there. Basically, this is where the magic happens, right? So in this room is a bunch of component parts and things to work with your systems such as 3D printers.

[00:02:24] So what you can do is you build a schematic up in the software. We send it to the machines and they can print out component parts for your project. It's also a bunch of different other components here at the university that it offers to students that they can use for their projects, such as Arduino, Mark Controllers, and Raspberry Pi is sort of like the heart of your system. You write some code, you flash onto the microcontroller, then it can control the system that you've attached it to. Over here, we've also got a bunch of component parts even using such as light sensors and motion sensors and buttons and keypads and things like that as well.

[00:02:59] So we've got a bunch of previous projects here as well. Here's Sign Genie which is a sign language interpreter, you sign in front of it and it will send back the sign language on the screen here. You can find out more about this project in description below, showing you how they built it from start to finish.

[00:03:16] We also have laser cutting services at University, so if you need, you know, a frame cut out for your project, for example, that we've got here, you can use the laser cutter and cut out little component parts that all fit together as a housing for your project. Okay, So now I think we're going to head down to level one, which houses the network labs and the games lab.

[00:03:42] This is one of the games labs here at BCU. This is more of a high spec facility to help with rendering animation and, you know, running the games that you create as a games development students as well as that. We've also got the different component parts. You need to build a project VR here so you can experiment with VR within the game called events such as Games Jam where students from across Birmingham City University come together to create a game within 24 hours or 48 hours and present it to a panel.

[00:04:14] So this is one of our networking labs here at BCU. It is a Cisco networking lab. All the hardware in here is industry standard and the majority of it is Cisco related. This entire room and several other rooms on this floor are complete separate LAN network from the rest of university. And you can, you know, run tests and simulations and try and configure and connect to of computers within the labs. The software that we use here is called Cisco Packet Tracer or Nethercutt. This is what we use to prototype our networks. And then you can actually physically build them using the hardware in the room to see how it works in practice.

[00:04:55] So this is one of our many computing labs here at Birmingham City University at the College of Computing. We have about 20 computing labs here at the University of all kinds of different software. And then depending on the course that you're doing, we have experts here from industry working as lecturers to have that real world experience and incredibly helpful with helping you to complete your coursework as well as get any additional advice and sort of guide you in the right direction.

[00:05:22] This is one of the big open communal spaces where you can come and catch up on work, but New Macs here that you can work on as well as Windows PCs out at the back can also see that there's more lab space here. So if you want to use a laptop, you can get those as well. Along with that, there's also the main I.T help desk here where you can come in and ask questions if you've got any issues.

[00:05:43] That was just a taste of computing at BCU. If you'd like to experience it yourself, come along to one of our Open Days or applicant taster days in the future. As well as if you'd like to know more about the computing experience. You can watch this video right here.

[00:06:03] You still here? Go watch the video.

Our Facilities

We are constantly investing in our estate and are currently in the process of spending £260 million on new learning facilities. This course will be taught at Millennium Point at the City Centre Campus.

The course is supported with a wide range of cutting-edge facilities in the City Centre Campus. We have a state-of-the-art computer games technology lab which contains high-performance PCs, Sony PlayStation development kits and a range of industry standard software including Unity, Unreal and a suite of professional Microsoft development tools.

We also have many open access areas where students can study together and even hire out laptops for use in these spaces and others within the university.

Within the University there are many internationally recognised research teams giving you the opportunity to collaborate with them on exciting interdisciplinary projects.

Computer networking

The laboratories are well-equipped for all our computer networking courses, as well as specialist areas for practical work such as voice-over internet protocol (VoIP), forensic and ethical hacking technologies, wireless and mobile technologies and radio frequency identification technologies to name but a few.

Software development and computer programming

There are a number of open access, software development and computer programming laboratories that can be used to develop systems and programmes, including database management systems such as MySQL, to name but a few.

Systems laboratories

Our embedded systems laboratories are used to develop real-time systems, such as specialist hardware training and development resources, and industrial-standard software development and simulation tools. These include microcontroller software and robotics design and development, to name but a few.

Electronic systems

To underpin the basic principles of electronic systems, we have a well-equipped laboratory of general and specialist test and measurement kits, including powered prototyping development boards, dual power supplies, frequency generators and counters and digital multi-meters to name but a few.

Forensic computing

Our successful development of forensic computing has led to a specialist forensics laboratory that is fully equipped with essential hardware and software for this sensitive area of study. The laboratory includes high-spec PCs with built-in multi interface Tableau write blockers, EnCase and FTK computer forensic software and steganography detection and analysis software, to name but a few.

More on our facilities

Our staff

Dr Tychonas Michailidis

Course Leader - MSc User Experience Design

Dr Tychonas Michailidis is Course Leader for MSc User Experience Design at the School of Computing and Digital Technology. He is part of BIFCA, teaching both students in Birmingham and in Wuhan, China. He joined BCU in February 2020 from Solent University in Southampton.

More about Tychonas

Professor Chris Creed

Professor in Human-Computer Interaction

Professor Creed specialises in the area of Human-Computer Interaction and has extensive experience in leading collaborative technical projects exploring the use of innovative technologies. His core research interest is around the design and development of assistive technology for disabled people across a range of impairments. He also leads the ...

More about Chris

Ian Williams

Professor of Visual Computing and Head of the Digital Media Technology Lab (DMT Lab)

Dr Williams is Professor of Visual Computing and Head of the Digital Media Technology Lab (DMT Lab). He leads the research strategy and vision for the DMT Lab which encompasses the four core domains of: Human Computer Interaction (HCI), Computer Graphics and Computer Vision, Sound and Music Analysis and Broadcast Systems.

More about Ian

Dr Wenge Xu

Lecturer in Human-Computer Interaction

Dr Wenge Xu is a lecturer in Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) and an active researcher at the Digital Media Technology Lab. He specialises in HCI, Extended (Virtual, Augmented, Mixed) Reality (XR), User Experience, 3D User Interface and Serious Games.

More about Wenge

Dr Maite Frutos-Pascual

Lecturer in Digital Media Technology

Dr Maite Frutos-Pascual specialises in Human Computer Interaction (HCI), usability, user analysis, interactive systems and sensor data analysis and integration.

More about Maite

Jay Patel

Senior Lecturer

Jay is a Lecturer in the School of Digital Media Technology. Jay has been involved with the delivery of ERDF projects. Since the successful completion of these projects he has moved into teaching. He currently delivers a variety of modules such as Audio Visual Technology, Moving Image Technology and Mathematics for Media.

More about Jay