In the years since Value Colleges’ first UX degree ranking – one of the first to consider HCI as an emerging discipline – the field of human-computer interaction and interaction design has exploded. It’s much bigger than just user experience; interaction design is increasingly becoming a crucial career touching just about every aspect of 21st-century life. Now, Value Colleges has taken another look at the world of interaction design, human-computer interaction, and all of the many specializations within the field to find the best value degrees for one of the most in-demand professions of today.
What Kind of Interaction Design Jobs are Out There?
There is no one interaction or UX design job description, but the field is marked by some common elements. According to the Interaction Design Foundation, interaction design revolves around 5 dimensions that shape how people interact with products – words, visual representation, physical object or space, time, and behavior. Most often, today, we think of interaction design in terms of software and interfaces, and many interactions designers work in:
An interaction design job description might look different from company to company and product to product. The job itself may be more oriented toward management, organization, and planning, or toward the actual work of designing, analyzing, researching, and producing products, whether those are digital or physical. Designers usually work in teams, with different tasks separated out, but freelancers may do it all, from planning to implementing.
What Can a Human-Computer Interaction Degree Do For Me?
A degree in human-computer interaction, interaction design, UX or UI design, or any of the many specializations and variations out there can do one thing: get you a way into the interaction design field.
There’s nothing a degree can teach you, in purely technical terms, that you can’t teach yourself, but getting a degree from an accredited college or university has value that DIY learning and certifications can’t. For one, the best programs out there give students access to cutting-edge, state-of-the-art labs and equipment, from software to tools like 3D printers. For another, a human-computer interaction degree from a strong program gives you access to the university’s industry partners. Interaction design is an interdisciplinary field, and colleges often have to partner with companies, which, in turn, gives students internships, networking, and opportunity they wouldn’t have on their own.
Human-computer interaction design degree programs may come from schools of art and design, or from computer science programs; they may be tied to the engineering school, the business, school, or some independent research center. In most cases, interaction design pulls experts from as many as 5 or 6 disciplines, all contributing their knowledge to the big picture. It’s a field not quite like any other.
The Best Value Interaction Design Ranking
With an academic discipline that is still forming, it’s hard for prospective students to know which way to go. That’s why Value Colleges has put together the Best Value Ranking of the interaction design programs most likely to pay off in the short run – getting a job – and the long run – maintaining a satisfying, life-long career.
The Value Colleges ranking is built around 3 data points:
- Reputation (U.S. News ranking)
- Cost (IPEDS data)
- ROI (College Scorecard salary potential)
All of the colleges and universities featured by Value Colleges are regionally accredited, and no matter what school or division the degree comes from, all of our ranked institutions have passed the Value Colleges test of providing graduates with real success.
University of California, Berkeley
Flagship of the University of California system – the nation’s foremost public higher education system – UC Berkeley is widely recognized as a model public research university, and ranked by U.S. News & World Report as the #1 public university in the nation. Founded in 1868, Berkeley has been most famous over the years as a hotbed of progressive politics and culture. But Berkeley was founded as a land-grant institution, with a focus on agriculture and mechanical science, and that heritage has made it one of the most influential STEM research universities in the nation. Faculty and alumni have included multiple Turing Award winners, Nobel Laureates, and a host of other honors. For generations, Berkeley has been on the cutting edge.
That is definitely true of Berkeley’s Master of Information Management and Systems degree program, a degree at the forefront of where technology and human being meet. The MIMS program is highly diverse and highly interdisciplinary, combining knowledge not only from computer science, but psychology, sociology, business, law, and many other fields. This 48-credit, 2-year program prepares future information professionals in areas ranging from human/machine interaction to management. With Berkeley’s reputation for excellence, and top-level connections within the tech industry, students can expect the job market to come to them. Recent graduates work for Google, Apple, and the Library of Congress.
Degree: Master of Information Management & Systems (MIMS)
Georgia Institute of Technology
The Georgia Institute of Technology was founded in 1885 by two Confederate officers who believed that a northern-style polytechnic school was the key to post-Civil War recovery and modernization in the South. They turned out to be right, as Georgia Tech quickly became a crucial element of Atlanta, GA’s explosive economic growth through the 20th century. With a foundation in applied sciences, Georgia Tech became a national leader in all areas of engineering, business, and design, attracting students and esteemed faculty from all over the world. Today, Georgia Tech is ranked by U.S. News & World Report as one of the top 10 public universities in the nation, and its engineering programs often rank in the top 25 worldwide.
Georgia Tech offers two degree programs in the interaction design realm: the Master of Science in Human-Computer Interaction, and the Master of Science in Digital Media. The MS-HCI degree program is a collaboration between 4 different Georgia Tech Schools: Industrial Design; Interactive Computing; Psychology; and Literature, Media, and Communications. This 36-credit program allows students to enter and specialize from any of the four schools, and students have access to some of the most state-of-the-art labs and resources in the world. On the other hand, the MS-DM degree program is based in the humanities and arts, with an interdisciplinary curriculum focused on designing and creating digital products. The MS-DM is also 36 credits.
Degree: MS in Human-Computer Interaction (MS-HCI) or MS in Digital Media (MS-DM)
The youngest of the Ivy League universities, founded in 1865, Cornell University is also the most unique. Rather than a seminary or liberal arts college, Cornell was founded on scientific research and practical professional learning, as one of only three private land-grant universities in the US. That start has made Cornell one of the most important private STEM research universities in the nation, with some of the highest rates of research spending, patent applications, and entrepreneurial start-ups. Cornell has been home to dozens of Nobel Laureates, with scholars pioneering space exploration, nuclear energy, and supercomputing.
Few universities are more prepared for the next level of human-computer interaction than Cornell, and the university offers two degree programs related to interaction design. Students at Cornell can earn a Master of Professional Studies in Information Science, a 1-year, interdisciplinary program. This 30-credit program prepares students for careers like Usability Analyst, User Experience Architect, and more. For students who want more responsibility in industry or higher education, the Cornell PhD in Information Science is an intensive, interdisciplinary program focused on the overall cultural, political, and economic contexts of systems. Either route carries the reputation of Cornell, and the advantages of an Ivy League education.
Degree: MPS or PhD in Information Science
Stanford University has often been named the top “dream college” in the world by the Princeton Review – the school most wanted by students. It’s no surprise why. Silicon Valley – and, by extension, contemporary life – is unimaginable without Stanford. Founded in 1885 by California railroad baron, governor, and Senator Leland Stanford, Stanford University became a household name when it began focusing on technology and entrepreneurship after WWII. By fostering a creative, innovative spirit, and supporting students, faculty, and alumni in their endeavors, Stanford helped build Silicon Valley into the world’s hub of technology and business. For students who want to make an impact, and make their fortune, Stanford is the dream.
One of the most exciting innovations in recent years is Stanford’s new MS in Design Impact, a next-generation, interdisciplinary graduate degree. The focus of the Design Impact MS is solving problems using innovative design thinking, and the first set of students in this 2-year program will choose a specialization: either Empowering Power (dedicated to energy resources) or Empathic Autonomy (dedicated to digital-age healthcare). Stanford also offers a number of more conventional Human-Computer Interaction-related degree programs from several divisions, including computer science.
Degree: MS in Design Impact or MS in Computer Science – HCI specialization
University of Texas at Austin
The foremost public research university in Texas, the University of Texas at Austin was founded in the Texas capital in 1881. As an act of the Texas legislature, UT was intended to provide educational opportunity to all Texans, and was paid for out of the Permanent University Fund – an endowment tied to the Texas oil industry. UT has grown alongside Austin into a world-class research university, and while Austin is largely known for its culture – including music, food, and film – in the last two decades the city has also been a center of tech development. As an influential tech economy has built up in Austin, UT Austin has been at the forefront, with some of the most innovative computer science and engineering programs in the Southwest.
UT Austin’s MS in Information Science degree program is an interdisciplinary program made for the 21st century. Students in the Information Science program come from disciplines as varied as anthropology and engineering, drawn together by a desire to work in the field of information. The UT Austin MSIS is a 40-credit program, but offers numerous Endorsements and Certificates in more specialized areas, including User Experience and Interactive Design. These 12-credit specializations can be added to the program. Students may also take part in the research at the Information Experience (IX) Lab, a state-of-the-art research facility dedicated to human-computer interaction.
Degree: MS in Information Science (MSIS)
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (better known as Virginia Tech) was founded in 1872 as Virginia’s land grant research university. Originally designated an agricultural and mechanical science school, Virginia Tech grew into a polytechnic model as part of an effort to help Virginia modernize after the Civil War. That foundation made Virginia Tech one of the most important STEM research institutions in the South. Eventually, Virginia Tech grew into Virginia’s third-largest university, but its highest-spending research university. U.S. News & World Report ranks Virginia Tech one of the top 25 public universities in the nation.
Virginia Tech’s College of Engineering is ranked as a top 10 public engineering school, and the Department of Computer Science offers Virginia Tech’s MS in Computer Science degree program. Virginia Tech’s labs and facilities are some of the nation’s most advanced, and Human-Computer Interaction has become a significant area of research specialization. Areas of interest include Crowd Intelligence, Design of Interactive Systems, and Information Visualization and Evaluation. The MS program is either 30 credits (for the thesis option) or 33 credits (the courses-only option). With Virginia Tech’s reputation, graduates can count on a strong showing on the job market.
Degree: MS in Computer Science (MSCS)
Bentley University’s humble beginnings go back to a small accounting school founded in 1917 in Boston. Moving to suburban Waltham, MA in the 1960s, Bentley developed into one of New England’s most acclaimed business colleges, offering bachelor’s, then master’s degrees in business, management, accounting, and other related fields. Today, Bentley is a comprehensive university, offering programs up to the doctorate, and enjoys a trusted reputation. U.S. News & World Report ranks Bentley one of the top 10 regional universities in the North, while Bloomberg Businessweek has long cited Bentley as one of the best business schools in the nation.
With its preeminent expertise in business, it should be no surprise that Bentley is on the forefront of business-related computing as well. Bentley’s MS in Human Factors is a model program of its kind, combining the most current research with top of the line technology to inform design and innovation. The Human Factors master’s can be earned on-campus or entirely online, and has been named a top online master’s program by U.S. News. This program is designed for students with real experience – the average student brings 6 years of professional work experience. Bentley is a name with real pull on the job market, making a Bentley UX degree a smart investment.
Degree: MS in Human Factors (MSHF)
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
The name “MIT” represents the highest order of excellence in education – one of the most respected, influential, and transformative institutions in the world. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology was founded in 1861 to bring the European polytechnic model to New England, and from that early innovation, MIT made innovation its specialty. Today, MIT is ranked one of the world’s best universities by a host of publishers, and it is one of only a few private land and space-grant universities in the nation. With its roots in science and engineering, MIT has also become a leader in business and economics, and has developed a reputation as one of the most entrepreneurial institutions in the world.
MIT is a pacesetter in the area of UX and interaction design with the MIT Media Lab. The Program in Media Arts & Sciences (MAS) accepts up to 50 Master’s and PhD students every year to one of the world’s most research centers. With 30 graduate courses and as many as 400 projects going on at any given time, the Media Lab is creating new standards every day in human-computer interaction, design, and entrepreneurial technology. No institution’s graduates are as sought-after and recruited by industry as MIT, and the job and salary potential, along with MIT’s substantial financial aid, has made MIT a constant value.
Degree: Media Arts & Sciences (MAS)
University of Maryland, College Park
The flagship of the University System of Maryland, the University of Maryland, College Park, is Maryland’s largest and most prestigious research institution. Dating back to 1856, when it was founded as an agricultural college, UMD is a public land, sea, and space-grant university central to academic research, professional study, and economic development for Maryland. With the support of the National Science Foundation, NASA, and other prominent agencies, UMD is a STEM powerhouse. The University of Maryland is ranked a top 25 public university nationally by U.S. News & World Report, and has been named a Public Ivy – a public university with the reputation of the Ivy League.
The University of Maryland MS in Human-Computer Interaction is focused on preparing students to design new information technologies that people can connect to. The MS-HCI is comprehensive and intensive, giving students a grounding in everything from tool-building and evaluation to the social and psychological implications of new communication technologies. A diverse student body helps students design for a diverse audience. UMD developed one of the nation’s first HCI labs, and MS-HCI students have access to all of the world-class studies in progress. The 30-credit program is designed to last two years, and graduates are prepared for the job market or for further schooling.
Degree: MS in Human Computer Interaction (MS-HCI)
San Jose State University
San Jose State University is a crucial link to California’s history, and to its future. The oldest public university in California, San Jose State began as an evening teacher training school in 1857, eventually becoming the state’s official teachers college. But San Jose State is not known for teacher education in the 21st century; it’s known for being in the heart of Silicon Valley, making it one of the most desirable regional universities in the nation. Ranked in the top 10 public regional universities in the West by U.S. News & World Report, SJSU is also noted as having one of the top 5 engineering programs for universities in its class.
The San Jose State MS in Human Factors/Ergonomics is an interdisciplinary program accredited by the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society. The MS-HFE combines theory and practice to prepare students for the field, including UX design, usability, and User Interface (UI). The SJSU program is focused on professional practice rather than research, with courses in areas ranging from engineering to ethnography. Students take five core courses spread across multiple departments, along with electives for further specializations. With Silicon Valley right next door, San Jose State is one of the leading recruitment sites for firms like Facebook and Apple, making a San Jose State master’s degree an investment with immediate returns.
Degree: MS in Human Factors/Ergonomics (MS-HFE)
Carnegie Mellon University
Carnegie Mellon University is one of the world’s most renowned private STEM and business research universities. Founded in 1900 by Andrew Carnegie, one of the most generous philanthropists of the Gilded Age, Carnegie Mellon was intended to provide industrial training for Pittsburgh’s working class. Within a generation, Carnegie Mellon had become an influential polytechnic institute. Today, Carnegie Mellon is ranked in the top 25 national universities by U.S. News & World Report, and has been named a New Ivy by Newsweek. UX and HCI design are perfectly suited to Carnegie Mellon’s strengths, and the university offers several world-class programs related to the field.
The Master of Design in Interaction Design was one of the first, and still one of the best, master’s degrees in the field, focused on combining natural and social knowledge to solve design problems. The Master of Human-Computer Interaction degree program is the oldest HCI master’s in the world, a 3-semester program designed to be completed in just one year. Carnegie Mellon also offers a PhD in HCI, an interdisciplinary doctoral program for students who wish to enter academia or high-level professional positions in industry. In any case, a Carnegie Mellon degree is a value as good as its name.
Degree: Master of Design-Interaction Design (MDes), Master of Human-Computer Interaction (MHCI), PhD in HCI
University of California, Irvine
When the first wave of Baby Boomers began hitting college age, the state of California discovered that the UC system as it existed was not nearly enough to meet their needs. The University of California, Irvine was founded in 1965 on land sold to the state for $1 by the Irvine Company, a massive Orange County ranch. UCI rapidly grew into one of the largest research universities in the nation, with a current student body of over 30,000, and very high research activity classification by the Carnegie Foundation. UC Irvine is ranked in the top 50 national universities by U.S. News & World Report.
The UC Irvine Master of Human-Computer Interaction & Design is the only program of its kind in the world: a low-residency, one-year accelerated graduate degree in HCI and Design. This program combines short on-campus visits, including an interdisciplinary orientation, with online coursework. This hybrid format allows working professionals to keep their current jobs while earning the credentials they need for career change or advancement. Nine courses are completed in a year, along with a final project that tackles a real problem for one of UCI’s industry partners. It’s one of the most innovative and effective programs in the UX field, and a value like no other.
Degree: Master of Human-Computer Interaction & Design (MHCID)
South Carolina’s land-grant research university, Clemson University was founded in 1889. Like other land-grant universities, Clemson began as an agricultural and mechanical school, offering degrees in applied sciences. That history, though, gave Clemson the foundation to develop South Carolina’s premier STEM and professional programs, building on the biology and engineering base established by the land grant. Today, Clemson ranks as one of the top 20 public universities in the nation, according to U.S. News & World Report, and is a top-tier Carnegie Classification research institution.
Clemson is one of the first choices for STEM majors in the South, and the university offers two doctoral programs related to UX design. The Clemson PhD in Human-Centered Computing (HCC) is focused on interdisciplinary research in areas as varied as virtual reality and data mining, all built around human interaction with computers. Clemson’s PhD in Human Factors Psychology approaches humans and technology from a psychological standpoint. This program centers on using psychology to understand how humans use tools, and how to use those insights to design better tools. Both programs are ideal for students intending to enter academia, research, or high-level industry careers.
Degree: PhD in Human Centered Computing (HCC) or PhD in Human Factors Psychology
University of Wisconsin-Madison
The flagship of the University of Wisconsin system, the University of Wisconsin-Madison is as old as the state of Wisconsin, founded in 1848. As Wisconsin’s first public university, UW-Madison had a significant influence on the development of the state’s culture and economy, and even more so when it became a land-grant university in 1866. UW’s status as the state’s main research university makes the University of Wisconsin one of the most popular destinations for STEM students, with research spending of over $1 billion. UW-Madison has been named a Public Ivy, and regularly ranks in the top 50 national universities.
UW-Madison’s MA in Library and Information Studies degree program offers 5 concentrations, including UX & Information Technology. Since it comes from the Information School, the UW-Madison UX program focuses more on creating information technologies specifically from the user perspective. This 39-credit program can be completed either on-campus or online; online students need only a short on-campus orientation, and can complete any on-the-ground fieldwork in their own home area. The University of Wisconsin reputation is dominant in the Midwest, making their MA-LIS UX degree program a job market advantage and a clear value.
Degree: MA in Library and Information Studies (MA-LIS)
Purdue University is the flagship of the Purdue University System, and Indiana’s foremost public research university. The university was founded as a land-grant university in 1869 when businessman John Purdue donated land and money in Tippecanoe County for a university in his name. Following the land-grant act, Purdue was established as a college focusing on science, agriculture, and industrial skills. Purdue continued to develop as a research university, using its roots in engineering to become a leader in aviation and aerospace, a focus which made Purdue a national model for design and computing.
Purdue offers two master’s programs related to UX, from the humanities and science sides of the field. The Purdue MFA in Interactive Design gives students an interdisciplinary degree the combines cognitive and social science with design and technology. Students work using software and technology to improve human lives. The Purdue MS in Computer Graphics Technology offers a specialization in Human-Centered Design and Development (HCDD). This program focuses on developing software interfaces based on user needs. Graduates from either program benefit from a reputation that makes a Purdue degree a significant value.
Degree: MFA in Interactive Design (ID MFA) or MS in Computer Graphics Technology
Quinnipiac University dates back to 1929, when a small business school opened up after Northeastern University closed their extension campus in New Haven, CT. With the vacuum left by that closure, Quinnipiac grew quickly, moving to suburban Hamden a decade later. There, Quinnipiac earned a reputation as one of the top schools in New England for business and law. Today, Quinnipiac is ranked by U.S. News & World Report as one of the top 20 regional universities in the North, as well as earning recognition as a best value by publishers like the Economist.
Quinnipiac’s fully online MS in Interactive Media degree program is focused on contemporary online content, using the most current research and technology to craft interactive media. The UX Design concentration offers courses in research, information architecture, planning, and other skills tied to marketing, publishing, and journalism. Students work through the 36-credit program completely online, developing skills to apply to web content of all kinds. UX design is perfectly within Quinnipiac’s wheelhouse, combining technology and business in an innovative, useful fashion certain to pay off.
Degree: MS in Interactive Media
University of Washington
Founded in 1861 as Washington’s land-grant university, the University of Washington was a key part of growing the young city of Seattle into what it is today. As the state’s flagship, UW (U-Dub to its friends) has an outsized influence, not only in Seattle, but across the Pacific Northwest. Classified by the Carnegie Foundation at the highest level of research, UW is a national and international leader in STEM, with numerous Nobel Laureates, National Medal of Science winners, and other illustrious scientists in its faculty and alumni. The University of Washington is also ranked as a top 10 best value by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance for its combination of quality and ROI.
The University of Washington offers two master’s programs in the UX/User Design field. The UW Master of Human-Computer Interaction & Design (MHCID) comes from a collaboration of 4 departments that work together to form the DUB research group: Design: Use: Build. This intensive, 11-month, 46-credit program fuses engineering, design, and human behavioral science to create products and services better suited to human needs. The UW MS in Human-Centered Design & Engineering (MS-HCDE) is offered by the College of Engineering, but also provides an interdisciplinary 48-credit education in the human side of design. Either gives graduates entry to the robust tech economy of Seattle, and the networking connections only the University of Washington can provide.
Degree: Master of Human-Computer Interaction & Design (MHCID) or MS in Human-Centered Design & Engineering (MS-HCDE)
Louisiana State University
The most prominent public research university in Louisiana, and one of the most respected in the south, Louisiana State University is the flagship of the LSU System. This land, sea, and space-grant institution was founded in 1853, and stands today as the state’s largest, most productive research-intensive university. LSU researchers have been recognized for support by NASA, the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, and more. Further, LSU is recognized for one of the nation’s most prestigious business programs, the Ourso College of Business. U.S. News & World Report ranks LSU one of the top public universities in the nation, and LSU has been recognized as one of the most entrepreneurial universities by Entrepreneur magazine.
LSU’s Master in Digital Media Arts & Engineering degree program is one of the most unique and cutting-edge programs of its kind. This 45-credit, 22-month long program combines the arts and sciences to prepare students for work in entertainment, media, and content. DMAE graduates are able to handle the creative and technical aspects of digital media work equally well, giving them a real advantage on the job market and in their careers. Electives allow further specialization in software, gaming, virtual reality, and other avenues. LSU’s Digital Media master’s degree definitely holds up LSU’s reputation as a best value.
Degree: Master of Digital Media Arts & Engineering (DMAE)
University of Maryland-Baltimore County
The University of Maryland-Baltimore County began in 1966 as part of the state’s effort to keep up with the increased demand for college education, as the Baby Boom generation began straining the UMD flagship in College Park. With its location in Maryland’s capital and largest city, UMBC’s focus was on professional study and scientific research. Today, UMBC is well-known for its College of Engineering and Information Technology, and its status as a space-grant university has made UMBC a center of computing. UMBC has been named one of U.S. News & World Report’s top Up-and-Coming Universities, and a Princeton Review best value.
UMBC’s MS in Human-Centered Computing degree program is a 30-credit, interdisciplinary plan that gives students two options depending on their career paths. The Practitioner Track is tailored for students who want to work directly in user experience, such as design or programming. The Research Track includes a master’s thesis and prepares students for work in research, training, or academia. In either case, the HCC program is open to students from a variety of backgrounds, both humanities and sciences, and has a decade of experience, making it one of the oldest dedicated UX programs in the nation.
Degree: MS in Human-Centered Computer (HCC)
One of the most prestigious small liberal arts colleges in the south, Elon University was founded by the United Church of Christ in 1889. While it remains committed to the mission of education for mind, body, and spirit, Elon today is nonsectarian and independent, dedicated to the student support and mentorship that makes a liberal arts college great. Elon University is ranked the #1 regional university in the South by U.S. News & World Report, but that is only one of many honors. The Carnegie Foundation has given Elon its Community Engagement Classification, while the Princeton Review named Elon a “college with a conscience.”
Elon’s MA in Interactive Media degree program comes from the School of Communications, and draws on some of Elon’s greatest strengths. The School of Communications is one of the best in the nation, and one of only 18 accredited by the AEJMC; Elon’s connections means that nearly every students complete an internship, nationally and internationally. The Interactive Media MA focuses on digital content, including UX design, human-computer interaction, usability testing, and responsive web design. Elon’s excellent connections run across the US, giving graduates a strong entry into the field, making Elon’s Interactive Media MA a great value.
Degree: MA in Interactive Media
Arizona State University
Arizona State University is one of the most influential and envied institutions in the world. Founded in 1885, ASU came into its own in the 21st century with one of the boldest plans ever attempted by a public research university. The New American University concept, now associated with ASU, emphasized accessibility, openness, and opportunity, choosing inclusivity over selectivity. That plan made ASU the largest university in the nation, but has also earned it a reputation as the most innovative university in the world, and a model for other institutions. ASU has become known as a leader in online education, research, and professional education.
The ASU MS Tech in Graphic Information Technology degree program is dedicated to preparing students for work in digital graphics and cross-media content. From usability and user experience to internet and web development, the GIT program gives students a full foundation in contemporary content creation, testing, and management. Students can choose either a fully online program, or on campus at ASU Polytechnic; while coursework is 33 credits, students also choose between a thesis or an applied project. ASU has made its reputation on being ahead of the curve, all the time, and that reputation gives graduates a secure place on the job market, making ASU’s GIT program a solid investment.
Degree: MS in Graphic Information Technology
The largest Catholic university in the US, DePaul University was founded in 1898 by the Vincentian order, a Catholic organization dedicated to the memory of St. Vincent DePaul. From the beginning, a major part of DePaul’s mission was outreach, providing educational opportunity first for the children of immigrants in Chicago. Today, DePaul continues to be known for its appeals to first-generation and minority students; DePaul has been named one of the most diverse universities in America. DePaul is also ranked as a top-tier national university by U.S. News & World Report, and one of the top institutions for service learning.
DePaul is also known as one of the most innovative institutions in the nation for information technology, with the College of Computing and Digital Media – a rare focus for an entire college. DePaul’s Computing and Digital Media college offers two distinct degrees related to UX. The MA in Experience Design approaches the field from a design perspective, focusing on designing services and environments that meet users needs. The MS in Human-Computer Interaction is a more technical program, focused on designing technology based on the needs of end users. Both programs work with real local partners to solve real problems, making DePaul a value not only to students, but to the community as well.
Degree: MA in Experience Design or MS in Human-Computer Interaction (HCI)
Iowa State University
The Iowa State University of Science and Technology is, as the name suggests, Iowa’s foremost STEM-centered research university. The largest university in Iowa, Iowa State was founded in 1858, and became the nation’s first land-grant university under the Morrill Land-Grant Act of 1862. In that capacity, Iowa State grew into a flagship university, building its agriculture and mechanics base into top-tier engineering and scientific programs. Iowa State is recognized at the highest level of Carnegie Classification (R1) and is frequently ranked as one of the most innovative public universities in the US.
Iowa State’s MS in Human-Computer Interaction is just one example of ISU’s innovative spirit. The HCI master’s is offered through the Virtual Reality Applications Center, a world-class research center that studies human-computer interaction from an interdisciplinary perspective. The 30-credit program focuses on four categories: Design, Implementation, Phenomena, and Evaluation, preparing students not only for user experience design of today, but for whatever comes next. The MS-HCI is also available in a fully online format, adding flexibility and convenience to an already great value.
Degree: MS in Human-Computer Interaction (HCI)
University of Michigan
Michigan’s flagship university, the University of Michigan is actually older than the state of Michigan itself, founded in 1817 – two decades before the Michigan Territory became the state of Michigan. While it began in Detroit, its home city of Ann Arbor has become one of the most-loved college towns in America. A public research university with very high research activity standing from the Carnegie Classification, UM is a center of learning and culture for Michigan, from fields like business and medicine to STEM. U.S. News & World Report ranks the University of Michigan in the top 50 national universities.
The University of Michigan offers an MS in Information degree program through the School of Information. This progressive, interdisciplinary school approaches the study and use of information from a professional perspective, focusing on marketable skills and applicable, useful research. The MSI degree offers a specialization in UX Research and Design/Human-Computer Interaction/Social Computing, a catch-all concentration for everything having to do with users and technology. This market-ready program has been newly redesigned for more immediate application, making it a smart investment sure to show a return for graduates.
Degree: MS in Information
Philadelphia University + Thomas Jefferson University
Philadelphia University and Thomas Jefferson University, as of 2017, have merged into one new, innovative institution. Thomas Jefferson University – which will continue as the name of the merged universities – was founded in 1825 as a medical school. Philadelphia University, in turn, began in 1884 as a textiles school, focused on industrial training. The two universities grew into two of the most trusted and engaged communities in the city of Philadelphia, with professional education programs that prepared Philadelphia’s leadership in fields ranging from medicine to architecture.
The Kanbar College of Design, Engineering, and Commerce is part of the University of Philadelphia’s groundbreaking interdisciplinary structure, and continues as part of Thomas Jefferson University. The Kanbar College offers Philadelphia and Thomas Jefferson University’s MS in User Experience and Interaction Design, a 2-year master’s degree intended to prepare students for the modern world of work. That means building networks throughout Philadelphia, from publishers to freelancers, and building interdisciplinary teams across the university. Graduates of the UX/ID MS program have entry into their careers and real experience, making for a clear value, now and in the future.
Degree: MS in User Experience and Interaction Design (UX/ID)
New York University
Dating back to 1831, when New York was a promising trade city, New York University was always intended to be a model urban university. NYU was open to men of all classes and backgrounds, a first step in what would one day become a highly diverse institution, and its location in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village made that area a center of culture and learning. Today, NYU remains one of the most desirable universities in the world, and one of the largest with over 50,000 students. This private research university is frequently ranked one of the world’s best universities, and has been named a New Ivy.
NYU has always been at the forefront of new developments in education, and that is clear in its two UX-related degree programs. The NYU ITP Master of Professional Studies degree program is one of the most innovative programs of its kind. Developed by the Tisch School of the Arts’ ITP center – called the “engineering school for artists” – the ITP-MPS is built around the intersection of art and technology to bring art into communications technology. NYU also offers the MS in Integrated Digital Media from the Tandon School of Engineering, a research-focused STEAM program designed to explore how technology enriches society. Both programs are on the cutting edge of the field, and NYU’s connections throughout the world make these master’s degrees an entry into anywhere a graduate could want to go.
Degree: ITP-MPS or MS in Integrated Digital Media (IDM)
Rochester Institute of Technology
One of the most prestigious STEM institutions in the north, the Rochester Institute of Technology was founded in 1891 from the merger of a literary society and a technical training school. Adopting a polytechnic curriculum, RIT became a leader in New York for combining the fine arts and sciences. Today, RIT is well-known for computer science, engineering, and imaging science; recent years have seen RIT’s video game design program ranked as one of the best in the nation. RIT is ranked a top 10 regional university for the North by U.S. News & World Report.
RIT’s MS in Human-Computer Interaction degree program brings together RIT’s historic strengths in art, design, and technology. This program uses psychology and human behavior to better understand how people use websites and software, giving students both the technical expertise and the theoretical knowledge to create intuitive, user-centered experiences. This 33-credit program includes a capstone project or thesis, depending on the student’s goals, and graduates can go on into academic or industry positions in research or development. RIT’s world-class reputation gives students confidence that they’ve chosen a real value.
Degree: MS in Human-Computer Interaction (HCI)
Illinois Institute of Technology
The Illinois Institute of Technology is one of Chicago’s shaping institutions, dating back to the founding of the Armour Institute in 1890. This precursor to IIT was designed to provide practical, hands-on learning of professions and technology. IIT reached its full status in 1940, when it merged with another technical college, Lewis Institute, to consolidate polytechnic learning in Chicago. Today, IIT is ranked as a top-tier national university by U.S. News & World Report, while many individual programs, such as engineering, law, and design, are ranked among the best in the nation.
The IIT Master of Design + MBA dual degree program is the first program combining user-centered design and the most current management skills. This combination prepares students for leadership in the most innovative organizations across the world. The MDes + MBA is built by the Institute of Design and the Stuart School of Business, and students with a bachelor’s degree in design can complete the 54-credit degree program in just two years. The program is highly customizable, with nearly all of the courses defined as electives, so students can focus on their own interests and career paths. IIT’s unique and game-changing degree program is one of the best investments possible in the Midwest.
Degree: Master of Design and MBA (MDes + MBA)
George Washington University
Founded as Columbian College in 1821, George Washington University is the District of Columbia’s largest university and one of the most politically influential institutions in the nation. George Washington himself had willed shares of his investments to found a college in Washington, and the presence of a university was an important part of establishing DC’s legitimacy as a world capital. Today, GWU is a world leader in medicine, law, international affairs, and more, and is a top-tier Carnegie Foundation classified research university. U.S. News & World Report ranks GWU one of the top national universities.
The GWU MA in Interaction Design degree program comes from the Corcoran School of the Arts & Design, one of the most renowned art schools in the US. The Interaction Design program focuses on the role of designers in creating accessible, useful products, with emphasis areas ranging from mobile technology to sustainability. This 42-credit program is a full foundation in interaction design, from research and analysis to production, and can be completed in just two years. Graduates can expect a GWU degree, with the university’s national and international ties, to take them far.
Degree: MA in Interaction Design
University of Southern California
California’s oldest private research university, the University of Southern California has played a critical role in American business, technology, and entertainment since 1880. USC has been a global center of entrepreneurship and business, from its connections to Hollywood to its wide-ranging partnerships throughout the Pacific Rim. USC has also historically been a leader in technology, as one of the first nodes of the ARPANET and the home of one of the world’s most powerful supercomputers. Ranked by U.S. News & World Report as one of the top 25 national universities, USC is a top 10 school for business and engineering.
Design@USC offers the USC MS in Integrated Design, Business, and Technology, a widely interdisciplinary program dedicated to using design to solve real-world problems. The program work of four different schools, including the Academy for Arts, Technology and the Business of innovation; the Roski School of Art and Design; the Viterbi School of Engineering; and the Marshall School of Business. This unique program is offered completely online, with live, collaborative sessions to develop community and cooperation. This 38-credit program can be completed in only 18 months and launches graduates into a career with sky-high returns.
Degree: MS in Integrated Design, Business, and Technology
SUNY Oswego was founded in 1861 as a teacher training school. The Oswego school was founded as a center of educational reform with the Oswego Movement, an approach to teaching that emphasized concrete, hands-on learning for children. Today, SUNY Oswego remains committed to practical, innovative education, though it is a long way from the little teacher training school. Oswego has been named an up-and-coming university by U.S. News & World Report, as well as a top 20 regional university, and it is the only SUNY school with a computer science major.
SUNY Oswego’s MA in Human-Computer Interaction degree is an interdisciplinary program focused on how technology integrates into everyday life. The curriculum combines courses in graphic design with psychology and computer science to help students understand both sides of human-computer interaction – the systems, and the users. In addition, Oswego offers two related advanced certificates in Health Information Technology and Integrated Health systems for students who want to specialize in the healthcare field. A solid value on the job market, SUNY Oswego gives students a solid entry into one of the most exciting fields today.
Degree: MA in Human-Computer Interaction
California State University, East Bay
Located in Hayward, CA, in the San Francisco East Bay area, California State University, East Bay was founded in 1957 as part of a broad plan to make accessible higher education for the region. From its first classes meeting in an elementary school, to a master’s level university with more than 16,000 students, CSU East Bay has been recognized as one of the best colleges in the west by the Princeton Review and U.S. News & World Report. East Bay has also been recognized as a prime public institution for entrepreneurs and students going into the tech field, due to its connections to San Francisco.
The CSU East Bay MA in Multimedia degree program offers a concentration in Interaction Design for students interested in the intersection of technology and user experience. This interdisciplinary program gives artists access to the studios and labs they need to put the advanced theory they will learn into practice. Students have numerous opportunities for internships and job offers, with San Francisco’s tech scene; graduates of the Multimedia program are prepared for careers ranging from video and graphic design to education. A wealth of opportunity and a strong reputation make CSU East Bay a solid investment.
Degree: MA in Multimedia (Interaction Design concentration)
University of Baltimore
Founded in 1925, the University of Baltimore has always been focused on practical education with real-world value. UB began with night classes for working adults, expanding into a junior college a decade later. For many years, the University of Baltimore was strictly an upper-division college, focusing only on the last two years of college and graduate programs. Though UB is a full, comprehensive university today, it is still primarily known for its professional programs, especially in fields linked to urban life and work, like public administration and business.
The University of Baltimore Master’s in Interaction Design and Information Architecture is one of the university’s most in-demand programs, with strong showing on the job market. The program combines computer science with the insights that the humanities bring to life, preparing students to use their knowledge to meet needs and solve problems. This 36-credit program can be completed entirely online, or in evening and weekend classes, to provide working adults with flexibility. The University of Baltimore has been meeting students’ needs for nearly a century, and has more than proven its value.
Degree: MS in Interaction Design and Information Architecture
University of Colorado Boulder
The University of Colorado Boulder is the flagship of the CU system and one of the foremost research universities in the Rocky Mountain region. Founded in 1876, the same year Colorado became a state, CU Boulder was part of an effort by the legislature to build up a higher education system that would civilize the territory, which was still mostly rough mining towns. The University of Colorado did that and more, growing into one of the most popular and desirable universities in the region. CU Boulder is ranked a top 50 public university by U.S. News & World Report, and its space-grant research status has made it a leader in computer science and technology.
CU Boulder’s MS in Creative Technologies and Design degree program offers students a wealth of hands-on, project-based learning that prepares them for careers making user-centered products. The curriculum is built around design skills, business communication, and digital technology, giving students a fully-rounded expertise in the design industry. Students also meet with working professionals, network through workshops and internships, and build a portfolio that can take them onto the job market with confidence. All students need for a rewarding career in UX design is there from CU Boulder, a real college value.
Degree: MS in Creative Technologies & Design (CTD)
Indiana University Bloomington
Indiana’s flagship university, Indiana University Bloomington is a major public research university with well over 40,000 students and some of the Midwest’s highest-ranked schools and programs. Founded in 1820, IU was a formative influence on the development of Indiana, from its frontier years to today. Indiana University is recognized as a Public Ivy, a public university with the reputation of the Ivy League, and ranks as one of U.S. News & World Report’s top 50 public universities. The School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering was the first academic school dedicated to informatics, and ranks as one of the top 10 nationally.
The School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering offers the Indiana University MS in HCI degree program with a design emphasis. This intensive, interdisciplinary program focuses on preparing students for every aspect of an HCI-related career, from crafting digital products to leading teams or striking out as entrepreneurs. A 2-semester capstone lets students dive deep into their career goals with a study or project that connects directly to their plans and intentions. The IU MS in HCI gives students a jump on their career and a strong name to carry onto the job market, making it a solid value throughout the Midwest.
Degree: MS in Human-Computer Interaction (Design concentration) (HCI/d)
Pennsylvania State University
Recognized as a Public Ivy, Pennsylvania State University was founded in 1855 as the state’s research and teaching university, becoming a land-grant institution in 1862. For the next century and a half, Penn State built up into the state’s most prominent state-supported research institution, a public-private hybrid. The university is recognized by the National Science Foundation for research expenditures, with many fields ranking in the top 10, including computer science. Penn State has also been praised by the Wall Street Journal for having some of the best-prepared graduates, according to corporate recruiters.
Penn State’s MS in Information Science Technology (IST) degree program is an interdisciplinary program designed for students from a wide range of backgrounds, from computer science to social sciences. Students engage in cutting-edge research as well as preparing for the job market in design, marketing, and research. Students can also take specialty courses in other areas, including Human-Computer Interaction (HCI). This 30-credit program can be completed in just 2 years, and with Penn State’s reputation throughout the Northeast, graduates can expect their investment to pay off.
Degree: MS in Information Science Technology (IST) – HCI specialization
Rutgers University - New Brunswick
Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, is one of the most unique universities in the nation. One of the 9 Colonial Colleges founded before the American Revolution, Rutgers began as Queen’s College in 1766. While still a private college, Rutgers was tapped to be New Jersey’s land-grant university under the Morrill Land-Grant Act, setting the stage for Rutgers to become one of the north’s most prominent research institutions. Today, Rutgers is an unusual combination of public and private, with public funding but the independence of a private university. Rutgers is ranked one of the top 25 public universities in the nation by U.S. News & World Report.
The Rutgers Master of Business and Science degree program combines the courses of a science program with the business courses of an MBA. Designed to more closely prepare students for the current professional R&D job market, the MBS offers a specialization in User Experience Design for students interested in accessibility and usability in everything from web apps to virtual reality. Students learn psychology, design, and communication along with technical skills from computer science. This 33-credit program, and Rutgers’ influence throughout the Northeast, gives graduates everything they need for a rewarding career in the HCI field.
Degree: Master of Business and Science – User Experience Design (MBS-UXD)
University of North Texas
The University of North Texas began as a private teachers college in 1890, but was adopted by the state in 1901, forming the basis of the University of North Texas system. With an economic boom in the North Texas region, UNT has expanded rapidly and boldly, including the New College in Frisco, TX. Part of the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, Frisco is one of the fastest-growing cities in America, and a growing center of development, making the New College UNT’s best way of forging through the 21st century.
The UNT New College is also the home of the UNT MA in Design, offered by the College of Visual Arts and Design. The MA in Design offers a concentration in Interactive Design for students who are interested in a career in human-centered design. The only program of its kind in North Texas, the MA in Design prepares students to create products that work with the needs of users. With its connection to the Dallas-Fort Worth area – one of the nation’s largest economic hubs – UNT graduates step out into one of the strongest job markets in the US. The UNT reputation gives them a leg up.
Degree: MA in Design – Interaction Design concentration
Syracuse University was founded in 1870, though its roots in New York run even deeper, to the Genesee College, which was founded in 1831. Throughout the 20th century, Syracuse built a reputation as one of the most recognizable names in higher education, not only in New York, but nationwide. Syracuse is particularly well known in areas central to modern urban life, like management, law, public affairs, and public communications, with many of its programs ranked in the top 10 nationally. Syracuse is also ranked in the top 75 national universities by U.S. News & World Report.
The Syracuse MFA in Interactive Design degree program approaches the design and production of products and interfaces from a perspective that fuses art, technology, and business. Students practice research, analysis, and prototyping from all parts of the process. This interdisciplinary, progressive program is built around solving real business, social, and cultural problems with design that takes all aspects of use into consideration. Students can complete the degree in 2 years, entering the job market with a name trusted throughout the Northeast and the US in general.
Degree: MFA in Interactive Design (MFA-IXD)
Northwestern University is a major, private research institution founded in 1851 to bring higher education to the Northwest Territory – the frontier region composed of Illinois, Ohio, Indiana, and the other upper midwestern states. Located in Evanston, a popular suburb of Chicago, Northwestern played a major role in helping Chicago grow into one of the nation’s three largest cities. Today, Northwestern is ranked in the top 12 national universities by U.S. News & World Report, and many programs and schools are recognized among the best in the world, including the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science.
The Northwestern MS in Engineering Design Innovation degree program is a model program offered by the McCormick School. This 15-month master’s degree is designed around 16 courses, taught on a quarter system to allow students to complete their degree quickly. With courses in the fall, winter, and spring, and internship or co-op experience in the summer, students get an intensive focus in design, development, planning, and leadership. A thorough program prepares students to solve real-world problems with design solutions. The Northwestern name takes this program from a strong choice to a life-long investment.
Degree: MS in Engineering Design Innovation
University of Miami
In 1925, the speculation boom that turned South Florida into a destination for tourists and developers was at its peak, convincing Miami’s leaders that a university was the next step in turning the tourist town into a modern city. Though the Great Depression nearly ended the college, Miami University survived and grew alongside the city of Miami into a global leader. Today, the University of Miami is a private research university ranked by U.S. News & World Report in the top 50 national universities. Miami is recognized as a leader in areas as varied as marine science, business, and medicine.
The University of Miami MFA in Interactive Media is combining technology and design to improve human life. With three areas of concentration – UX/UI Design, Game Design, and Data Visualization – The IM MFA program is a multidisciplinary program drawing on computer science, art, psychology, and other fields for a full understanding of how technology and human behavior influence each other. Students work hands-on through courses and projects, from designing and prototyping to presenting and communicating their creations. With its deep roots in Miami, the University of Miami is one of the most respected names in one of the nation’s biggest job markets, a clear distinction that makes UM a long-term value.
Degree: MFA in Interactive Media
Founded in 1852 by the Christian Universalists (now the Unitarian Universalist Church), Tufts University spent most of its history as the kind of traditional liberal arts college New England is known for. That all began to change, though, in the 1990s, as the university began leaning into its STEM programs, particularly in engineering. The Tufts School of Engineering is known for its entrepreneurial focus, with the revolutionary Gordon Institute paving the way as the first academic center dedicated to engineering and entrepreneurship. Today, Tufts University is ranked in the top 30 national universities by U.S. News & World Report, with the School of Engineering recognized as one of the world’s best.
The School of Engineering offers the Tufts University MS in Human Factors degree program. This curriculum approaches Human Factors from an engineering perspective, and applicants are expected to have a bachelor’s degree in engineering or a relevant field of science. Students work through a specialized curriculum dedicated to areas like ergonomics, interface design, product design, and more. With the Tufts MS in Human Factors, students have access to a range of career options, from designing medical devices to programming human-computer interfaces. The Tufts reputation will take graduates into the job market, and their careers, for a substantial return.
Degree: MS in Human Factors
University of Delaware
The University of Delaware is one of the most historic institutions in the nation, but continues to forge ahead four centuries into its history. UD dates back to 1743, to a free school that became the Academy of Newark. It did not become a college until 1833, and in 1870 became Delaware’s land-grant university under the Morrill Land Grant Act. Land-grant status set the stage for the University of Delaware to become the state’s largest and most prominent public research institution, and a crucial educator of the state’s scientists, professionals, and leaders. UD is ranked a top 30 national public university by U.S. News & World Report.
The University of Delaware MA in Interaction Design degree is a multidisciplinary program from the Department of Art & Design. The IxD curriculum draws on studio art and design, mechanical engineering, and business for a fully-rounded, real-world ready preparation for a career in interaction design. The studio environment gives students hands-on access to cutting-edge tools and old-fashioned mentorship, providing the best of all worlds for future designers. This 30-credit program can be completed in just one year of full-time study, getting students into their careers faster for an even greater value.
Degree: MA in Interaction Design (IxD)
Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis
One of the most exciting and unique public, urban research universities in the nation, Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis was founded in 1969. This unusual merger of two extension campuses of Indiana’s top public universities gives students access to the resources and expertise of both systems. The third largest university in Indiana, IUPUI is crucial to professional education, with the state’s most diverse student body and a population composed almost entirely of Hoosiers. IUPUI has been ranked an up-and-coming university by U.S. News & World Report, and has steadily climbed the national rankings for years.
The IUPUI MS in Human-Computer Interaction degree program is developed by the School of Informatics and Computing, a new school started in 2013 to focus on the most current technology. The HCI master’s program is built around hands-on, project-based learning that helps students learn all sides of the process, from the creator to the user. IUPUI’s program draws on the university’s connections throughout Indianapolis and Indiana for collaboration with corporate partners, industry networking, and mentorship. Students can feel assured that their education will give them a substantial, and rewarding, advantage at the beginning of their careers.
Degree: MS in Human-Computer Interaction (HCI)
Michigan State University
Founded in 1855, Michigan State University was one of the first scientific, academic agricultural colleges in the world. Its influence made it the model of the land-grant institution, with the Morrill Act of 1862 dedicating federal money to spread the Michigan State format across the US. As a pioneer in hands-on, practical approaches to applied science, MSU helped make modern STEM education possible. Today, Michigan State is a nationally-recognized research university, ranked as a top 50 national public university by U.S. News & World Report. The College of Communication Arts and Sciences was the first of its kind in 1955, and is regularly recognized as one of the top 5 and top 10 nationally and internationally
The College of Communication Arts and Sciences offers the Michigan State MA in Media and Information. Students can choose from two concentrations in the interaction design field: Human-Computer Interaction (HCI), or Media and Information Management (MIM). While the HCI concentration emphasizes project-based learning and the creation and development of solutions, the MIM concentrations focus on organization and competition. Both prepare students for the real world of interaction design, industry, and entrepreneurship, and give students entry into one of the most rewarding careers today.
Degree: MA in Media and Information – Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) or Media and Information Management (MIM) concentrations
University of Kansas Edwards Campus
Founded in 1855, when the end of the Civil War made education a priority again, the University of Kansas became a major factor in helping the state heal from the Bleeding Kansas era. Today, the University of Kansas is dedicated to carrying Kansas into the 21st century with distinction. KU remains central to academic and professional education in the state, with some of the Midwest’s best programs in areas like architecture, business, and engineering. Extension campuses like the Edwards Campus in Overland Park continue to build KU’s reputation in professional education.
The University of Kansas Master’s in Human-Computer Interaction Design degree program comes from the Edwards Campus, an extension rapidly gaining attention for some of the university’s best-ranked programs. With its location in Kansas City – a major metropolis spread over two states – the Edwards Campus provides programs crucial to urban life. That includes the HCID master’s, an interdisciplinary program focused on using the insights of human psychology, computer science, and the intersection of humanity and technology to improve life. With a cutting-edge program and access to Kansas City (the launching pad of Google Fiber), graduates can trust their investment will have a life-long return.
Degree: Master’s in Human-Computer Interaction Design
Kent State University
Founded in 1910 as a normal school – a teacher training program that came before the teachers college – Kent State University is one of the largest public universities in the Midwest and a leader in Ohio. With more than 39,000 students spread across Kent State’s 7 campuses, Kent State is central to learning and research in the humanities, social sciences, and sciences, from poetry and conflict resolution to aviation and liquid crystal technology. Kent State is ranked in the top tier of national universities, ranking in the top 100 best public universities according to U.S. News & World Report.
The Kent State MS in User Experience Design degree program is intended for students who love technology and design, but are more interested in the use of technology than programming. This intensive design-centered program gives students a full, thorough grounding in modern design, from usability to content strategy. The Kent State UXD master’s is available completely online, and has been recognized by U.S. News as one of the best online graduate programs in the nation. Students can complete their degree in less than two years while continuing their jobs, making the MS in UXD a solid value.
Degree: MS in User Experience Design
Virginia Commonwealth University
Virginia Commonwealth University is a top-tier public research university in Richmond, the capital of Virginia. Founded in 1838, VCU began as the medical school of Hampden-Sydney College, becoming independent in 1854 and merging with a professional school in 1917 to form VCU. Today, Virginia Commonwealth is a Carnegie Classification R1 research university and one of the most critical medical, professional, and technological institutions in Virginia. U.S. News & World Report ranks VCU in the top 100 public universities nationwide, and many individual programs are recognized worldwide.
The VCU Brandcenter is one of the most unique academic research centers in the nation. Developed in 1996 to provide a site for the academic study of advertising, and establish industry-academic connections, the Brandcenter has been called the best advertising school in America by Creativity Magazine. The Brandcenter offers VCU’s MS in Business Branding/Experience Design concentration, a 42-credit, two-year program that steeps students in all aspects of interaction design for advertising, marketing, and branding. Graduates benefit immensely from the Brandcenter’s wide connections to the advertising industry, including the Martin Agency, which helped found the center.
Degree: MS in Business – Branding/Experience Design concentration
Founded in 1948 and named for Louis Brandeis, the first Jewish Supreme Court Justice, Brandeis University was established by Jewish leaders at a time when the most elite liberal arts colleges and universities of New England were hostile to Jewish students. Over the course of the 20th century, Brandeis grew into one of the most prestigious universities in New England, remaining rooted in the liberal arts but developing world-class professional programs in areas like social policy, business, and health management, as well as Jewish studies. Brandeis ranks as a U.S. News & World Report top 50 national university, and the Princeton Review ranks it first in social engagement.
The Brandeis MS in User-Centered Design degree program comes from Graduate Professional Studies, the division dedicated to part-time, fully online graduate degrees. Students in the User-Centered Design program work to complete a portfolio that will get them traction on the job market. Project-oriented learning has students create designs, follow those designs through the process, and incorporate human psychology and behavior to understand the human factors of design. With the convenience of online learning, and Brandeis’ exceptional reputation, the MS in User-Centered Design is easily one of the best values in the interaction design field.
Degree: MS in User-Centered Design
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Located in Wisconsin’s largest city, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee is a top-tier, R1 public research university and part of the renowned University of Wisconsin system. Founded in 1885 as a normal school (a teacher training program), UW-Milwaukee has grown into a major urban university, with more than 27,000 students and nearly 200 degree programs. UWM is crucial to professional education in Wisconsin, with the state’s largest nursing and health science programs, and one of the top 20 business schools in the Midwest, according to Bloomberg Businessweek. The School of Information Studies has been ranked in the top 20 iSchools by U.S. News & World Report.
The School of Information Studies offers UW-Milwaukee’s MS in Information Science & Technology degree program, a 36-credit master’s degree that builds on the bachelor’s in information science. The IST program is primarily online, and applicants with varying levels of experience are accepted. The IST MS also provides multiple elective tracks for students who wish to specialize, including User Interaction & Human-Computer Interaction. With its location in Milwaukee, and its reputation throughout the Midwest, UW-Milwaukee provides graduates with ample job opportunity, and a respected name on their resume.
Degree: MS in Information Science & Technology