Home of Sidney Kimmel Medical College

User Experience and Interaction Design (M.S.)

Program Director: Neil Harner

Mission

The mission of the M.S. in User Experience and Interaction Design is to prepare students to be professionals who will change standards by which society communicates and interacts. When one looks at websites, mobile communications devices, graphic user interfaces, or integrated systems, one sees the importance of interaction in communicating a rich media experience. For businesses, success depends on a well-designed, engaging, dynamic and robust user experience. The  M.S. in User Experience and Interaction Design program provides students the necessary skillsets and promotes the critical thinking that is vital to this evolving field.

The predominant feature of the  M.S. in User Experience and Interaction Design program is the development of new and innovative ways of communicating and learning to work as a team. The program offers students a unique opportunity to study in an interdisciplinary atmosphere. While learning to be successful members of an interdisciplinary design team, students acquire skills to manipulate digital technology, communicate ideas, visualize design proposals and manage information.

Program Learning Outcomes

Graduates of the M.S. in User Experience and Interaction Design will be able to apply the following skills, knowledge and habits of critical thinking:

Best Practices in Visual Communication, Information Literacy 

  • Use principles of design, such as visual organization, information hierarchy, typography, narrative and aesthetics to solve problems.
  • Plan and design usable sites by collecting data through various methods.
  • Analyze and evaluate data, plan and execute intuitive interfaces, user experiences and rich interactive designs.

Practical Interactive Knowledge and Technological Skills

  • Use equipment, technology and resources that represent current trends in the field.
  • Analyze and design functional prototypes.
  • Apply user experience design principles.
  • Evaluate and respond to user needs and develop solutions to usability problems.
  • Apply fundamental concepts of Internet and digital marketing including social media and email marketing. 
  • Create and analyze system architecture such as Content Management Systems, web development, user interactions and database development.

Development, Production and Post-Production Knowledge

  • Use computer languages, compilers, interpreters and assembler products to produce code and output to meet specifications.
  • Illustrate an understanding of digital technologies in the creation, production and use of visual communication. 
  • Utilize and synthesize digital tools including software, photography, time-based and interactive media to create effective visual designs. 

The  M.S. in User Experience and Interaction Design program emphasizes the following:

  • Tailoring the classroom experience around a diverse set of student professional and cultural backgrounds leading to a more dynamic and engaging team-based classroom experience
  • A balance of research and planning, visual design, user experience design and programming skills essential to professional readiness and flexibility
  • Creation of portfolio quality projects that demonstrates high competencies for thought leadership, problem solving skills and a superior understanding of real-world challenges
  • Mentorship by practicing and leading professionals specialized in classroom topics to not only educate on current industry standards but also demonstrate future considerations

The M.S. in User Experience and Interaction Design program concludes with a final capstone research project. In this synthesis studio, students will develop a final working prototype of a product, service, entertainment or publication of their choice that synthesizes all of their knowledge and skill from the previous semesters. The final project demonstrates marketability and/or successful functionality within the larger community. This project prepares the student to enter or advance in the rapidly expanding field of user experience and interaction design by closely emulating the professional design environment. It prepares the student to enter a profession that requires innovative designers with the ability to work within a collaborative interdisciplinary team.


Admissions Criteria

The program is designed for prospective students who have previously studied, have professional experience or a have particular aptitude in computer programming, design, and/or visual arts.

To apply students must be able to provide:

  • Completed Application for Graduate Admissions
  • Official Academic Transcripts
  • Current Resume/CV
  • 2 Letters of Recommendation (may be emailed directly by recommenders)
  • A thoughtful essay, focused on the unique ways they anticipate contributing to this interdisciplinary program
  • Design portfolio, preferably in an interactive format. PDFs are accepted


International students must provide a WES transcript evaluation if transcripts are not in English, as well as official TOEFL or IELTS scores. A substantial number of students inside this program come from outside the US; we welcome and value global perspectives.

Fast and fluent English speaking and comprehension are crucial to success in a graduate-level studio design program. For international applicants, the program has determined that TOEFL IBT speaking and listening subscores above 20 are needed allow students to function effectively. Students whose scores are slightly below these levels are still encouraged to apply; they may be offered admission, conditional on completion of a recommended foundational English program.

18-Month Advanced Professional Track Requirements

In addition to the general graduate program admission requirements, highly qualified professionals may be eligible for a consolidated 31 credit, 18-month degree program. In order to be eligible for this prospective students must meet the following qualifications:

  • Interactive portfolio that demonstrates established work in the interactive field
  • Minimum of 3-years working experience in relative profession
  • Conduct an in-person or video-conference interview with the program director

18-Month Program Undergraduate Pathway Admission Requirements

In addition to the general graduate program admission requirements, recent PhilaU graduates may be eligible for a consolidated 31 credit, 18-month degree program. In order to be eligible for this opportunity students must meet the following criteria as part of their undergraduate degree completion at PhilaU:

  • Minimum 3.5 GPA
  • Completed undergraduate Graphic Design, Industrial Design, Animation and Digital Media, or Interactive Design and Development program.
  • If not a graduate of the Interactive Design and Development program, student must have taken “IDD-510 Essentials of Interactive Design” with a ‘B’ or greater OR completed a Web Design and Development minor.

Philadelphia University uses a rolling admissions policy, meaning there is no set application deadline. You may apply online by clicking here, and email supporting documents to GradAdm@PhilaU.edu.

Two-Year Program - Fall Start

Fall        

  • Essentials of Interactive Design    (6 credits)
  • Research and Design Process Methods    (3 credits)

Spring  

  • Digital Experience Design   (3 credits)
  • Mobile Communication Design    (3 credits)
  • Design Business and Entrepreneurship     (3 credits)

Summer              

  • Digital Innovation Design     (3 credits)

Fall        

  • UXD Thesis Project Preparation      (1 credit)
  • Interactive Narrative/ Drama   (3 credits)
  • Database Management/ Scripting   (3 credits)
  • UXD Internship or Independent Study  (3 credits)

Spring  

  • UXD Thesis Project    (6 credits)

TOTAL CREDITS:  37

Two-Year Program - Spring Start

Spring  

  • Essentials of Interactive Design   (6 credits)
  • Design Business and Entrepreneurship   (3 credits)

Summer              

  • Digital Innovation Design    (3 credits)

Fall        

  • Digital Experience Design   (3 credits)
  • Research and Design Process Methods  (3 credits)
  • Database Management / Scripting   (3 credits)

Spring  

  • UXD Thesis Project Preparation     (1 credit)
  • Interactive Narrative/ Drama   (3 credits)
  • Mobile Communication Design   (3 credits)
  • UXD Internship or Independent Study    (3 credits)

Fall        

  • UXD Thesis Project     (6 credits)

TOTAL CREDITS: 37

 

18-Month Program - Fall Start (only)

Fall     

  • Research and Design process Methods    (3 credits)
  • Digital Experience Design   (3 credits)
  • Database Management and Scripting  (3 credits)

Spring 

  • Mobile Communication Design     (3 credits)
  • Design Business and Entrepreneurship     (3 credits)
  • Interactive Narrative and Drama      (3 credits)
  • UXD Thesis Project Preparation  (1 credit)

Summer             

  • Digital Innovation Design  (3 credits)
  • UXD Internship or Independent Project   (3 credits)

 

Fall       

  • UXD Thesis Project    (3 credits)

TOTAL CREDITS: 31