MA Interaction Design Communication

MA Interaction Design Communication is a practice-led design course that prepares students to design for an increasingly technologically informed and interdisciplinary design world with skills in the following areas: interaction design, design prototyping, physical computing, user-centered design, open source digital platforms, design research, foresight and insight, experience design, communication design, speculative and critical design, interactive design and digital arts.

Additional costs: In addition to tuition fees you are very likely to incur additional costs such as travel expenses and the cost of materials. We strongly suggest you read the information on our Additional Costs page. 

Intel Future Cities: Students collaborated with technology on an exploratory design project.

Watch // Student Simona Ciocoiu explains the haptic physical computing prototype

Watch // Student Work: The Human-sized Hamster Wheel by Adriano Mescia

Watch // Student Work: Sonic Intimacy by Kalypso Kaplani

LCC MA Interaction Design Communication students were selected to exhibit at ThingsCon in Berlin.

Student Masato Seki explains his brief for the haptic physical computing prototype

Reasons to Apply

  • Exploring through Practice: The course has three distinct areas: Interaction (how we craft meaningful experience), Design (addressing strategic and human-centred needs with aesthetic sensibility) and Communication (the ability to propose cogent design futures with appropriate means). You’ll explore those areas through prototyping and making as a means to develop complex design projects.
  • Developing critical and flexible practitioners: Understand the scope and breadth of Interaction Design Communication and develop the tools to flourish in this fast-pace discipline through an emphasis on teaching critical design methods.
  • Industry partners: Work in collaboration on projects with our professional industry and cultural partners, including Intel, IBM, William Morris Gallery and the V&A.
  • Guest lectures: Discover the broad range of potential careers and build professional networks through our series of guest lectures and workshops – run by industry experts, critical thinkers, design tinkerers and professional practitioners.
  • International design trips: Present your work and engage in innovative panel discussions at international conferences and events, such as ThingsCon in Berlin and the Interface Politics conference in Barcelona.

Funding opportunities

Find out about the range of funding options available for postgraduate study.

Use UAL's fees and funding calculator to estimate how much your studies may cost you in your first year, and what funding may be available to you.

Postgraduate loans of up to £10,000 are now available for eligible UK and EU students. A full list of eligibility criteria and information on applying can be found on the postgraduate loans webpage.

Facts

Course Leader

Eva Verhoeven

Course Location

London College of Communication 
Elephant and Castle
Find Us

Study LevelPostgraduate
Study ModeFull time
Course Length1 year 3 months full time (45 weeks across a four-term model)
Home/EU Fee

2017/18: £8,500 (Full-time). This course also includes an additional conference travel and residential fee of £900.

UAL alumni receive a £1,000 discount
Course fees may be paid in instalments

A range of scholarships, bursaries and awards are available to postgraduate students at UAL. 

International Fee

2017/18: £17,920 (Full-time). This course also includes an additional conference travel and residential fee of £900.

UAL alumni receive a £1,000 discount
Course fees may be paid in instalments

A range of scholarships, bursaries and awards are available to postgraduate students at UAL.

Start Date25 September 2017
Application Route

Direct to College

Application DeadlineApplications are accepted, and offers made, throughout the year. Early application is advised.

Content and Structure

Content

MA Interaction Design Communication provides an opportunity for experimental practice in an area of design that increasingly explores the intersection of the physical and digital domains. With a focus on synthesising thought through rigorous design prototyping (making), digital processes and user perspectives, the course is highly reflective of interdisciplinary practice within the contemporary design, media and communications industries.

The course's integrated approach to critical thinking provides you with the opportunity to work with critical ideas in an applied design context – for example psycho-geographic practice as empirical research or engaging with other critical theories of space to generate user perspectives. This ensures that ideation processes take on both the macro as well as micro opportunities for innovation and speculation crucial to building a portfolio of highly engaged work.

As well as placing you in a position to work across the broad spectrum of interaction, design and communication, the course is just as interested in design questions as design answers. This means that the course also prepares you for progression to further design research at MPhil/PhD level as well as to advanced self-directed experimental practice.

LCC has an outstanding team of practitioners and published researchers and enjoys a rich programme of visiting speakers. The course also benefits from a cross-European collaboration with design industry professionals and higher education institutions and there is an opportunity to visit at least one other centre in Europe during the course.

This course is taught within the Design School

Structure

Each course is divided into units, which are credit-rated. The minimum unit size is 20 credits. The MA course structure involves six units, totalling 180 credits.

Autumn, Term One

Unit summary:

  • 1.1 Theories and Technologies of Interaction Design (40 credits)
  • 1.2 Research Practice and Human Centred Design (20 credits)

Term 1 of the course introduces you to the technologies and concepts that are core to the practice and theory of interaction design. Following an induction programme that sets the scene for the course, you will see how contemporary interaction, design and communication practice uses a range of technologies and concepts, and you will experience the interrelationship between theory and practice. This phase allows you to acquire the important foundations of knowledge across several discplines including interaction, design and communication. These are critical for the development of subsequent stages of the course. You will be introduced to key design prototyping and technical skills in this phase that will be essential for your practice throughout the rest of the course.

Spring, Term Two

Unit summary:

  • 2.1 Interaction Futures and Speculative Design (20 credits) 
  • 2.2 Physical Computing and Design Prototyping (20 credits) 
  • 2.3 Collaborative Unit (20 credits)

Term 2 offers you the opportunity to use both the critical and technical skills gained in Phase 1 to produce speculative and critical design projects. We also explicitly explore the intersection of the physical and digital domains, introducing you to the applied skills needed to work with physical computing, sensors and data environments. During this phase you will also develop a project proposal for your final major project and thesis in Phase 3.

Summer, Term Three

Unit summary:

  • 2.1 Interaction Futures and Speculative Design (continued)
  • 2.2 Physical Computing and Design Prototyping (continued)

Autumn, Term Four

Unit summary:

  • Unit 4.1 Final Major Research Project
    (Weighted 50% written component and 50% practical component)

You will undertake a final major research project which relates to the expanded field of interaction, design and communication. This will involve a self-directed major practical project and the completion of a related thesis, which demonstrates your critical reflection, analysis and original research. With access to broad theoretical models spanning the discipline, you will apply these models to your own specialist area of interest to produce a critically aware major project that after assessment will usually be presented at your postgraduate show.

If you are unable to continue or decide to exit the course, there are two possible exit awards. A Postgraduate Certificate will be awarded on successful completion of the first 60 credits and a Postgraduate Diploma will be awarded on successful completion of the first 120 credits.

What students say about the course

I'm a better team leader now - I know what it's like to be on the other side - and I'm a better team player now, because I can manage myself.

"Here we have been taught to think as well as to do."

"I've worked with people from more than 10 different countries - where else could I get that experience?"

"It's a very well balanced combination of theory and practice. For overseas students it's very good that it is so intense and that you have to attend five days a week."

"I really enjoyed the course for all its opportunities. We had much better support than you get on other courses. The lectures and seminars were great."

Course Structure

The information outlined is an indicative structure of the course. Whilst we will aim to deliver the course as described on this page, there may be situations where it is desirable or necessary for the University to make changes in course provision, for example because of regulatory requirements or operational efficiencies, before or after enrolment. If this occurs, we will communicate all major changes to all applicants and students who have either applied or enrolled on the course.

Please note that due to staff research agreements or availability, not all of the optional modules listed may be available every year.

In addition, the provision of course options which depend upon the availability of specialist teaching, or on a placement at another institution, cannot be guaranteed. Please check this element of the course with the course team before making a decision to apply.

Staff

You will work with highly qualified and experienced educators in multimedia who deliver the course and who retain close involvement with the industry, continuing their professional practice and, in the majority of cases, engaging in scholarly research at an international level. In addition, there will be visiting experts from the industry itself.

Programme Director of Interactive and Visual Communication: Ben Stopher

Course Leader: Eva Verhoeven

Specialist Tutor, Design Prototying & Physical Computing: Nicolas Marechal

Specialist Technician: Tom Lynch

Specialist Technician: David King

The course also benefits from the School of Design Practitioner in Residence Programme. This year the course will work with Matt Rice from design studio Sennep

Careers

Graduates of the course are equipped to work in an increasingly technologically informed and interdisciplinary design world with real skills in the following areas: interaction design, user experience, design prototyping, physical computing, user-centred design, open source digital platforms, future casting, foresight and insight, design research, experience design, design for embedded technologies and the internet of things, communication design, value engineering, thought leadership, interactive and digital arts.

Some international students choose to remain in the UK to gain valuable industry experience whilst others return to their home countries to pursue successful careers.

A significant proportion of our graduates start their own companies and in some instances further develop their course Final Major Projects and take them to market.

Student Jobs and Careers at UAL

We know what it takes to be successful in your chosen field. Your tutors are professionals in their own right and understand what you need to help you establish your career. 

Careers and Employability is dedicated to helping students build up work-relevant skills, knowledge, experience and networks throughout your time here. 

Creative Opportunities is the UAL job and work placement website for students and graduates, advertising hundreds of creative opportunities each month. This includes ArtsTemps in-house recruitment agency, placing students and graduates in paid temping roles within the University.

UAL houses a number of organisations which promote aspects of career development in the arts and media, and which hold regular workshops and careers fairs. These include:

  • Own-It (intellectual property issues)
  • ArtQuest (career development resource for artists and designers)

Entry Requirements

MA Interaction Design Communication has a particular aim to appeal to communication designers who are interested in exploring these new and emerging areas of design practice.

The course seeks students who have a critical understand of how technologies and digital culture are affecting design practices, and who are keen to work with network digital systems, and in areas of design research and practice that challenge preconceptions.

Although not an entry requirement, you should be comfortable with some basic coding (some i.e. HTML CSS) in order to communicate ideas with colleagues, although strong creative experience in this area is an advantage. We will introduce you to various coding languages and design prototyping platforms during the course, but expect that individuals will develop their skills base within specific project work.

Recruitment and admissions

Applicants are expected to have an honours degree, preferably in a related subject. However, we do not exclude candidates who have graduated from other less strongly aligned disciplines.

  • Additionally, we welcome applications from non-traditional backgrounds and in particular mature students. We can also assess prior experience as part of our selection criteria.
  • If you do not have the required qualifications, but do have professional experience, you may be eligible to gain credit for previous learning and experience through the AP(E)L system. Your experience is assessed as a learning process and tutors will evaluate that experience for currency, validity, quality and sufficiency.

Language requirements (International/EU)

All classes are conducted in English. If English is not your first language you will be asked to provide evidence of your English language ability at enrolment.

  • IELTS 6.5 (or equivalent) is required, with a minimum of 5.5 in each category.
  • You can check you have achieved the correct IELTS level in English on the Language Requirements page.

For further information about portfolio preparation, visas and application advice please view the Study at UAL International pages.

Selection Criteria

All applications will be considered by the course team who will consider key elements when making a decision on your suitability to join the course:

  1. Firstly they will look at your qualifications and transcript (or projected results).
  2. Then they will scrutinise your personal statement, portfolio and any previous work experience.

Academic or professional reference are not required for this course.

Offers will be made based on the following selection criteria, which applicants are expected to demonstrate:

  • An academic or professional background in a relevant subject
  • Sufficient prior knowledge and experience of and/or potential in interaction practice
  • An interest in a critical understanding of how technologies and digital culture are affecting design practice
  • A willingness to work in the physical realm with networked digital systems and in areas of design research and practice that challenges preconceptions
  • Keen to develop new areas for design practice and insight through experimental and critical practice

Personal statement (500 - 800 words)

In the application form you will be asked to complete a personal statement describing why you want to study MA Interaction Design Communication. Candidates will be expected to demonstrate critical knowledge of and enthusiasm for interaction design, and a well-articulated rationale for joining the course

Portfolio advice

Applicants should submit an electronic portfolio via web link with their application. The portfolio can be supplied as a PDF with links to a minimum of five web projects and media assets, and should show examples of each of the following:

• Design/media work, either time-based or interactive
• Visual work that has been made in response to a design brief from either education or professional practice. Self-initiated projects are also encouraged

The portfolio should evidences an applicant's knowledge, understanding, skills and engagement with the field of Interaction Design and/or adjacent fields. The portfolio should demonstrate intellectual curiosity and open mindedness and a strong commitment to the subject as well as to sustained study at postgraduate level. We are interested in the developmental narratives of projects and the 'thinking through making' and recommend that this is evidenced in the portfolio.

Project proposal (400-800 words)

All candidates will be expected to outline an idea for their major project in the application. This should describe the area of interest - the field of study and the particular focus of their intended project. This should include an overview of how you intend to go about producing the project - the methodology. It is important to recognise that these ideas will inevitably develop and change across the year of study on the course and only serve to inform your application at this stage.

Interview advice

Applicants are usually interviewed by the course team before a place can be offered. Interviews will take place at LCC, or via Skype/telephone.

Funding

Home / EU and International students

Funding opportunities available for this course:

Any questions? Please email funding@arts.ac.uk or visit Postgraduate Funding page.

How to Apply

You can begin your application for this course using our online application form – the link to this is below. Before you apply, we recommend you take some time to read the course Entry Requirements section to learn about the application process, including detailed guidance on the extra information we will ask you to provide later in the process. 

Required information for all postgraduate course applications

You will need to enter the following information in the online application form:

  • Personal details (including full name; date of birth; nationality; permanent address and English language level)
  • Current and/or previous education and qualification details
  • Employment history

Before you can submit the form, you’ll also need to agree to the terms and conditions for how we process your data – these are explained in the form.

Please note, if you’re an international applicant we will need to contact you separately to ask for copies of certain documents (for example, English language qualification/certificate and copies of any previous UK study visas).

Extra information required for applications to this course

Once you have submitted the online application form, we will send you a confirmation email.

From January 2017 you will be emailed a link to our online application tool, where you should submit the extra information we require for the selection process:

Personal statement

Project proposal (400 - 800 words)

Portfolio

The course leader will then review your work, may invite you to interview, and will then make a decision on your application, from January 2017.

The admissions team will be in touch after that to let you know the outcome and to guide you through the next steps. 

Start your application now

Applications are accepted, and offers made, throughout the year. Early application is advised.

Apply now

The application form can be saved as you fill it out, so you don’t need to complete it all at once. You will also have the chance to review all the information and make any necessary amendments before you submit the application form.

We will send you emails as you progress through the application process, so do check your inbox (and junk folder, just in case). These emails will contain important information about your application, and links to the online forms you should use to submit the extra information required.

Enquire about this course

If you haven’t found the information you’re looking for or want to ask us a question about this course, please fill out our enquiry form.

Make an enquiry