• CollegeLCC
  • Start dateSeptember 2017
  • Course length1 year 3 months full time (45 weeks across a four-term model)

MA Interaction Design Communication

Applications closed

Applications for 2017/18 entry to this course are now closed and will re-open in Autumn 2017 for 2018/19 entry. You may also be interested in MA Service Experience Design and Innovation.

This is a dynamic, practice-led design course that will prepare you to work in an increasingly technological and interdisciplinary design world.

About this course

The course has three distinct areas. You’ll explore these areas through prototyping and making, as a means to develop complex design projects:

  • Interaction – how we craft meaningful experience.
  • Design – addressing strategic and human-centred needs with aesthetic sensibility.
  • Communication – the ability to propose cogent design futures with appropriate means.

Develop skills in interaction design, design prototyping, physical computing, user centered design, open source digital platforms, future casting, foresight and insight, design research, experience design, communication design, value engineering, thought leadership, interactive media and digital arts.

Reasons to apply

  • Developing critical and flexible practitioners: Understand the scope and breadth of Interaction Design Communication and develop the tools to flourish in this fast-paced 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 a 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.

Student films and profiles

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

Watch // Student Voices:  Shafqat Mehmood – MA Interaction Design Communication

Watch // Student Work: Sonic Intimacy by Kalypso Kaplani

Watch // Student Voices: JJ Gacheru – MA Interaction Design Communication

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

Watch // Postgraduate Shows 2016: Design School

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

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.

Course units

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 disciplines 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 our students say

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.

Staff

Course Leader: 

Tobias Revell

Programme Director:

Eva Verhoeven

Specialist Tutor: 

Nicolas Marechal

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 (500 - 800 words)
  • CV 
  • 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 are made, throughout the year. Early application is advised. 

PLEASE NOTE: Applications for 2017/18 entry to this course are now closed and will re-open in Autumn 2017 for 2018/19 entry.

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.

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, we strongly recommend you let us know your English language test score in your application. If you have booked a test or are awaiting your results, please clearly indicate this in your application. When asked to upload a CV as part of your application, please include any information about your English test score.

  • 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.

CV

Please provide a CV detailing your education and qualifications and any relevant work or voluntary experience. If English is not your first language it is important that you also include in your CV details of your most recent English language test score.

Portfolio

Applicants will be asked to upload an electronic portfolio as part of their application. If you have links to web projects or media assets, please note these in your CV. The portfolio should include 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 evidence 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.

Fees and funding

Home / EU fee

£8,500 (2017/18). 

UAL alumni receive a £1,000 discount

Course fees may be paid in instalments

International fee

£17,920 (2017/18).

UAL alumni receive a £1,000 discount

Course fees may be paid in instalments

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

Accommodation

Find out about the accommodation options available and how much they will cost.

Scholarships and awards

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

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.

Home / EU and International students

Funding opportunities available for this course:

Scholarships search

Career paths

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.

UAL Jobs and Careers 

UAL has a number of services and networks that hold regular workshops and careers fairs developed to help you establish and promote your career in the arts, design, or media. These include:

Careers and Employability are the University's dedicated careers and professional practice service. We help UAL students and graduates embark on their professional futures in the creative industries, find jobs, set up a business, and sell their work. We run events throughout the year on all aspects of the career journey.

Creative Opportunities jobs board helps graduates and students find job and internship opportunities and connect with organisations and companies in the creative sector. We post jobs and paid internships, part-time work, freelance contracts and full-time opportunities.