• CollegeLCC
  • Start dateSeptember 2018
  • Course length1 year 3 months full time (45 weeks across a four-term model)

MA Interaction Design Communication

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:

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

Term One 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:

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

Term Two offers you the opportunity to use both the critical and technical skills gained in Phase One 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 Three.

Summer, Term Three

Unit summary:

  • Interaction Futures and Speculative Design (20 credits)
  • 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

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

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

We ask all applicants to complete an online application and upload additional digital items, via the Apply now link, below. Before you apply, we recommend you take some time to read the course Entry Requirements section to learn about the application process and additional the items you would also need to supply. 

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:

  • Firstly they will look at your qualifications and transcript (or projected results)
  • Secondly, they will review your personal statement, portfolio and project proposal

There is no requirement for an academic or professional reference.

REQUIRED INFORMATION FOR ALL POSTGRADUATE COURSE APPLICATIONS

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

  • 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
  • CV
  • Personal statement

Before submitting your application, you will need to agree to the terms and conditions for how we process your data – these are explained in the application form. Once you have submitted the online application, we will send you a confirmation email.

Please note: if you’re an international applicant we will ask you 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

You will need to supply:

  • Portfolio
  • Study proposal/project proposal

After you have submitted your application, the course leader will then review your work, may invite you to interview or interview you via Skype, and will then make a decision on your application.

The admissions team will be in touch soon 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 online application 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 press submit.

As you progress through the application process we will send you emails with important information, so do check your inbox regularly (and junk folder, just in case).

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.

The course team welcomes applicants from a broad range of backgrounds, from all over the world. MA Interaction Design Communication attracts students who apply direct from an Honours degree course in a field relevant to graphic design, or those with other, equivalent qualifications.

The course team also welcomes students with relevant experience or those who may have previously worked in industry.

Educational level may be demonstrated by:

  • Honours degree (named above);
  • Possession of equivalent qualifications;
  • Prior experiential learning, the outcome of which can be demonstrated to be equivalent to formal qualifications otherwise required. Your experience is assessed as a learning process and tutors will evaluate that experience for currency, validity, quality and sufficiency;
  • Or a combination of formal qualifications and experiential learning which, taken together, can be demonstrated to be equivalent to formal qualifications otherwise required. 

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 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, with 5.5 in each four skills is required.
  • If your first language is not English, you can check you have achieved the correct IELTS level in English on the Language Requirements page.

For further details regarding international admissions and advice please visit the International Applications page.

Selection Criteria

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

  • Sufficient prior knowledge and experience of and/or potential in a specialist subject area to be able to successfully complete the programme of study and have an academic or professional background in a relevant subject
  • Also to show a willingness to work as a team player, good language skills in reading, writing and speaking, the ability to work independently and be self-motivated
  • Critical knowledge of and enthusiasm for the subject area and capacity for research-led design, intellectual inquiry and reflective thought through: contextual awareness (professional, cultural, social, historical); evidence of research, analysis, development and evaluation (from previous academic study and employment) and a grounded understanding of the world of sonic, visual and networked culture and the ability to engage in and contribute to critical discussion
  • In the project proposal a description of the area of interest, 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 and the methodology
  • Portfolio should be conceptual and research based, you must show your thinking and making process and a curious nature to explore, test and experiment
  • A willingness to work in the physical realm with networked digital systems and in areas of design research and practice that challenges preconceptions
  • A willingness to work with networked digital systems and an awareness of how they shape the varied contexts of human behaviour

CV

Please provide a CV detailing your education, 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.

Personal statement advice 

In the application, you will be asked to complete a personal statement (500-800 words) describing why you want to study on 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.

The personal statement is a very important part of your application and should demonstrate to the course team that you are interested in the subject and that you have thought very carefully about why you wish to study on the course.

Ensure that your personal statement it is well written, clear and free of any spelling mistakes. It is your chance to impress the course team by showing a strong interest in the subject, demonstrating what you feel you would bring to the course, your appreciation of what the course can offer you and how you feel it might help you in the future.

This can be demonstrated through work experience, previous studies and your personal experience.

Study Proposal/Project Proposal advice

Applicants must submit a study proposal (400-800 words) outlining the intentions of their MA research. Please include a description of the area of interest, field of study and the particular focus of the intended project, and an overview of how you intend to go about producing the project and the methodology.

Portfolio and interview advice

All applicants are asked to present a digital portfolio that evidences their 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.

If you have links to web projects or other media, please note these in your CV.

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

Deferrals

Deferring an offer

If you are offered a place for 2018/19 but wish to defer to 2019/20, information on how to do this and who to contact can be found in your offer letter. Additionally, International applicants should pay the deposit in order to defer. In all cases, deferred places will be held for one year.

Making a deferred application (during 2018/19 for entry in 2019/20)

Home/EU applicants are permitted to make a deferred application. Immigration rules prevent International applicants from making a deferred application.

What happens next?

Successful applicants will be guided through the rest of our admissions stages and towards enrolment on the course. 

Fees and funding

Home / EU fee

£9,500 (2018/19). 

There is an additional £900 residential fee for International Residential Summer School and Events costs.

UAL alumni receive a £1,000 discount

Course fees may be paid in instalments

ELQ

Home/EU students whose chosen course is at a level equivalent to, or lower than, a qualification that they already hold, would will be charged the fees shown above, plus an additional £1,100 (called the Equivalent or Lower Qualifications (ELQ) fee). Students in receipt of Disabled Students' Allowances (DSAs) are exempt from ELQ fees and will pay the original fee, regardless of the highest qualification held. For enquiries relating to ELQ fees, please complete the course enquiry form.

International fee

£19,350 (2018/19).

There is an additional £900 residential fee for International Residential Summer School and Events costs.

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.