her-my-oh-nee
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Hi everyone!

I will be applying for HCI master's programs for the September 2021 cycle. I am interested in courses that can help me get into the user research side of things, so mostly a combination of technical and psychology modules. I am not averse to design modules, but I am not exactly trying to become a designer.

After going through some course modules, I found the following programs interesting:

  1. University College London https://www.ucl.ac.uk/prospective-st...nteraction-msc
  2. University of Nottingham https://www.nottingham.ac.uk/pgstudy...nteraction-MSc
  3. University of Birmingham https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/postgra...teraction.aspx
  4. City, University of London https://www.city.ac.uk/study/courses...raction-design
  5. University of York https://www.york.ac.uk/study/postgra...-technologies/
  6. University of St Andrews https://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/subject...ion-msc/#94131


It would help me tremendously if someone could answer the following questions:

  1. How well regarded are these degrees in the industry?
  2. Specifically for York and St Andrews: there seem to be very few taught modules. I like that in the other courses that I have mentioned, there seems to be a breadth in coursework. If anyone has any idea how diverse the coursework is in these unis, please let me know.
  3. What is the student life like in these unis? How diverse are the classrooms?
  4. This is not specific to any unis, but what are the "hot" localities one should be in or around for better job prospects? Do the above unis provide such an advantage?



Lastly, if someone could take a look at my profile and help me decide if these unis are too ambitious for me, or are they safe enough? Any other course recommendations are also welcome.

My profile:

Graduated with a 7.71/10 CGPA with B.E.(Hons) Electronics and Communication Engineering and M.Sc.(Hons) Mathematics degrees (integrated master's, 5 years program). I did some coursework relevant to computer science, and one research project in mathematics (didn't result in a published paper but the professor was super impressed and agreed to write a strong recommendation). I have 2 years of work experience as a software engineer, and I have been working closely with stakeholders and end-users to refine the requirements of my projects apart from coding. Expecting a strong recommendation from my product manager too.

Thank you for taking the time out to read through my long and maybe slightly naive post. Have a good day!
Last edited by her-my-oh-nee; 9 months ago
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beyond21
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(Original post by her-my-oh-nee)
  1. University College London https://www.ucl.ac.uk/prospective-st...nteraction-msc
  2. University of Nottingham https://www.nottingham.ac.uk/pgstudy...nteraction-MSc
  3. University of Birmingham https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/postgra...teraction.aspx
  4. City, University of London https://www.city.ac.uk/study/courses...raction-design
  5. University of York https://www.york.ac.uk/study/postgra...-technologies/
  6. University of St Andrews https://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/subject...ion-msc/#94131
It would help me tremendously if someone could answer the following questions:

  1. How well regarded are these degrees in the industry?
  2. Specifically for York and St Andrews: there seem to be very few taught modules. I like that in the other courses that I have mentioned, there seems to be a breadth in coursework. If anyone has any idea how diverse the coursework is in these unis, please let me know.
  3. What is the student life like in these unis? How diverse are the classrooms?
  4. This is not specific to any unis, but what are the "hot" localities one should be in or around for better job prospects? Do the above unis provide such an advantage?
I will offer my personal perspective as a PG research in HCI at UCL. My background is in Computer Science and full-stack software developer.
Not all of these degrees is good in the industry. In UX research/design - employer value experience more than a master's degree. Most jobs will require 1-2 UX experiences in the industry. You can get this by building portfolio on side projects(case study UX) and emailing small companies to do UX works , this way you are guaranteed to get into junior roles in UX. It's no point doing an MSc. If you work as a software engineer, you usually have to communicate with frontend/UX. You can transition to UX within the company if they allow or look for somewhere else. Software Engineer is good in some UX areas because no matter how beautiful the design is there no point if the interaction doesn't work. This is where you shine.

City HCI is known for designing so it's a no .
Nottingham has some interesting modules but then again mixed reality is still a very small area. You won't find many jobs in this area as it's still very new. So it's a no.
Birmingham only 10 research member in HCI group doesn't look very impressive.
UCL - very good-https://uclic.ucl.ac.uk/people
St andrew - pretty good
York - avoid. i don't like the name of the course too, it seem to be a very old course and didn't bother to change the modules to reflect current UX and future.

By doing an MSc at a good research HCI group in the Universities you can get to work with them in some projects or even undertake the dissertation in the research group which makes you very stand out. After graduate, you might be able to become a research group members and represent the University but it's your choice. When looking into HCI you want to make sure their research group is strong and good.

Need to keep in mind, with your background some of the modules you may have covered before so you won't really learn much. In my opinions, i think MSc HCI is mainly for people who comes from non-technical background usually in Arts, business,etc. Not many people with a CS-related degree would go into specializing in HCI since they can pretty much get into HCI by finding revelant experiences. A least from what i know, more than 50% of the class would have these background and i know lot of MSc HCI students have done a BA in Arts since they have hard time finding jobs in UX so having a HCI would be benefical for them.
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her-my-oh-nee
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(Original post by beyond21)
I will offer my personal perspective as a PG research in HCI at UCL. My background is in Computer Science and full-stack software developer.
Not all of these degrees is good in the industry. In UX research/design - employer value experience more than a master's degree. Most jobs will require 1-2 UX experiences in the industry. You can get this by building portfolio on side projects(case study UX) and emailing small companies to do UX works , this way you are guaranteed to get into junior roles in UX. It's no point doing an MSc. If you work as a software engineer, you usually have to communicate with frontend/UX. You can transition to UX within the company if they allow or look for somewhere else. Software Engineer is good in some UX areas because no matter how beautiful the design is there no point if the interaction doesn't work. This is where you shine.

City HCI is known for designing so it's a no .
Nottingham has some interesting modules but then again mixed reality is still a very small area. You won't find many jobs in this area as it's still very new. So it's a no.
Birmingham only 10 research member in HCI group doesn't look very impressive.
UCL - very good-https://uclic.ucl.ac.uk/people
St andrew - pretty good
York - avoid. i don't like the name of the course too, it seem to be a very old course and didn't bother to change the modules to reflect current UX and future.

By doing an MSc at a good research HCI group in the Universities you can get to work with them in some projects or even undertake the dissertation in the research group which makes you very stand out. After graduate, you might be able to become a research group members and represent the University but it's your choice. When looking into HCI you want to make sure their research group is strong and good.

Need to keep in mind, with your background some of the modules you may have covered before so you won't really learn much. In my opinions, i think MSc HCI is mainly for people who comes from non-technical background usually in Arts, business,etc. Not many people with a CS-related degree would go into specializing in HCI since they can pretty much get into HCI by finding revelant experiences. A least from what i know, more than 50% of the class would have these background and i know lot of MSc HCI students have done a BA in Arts since they have hard time finding jobs in UX so having a HCI would be benefical for them.
Thanks for your perspective. I really appreciate it especially coming from someone who has been through the process.

UCL is undoubtedly an excellent program, so I am definitely going to apply, even though it might be a bit ambitious for me.
I do want to apply to at least one "safe" school. Going by your feedback, I am guessing Nottingham would be a good option. I was able to speak to a couple of students and recent graduates and they had good things to say about it.
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pemberley
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Hey, I am also looking at MSc HCI/UX programs in the UK! Did you make any decisions? I am accepted into City, University of London, applied to Nottingham, and will apply to Newcastle, St. Andrews, and maaaaybe UCL. I'm having a tough time though because all the programs have pros and cons - there is not one specific one I like most of them all :/
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pemberley
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Also wondering if it makes more sense to try and get some kind of more general IT or computer science degree that has a couple of HCI/UX classes... but I don't come from a tech background and am I bit scared of not liking it or not having the aptitude.
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saidbayan
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(Original post by pemberley)
Hey, I am also looking at MSc HCI/UX programs in the UK! Did you make any decisions? I am accepted into City, University of London, applied to Nottingham, and will apply to Newcastle, St. Andrews, and maaaaybe UCL. I'm having a tough time though because all the programs have pros and cons - there is not one specific one I like most of them all /
Hi! I'm looking to get into City. What's your background? I'm currently in my second year of business school. Do you have a design background and if not, how did you tailor your application to show that you are a good candidate for the course. Thanks!
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her-my-oh-nee
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(Original post by pemberley)
Hey, I am also looking at MSc HCI/UX programs in the UK! Did you make any decisions? I am accepted into City, University of London, applied to Nottingham, and will apply to Newcastle, St. Andrews, and maaaaybe UCL. I'm having a tough time though because all the programs have pros and cons - there is not one specific one I like most of them all :/
I finally decided to apply to UCL, Nottingham and York and a few US universities. I spoke to current students and recent graduates from all the universities I was interested in, that really helped in the shortlisting process. You are right, just looking at the courses and other information on the internet is confusing.
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International21
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What made you decide City?

(Original post by saidbayan)
Hi! I'm looking to get into City. What's your background? I'm currently in my second year of business school. Do you have a design background and if not, how did you tailor your application to show that you are a good candidate for the course. Thanks!
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Akash1997
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(Original post by her-my-oh-nee)
Hi everyone!

I will be applying for HCI master's programs for the September 2021 cycle. I am interested in courses that can help me get into the user research side of things, so mostly a combination of technical and psychology modules. I am not averse to design modules, but I am not exactly trying to become a designer.

After going through some course modules, I found the following programs interesting:

  1. University College London https://www.ucl.ac.uk/prospective-st...nteraction-msc
  2. University of Nottingham https://www.nottingham.ac.uk/pgstudy...nteraction-MSc
  3. University of Birmingham https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/postgra...teraction.aspx
  4. City, University of London https://www.city.ac.uk/study/courses...raction-design
  5. University of York https://www.york.ac.uk/study/postgra...-technologies/
  6. University of St Andrews https://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/subject...ion-msc/#94131


It would help me tremendously if someone could answer the following questions:

  1. How well regarded are these degrees in the industry?
  2. Specifically for York and St Andrews: there seem to be very few taught modules. I like that in the other courses that I have mentioned, there seems to be a breadth in coursework. If anyone has any idea how diverse the coursework is in these unis, please let me know.
  3. What is the student life like in these unis? How diverse are the classrooms?
  4. This is not specific to any unis, but what are the "hot" localities one should be in or around for better job prospects? Do the above unis provide such an advantage?



Lastly, if someone could take a look at my profile and help me decide if these unis are too ambitious for me, or are they safe enough? Any other course recommendations are also welcome.

My profile:

Graduated with a 7.71/10 CGPA with B.E.(Hons) Electronics and Communication Engineering and M.Sc.(Hons) Mathematics degrees (integrated master's, 5 years program). I did some coursework relevant to computer science, and one research project in mathematics (didn't result in a published paper but the professor was super impressed and agreed to write a strong recommendation). I have 2 years of work experience as a software engineer, and I have been working closely with stakeholders and end-users to refine the requirements of my projects apart from coding. Expecting a strong recommendation from my product manager too.

Thank you for taking the time out to read through my long and maybe slightly naive post. Have a good day!
UCL, Nottingham and City are the best options from above. Also do check out Newcastle's HCI program
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icelee64
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(Original post by saidbayan)
Hi! I'm looking to get into City. What's your background? I'm currently in my second year of business school. Do you have a design background and if not, how did you tailor your application to show that you are a good candidate for the course. Thanks!
Heya! I just graduated from University of Bath with a degree in Business Administration, so our cases are pretty similar! City is the only university that I applied to since it has a strong focus on design processes and methods and also good reputation and industrial connection. (Received my offer within two weeks, so they are quite responsive!) Whilst I was speaking to some of the alumnis as well as admission tutors for the course, they reassured that it’s alright to not have a computer science or programming background. As long as you demonstrate transferable skills in your personal statement that will allow you to overcome expected challenges within the course, I believe that’s enough for them to see that you are capable! Don’t forget to emphasise on why you are passionate in the subject too!
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