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Choice of university to study MSc Human-Computer Interaction (HCI)

Am I nuts to choose Newcastle/York over St Andrews to study HCI?

As an international student I want to experience more of UK and St Andrews looks no more than a weekend’s fun. On the other hand I think the environment could be good for study, not to mention that everyone has positive feedback about the course.

On a side note, how would you rank Birmingham and UCL among the 3 mentioned above? I’ve yet to receive offer from them.

Any advice is appreciated. Thanks!

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Reply 1
Hi! I'm an international student and just received offers from St Andrews and Newcastle (with scholarships).
I'm still considering but my bias goes to St Andrews as I found the environment and community are pretty cosy (they have students 10-20 people per class approximately).
The ranking in a school of computer science, satisfied with teaching, satisfied with courses, and career after 15 months is so high.
Also, there're so many training courses for students that want to prepare themselves before entering the industry and it's all for free.
Hi,
This is somewhat unrelated but do the universities that offered you a spot on the MSc HCI course give you a specific deadline by which you have to decide? As in, do they say please accept our offer within x weeks? Or you have until e.g.March to accept/decline?
Reply 3
Original post by StellaLw
Hi,
This is somewhat unrelated but do the universities that offered you a spot on the MSc HCI course give you a specific deadline by which you have to decide? As in, do they say please accept our offer within x weeks? Or you have until e.g.March to accept/decline?


For St Andrews, they said the offer should be accepted within 4 weeks after being received and the deposit has to pay before 31st March.
Newcastle, they said should accept as soon as possible.
Original post by balabum
For St Andrews, they said the offer should be accepted within 4 weeks after being received and the deposit has to pay before 31st March.
Newcastle, they said should accept as soon as possible.

Thank you!
Original post by balabum
Hi! I'm an international student and just received offers from St Andrews and Newcastle (with scholarships).
I'm still considering but my bias goes to St Andrews as I found the environment and community are pretty cosy (they have students 10-20 people per class approximately).
The ranking in a school of computer science, satisfied with teaching, satisfied with courses, and career after 15 months is so high.
Also, there're so many training courses for students that want to prepare themselves before entering the industry and it's all for free.

Hey! Can you share when you submitted your applications to each university and how long they took to reply with an offer?
Reply 6
Original post by trushant01
Hey! Can you share when you submitted your applications to each university and how long they took to reply with an offer?


Sure. St Andrews took around 4 weeks and Newcastle took only 2 weeks! Did you apply to HCT at St Andrews/Newcastle?
Original post by balabum
Sure. St Andrews took around 4 weeks and Newcastle took only 2 weeks! Did you apply to HCT at St Andrews/Newcastle?

Yeah I applied to St Andrews, Newcastle, Nottingham, UCL and City University of London but I'm second guessing myself and feel like I need some safer universities in case I don't get an offer from these. Do you know any that have a higher acceptance rate?
Reply 8
Original post by trushant01
Yeah I applied to St Andrews, Newcastle, Nottingham, UCL and City University of London but I'm second guessing myself and feel like I need some safer universities in case I don't get an offer from these. Do you know any that have a higher acceptance rate?


Great! What is your first choice? As I researched, the acceptance rate for Newcastle is 80% approximately. So, it's quite safe for me while the acceptance rate at St Andrews is around 50%
(edited 1 year ago)
Original post by balabum
Great! What is your first choice? As I researched, the acceptance rate for Newcastle is 80% approximately. So, it's quite safe for me while the acceptance rate at St Andrews is around 50%

From what I've researched, City's course is more design focused which is what I prefer and the location is a plus point as well so either that or UCL would be my top 2 choices, can't pick one between them tbh
Original post by trushant01
From what I've researched, City's course is more design focused which is what I prefer and the location is a plus point as well so either that or UCL would be my top 2 choices, can't pick one between them tbh


Sounds great! Can I ask your opinion about HCI at St Andrews, Newcastle, and Nottingham? What do you think about their HCI program? I'm still considering what uni I should accept the offer : )
Thanks guys for participating in this thread!

Having read through all the compulsory and optional modules in St Andrews, it makes me think that it is basically a Computer Science degree, just whether or not the HCI modules are selected. They even let you switch course after the 1st semester. I think this is great if you want to potentially become an engineer or learn more about the technical side of HCI, but not so much if you want to actually work as a UX designer. I thought I could be a UX researcher/consultant but seems having a master degree in HCI is not enough after doing some research online. You have to be quite active in the field academically, which I'll never want to be.

So right now I'm looking into some job ready HCID/UX courses like those offered by Loughborough and City, most likely Loughborough (MSc). What's your opinion on them?
Original post by trushant01
From what I've researched, City's course is more design focused which is what I prefer and the location is a plus point as well so either that or UCL would be my top 2 choices, can't pick one between them tbh


Would you choose UCL over City if you got accepted? Do you think it worths more than everything else offered by the design focused courses of City and Loughborough? Cos UCL is also my top choice, but they take forever to respond, probably I'll have to pay a deposit to secure a place somewhere else first.
Original post by SmellyDuvet
Thanks guys for participating in this thread!

Having read through all the compulsory and optional modules in St Andrews, it makes me think that it is basically a Computer Science degree, just whether or not the HCI modules are selected. They even let you switch course after the 1st semester. I think this is great if you want to potentially become an engineer or learn more about the technical side of HCI, but not so much if you want to actually work as a UX designer. I thought I could be a UX researcher/consultant but seems having a master degree in HCI is not enough after doing some research online. You have to be quite active in the field academically, which I'll never want to be.

So right now I'm looking into some job ready HCID/UX courses like those offered by Loughborough and City, most likely Loughborough (MSc). What's your opinion on them tbh

Me either! My goal is to find a course that drives me to be a UX designer as I am a newbie in the UX industry. I've researched the St Andrews program with people who work in the UX industry and asked them about the St Andrews's compulsory and they said modules offer skills that UX designers nowadays must have but fewer people will have them such as information visualisation and visual analytics module. I'm not sure did you read this: https://sachi.cs.st-andrews.ac.uk/hci-masters/
This link provides much information about the program and they said the career prospect is UX designer. So, it made me consider what course will be the most beneficial for me as I have no computer background and it's quite hard for me to compare it.

I also ask a Loughborough (MSc) alumni about the MSc program, They said MSc at Loughborough is solely opened 1 year and the course is still unstable. They suggested that applying MA will be better but I have learned a UX course in Google Coursera and found that their compulsory and MA are similar. That made me think about finding another course. So, What do you think? Do you have any course suggestions?
Original post by balabum
Sounds great! Can I ask your opinion about HCI at St Andrews, Newcastle, and Nottingham? What do you think about their HCI program? I'm still considering what uni I should accept the offer : )

I agree with what @SmellyDuvet said about the course at St Andrews, the modules do look a lil heavier on the programing side compared to other universities but I still believe their course would not hamper your path to be a UX designer considering the university ranking and employment rates that you mentioned earlier. On the other hand, Newcastle and Nottingham have programming courses as well but they're optional if I'm not wrong. Do you mind sharing which universities you've applied to and what your opinion is on Kingston's UX Design course and Glasgow Caledonian's User Experience and Interaction Design course?
(edited 1 year ago)
Original post by SmellyDuvet
Would you choose UCL over City if you got accepted? Do you think it worths more than everything else offered by the design focused courses of City and Loughborough? Cos UCL is also my top choice, but they take forever to respond, probably I'll have to pay a deposit to secure a place somewhere else first.

If I get an offer from city (fingers crossed) I'd most probably choose that because my heart is set on their course plus their employment record is great. Moreover, as you said UCL's response time is high so waiting for that would just increase the anxiety involved with applications already hahah. Btw do you know if the deposit paid is refundable? I've heard from students applying to other fields that it is refundable for about 14 days, post which it becomes a case of providing legitimate reasons with proof for withdrawing the deposit. Also if you don't mind sharing which universities you've applied to and what your opinion is on Kingston's UX Design course and Glasgow Caledonian's User Experience and Interaction Design course?
(edited 1 year ago)
Original post by balabum
Me either! My goal is to find a course that drives me to be a UX designer as I am a newbie in the UX industry. I've researched the St Andrews program with people who work in the UX industry and asked them about the St Andrews's compulsory and they said modules offer skills that UX designers nowadays must have but fewer people will have them such as information visualisation and visual analytics module. I'm not sure did you read this: https://sachi.cs.st-andrews.ac.uk/hci-masters/
This link provides much information about the program and they said the career prospect is UX designer. So, it made me consider what course will be the most beneficial for me as I have no computer background and it's quite hard for me to compare it.

I also ask a Loughborough (MSc) alumni about the MSc program, They said MSc at Loughborough is solely opened 1 year and the course is still unstable. They suggested that applying MA will be better but I have learned a UX course in Google Coursera and found that their compulsory and MA are similar. That made me think about finding another course. So, What do you think? Do you have any course suggestions?

I think in your case St Andrews is a pretty solid choice. I myself has narrowed down my goal to be a UX designer for now with just the sufficient frontend development skills, which I've had experience working with. However I want to have proper training in UX design and help from the course to build a solid portfolio, nothing too fancy but on point, software only, to be job ready asap. So I guess Loughborough is for me? I heard City is good for that too but student satisfaction seems low which sounds similar to my experience studying in London.

Tbh I have already accepted the offer from St Andrews as a safe choice, as there are so much to be offered and I will not regret anyway, but eventually I might want to be a developer as I've been wanting to be one too.

Back to your choice, may I know what background are you from? What makes you want to become a UX designer? I think the St Andrews modules are valuable for frontend developer, and if you are a UX designer you would also benefit from them, knowing what can be done what not. However I've not worked as one yet so I'm not sure realistically do you need to do things hands on. My experience as a project manager is, most companies tend to combine the role of UX and UI designer, and when the designer created something that cannot be made, they will request to change the design. Most other stuff can be done with 3rd party libraries, and if not there will not be enough time and budget to create something new and unique. So it all comes down to the designer, whether he/she can propose something that can be done. Most people tends to find the easy way out. If you possess the knowledge of the technical solution, then I belief you will be asked to work on that and be called a frontend developer. But then that's just my experience, I hope working in larger tech company will encourage innovation more and have bigger budget.
Original post by SmellyDuvet
Thanks guys for participating in this thread!

Having read through all the compulsory and optional modules in St Andrews, it makes me think that it is basically a Computer Science degree, just whether or not the HCI modules are selected. They even let you switch course after the 1st semester. I think this is great if you want to potentially become an engineer or learn more about the technical side of HCI, but not so much if you want to actually work as a UX designer. I thought I could be a UX researcher/consultant but seems having a master degree in HCI is not enough after doing some research online. You have to be quite active in the field academically, which I'll never want to be.

So right now I'm looking into some job ready HCID/UX courses like those offered by Loughborough and City, most likely Loughborough (MSc). What's your opinion on them?

Hi, I didn't know about Loughborough's MA course until @balabum mentioned it in one of their responses in this thread. On doing more research about the course and watching the video that the university uploaded describing both courses, I feel more inclined to applying to the MA course considering it is more empathic and promotes understanding users' emotions and designing for them. On top of that, their 60 credit project is a UX design major project compared to the MSc course's UX research project which will deal with using advanced technology and providing solutions based on studying data. I'd like to know what you think about this since we are aiming to be designers mainly.
Original post by trushant01
If I get an offer from city (fingers crossed) I'd most probably choose that because my heart is set on their course plus their employment record is great. Moreover, as you said UCL's response time is high so waiting for that would just increase the anxiety involved with applications already hahah. Btw do you know if the deposit paid is refundable? I've heard from students applying to other fields that it is refundable for about 14 days, post which it becomes a case of providing legitimate reasons with proof for withdrawing the deposit. Also if you don't mind sharing which universities you've applied to and what your opinion is on Kingston's UX Design course?

Great to know about your thought on City, maybe I should consider that too.

Right now I've got offer from St Andrews, York and Newcastle, pending response from UCL and Birmingham, and latest Loughborough. Tbh I didn't think much but this video makes me reconsider my career path as a UX researcher/consultant: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cAjH14kaaaM

As for the deposit, you need to read the T&C come with their offer. I can't say for the others but St Andrews is refundable within the 14 days. However it confuses me when they ask me to settle the deposit upon accepting the offer, but also stated somewhere else that deposit (they call it pre-payment) needs to be settled by 31st March 2023. So I guess I'll wait a bit haha.

Just found out about Kingston, I think the course is very, maybe too on point. It's like the course is geared towards landing you a job, which is great if it can, but I'm not sure what employers will think. It's like they are producing industry standard UX designers with no competitive edge, and there are only 4 modules, all around digital media. Actually it is what I want to do, but everything sounds a bit too familiar to me. Maybe I'm looking for something with hard to understand terminology or some niche knowledge that I can brag about, I don't know that's just me.
Original post by trushant01
Hi, I didn't know about Loughborough's MA course until @balabum mentioned it in one of their responses in this thread. On doing more research about the course and watching the video that the university uploaded describing both courses, I feel more inclined to applying to the MA course considering it is more empathic and promotes understanding users' emotions and designing for them. On top of that, their 60 credit project is a UX design major project compared to the MSc course's UX research project which will deal with using advanced technology and providing solutions based on studying data. I'd like to know what you think about this since we are aiming to be designers mainly.


I think everyone has own preference based on their strength and past experience. I've studied graphic design in UAL before and the teaching was quite ... abstract. I guess they want to inspire you to think in a designer way and be aware of everyday object around you and have opinion on them etc... well that's just not for me. So I want something more tangible like research methods and working with data etc, also I think I'd enjoy working in that area as a UX specialist, not necessarily designer.

But if your interest is design then the MA is definitely good for you, as I heard Loughborough is among the top for design and I believe they should deliver better quality teaching than UAL does.

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