Interaction Design, Master's Programme (Two-Year)

Summary

Interaction design concerns the design of digital artifacts and digitally mediated communication, with a focus on use experience.

Interaction design is a rapidly changing discipline, and we maintain the relevance of our education by working with real-world design cases and external clients including local industry partners and cultural and civic organizations. Navigating a shifting design landscape also requires the critical mind-set of a scholar, and we foster reflective design by teaching research skills and involving students in active research projects.

Admission requirements

Bachelor's degree or equivalent in subjects relevant for interaction design. Examples of relevant subjects include, but are not limited to: computer science, informatics, information systems, human-computer interaction, new media arts, fine arts, design (industrial, product, graphic, interaction), communication studies, media studies and cognitive science.

Approval of the following submitted material: two work samples of previous, relevant work and an individual response to the application assignment. Please see the 'Selection' tab on this page for further information.

General eligibility + the equivalent of Swedish higher secondary school English course B.

Selection:

Applicants are selected in order according to precedence from work samples, design assignment and a letter of motivation in combination with interview if needed.

Note
There are specific instructions regarding eligibility or selection on the next tab on this page, called Selection. Please, make sure that you read the instructions thoroughly!

About

The Interaction Design master’s programme at Malmö University was founded in 1998, making it one of the most established English-language design programmes in the Nordic region. The programme provides a learning experience that is grounded in Scandinavian design traditions while simultaneously embracing transformations within the vibrant, international and interdisciplinary field of interaction design. Students who complete the degree will have a Master of Science in Interaction Design (two-year, 120 credits).

The two-year programme trains students to respond to unprecedented societal needs and professional challenges, teaching the practical, theoretical and critical skills necessary for designing relations between humans and technologies. With small classes of individuals from all over the world, students will become part of an interdisciplinary group exploring how interaction design methods and approaches can respond to the complex times in which we live.

Students enter the programme with different kinds of expertise, from art and design to engineering and social sciences. Upon graduation, they will have built a strong understanding of how their particular skills can be applied to interaction design and how these merge with the specialities of their fellow designers. Students will be ideally situated to work in industry, the public sector, or as researchers.

What makes the programme unique?

This master’s programme emphasises both studio-based design practices and theoretical engagement with the issues at the heart of design processes. Navigating a shifting design landscape requires agility in concept development and prototyping, as well as the critical mind-set of a scholar. This is achieved by structuring the education around courses that require both collaborative group projects and individual writing. Each year ends with a self-directed thesis project, comprising both practical design work and a written thesis. 

Course content includes: participatory design and social innovation; tangible and sensor-based interactions; relational and embodied interactions; design-based research; and design theory.Students will work with real-world design cases and external stakeholders, including local industry partners and cultural and civic organisations. They will experiment with a range of design materials: from digital to analogue, organic to inorganic, electronic to imaginary, and social to bodily.

Courses are taught by faculty members with active research and professional profiles. The real-world relevance of interaction design is not far removed from teaching, as students are frequently involved in ongoing research projects, many of which emphasise the social, political and ethical consequences of design.

Why study at Malmö University?

If you are interested in how designed artefacts, systems, relations and infrastructures can shape our world, and what we might do with them as designers and fellow human beings, bring your background in design, computer science, community development, arts, humanities or social sciences to work with others to make the vision of fair, caring and sustainable futures a reality.

Graduates can choose to direct their careers within a range of industries, including the political sector, or transition to academic/professional research. This programme is consistent with Malmö University’s vision of integrating academic learning with social change; creating powerful ties between teaching, research and the society at large. The programme aims to provide the tools, techniques and conceptual basis to enact change in the world, not just for the next few years, but for the next 50.

Content

The programme comprises full-time study for two academic years. Click on the Syllabus tab for more information on courses.

Teaching methods

The programme is based on learning-by-doing. This means that we encourage an iterative practice of experimentation and reflection. As teachers, we view ourselves as coaches guiding students in this process.

Studio-based

The programme is studio-based. Students will also have access to computer labs, a materials workshop and a prototyping lab for electronics, sensor and microprocessor programming.

Group work in multidisciplinary teams

The primary method of learning is through group work in multidisciplinary teams with classmates and stakeholders. The ability to work in teams and with others — including user communities — is an important part of our curriculum, and several projects are organised in order to practice these skills.

Humanistic approach

With our humanistic approach, students will be practicing qualitative research approaches to support their design of tangible artefacts as well as digital and interactive services, systems and artefacts. We emphasise an understanding of people in their use situations. Students will be taught to develop a critical perspective based on: the close reading of relevant academic texts; participation in seminars; and writing of academic-style research papers. Two thesis projects will challenge students to deepen their practice and thought processes.

Reflective and experimental design thinking and practical doing

Prototyping in the studio and in real-world contexts is an integral part of becoming an interaction designer.
 
To practice reflective and experimental design activity, our projects and courses integrate seminars and hands-on workshops introducing students to, among other things, ethnographic fieldwork, critical and performative methods, low and high-fidelity prototyping, microprocessor programming and video sketching, as well as evaluation of use qualities. All these practices are backed up by literature references and examples.

The thesis project

Students’ thesis projects at the end of each year will be a combination of practical design processes leading to a prototype and a written document, plus the presentation and discussion of their design work in front of peers and an examiner.

Here is an example of a student's thesis project.

Working environments

Students have access to studio space, and we encourage a healthy studio culture. This is where we conduct group work, seminars, workshops, presentations and discussions. Students have access to a well-equipped materials workshop and a physical prototyping lab for electronics and sensor work. There is a vibrant culture of seminars at the faculty and the Medea Talks series frequently hosts high profile design researchers. Additionally, spaces in the University’s buildings (such as Storm and Niagara), and in central Malmö, can be used for final presentations and exhibitions.

Career opportunities

Graduates of this programme have moved on to professional positions around the world in the design, media and ICT industries, as well as to academic research and entrepreneurship.

Many alumni take up positions as interaction designers, user experience specialists or usability specialists in the design, ICT, and media industries. For some, this involves critiquing or fine-tuning the interfaces and interactions of current products to users’ needs. For others, it comprises concept development for future products and services.

Some alumni choose strategic positions where the role of interaction design is considered in relation to market and business development, while others apply interaction design perspectives and methods to envisioning change or ‘future-making’ in politics, public organisations, the heritage sector, and NGOs. 

Connections to world-class research

Thanks to the close connections to world-class research, this programme also prepares its graduates to enter academic research institutes. Many alumni proceed to PhD studies and positions as teachers and researchers, at universities in Sweden as well as abroad. 

 

Interviews

Selection

Once you have completed your application with your academic credentials and English proficiency, you also need to submit work samples, a response to our design assignment and a letter of motivation. 

Deadline for supporting document

The deadline for the Supporting Document is May 4, 2020 for students applying in the second admissions round. 

Note that we only accept submissions that use the document form below.

To complete your application follow the steps below:

  • create an account and apply to the programme via Universityadmissions.se. 
  • upload your documentation on Universityadmissions.se. You will need to show both a bachelor degree in a relevant field and English proficiency to be considered eligible for the programme. Applicants in their final year, who will receive their diploma before the programme starts, can also apply but must follow specific instructions.
  • submit your letter of motivation (max 800 words) + two work samples (max 10 pages) + response to our design assignment (max 2-3 pages) online to University Admissions. You need to use the template document below and upload it as one pdf for it to be accepted.
  • fill out the form below with links to your work samples and response to the design assigment. Note: This is mandatory.
  • when submitting your two work samples or portfolio pieces, make sure they show your craft, skills and your ability to execute a project. For each sample, we would like you to breifly explain why you chose it and what you think it says. If it is joint work, be sure to indicate your contributions clearly.

Download the document to fill out here

Save your documents as one pdf and upload it to your account on Universityadmission.se. See Universityadmission.se for more information.

Syllabus

Syllabus for students admitted autumn 2020

Programme Code:
TAIND revision 14
Language:
English
Date of establishment:
10 December 2006
Date of ratification:
25 September 2019
Decision-making body:
Faculty of Culture and Society
Enforcement date:
31 August 2020
Replaces Syllabus ratified:
02 December 2011

Entry requirements

Bachelor's degree or equivalent in subjects relevant for interaction design. Examples of relevant subjects include, but are not limited to: computer science, informatics, information systems, human-computer interaction, new media arts, fine arts, design (industrial, product, graphic, interaction), communication studies, media studies and cognitive science.

Approval of the following submitted material: two work samples of previous, relevant work and an individual response to the application assignment. Please see the 'Selection' tab on this page for further information.

General eligibility + the equivalent of Swedish higher secondary school English course B.

Organisation

The programme comprises full-time study for two academic years, divided into eight courses as follows:
Year one:

  • Introduction to multidisciplinary interaction design (15 credits)
  • Embodied interaction (15 credits)
  • Relational design (15 credits)
  • Thesis Project I (15 credits).
Year two:
  • Design and social innovation (15 credits)
  • Play and ludic interaction (15 credits)
  • Design-based research (15 credits)
  • Thesis project two (15 credits).
In year two, the studio courses on design and social innovation and play and ludic interaction can be substituted with studio courses on equivalent contemporary topics in interaction design research. This is possible after individual approval by the Study Programmes Board, in order to facilitate exchange with comparable education programmes in Sweden and internationally.

With regards to design methodology, there is a progression from participatory approaches with heterogeneous groups in public settings to participatory approaches where the border between design and use is dissolved, and further to design practice as part of academic knowledge production.

Academic maturity is developed throughout the course, as students work towards an advanced independent project in the first year, and, in the second year, towards state-of-the-art approaches to practice-based research within interaction design.

Content

Courses

For programme with start Autumn 2020:
Autumn 2020 - Semester 1
Spring 2021 - Semester 2
Autumn 2021 - Semester 3
Spring 2022 - Semester 4

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding
In order to receive a master's degree in Interaction Design, the student shall demonstrate:

  • a broad understanding of the field of interaction design: its transformative character, history and development;
  • substantial knowledge of current research themes and different genres within interaction design, including a broad repertoire of design examples from these genres, and the situations and qualities of their usage;
  • substantial, in-depth knowledge of the individual research area chosen for the second year thesis project;
  • broad knowledge of the various materials used in interaction design, including their properties, limitations and possibilities;
  • substantial knowledge of design methods, approaches and practices when designing for interactions, in individual, multidisciplinary and collaborative settings; and
  • sound understanding of the relationship between details and overall strategies when designing (networks of) products, services, tools and/or events for experiences and interactions.
Competencies and skills
In order to receive a master's degree in Interaction Design, the student shall demonstrate:
  • the ability to apply a design practice of learning-by-doing;
  • the ability to contribute to multi-disciplinary interaction design work;
  • the ability to engage with users and other stakeholders in iterative co-designing processes;
  • the ability to formulate and re-frame fruitful design problems, challenges, openings and questions in complex design situations;
  • the ability to reach beyond design assignments as originally stated and to explore a range of possibilities as a means to ground design decisions;
  • the ability to select and use relevant methods, techniques, tools and approaches in design work, including a broad repertoire of techniques for representing interaction designs;
  • the ability to evaluate and critique design concepts, prototypes and finished systems with regard to functional, spatial, aesthetic, sustainable and ethical aspects of quality, with a particular emphasis on methods and theories focusing on use situations;
  • the ability to reflect upon the design process and its results, and to promote a conceptual development of the interaction design field by articulating knowledge contributions on a research level; and
  • the ability to account for and discuss knowledge contributions developed through design work, including the arguments for these contributions, spatially, verbally and in writing, with various target groups.
Evaluation and approach
In order to receive a master's degree in Interaction Design, the student shall demonstrate:
  • the ability to exercise judgement accounting for relevant societal and ethical concerns within interaction design as an area of knowledge development;
  • insight into the roles of interaction design in society, and the responsibility of interaction designer to develop meaningful technologies, services, tools and experiences from a humanistic standpoint; and
  • the ability to reflect upon and learn from group work and individual design processes and practical experiences, in order to identify new knowledge needs, and thereby take responsibility for one's own continuous learning.

Degree

Master's Degree (120 credits).

Master of Science (120 Credits) with a major in Interaction Design.

Contact

The education is provided by the Faculty of Culture and Society at the School of Arts and Communication.

Further information

Enquiries about the Interaction Design, Master’s programme should be directed to K3student@mau.se, including questions about work samples and design assignments related to admissions.

If you have other questions about admissions, requirements or documentation, please contact the Admissions Office at Malmö University, admissions@mau.se / +46 40 665 75 00.

If you need study or career guidance related to the programme, please contact Student and Career Advisor Viktoria Brännström (viktoria.brannstrom@mau.se).

Application

31 August 2020 Day-time 100% Malmö

Tuition fees

for non-EU students only

First instalment: 225000 SEK
Full tuition Fee: 450000 SEK

31 August 2020 Day-time 100% Malmö Application code: mau-02113

National application round

Tuition fees

for non-EU students only

First instalment: 225000 SEK
Full tuition Fee: 450000 SEK

Application deadline 15 April

Apply

02 September 2019 Day-time 100% Malmö Schedule

Tuition fees

for non-EU students only

First instalment: 200000 SEK
Full tuition Fee: 400000 SEK

03 September 2018 Day-time 100% Malmö

Tuition fees

for non-EU students only

First instalment: 200000 SEK
Full tuition Fee: 400000 SEK