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Introduction on Masters in UX Design Online
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Masters in UX Design Online

How users interact with their gadgets, devices, and computers, as well as other products and services, is becoming increasingly important in today’s world. The overall interface between machine and man, and the user’s experience throughout the use of the product or an experience with a service, is what primarily determines its success. This interaction hinges on the User Interface, or UI, and the experience rests on the User Experience or UX.

The Masters in UI/UX Design online degree program focuses on user experience design and user interface design and is an excellent approach to learn both practical and theoretical knowledge that will prepare students to become a User Interface or Experience Designer. Both components are critical to the success of an IT product, although they play parts that are very different from one another. User experience design (UX) examines the procedures involved in creating a website or application that appeals to the intended user groups. UXD examines and assesses how consumers feel about a product, considering factors such as ease of use, aesthetics, perception of system value, usefulness, and efficiency. UX designers investigate and evaluate several techniques to resolve specific user issues. A UX designer’s broad role is to guarantee that the product flows logically from one step to the next. They also update software regularly to keep up with technological advances and improve consumer happiness.

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Best Master of UX Design Online Programs

Masters in UX Design Online Best Seal

Determining the best destinations to pursue a Master of UX Design is not a simple task. With hundreds of colleges offering this degree program, it is essential for students to find a graduate school that not only suits their needs but also offers quality, an experienced faculty, a good reputation, accreditation, a flexible program structure, and of course, good value for money. Bearing all these and other crucial factors in mind, OMC has drawn a list of the best colleges for a Master of UX Design online program in the United States.

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College Name & Address Tuition Graduation Rate
#1
University of Wisconsin, Madison
500 Lincoln Dr, Madison, Wisconsin 53706
$10,728 88%
#2
University of California, Irvine
501 Aldrich Hall, Irvine, California 92697
$11,442 85%
#3
Bentley University
175 Forest St, Waltham, Massachusetts 02452
$40,992 90%
#4
University of Southern California
University Park, Los Angeles, California 90089
$47,880 92%
#5
Brandeis University
415 South St, Waltham, Massachusetts 02454
$51,940 89%
#6
Northwestern University
633 Clark St, Evanston, Illinois 60208
$56,067 95%
#7
Quinnipiac University
Mt Carmel Ave, Hamden, Connecticut 06518
NA NA
#8
Iowa State University
1750 Beardshear Hall, Ames, Iowa 50011
$9,758 75%
#9
DePaul University
1 E Jackson Blvd, Chicago, Illinois 60604
$19,370 71%
#10
Kent State University
Executive Office, 2nd Floor Library, Kent, Ohio 44242
$11,766 65%
#11
Maryland Institute College of Art
1300 Mount Royal Avenue, Baltimore, Maryland 21217
$48,510 73%
#12
Rochester Institute of Technology
1 Lomb Memorial Dr, Rochester, New York 14623
$50,136 71%
#13
University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee
2200 E Kenwood Blvd, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53211
$10,701 46%
#14
University of Baltimore
Charles at Mount Royal, Baltimore, Maryland 21201
$13,824 34%

Source Integrated Post Secondary Education Data System & University Data
*Tuition rates are for in-state and per year. Program specific rates may apply.
**NA – data not available

Understanding UX Design Masters Programs

The user experience (UX) design involves almost all interactions between the active customer and the business. These skills develop the graduate’s problem-solving ability, which most companies now require, and provide technical competence to assure the quality of the design model. The UX design master’s program gives students the integrity to manage a diverse set of design tools that contribute to an increase in products, services, and experiences in an ocean of industries.

The Master’s in UX Design online program will deliver immense knowledge on end-user interaction and user experience, and much more. The design of the UX encompasses pretty much all interactions between the active customer and the company. All things considered, UI/UX graduates are industry-ready, with the ability to evaluate, analyze, and present findings in comprehensive reports to maximize the value of data visualization and develop high-quality user interface approaches and processes utilized to boost productivity and profit.

The structure of a master’s in UX design tends to be flexible and is often delivered in online, offline, and hybrid modes across varied degree types. Students are examined via their practical work and through written examinations, including case studies, essays, presentations, and tests.

UX Design Masters Degree Types

In the United States, a master’s degree in UX Design is generally available to pursue in two distinct types – An MS or Master of Science and an MA or Master of Arts.

MS UX Design

The Master of Science or MS UX Design is the most common and popular degree type to study UX Design. The MS degree approaches the subject from a more technical standpoint while also covering the vast space of creativity and design.

MA UX Design

The Master of Arts or MA UX Design is not widely available in the United States. However, this degree type approaches UX Design from a multi-disciplinary standpoint and often covers psychology, anthropology, etc.


Specializations in UX Design Masters Programs

While the core coursework in UX Design master’s programs gives students a solid base in UX design principles and tools and allows them to expand their creative options, the entire point of a UI/UX design program is to generate a very gifted graduate in the field who will make the most of it. This is where specializations present an ability for a student to opt for a niche topic within the broader area of UX design, making it easy for them to seek specific careers. Some of the different specializations and concentrations in UX Design degree programs are:

  • Interface Design and User Experience
  • Industrial Design
  • User Experience Management & Design
  • Information
  • Computer Science


Curriculum and Skills Gained in UX Design Masters Programs

In the United States, UI/UX design refers to a curriculum that combines user experience and game design to produce products that give relevant and meaningful experiences. It also includes problem-solving skills applied in fields including education, scientific research, health, emergency management, planning, and politics. In many cases, modules related to business, science, and data visualization are covered as well, incorporating aspects of psychology, architecture, anthropology, industrial design, sociology, and cognitive science.

The courses include not only lectures but also tutorials based on a real-life scenario to help students learn the material and improve their ability to perform and demonstrate their talent. Coursework typically includes but are not limited to the following topics:

  • Principles of Design
  • Human Computer Interaction and Interface
  • Ethnography and Research Design
  • User Experience Design Presentation Techniques
  • Design Studio
  • Usability Testing
  • Creative Thinking and Innovation
  • Human-Centered Design
  • Usability and Symbols
  • Conceptual Model and System Image
  • Design Principles
  • UX Processes
  • Social Computing
  • Design Patterns
  • Input and Interaction
  • User Experience: Research & Prototyping
  • Human Factors in Software Development
  • Information Design
  • Human Systems Engineering
  • Designing, Running and Analyzing Experiments
  • Interaction Design Capstone Project
  • Understanding User Needs
  • Principles of Designing for Humans
  • Introduction to User Experience
  • Evaluating Designs with Users
  • Design Tools
  • UX Design: From Concept to Wireframe
  • UX Design: From Wireframe to Prototype
  • UX Research at Scale: Analytics and Online Experiments
  • Design for Omnipresence Digital Strategy
  • Service Design and Task flow
  • Futuristic Technology Tools
  • User Research & Strategy
  • Human Computer Interface in Healthcare
  • Digital Experience in Banking and Payment
  • Interface Design for Web
  • Empathy and Societal Project
  • Technology Program and Architecture

Graduates of UI/UX design will be well-versed in all prototype and design equipment and put them to good use. They will exhibit knowledge and expertise on system design and user research methods and demonstrate an ability to derive solutions with a clear and concise explanation while conveying information simply, using visuals and simple labels to explain potentially complex concepts. Additionally, UX Design professionals go on to develop problem-solving, time, cost, and money-saving interfaces that businesses and engineers can use for their products and services. Skills in HCI (Human-Computer Interaction), UX Design, Interaction Design, etc., will be put to good use at the workplace.


Accreditation for UX Design Masters Programs

To be valuable and considered by the job market, an online Master’s in UX Design must be certified like all master’s degrees. Accreditation agencies are independent bodies that set standards for schools to follow and ensure that those requirements are met and maintained throughout the accreditation process and the length of the program. While some universities offer officially accredited programs (programmatic accreditation), most schools are regionally accredited, which is an equally viable choice. Regional accreditation agencies in the United States include:

  1. New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC)
  2. Middle States Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools (MSA-CESS)
  3. Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  4. Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACSCOC)
  5. Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)
  6. Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) Senior College and University Commission

In the absence of a credible independent accrediting agency for a Master’s in UX Design degree program, students should check that the school’s own program is regionally accredited to ensure quality education and that their degree will be of value. The Accreditation Guide provides complete information on what accreditation is all about and why it should be one of the most crucial factors when picking a school.


Timeline For Graduating from Masters in UX Design Online Programs

Master in UX Design online programs can range in length from one to three years. Most online programs cater to working people by allowing students to study on their own schedule. In most cases, distance learning or part-time completion of the program is attainable in two to three years. Students can work at their own pace and complete the degree in as little as five years. Overall, though, the average duration to complete this degree for full-timers is about two years.


Admission Requirements for Masters in UX Design Online Programs

The admission requirements for Masters in UX Design graduate programs are relatively standard. In general, most schools require prospective students to submit the following:

  • An application to the program, along with the requisite application fee.
  • Official Academic Transcripts.
  • A Bachelor’s Degree in which the cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA) is 2.5 and above, on a scale of 4. (Science-based undergraduate degrees are preferred.)
  • A Graduate Record Exam (GRE) score of 290 or more.
  • A Statement of Purpose.
  • At least 2 Letters of Recommendation.
  • Proof of Proficiency in English (for those whose primary language in prior education has not been English).

Additionally, some schools ask students to submit their Portfolios, showcasing their most current artwork/designs/projects.

Masters in UX Design Online Programs No GRE

The GRE is a vital eligibility criterion but is not a hurdle that could prevent a prospective student from pursuing a master’s degree. For most top universities in the United States, a GRE score of 290 is considered an eligibility criterion. However, certain universities accept students for their Masters in UX Design without taking the GRE, providing the student has maintained a reasonably high GPA in their undergraduate studies.

Free UX Design Programs

UX Design seems very limited when going by its title, but it is a very vast subject that covers a host of sectors and industries. Its uses are widespread in the modern world, giving rise to specializations hitherto unheard of. Finding a free master’s degree in UX Design is nearly impossible, but free courses and programs that some offer are suitable for master’s students and professionals to widen their knowledge and broaden their skills. Here are a few sites that offer free courses in UX Design:

  1. Coursera
    Coursera offers paid and free courses in UX Design and related subjects from top universities and companies such as the University of Minnesota, University of California San Diego, Google, etc. While paid courses provide a Course Certificate, free courses typically do not offer one. Even so, the free version gives full access to videos, reading material, and discussions, pretty much like the paid version, except without the certificate.
  2. Skillshare
    Skillshare seems to have some 941 free courses connected with UX design, most of which are taught by industry professionals or university professors. Courses range across three levels – beginners, intermediate, and advanced.
  3. LearnUX.io
    LearnUX.io is a hidden gem that offers a wealth of free UX/UI instructional content, including classes on the fundamentals of UX, design workflow, design and prototype tools, and even HTML & CSS. The site provides hundreds of hours of content, absolutely free.
  4. edX
    edX offers courses in UX Design that it terms ‘MicroMasters’, covering a wide range of topics, spanning instructional design with orchestration graphs to UX design & evaluation and human systems engineering. 

Note: Some of the courses mentioned on these sites may be free, while others may demand a small fee. As policies and offers keep changing periodically, students are advised to check for the latest ones that suit their needs.

How to Pay for Masters in UX Design Online Programs

The cost of a highly sought-after master’s degree in the United States can sometimes burn a massive hole in the pocket. As with most other degree programs, fees for an online master in UX Design varies by university and are revised regularly. Students are therefore advised to check with the university what the fee for the current academic year is. Furthermore, students should also note that the expense of a master’s degree in UI/UX extends beyond the tuition charge. Medical insurance and other fees, educational supplies, living expenses, and tuition make up the overall cost for a Master’s in UX Design student. It is not uncommon for schools to charge between $10,000 and $30,000, of course, depending on the program format and the university chosen. Fortunately, students can explore different forms of financial aid and apply to offset the high cost of a master’s degree. Some such funding mechanisms include:

Masters in UX Design Online

Scholarships

Scholarships assist deserving individuals by reducing or eliminating the cost of education. The institution selects the scholarship recipient after reviewing the student’s biography and a thorough background check that includes the statement of purpose, recommendation letters, work experience, and academic credentials.

Masters in UX Design Online

Grants

Grants are given to students who need financial assistance for graduate education. Unlike scholarships that are usually merit-based, grants are generally awarded to students based on their family’s income. Universities that provide such need-based grants consider an applicant’s grades and test results as well.

Masters in UX Design Online

Graduate Assistantships

Teaching Assistantships – provide a fee waiver or stipend in exchange for services to the university. This could include working as assistants for professors, assisting them with instructional constraints, aiding in a lab or workshop, and teaching and demonstrating for undergraduates.

Research Assistantships – is a position that allows graduate students to assist a professor with their research while also reducing their workload.

Masters in UX Design Online

Student Loans

Students may be eligible for federal, bank, or private loans, requiring interest payments. However, it should be remembered that late or deferred payments will almost certainly result in increased student debt.

Masters in UX Design Online

FAFSA

The FAFSA, or Free Application for Federal Student Aid, can be used to evaluate whether a student is eligible for financial aid. FAFSA-related information is available here.

FAQs about Masters in UX Design Online Programs

Q: What is UX Design?
A: Wikipedia defines user experience as to how a user interacts with and experiences a product, system, or service. It includes a person’s perceptions of utility, ease of use, and efficiency.
Q: Do I need to be creative to pursue a Master’s in UX Design?
A: Not necessarily. Although being creative can be an advantage while studying and practicing UX Design, other skills such as behavioral observations, critical thinking, analytical reasoning, and problem-solving are more of a requirement.
Q: How long does it take to get a UX Design degree?
A: The duration of a Master’s in UX Design largely depends on the program format, the coursework, and whether the student is a part-timer or full-timer. Typically, the degree requires about 2 years to complete, but students are known to have completed it from as little as 1 year to within 5 years.
Q: Which school is the best for UX Design masters?
A: Several schools offer robust programs in UX Design across the country. Some of the best ones are listed elsewhere in this article.

Careers and Salary Outlook for Masters in UX Design Online Graduates

The key responsibilities of a UI/UX designer are the development and qualification of next-generation user interface materials. With an influx of new products and services and a dire need for them to stand out from the competition, there are many UI/UX engineers and UX researchers in high demand in the industry now. The scope of UI/UX in the United States is as vast as the ocean and continues growing by the day. Therefore, UI/UX designers have a lot of opportunities to advance in their careers. According to In Vision, 70% of people managers increased the headcount of their design team in the past year.

Graduates of a Master’s in UX Design online degree can do various design tasks, including graphical design, UX design, and UI design. Some typical jobs and job titles that UX design graduates can come to expect are:

  • Business Analyst
  • UX researcher
  • Visual Designer
  • Usability Tester
  • Data Analyst
  • Information Architect
  • Market Analyst / Market Researcher
  • Product Manager
  • Interaction Designer
  • Project Manager
  • Interactive Media Manager

The rising demand for UI/UX talents has improved the compensation after earning a master’s degree in UI/UX in the United States. Ziprecruiter reports the average salary for an MS in UI/UX as $91,990, nationwide. Compensation after a Master’s in UX Design is often determined by the professional’s work profile, company, experiences, abilities, and knowledge, all of which can earn them anywhere from $70,000 to well over $100,000 per year.

Certifications and Licensure for Masters in UX Design Online Students

Certifications are more than extensions to a master’s degree. Combined, they make a compelling reason for employers to hire the candidate without much fuss or doubt. This is because certifications endorse the level of knowledge the candidate has, as well as the skillset they are expected to possess for niche areas within the sphere of UX design. It is always recommended for students or graduates of UX design to become certified, leading to better career prospects and higher pay. Some certifications to consider are:

  1. Nielson Norman Group UX Certification
  2. Human Factors International
    • Certified Usability Analyst (CUA)
    • Certified User Experience Analyst (CXA)
    • Certified Digital Persuasion Analyst (CDPA)
  3. Certified Customer Experience Professional (CCXP)

In general, graduates of a master’s in UX Design online do not require any licensure to work or remain employed.

Additional Resources for Masters in UX Design Online Students

Many point out that UX Design is infinite in that it is continuously evolving and has no end to it. If such is indeed the case, UX Design students and designers alike must network with peers and stay abreast with the latest in the fields of UI & UX. Apart from seeking updates and discovering emerging techniques/technology, one can also use the vast resources available out there to develop new design experiences and solve real-world problems as well. Here are a few resources that UX Design students and professionals should consider:

  1. Prototypr.io
    Prototypr.io is a go-to destination for those who want to find the latest tools for UX design. The site offers prototyping, along with AR/VR experiences, conversational design, UX tools, news, and more.
  2. Sidebar
    Sidebar is a site that collects and displays the best links every day in UI/UX design, typography, CSS, user research, and more.
  3. UX Planet
    UX Planet is a one-stop-shop for all things UX, including an entire section devoted to UX for beginners. The site also covers careers and research in UX.
  4. Inside Design
    Inside Design, from In Vision, is a wealth of resources that spans books, podcasts, videos, blogs, webinars, events, and unique products as well.
  5. Muzli
    Muzli is essentially a magazine that provides design inspiration, news, and trends, curated from over 120 sources.

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