Master in Interaction Design - MIXD

Short description

Everyday use of technology is the norm in our modern societies, as we surround ourselves with technology at home, at work, and in public. Computers are pervasive, digital interfaces and interactivity is everywhere, and it is of increasing importance that we ensure inclusive, ethical and efficient human-computer interaction. Gjøvik University College meets this challenge with the Master in Interaction Design, where usability is key.

The Master program in Interaction Design teaches the students to put the users’ needs and requirements first in order to design inclusive, easy-to-use, robust and efficient human-computer interaction. The program provides the students with knowledge and awareness of human factors and conditions in interface and interaction design, as well as insights into system engineering methodologies and strategies for usability-optimalization of products and services.

Compared to other master programs, Gjøvik University College's Master in Interaction Design (MIxD) emphasizes an analytic and methodological approach to design, research and development. Students aquire a strong user-centered focus, placing importance on user involvement and user participation throughout design and development. The education is practice-related, providing a high degree of professionalism, ethical awareness and knowledge of design for diversity. Providing students with a broad range of methods, tools and strategies, they must become aware of their own professional identity based on their main competences within empathic, analytical, creative, technical and design-based Interaction Design (IxD).

The program is linked to the academic community of the Media Technology Laboratory, which is researching a wide range of aspects related to the design, development and production of digital and analogue media. The laboratory can currently boast prolific research in color technology and color research at The Norwegian Colour and Visual Computing Laboratory. Further, the laboratory researches gaming technology, serious games, "the Internet of things" and mobile applications through the Game Technology laboratory. The Media Technology Laboratory also researches image processing, video processing and intelligent systems, and co-operates with the Norwegian Information Security Laboratory (NISlab) and the Center for Universal Design. The broad research activities includes research on aspects such as UX, usability, the use of digital media, service design, software engineering, design, interaction design and inclusive design. Through the different laboratories, students at MIxD have access to advanced eye-tracker technology, stationary and glasses, to EEG measuring devices, to Virtual Reality Headset for 3D Games, to simulation of various acoustic and lighting as well as to advanced assistive technology for research and development for users with disabilities. MIxD also co-operates with the Centre for Care Research, belonging to the Faculty of Health, on issues related to care work, health- and welfare technology.


The program is a two-year full-time study (120 ECTs). After passing the course the candidate is awarded the degree of Master in Interaction Design. The program may be completed part-time (3-4 years dependent on individual study plan).

Expected learning outcomes

With a Master's degree students will be able to apply for positions within usability and UX, Information- and Interaction design and Information architecture. They will be able to initiate, lead and perform usability engineering in research and development, conduct user research, make informed design decisions, identify usability requirements and validate their implementation in the development of user dialogues for interactive systems and user interfaces, e.g. in commercial software, multimedia applications and web services. They will be able to develop solutions for a wide range of users and contexts, including users with disabilities or special needs. With a completed master's degree graduates may also apply for PhD programs.


  • The graduate has an in-depth understanding of human factors and end-users' needs, user-centered strategies and methodologies and can discuss and reflect upon needs and requirements in the design of user interfaces and interactive environments.
  • The graduate is able to apply this knowledge to design and optimize the usability of products, services and interactive environments.
  • The graduate has thorough knowledge of scientific theory and methodology in the field of interaction design.
  • The graduate possesses a specialized and thorough knowledge of the research front on a limited and selected area, forming the basis for the thesis in interaction design.
  • The graduate is able to apply his/her skills in new areas of interaction design.


  • The graduate is able to analyze, choose and use appropriate methods for professional systems development usability engineering.
  • The graduate is able to analyze, choose and use appropriate methods for research on usability.
  • The graduate is able to plan, initiate, manage and execute usability and user-centered development in an independent manner.
  • The graduate is able to plan, initiate, manage and execute usability and user-centered research in an independent manner.
  • The graduate is able to carry out an independent, limited research or development project under supervision and in accordance with applicable ethical standards.
  • The graduate is able to analyze academic issues, existing theories, methods and interpretations based on subject area's history, traditions, character and place in society.
  • The graduate is able to analyze and reflect critically on various information sources and use them to structure and formulate scientific reasoning.

General competence

  • The graduate is able to analyze ethical issues related to both profession and research.
  • The graduate is able to apply his/her knowledge and skills on novel areas to carry out advanced tasks and projects in usability or user-centered design.
  • The graduate is able to convey extensive work from an independent study and master the forms of expression in the field.
  • The graduate is able to communicate profession challenges and academic issues, analyses and conclusions within the field both to specialists and to the general public.
  • The graduate is able to contribute to innovative thinking and innovation processes.


Students are welcome to replace parts of the curriculum with a stay at universities abroad. For full time students, there are possibilities for this in the second or third semester. For students aiming for exchange in this semester, we advise taking mandatory courses running in the fall during the first semester.

The Master program is offered as an English-language Master, and all courses will be offered in English. All curriculums are in English, and the courses may be offered to exchange students.

Target Group

The Master program targets students who are interested in design, software development and digital media in general, and in usability, contextual design, inclusive design and user experience in particular.

The program may be viewed as a continuation and specialization of bachelor degrees in graphic design, media design and web design and development, as well as providing a relevant specialization for bachelor degrees computer science, engineering and computer-based media technologies. No previous job experience is expected, however the program is well suited for people with work experience and/or experience from project work and system development.

The study is also suitable for students who wish to combine studies with work. The courses are largely seminar based, with most courses having a full-day seminar every third weeks, and it is possible to take the program part-time (3-4 years).

Admission Criteria

Applicants for the master program must have completed a bachelor's degree or equivalent education of a minimum of three years duration, which includes 80 credits in media, design and/or IT subjects (see Regulation §3 Requirements for Master's degree 120 ECTs).

Gjøvik University College accepts the following internal bachelor programs for admission to the program:

  1. Bachelor in Web Development/Media Technology
  2. Bachelor in Media Management
  3. Bachelor in Media Design
  4. Bachelor in Software Development
  5. Bachelor in Media Production
  6. Bachelor in Game Programming
  7. Bachelor in Engineering, Computer Science
  8. Bachelor in Information Security
  9. Bachelor in Network and Computer Systems

Course Structure


The program focuses on applied methodology for optimizing product and service usability, and enables students to initiate, manage and execute usability engineering in project and development contexts.

Since it is of vital importance for the students to have relevant and applicable skills for the job market at the completion of the program, the program includes topics such as establishment of user-friendly information architectures and systems development methodology.


The courses are organized as a combination of lectures and seminars/workshops. Most courses are 10 credits, and will normally have a 700-page syllabus. Most of the courses have mandatory requirements such as essays or empirical work. Student work-effort is expected to be 45 hours per week (for full time students) throughout the semester.

During the 1st semester students meet one of the core issues; the course IMT4032 Usability and Human Factors in Interaction Design. Key usability knowledge such as human cognition and behavior, usability theories and professional and industry terms are covered through this course, along with theory and techniques for design and prototyping and training in expert inspection methodology for usability evaluation. The students are also introduced to universal design, assistive technologies and web accessibility. Students will also develop their media and design process skills through the course IMT4182 Design, Creativity and Innovation, and be introduced to design research. The 5 credits  course IMT4421 Scientific methodology in the first half of the semester combined with the 5 credits course IMT4192 Research project in Human Computer Interaction in the second part of the semester introduces the students to current research within human computer interaction, and has a focus towards laboratory research, using advanced usability research equipment, quantitative and qualitative data analysis and statistics. The students also conduct a small research oriented project.

In the 2nd semester, students will get a deeper knowledge of interface design through the 5 credits course IMT4212 Colour in interface design. In particular, focus will be on the use of color for visual communication; color perception, color properties, color experience, color research and color design for visually impaired. In the core course IMT5341 Methods in User-Centered Design the usability focus is shifted to contextual design, theory and techniques for collaborative, user-centered and participatory design and training in usability testing. The students practice and compare different techniques to investigate contexts, activities and behavior, to analyze, to specify and to design solutions. A user-centered focus throughout formative-iterative design processes are vital for ensuring a correct requirements elicitations, understanding of the end-users needs. The course IMT4062 Project Management and Software Engineering links interaction design to software development process models. Students learn to analyze and discuss the appropriateness of methodology, processes, management techniques and leadership styles. The course also reflects on software engineering paradigms and professional code of ethics. Finally, the students may choose a 5-credit elective course (see electives table).

The 3rd semester gives the students the opportunity to specialize in a relevant area of their choice. Emphasis is placed on getting students started with their own writing and research. Efforts towards formulating a master thesis are central to this semester. In the 5-credit mandatory course IMT4601 Research Project Planning the students develop their thesis proposal. Students will study theoretical material to support the focus of the thesis, learn to formulate relevant research topics and questions and start to prepare one of the thesis chapters. During this time, students will be appointed a thesis supervisor. Information architecture has recently emerged as a key knowledge for the development of large and complex sites, heavy e-commerce applications, and interactive Web services. The course IMT4042 User-centered Information Architecture also introduces the students to search engine optimization. The semester also includes 15 elective credits (see elective course table).

In the 4th semester, students work under supervision on their Master's thesis (IMT4904). The work of the fourth semester requires that all previous courses have been passed. The thesis must represent an academic progression in relation to practical, empirical and/or theoretical topics in relevant courses (IMT4032, IMT4042, IMT4062, IMT4182, IMT4192, IMT4212, IMT5341 or specializations).

Technical Prerequisites

Computer lab with necessary specialty software is available at the university college. The students are expected to have a personal computer and Internet access available.

Table of subjects

Course tabel for Master in User-Centered Media Design 2014-16

Coursecode Course name C/E *) ECTS each. semester
  S1(A) S2(S) S3(A) S4(S)
IMT4032 Usability and Human Factors in Interaction Design C 10      
IMT4014 Research Project in Human Computer Interaction C 5      
IMT4421 Scientific Methodology C 5      
IMT4182 Design, Creativity and Innovation C 10      
IMT4212 Colour in interface design C   5    
IMT4062 Project Management and Software Engineering C   10    
IMT5341 Methods in User-Centered Design C   10    
Elective, 5 ECTS E   5    
IMT4042 User-centred Information Architecture C     10  
IMT4601 Research Project Planning C     5  
Elective course, 10 ECTS E     10  
Elective, 5 ECTS E     5  
IMT4904 Master's Thesis C       30
Sum: 30 30 30 30
*) C - Compulsory course, E - Elective course

Electives, The following table shows elective courses open to all students at MID

Coursecode Course name C/E *) ECTS each. semester
  S1(A) S2(S) S3(A) S4(S)
IMT3950008 Wayfinding E   5    
IMT5391 Service design, organizations and CSCW E   5    
IMT4005 Digital Innovation and Entrepreneurship E   5    
IMT4881 Specialization Course 1 E   5 5  
IMT4882 Specialization Course 2 E   10 10  
TØL4003 Philosophies of social science E     5  
Sum: 0 0 0 0
*) C - Compulsory course, E - Elective course

If students meet the admission requirements for other programs, such as Master in Applied Computer Science (MACS) and/or Master in Information Security (MIS), courses from these programs may also be selected as elective courses (by application). The same applies to courses from other masters- and bachelors programs.  

It is possible to include up to 20 ETCS from relevant bachelor programs (3000 code courses), assessed individually on application (these must however not be part of the necessary credits for admission – if so, they must be replaced by new credits).

Electives – open to MID students depending on admission criteria

Coursecode Course name C/E *) ECTS each. semester
  S1(A) S2(S) S3(A) S4(S)
IMT4007 Serious Games E   10    
IMT4006 Intro to Research on Web Technologies E   10    
IMT4093 Introduction to Reseach on Mobile Devices E   5    
IMT4072 Cross-media color reproduction E     5  
IMT4132 IT Rhetorics for Security Risk Managmement E     5  
IMT3673 Mobile/Wearable Programming E     10  
Sum: 0 0 0 0
*) C - Compulsory course, E - Elective course

Proposal for part-time schedule (of 3 years)

Coursecode Course name C/E *) ECTS each. semester
  S1(A) S2(S) S3(A) S4(S) S5(A) S6(S)
IMT4182 Design, Creativity and Innovation C 10          
IMT4032 Usability and Human Factors in Interaction Design C 10          
IMT4062 Project Management and Software Engineering C   10        
IMT5341 Methods in User-Centered Design C   10        
IMT4042 User-centred Information Architecture C     10      
IMT4014 Research Project in Human Computer Interaction C     5      
IMT4421 Scientific methodology and communication C     5      
IMT4212 Colour in interface design C       5    
Elective course, 10 ECTS E       10    
IMT4601 Research Project Planning C         5  
Elective course, 10 ECTS E         10  
IMT4904 Master's Thesis C           30
Sum: 20 20 20 15 15 30
*) C - Compulsory course, E - Elective course