About the education

Interaction design concerns the design of digital artefacts and digitally mediated communication, with a focus on user 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 mindset of a scholar, and we foster reflective design by teaching research skills and involving students in active research projects.

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.

The programme starts with new students every autumn semester. 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.

Please note that we offer one- and two-year versions of our master’s degree in Interaction Design. The degree granted for the one-year degree is Master of Science (60 credits). The degree granted for the two-year degree is Master of Science (120 credits).

In our 1 + 1 degree programmes, the first year of both programmes is identical for all incoming students. The curriculum difference between the two-year degree programmes is the additional four courses in the second year. To help choose the programme that feels right for you, please consider:

The one-year programme offers you a quick exit to industry, as well as the chance to deepen your understanding of the field at an advanced level for a year.

The two-year programme offers you a deeper dive into the field of interaction design in terms of content and approaches, further academic preparation, and is a must if you are considering PhD studies.

Once enrolled, transitioning between the programmes is an available option.

One-year master's programme

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.

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.

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 practising 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.

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.

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. 

Courses within the programme

Entry requirements and selection

Here you can find the entry requirements, as well as how the available study places are distributed between applicants in the selection. 

If you have any questions about general admission, you are welcome to contact us.

Contact form

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 submitted supporting documents including work samples.

General eligibility + the equivalent of Swedish higher secondary school English 6.

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.

Apply with supporting documents

Please note that to complete your application for this programme, you must submit supporting documents.

To complete your application, follow these steps:

  1. Create an account and apply to the programme no later than 15 April via universityadmissions.se.
  2. Submit documented proof of your Bachelor’s degree and proficiency in English. Upload the documentation as a PDF at universityadmissions.se, or send it by post. You can apply if you are in your final year and will receive your bachelor’s degree before the programme starts, by following specific instructions.
  3. Submit your supporting documents via the form on this webpage. When you have completed the form and pressed “send”, you have submitted your supporting documents. Please make sure to do this after you have completed step one and two. If you apply in multiple admission rounds, you must upload supporting documents for each round.

Supporting documents deadline

Submit the supporting documents no later than 1 February 23.59 Central European Time (GMT +1), when applying in the international admission round, 16 October–15 January.

Submit the supporting documents no later than 3 May 23.59 Central European Time (GMT +1), when applying in the national admission round, 15 March – 15 April.

Supporting documents submitted after the deadline will not be accepted. Only supporting documents submitted via the form will be reviewed.

Supporting documents Interaction Design (Two-year)

You can find the supporting documents here during the application rounds.

As an Interaction designer I can apply my skills to any industry that involves people and technology

Max Angenius worked in the design industry for a few years before he decided to study design at a master's level. He chose Interaction...

As an Interaction designer I can apply my skills to any industry that involves people and technology

Max Angenius worked in the design industry for a few years before he decided to study design at a master's level. He chose Interaction Design at Malmö University because of its humanistic approach to interaction design. What he didn't expect was to develop an interest in building things with electronics and programming, which he says the programme opened the door for.

A humanistic and technologic approach

– Before studying the Interaction Design Master's programme at Malmö University, I completed a Bachelor's in digital design and worked for a few years as an Interaction designer. I worked very broadly with design back then, helping health technology start-ups and the public sector to develop the future of healthcare through technology. After a few years in the design industry, I was hungry for new knowledge and was at a point in my career where it was time for a change. Deepening my fundamentals in design through a master’s degree seemed like an appropriate step in my life.

While looking around for master’s programmes in Sweden, I got the impression that Interaction Design at Malmö University had a humanistic approach to interaction design, which suited my interest at the time. I was, and still am, interested in how interaction design as a subject explores the intersection between people, society, and technology. The programme does have a humanistic approach, but it also introduces programming and electronics to students of every skill level.

During my studies, I went from avoiding programming and electronics to enjoying and pursuing them in my design projects. Over the two years, I have worked with diverse challenges with elevators, fencing, future theatre, and more. I've learned to create prototypes using microcontrollers and code, conduct codesigns workshops, and approach artificial intelligence from a design point of view.

Your chance to shine as a designer

– During the programme you learn the theoretical pillars of design: design process, embodiment, participatory design, play, design research, social innovation, and more. Almost all the courses let you practically apply these theories in projects. You also learn to work in teams with people from different backgrounds, cultures, and skills. That's an equally valuable skill to have when you are a designer.

My favorite courses were the thesis projects. The thesis projects are a chance for you to shine as a designer deep dive into subjects that interest you. In addition to that, I enjoyed the Playful and Ludic Interaction course. Exploring playful interaction was intriguing and fun because it was not something I had done much of before in my career.

A solid ground to stand upon

– I think master studies add another layer of fundamental design knowledge. Studying a design master gives you the tools to approach almost any design problem. University studies provide you with solid ground to stand upon as a designer. This master’s programme allows you to be an interaction design generalist with the opportunity to specialize in your interest.

I'm also interested in doing a Ph.D. in the future, which is another reason I chose to study at a master’s level. I can see myself as a teacher at a university or in the design industry. I have been working as a teaching assistant for the past year at the University, which made me more interested in a teaching role in my design career.

Solving problems and teach in the future

– After graduation, I want to work in the design industry again and contribute to solving problems for human beings, society, and the planet. I'm looking forward to working with different stakeholders in different contexts. Previously I worked with health technology and health care. Now I hope to contribute to industries such as music, gaming, education, and more. I enjoy being an Interaction designer because I can apply my skills to any industry that involves people and technology. I also hope that teaching will be a part of my future career.

 

Designing to enrich and improve lives

For Kevin Ong, studying interaction design has allowed him to engage with marginalised communities and reflect on what it means to design...

Designing to enrich and improve lives

For Kevin Ong, studying interaction design has allowed him to engage with marginalised communities and reflect on what it means to design inclusively.

Breaking away from the desk in Texas

Before starting the master’s programme, Kevin was working at a design agency in Texas.

“I worked in industry for a year after my bachelor’s degree, but so much of my time was spent at a desk in front of a computer screen and I missed working with my hands. I wanted to break out and learn more about the field, which this programme has definitely given me the opportunity to do.”

Kevin has dual citizenship between America and Sweden, so Malmö was a natural choice.

“My mother came to Sweden as a refugee following the Vietnam war, so I have a lot of family in Malmö and knew the city pretty well,” he says.  

Design is not an island

One of the main things that appealed to Kevin about the course was the diversity of the classroom.

“The fact that our professional and geographical backgrounds are so different means you learn not only from the programme, but from what each individual has to offer.

“Team work is also really important, and we are continuously reminded that design is not an island. Interaction design is not just about the way we interact with digital media but about the way we interact with others and bring people together in this new age,” says Kevin.

One of his own projects — creating a light installation in a socio-economically disadvantaged neighbourhood of Malmö — reflects this sentiment.

“The idea behind the installation was to create a network where people in the community could share their skills. By meeting and getting to know each other, the hope was to close the generational and cultural gap in the neighbourhood.”

He also appreciates how broad the programme is in its scope and opportunities.

“For example, during our last project one person created a game, one worked with immigrants, another with machine learning, while I worked with food. I just love how interaction design can be augmented into all these different aspects of our lives with the goal of enriching and bettering it.”

In it to win it

Kevin was recently selected as one of nine finalists selected to compete at the Student Design Challenge, an international contest held in Lyon. His team impressed the judges with their take on designing for people with disabilities, and took first prize. 

“I heard about the competition through one of my lecturers. I’ve never submitted anything to competition before so when I was chosen as a finalist, it was a pleasant surprise.

“The experience was exhausting but also incredibly rewarding. It was amazing to see brilliant minds come together, and know that there’s such a large community out there that are passionate about interaction design.”

Contact

For more information about the education:

K3student@mau.se