What are the top graduate User Experience (UX), User Interface (UI), and Human Computer Interaction (HCI) schools in the Midwest?
|University of Michigan
|Michigan State University
|Indiana University, Bloomington
Our 2024 rankings of the Top 5 graduate UX/UI/HCI school programs in the Midwest. For an explanation of ranking criteria, click here.
1. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan
The School of Information at University of Michigan (U-M) houses one of the American Library Association’s longest continually accredited programs. It first received accreditation in 1926-27 and most recently in 2017. Leading to a Master of Science in Information (MSI), the program has as status of Continued accreditation. Serving approximately 1,800 students and known as UMSI, the School of Information provides five degree programs at the bachelor’s, master’s, and PhD levels.
Serving 590 students, the MSI is the school’s largest program. Highlights for this professional, interdisciplinary degree include courses taught by top professionals in their respective fields; experiential learning; hands-on projects; access to courses and dual degrees at across 96 University of Michigan programs; internships; and career advising.
Consisting of 48 credit hours, the U-M MSI program explores human computer interaction (HCI) and user experience (UX); data science; digital archives; analytics; and library science. However, students have the opportunity to customize the curriculum by choosing coursework in user experience research and design, human computer interaction, and social computing; digital archives, library science, and preservation; or data science, data analytics, and computational social science.
UX, HCI, and Socia Computing explores areas such as interaction design, usability testing, product design, mobile applications, virtual reality systems, website design, and social media. Course examples include UX Research and Design; User-Centered Agile Development; Developing AR/VR Experiences; Information Architecture; Graphic Design and Visual Communications; Building Interactive Applications; Needs Assessment and Usability Evaluation; Programming; Developing Mobile Experiences, and Pervasive Interaction Design.
The MSI program at University of Michigan culminates with a final project. Approximately 93% of graduates are working in their chosen field. MSI program alumni hold titles such as UX Designer, Digital Product Manager, Experience Designer Researcher, UX/UI Designer, Virtual Reality User Researcher, Senior UX Researcher, Product Design Manager, Project Manager, Interaction Designer, Senior Analyst, and Senior Backend Developer.
Program alumni have been hired at places such as Microsoft, Amazon, Google, JPMorgan Chase, KPMG, Alibaba Group, Deloitte Digital, Samsung, U.S. Department of Labor, Ford Motor Company, Eli Lily, Cisco Systems, Meta, IBM, Ernst & Young, General Motors, Caterpillar, PNC, Visa, Transunion, Humana, Walmart Global Tech, Sams Club, Accenture, SoFi, CVS Health, Procter & Gamble, and Slalom.
University of Michigan is one of the first public universities in the nation. Established in 1817 in Detroit, Michigan, the school serves 52,065 students, making it the largest school in the state for the third consecutive year. U-M provides more than 275 degree programs across 19 colleges and schools. University of Michigan is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
2. Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana
Purdue Polytechnic Institute is one of the 10 colleges of Purdue University. Serving approximately 5,605 students, this technology college provides more than 65 programs across seven departments and schools that emphasize innovation, hands-on learning, and interdisciplinary study. The Department of Computer Graphics Technology (CGT) here provides seven career-ready programs at all degree levels.
Computer Graphics Technology includes UX Design, Human-Computer Interaction, Computer Animation, Data Visualization, Game Studies, and Digital Enterprise Systems.
At the graduate level, Polytechnic students can earn a Computer Graphics Technology MS (CGT MS) or a PhD in Technology. Serving 90 students, the CGT MS program has a STEM-designated UX Design concentration that requires a minimum of 15 credit hours. Students in the PhD program can customize the program and research areas by selecting CGT coursework or courses from any department or concentration.
Required courses for the UX Design concentration include Foundational Readings of User Experience Design; Qualitative Research Methods in Technology Studies; UXD Graduate Studio 1: Fundamentals; and UXD Studio 2: Cross-Channel. Students can choose additional courses from a list of “selectives.” Examples include Interaction Design Evaluation; Cognition for Interaction Design; Interactive Multimedia Development & Research; Cognition and Human-Computer Interaction; Information Technology Project Management; Crowd Powered Systems; Human Factors in Engineering; Job Design; Cognitive Engineering of Interactive Software; and Design Theory and Technology.
Graduate students also have access to the Design, Visualization & Cognition (DVC) Lab; the Design & Engineering for Making (DE4M) Lab; and UXD Grad Experience Studios. This experiential learning opportunity allows students to work in teams on real-world projects to solve design projects. Participating Studios students will graduate with at least 3.5 years of industry experience, contacts within the industry, and a clear understanding of industry job requirements.
Graduates of the CGT MS and Technology PhD programs at Purdue University are prepared to seek leadership roles across all industries that utilize UX Design. Job titles include UX/UI Senior Designer, Senior User Experience Engineer, UX Lead, Product Manager, Senior Front-end Developer, Senior Information Designer, User Researcher, UX Manager, User Interface Designer, UX Developer, and Interaction Designer. Potential employers include Deloitte, Microsoft, Amazon, DreamWorks, Google, JPMorgan Chase, and Salesforce.
Established in 1869, Purdue University serves approximately 52,210 students from all 50 states and 135+ countries. Approximately 11% of all students are enrolled in Purdue Polytechnic Institute. Purdue provides more than 400 programs across 11 academic colleges and schools. Purdue University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
3. Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan
Michigan State University (MSU) is home to the College of Communication Arts and Sciences (ComArtSci). Within the ComArtSci is the Department of Media and Information (MI), which has two graduate degree programs for students interested in pursuing advanced roles in UX/UI/HCI. Options include the Media and Information MA with a focus in Human Computer Interaction, and the User Experience MS. Both programs are STEM-designated with access to labs, online courses, and opportunities to work on projects with real clients.
MA and MS students also benefit from small class sizes; faculty and media networks; and courses taught by faculty with research and professional experience. Course examples for the MA program include Usability and Accessibility; Interaction Design/Socio-Technical Systems; Understanding Users; and Theories of Games and Interaction Design.
MS students can expect to take courses such as User Research and Design; Current Topics in UX; Design for Interactivity; Quantitative Analysis and Insights in UX; Usability Evaluation; Programming Fundamentals for UX; and Social Science for Design.
To enhance the ComArtSci graduate degree programs, the Department of Media and Information encourages adding additional focus areas and/or building your own (e.g. HCI/Game Development or UX/Game Design); special topics; and participation in the MSU Internship Program. Examples of where students have interned include Apple, Fabrik Entertainment, ABC Studios, The Daily Show, and AutoZone.
The Media and Information MA and the User Experience MS programs at Michigan State University culminate with a final project or Capstone. Graduates are prepared to pursue roles in UX/UI/HCI across industries. Examples include technology, government, education, gaming, retail, education, health care, insurance, travel, banking, and e-commerce.
Established in 1855, Michigan State University is a land-grant, public research institution that serves more than 51,000 students. One of the largest and greenest campuses in the U.S., MSU houses more than 100 institutes and centers including the Institute of Global Health and the Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute. The school also houses over 400 programs of study across 17 degree-granting colleges. Michigan State University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
4. Indiana University Bloomington, Bloomington, Indianapolis, Indiana
The Luddy School of Informatics, Computing and Engineering at Indiana University Bloomington (IU Bloomington) is the first school of its kind in the U.S. Serving more than 4,500 students, Luddy provides BS, MS and PhD programs that prepare professionals to solve problems through the use of information technology. The knowledge and skills acquired through the School can be applied in a variety of settings from education and healthcare to new media and games.
For students seeking advanced positions or leadership roles in UX/UI/HCI, the Luddy School at IU Bloomington has a STEM-designated Human-Computer Interaction (HCI/d) MS that takes two years to complete.
The first program in the U.S. to emphasize design as an equal partner to HCI, the HCI/d MS is an intensive degree that explores interaction design, design strategy, and user research methods as it relates to the development of interactive experiences, systems, and services. The program features studio courses; the option to focus the curriculum through 18 elective credits; and the opportunity to study abroad in places such as Greece and Finland.
Courses for the HCI/d MS at UI Bloomington are led by professionals in the field. Examples of core requirements include Introduction to HCI/d; Foundations of HCI/d; Meaning and Form in HCI/d; and Interaction Design Methods. Through these studio courses, students will work in teams on projects and explore areas such as experience design, HCI, design strategy, qualitative methods in HCI, UX research, project management, interaction design, and scholarship.
Electives options are endless and may include Experience Design; Topics: Visual Design for HCI; Mobile and Pervasive Design; Topics: Disney: Tech Tourism & Leisure; Human-Robot Interaction; Topics: Creating Virtual Assets; Design Strategy; Topics: Creativity and Innovation in Technology; Advanced Prototyping; Topics: Usable AI; and Technology Innovation.
Students will also gain hands-on experience by exploring the analysis and communicating of design insights, and they will work in teams to create strong design portfolio projects.
The HCI/d MS at Indiana University Bloomington culminates with the Capstone project, which consists of an independent project. Graduates of the program work in a variety of roles including UX Design Manager, UI Developer, UX Designer, UX Design Lead, UX Researcher, Product Manager, Information Architect, UX Engineer, Creative Director, Senior Front-End Designer/Developer, Product Designer, and Interaction Designer.
Founded in 1820, Indiana University Bloomington is the flagship campus of Indiana University’s seven campuses and two regional centers. Indiana University serves more than 90,000 students, with approximately 45,330 enrolled at the Bloomington campus. This makes IU Bloomington the largest campus in the IU System. More than 300 programs are provided across 16 degree-granting colleges and schools, and the Hutton Honors College. Indiana University Bloomington is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
5. DePaul University, Chicago, Illinois
The Jarvis College of Computing and Digital Media (CDM) at DePaul University (DePaul) houses the School of Design (SoD). Within the SoD are two programs for students who would like to pursue advanced studies in UX/UI/HCI. Options include the Human-Computer Interaction MS and the PhD in Human Centered Design. Both programs are interdisciplinary with access to the CDM Usability Lab and opportunities to contribute to organizations such as XD Roundtable and the Chicago Interaction Design Association.
The HCI MS explores focuses on areas such as interaction design, prototype development, exploratory user research, information architecture, and ICT evaluation. Course examples include Scripting for Interactive Systems; HCI Design Fundamentals I-II; Prototyping and Implementation; Interaction Design and Information Architecture; Information Architecture and Content Strategy; and Usability Evaluation Methods.
To enhance the degree, students have opportunities to take both HCI and Non-HCI electives. Marketing Management; Managing Change for Digital Transformation; Game Design Workshop; and Collaborative Projects Technologies for Leading Projects are just a few Non-HCI electives. Examples of HCI electives include Designing for Content Management Systems; UX Strategy and Web Analytics; Multimedia; Social Interaction Design; Design Ethnography; and User Experience Design Practicum.
The HCI MS culminates with the Human-Computer Interaction Capstone, where students work in teams to design, evaluate, and implement a user interface intensive project.
Graduates of the HCI MS programs at DePaul University are prepared to pursue leadership roles in HCI, user experience, user interface, computing, and interaction design in industries such as software development, healthcare, marketing, education, publishing, and many others.
Potential job titles include Lead UX/UI Designer, Creative Director, Product Manager, Usability Specialist, Mobile Web Application Developer, Game Developer (Learning), Senior Software Engineer, UX Researcher, Social Media Strategist, and Senior Web Developer. CDM alumni work at companies such as Microsoft, JP Morgan Chase, Allstate, and Grainger.
The Human Centered Design PhD at DePaul University prepares students to work in academia, government organization, and industry research labs such as IBM, Google, Lucent Technologies, and Motorola. Through advanced coursework, students will learn to design and conduct research studies; design human-centered experiences through research findings; and create experiences in a specific area. The program also explores academic and the process of reviewing literature.
The PhD program consists of three phases: Foundation; Design and Production; and Research. The Foundation Phase includes courses such as Design and Human Experience; Theories and Methods in Human-Centered Design; and Designing Interfaces for Emerging Technologies. In the Design and Production Phase, students must take one required course (Communication and Technology) and 32 credits from a preselected list of courses.
Examples include Introduction to User-Centered Design; Digital Design; Moving Image Workshop; Social Interaction Design; Perception and Cognition; Foundations of Human-Computer Interaction; Prototyping and Implementation; Health Informatics; Design Ethnography; and Accessibility Considerations in HCI.
In the Research Phase, PhD students have the opportunity to work with a faculty advisor and two additional faculty members to lead a small research project from inception to publication. Students will choose a specific focus area for the project. Options include human-centered design, learning sciences, game design and development, or interactive media. Work for the Research Phase will be completed over three designated courses: Independent Study; Research; and Candidacy Dissertation Research.
The Human Centered Design PhD at DePaul University requires 60 credit hours to graduate. Students typically complete the program in 4-5 years.
DePaul University is the largest Catholic university in the United States. Founded in 1898, the school is also the nation’s 12th-largest private, not-for-profit university, and the largest private, not-for-profit college in the Midwest. Serving approximately 20,920 students, DePaul provides more than 300 undergraduate majors and graduate programs across two campuses, and 10 academic colleges and schools. DePaul University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission (HLC).