What are the top undergraduate User Experience (UX), User Interface (UI), and Human Computer Interaction (HCI) schools in the Southwest?
|Arizona State University
|University of Texas at Austin
|University of North Texas
|Utah State University
|University of Colorado, Denver
Our 2024 rankings of the Top 5 undergraduate UX/UI/HCI school programs in the Southwest. For an explanation of ranking criteria, click here.
1. Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona
The Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at Arizona State University (ASU) is the nation’s largest engineering program. Housing eight schools, Fulton provides 25 undergraduate programs and nearly 50 graduate programs to approximately 31,815 students from all 56 states and nearly 160 countries. Among Ira A’s eight schools is The Polytechnic School, which houses the Human Systems Engineering program. At the undergraduate level, the program has a User Experience concentration that leads to a BS.
The design, development, and evaluation of products is at the center of the User Experience curriculum. Students in this program will explore topics in areas such as technical communications, the web, visual displays, human factors, and psychology. Course examples for the concentration include UI/UX Consulting; Multimedia Authoring, Scripting and Production; Product Design and Evaluation; Visualizing Data and Information; Web Site Design and Internet/Web Technologies; User Experience; and New Media Internet Technologies.
In addition to extensive coursework in UX, the Human Systems Engineering program at ASU provides the opportunity to complete an internship and a study abroad experience, with access to over 300 programs in more than 65 countries. Examples include China, Spain, France, Czech Republic, New Zealand, Germany, Ireland, Colombia, South Africa, Argentina, Sweden, Japan, and the UK. ASU study abroad experiences range from one week to one year.
All ASU Engineering students also have access to the Fulton Schools Career Center, which prepares students year-round for career fairs and job opportunities. The Fulton schools has numerous engineering-focused Career Fair days in Fall and Spring. These events attract major corporations and organizations from across the country.
Some of the top employers who participate in Fulton Schools Career Fairs include Amazon, Boeing, Microsoft, Oracle, Verizon, Cisco Systems, American Express, Honeywell, the U.S. Armed Forces, Deloitte, General Motors, American Airlines, Epic Systems, Intel, Lockheed Martin, Cox Communications, Starbucks, Infosys Limited, Choice Hotels International, eBay, Inc, PayPal, and the U.S. Federal Government.
Graduates of the Human Systems Engineering (User Experience) program at Arizona State University are prepared to pursue positions at these and other companies across the U.S. and abroad. Potential job titles include UX Engineer, Product Designer, UX Designer, UX Architect, Visual Designer, UX Strategist, UI Designer, UX Prototyper, Motion Designer, UX Writer, Interaction Designer, and UX Researcher.
Arizona State University opened on Feb. 8, 1886 as Territorial Normal School (TNS)—the state’s first higher education institution. On the first day of class, TNS welcomed 33 students to a four-classroom building in Tempe, Arizona. Today, ASU serves approximately 142,635 students from across the U.S. and close to 160 other countries. More than 800 degree programs are provided across four campuses, 16 colleges and schools, and ASU Online. Arizona State University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission (HLC). Engineering at ASU is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET.
2. University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas
The School of Information at University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin) is a founding member of the International iSchools Organization. This global consortium of 131 universities focuses in education research, and problem-solving in areas such as human-computer interaction, information organization and access, data science, information integrity, and bibliometrics. To date, iSchools has managed 10 projects and initiatives, hosted 18 conferences, and funded 20 grants.
Founded in 1948 And serving approximately 400 students, the School of Information at UT Austin (UT iSchool) provides a variety of programs at all degree levels. Among them is an undergraduate Informatics program. Launched in 2021 and leading to a BA or BSI, this interdisciplinary program has six major concentrations, including User Experience (UX) Design. Course examples include Introduction to User Experience Design; Programming for Informatics; Advanced Topics in User Experience Design; Career Success in the Digital Organization; and Human Centered Data Science.
Students in this and all UT iSchool programs have access to internship opportunities, study abroad experiences, and two labs including the Information eXperience Lab (IX Lab) and the Immersive Human Development Lab. The IX Lab is a state-of-the-art research facility that focuses on HCI, UX, usability, accessibility, and the interactions between humans and information sources. The Immersive Human Development Lab specializes in the effects of virtual reality and immersive experiences across the lifespan from childhood to adulthood.
In the final year of the BA/BSI UX Design program, students will complete a semester-long capstone course. The resulting projects are presented at a poster presentation session prior to graduation.
Graduates of the Informatics programs at UT Austin are prepared for careers in technology, government, business, products and services, education, and more. Top job titles include UX Designer, UX Researcher, Analyst, and Data Engineer.
University of Texas at Austin serves approximately 52,385 students, making it one of the largest universities in Texas. Founded in 1883, the school provides more than 155 undergraduate degree programs across 170+ fields of study, along with nearly 240 graduate degree programs—including close to 100 doctoral programs. The academic offerings at UT Austin are housed across 19 distinct colleges and schools. University of Texas at Austin is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
3. University of North Texas, Denton, Texas
The College of Visual Arts and Design (CVAD) at University of North Texas (UNT) is home to the Department of Design. Within the Design Department is a Communication Design program with a concentration in User Experience Design. Program highlights include courses taught by professionals who are active in user experience and graphic design; access to state-of-the-art facilities and studios; workshops and studio courses; and the opportunity to complete an internship at a Dallas-Fort Worth company, organization, or studio.
Leading to a BFA, the Communication Design program (with concentration) consists of 120 credit hours, including a combination of major requirements, concentration courses, and electives. Course examples include Foundations of User-Centered Design; Data Visualization and the Design of Information; Cause-Based User-Experience Design; Topics in User-Experience Design; Advanced UX Campaigns; Planning and Developing Interactive Systems; Design Prototyping and User Testing; and Typographic Systems.
The Communication Design BFA program at University of North Texas ends with the Final Portfolio in UXD. During this course, students will develop a final project case study and portfolio of their best work from class and any professional experiences.
Graduates of the program are prepared to pursue roles such as UX Designer, Information Architect, Experience Designer, Interaction Designer, and Publication Designer. UNT CVAD alumni have been hired at places such as Nike, Walmart, BBDO, Fossil, Pentagram-New York, and Quanta Magazine.
Established in 1890 and employing more than 4,600 faculty and staff members, University of North Texas is one of the largest employers in the City of Denton, Texas. The school serves 46,940 students, making it one of the top 10 largest universities in Texas, and one of the largest in the U.S. Students at UNT have access to more than 200 degree options across 14 colleges and schools. University of North Texas is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
4. Utah State University, Logan, Utah
The Emma Eccles Jones College of Education and Human Sciences at Utah State University (USU) is home to the Department of Instructional Technology & Learning Services. Within the Department is a Human Experience Design and Interaction (HEDI) program that explores areas such as product design, multimedia design, game design, and instructional with an emphasis on human-centered design and design thinking principles.
Leading to a BS, the program also provides the opportunity to select two focus areas, with a minimum of 21 credit hours. Focus area one should be no less than 12 credits and focus area two should be no less than nine credits.
Options include Culturally Responsive Design, Product Development, Multimedia, Game Studies, Technical Communication, New Venture Management, and Marketing. Although all emphasis areas can students for careers in user experience and user interface design, popular options for UX/UI include Technical Communication, Culturally Responsive Design, Multimedia, and Product Development.
Students in all focus areas will take required courses such as Design Perspectives and Processes; Data Visualization; Information Design for People-How People Learn; Internet Development; Computational Thinking; Project and Product Management; Instructional Graphic Production; and Information and Media Literacy. Depending on the focus area, students will take courses such as UX/UI; Document Design & Graphics; Digital Technologies for 3D Design; eLearning Authoring Tools; and Multicultural Society.
The culminating experience for the HEDI BS program at Utah State University is the Internship or Senior Capstone. Graduates are prepared to pursue roles such as UX/UI Designer, Content Developer, Product Manager, Web Developer, Data Analyst, Game Designer, Technical Writer, and Instructional Designer.
Founded March 8, 1888 as the Agricultural College of Utah, Utah State University is the state’s only land- grant institution. The school has eight statewide campuses that serve approximately 27,945 students enrolled around 375 undergraduate, graduate, and minor programs. The academic offerings at USU are housed across eight colleges and the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business. Utah State University is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).
5. University of Colorado-Denver, Denver, Colorado
The College of Arts and Media (CAM) at University of Colorado Denver (CU Denver) provides nearly a dozen degrees and programs in Visual Arts, Film & Television, Media Forensics, and Music & Entertainment. Options lead to a BFA or a minor. Among these options is a Digital Design BFA and a minor that provide access to state-of-the-art digital labs, studios, and industrial equipment.
In addition, students benefit from an environment that operates like an interdisciplinary art and design laboratory; hands-on learning and a collaborative coursework; and access to the Experiential Learning Center (ELC), which features internship workshops, advising, and an internship database.
The CU Denver Digital Design BFA consists of courses such as Fostering Creativity; Interactive Media; Design Studio; 3D Motion Design; Typography; Digital Photography; 3-Dimensional Design; and History of Modern Design: Industrial Revolution-Present.
The Digital Design BFA culminates with the Design Thesis Research and Design Thesis Project courses. The Design Research Thesis course consists of lectures, studio visits, and research. Projects will focus on resumes, interview techniques, portfolio, and business practices to prepare students for entering the design profession.
The Thesis consists of critiques, research, and writing as students explore a thesis topic and develop their final projects. Graduates are prepared for careers such as UX and UI Designer, Motion Graphic Artist, Product Designer, Graphic Designer, Marketing Professional, Brand Manager, Game Designer, Video Editor, and Communication Designer.
CU Denver Digital Design alumni have been hired at advertising agencies, startups, and Fortune 500 companies such as Mozilla, Crispin Porter + Bogusky, IBM, Unity, Mercedes-Benz, Hewlett Packard, JILA, Dire Wolf, Fruition, and Craftsy.
University of Colorado Denver opened in 1912 as an extension of the University of Colorado Boulder . The school became CU Denver in 1973, making it an independent campus. Organized into seven colleges and schools, University of Colorado Denver serves more than 15,000 students enrolled in over 125 programs. University of Colorado Denver is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission (HLC).