Interaction design and technologies, MSc

120 credits (2 years)

Sign up for informationDesign interactive digital products, environments, systems and services in a programme that focuses on user behaviour and human-computer interaction.​

Interaction design and technologies​ master's programme at Chalmers

Interaction design is the practice of designing interactive digital products, environments, systems and services. It focuses on behaviour – how users act and how products respond to user behaviour.
As such, it is a necessary discipline in any design project aiming to create something complex and computer-augmented that is to be used by humans: compu​ter software, games, interactive products such as smartphones, “intelligent” homes, cars, clothes and so on.
Given the increased focus on interaction design in general, and on social media, entertainment and new physical products, in particular, the master's programme aims to provide interaction designers with the knowledge and skills needed to meet the ever-shifting demands of this emerging job market segment.

The master's programme allows the following specialisations
  • Interaction designer focused on user interface design and information visualisation
  • Interaction designer focused on tangible interaction
  • Interaction designer focused on entertainment, games and social media
  • Game developer with some experience of gameplay design and interaction design

Interaction between humans and digital artefacts

It is no longer enough to build a system, product or application that is only functional or efficient; there is an increasing demand for products that are not only efficient but also have other values, such as being pleasurable to handle and use or even fun or intriguing. As a result of the new demands, there is a whole new set of interaction design-oriented jobs on the market.
Interaction designers can now be found in any software company, as well as in the game industry, or in companies that combine hardware and software, e.g. mobile phone producers like Apple or Sony Ericsson. Other key areas include web design and web marketing, information visualisation and design of physical interactive products like toys, GPS etc.
The master's programme is intended for anyone with a keen interest in the interaction between humans and digital artefacts. This means that the programme attracts students from different educational backgrounds – from psychology and cognitive science to computer science and information technology, including those with different design backgrounds.

Topics covered

The subjects of computing design, human interaction and interactive simulations are fundamental areas in the Interaction design and technologies master’s programme. The courses included in the programme plan handle topics such as development factors, human centred design, interactive simulations, user visualization​ and game development.

Master's programme structure

The master's programme runs for a duration of two years, leading to a Master of Science (MSc) degree. During each year, students can earn 60 credits (ECTS) and complete the programme by accumulating a total of 120 credits. Credits are earned by completing courses where each course is usually 7.5 credits. The programme consists of Compulsory courses, Compulsory elective courses and Elective courses.

Compulsory courses year 1

During the first year the programme starts with three compulsory courses that form a common foundation in Interaction design and technologies. Each course is usually 7.5 credits. ​

Compulsory courses year 2

In the second year you  must complete a master's thesis in order to graduate. The thesis may be worth 30 credits or 60 credits depending on your choice.;
  • Interaction design project​
  • ​Master’s thesis​

Compulsory elective courses 

Through compulsory elective courses, you can then specialize in one of the four profile tracks, or a combination thereof.​​ You must select four out of twelve profile courses, two courses per study period including the compulsory courses are required for a degree.

Profile: Interaction design focused on tangible interaction

  • Tangible interaction
  • Human centred design

Profile: Interaction design focused on user interface design and information visualization

  • Computer graphics
  • Information visualization
  • Human centred design
  • Mobile computing

Profile: Interaction designfocused on entertainment games and social media

  • Gameplay design
  • Designing user experiences
  • Human centred design
  • Mobile computing

Profile: Game development focused on gameplay design and interaction design

  • ​Computer graphics
  • Game engine architecture
  • Artificial intelligence
  • Mobile computing
  • Gameplay design

Elective courses 

You will also be able to select courses outside of your programme plan. These are called elective courses. You can choose from a wide range of elective courses.

​Research connections

The programme is offered by the Division of Interaction design  at the Department of Computer Science and Engineering. The research group specialises in areas such as tangible and pervasive interaction, game design, innovative graphical user interfaces, health care informatics and the use of IT in vehicles. We have close collaboration with for instance Volvo and the Interactive institute.

Department of Computer Science and Engineering​​

Student interview

“We learn to design the best possible solution
Santosh, USA, Interaction design and technologies

Why did you choose this programme?
– By trade, I am a mechanical engineer with a heavy emphasis on aerospace engineering. There has always been a designer side of me that I felt was underutilized. During my bachelors, I did a minor in Industrial design where my university allowed students to take five additional classes outside the original curriculum as a way to explore other disciplines. I fell in love with design as a career and have been slowly working my way to finding the perfect balance between design and engineering ever since. Interaction design and technologies at Chalmers is a great complementary track in design where many different types of disciplines work together to design the best possible solution for users based on particular problems. As an engineer, I bring problem-solving skills to the design field while design helps me refine them with more lenses such as empathy and study human behaviours on a deeper level.

What have you been working on?
– My favorite so far has been Prototyping for Interaction design. In this class, a team of students from various backgrounds finds a problem to concentrate on for a final project. Our team was given a design prompt from the instructors and we as students are entirely responsible for understanding our users, conducting interviews, prototype initial ideas, integrating basic electronics, and presenting a final demo. We chose to design a solution around the topic of Wellbeing and specifically breathing techniques for stress relief. It was great collaborating with others and seeing the problem from various angles knowing that there is always room for improvement. Also, the course offers more reading resources that are optional, rather than mandatory, so it’s up to the student’s motivation to make the best of the course and spark their intrigue.

What do you like the most about your programme?
– So far, I have been exposed to a wide variety of specializations that are possible with the programme. In the upcoming quartiles, I hope to narrow down my focus to information design or data visualization as my chosen track or specialization. The common theme is that the programme is heavily user-centered design-driven. So, the classes are geared towards alleviating problems for users and their needs in some shape or form.

What do you want to do in the future?
– I have had some experience working in my home country (USA) but I want to explore the work culture here in Sweden as well. Finding a good company that fits my existing technical background along with values in sustainable design is the key. Just need to look for the right lock!

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Page manager Published: Tue 18 Jan 2022.