MA Interaction Design

Led by a people-centred approach, the MA Interaction Design programme teaches fundamental skills, methods and tools related to product, screen and service interactions.


MA Interaction Design - FAQ

The MA Interaction Design is a one-year full time taught masters delivered at NCAD in conjunction with UCD. The course teaches fundamental approaches, methods and tools related to the design of digital products, environments, systems and services with a focus on users, experience and context of use. The MA is studio-based with students engaging in lectures, seminars, workshops, fieldwork and independent and group projects. The studio environment is a key component of the MA, which fosters collaborative and peer-to-peer learning.

The MA brings together candidates from a range of fields including design, art, computer science, psychology, sociology and business, and prepares graduates to play a leading role in the development of emerging technology in society.

The programme focuses on the interdisciplinary nature of Interaction Design, covering topics ranging from psychology and sociology to human factors and engineering. Students learn to conduct people-centered research, extract meaningful insights, create and visualise concepts, and develop and test experiential prototypes. Covering the theoretical and practical aspects of the discipline, the course encourages students to design from both a pragmatic and speculative perspective.

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During the first and second semester students develop theoretical knowledge and skills in areas including human-computer interaction, systems thinking, user experience (UX), user interface design, web design, design ethnography, prototyping, coding, physical computing, data visualization, digital fabrication and tangible media. In the second semester students also complete an Entrepreneurship and Social Innovation module delivered by UCD Smurfit Business School. Over the summer months students complete a major project and dissertation which can be either self-initiated or industry focused.

As an industry-facing course based in Dublin city, the hub of Ireland’s rapidly growing technology sector, the MA offers exciting opportunities for students to engage with industry, extending their existing skillset into new territory. Students are exposed to a broad range of topics and real-world contexts through sponsored projects and engagement with visiting faculty. Through project work students engage in fieldwork connecting with the local community, businesses and organisations in the creation of design propositions and prototypes, which are deployed and evaluated in context.

Student work is exhibited on campus through work in progress and final shows. In addition to this, students are encouraged to test, implement and exhibit their work beyond the college in appropriate settings. Students are also supported to prepare publications to contribute new and relevant knowledge to the academic community.

The programme is based in a dedicated Interaction Design Studio on campus. Students have access to the department workshop which offers a range of prototyping facilities including 3D printing, laser cutting and CNC as well as other college facilities such as the Edward Murphy Library and the National Irish Visual Arts Library (NIVAL).


The MA prepares graduates for careers in industry, independent design consultancy, start-up venture, creative practice and academic research. With the skills to develop design solutions related to web technologies, software, physical products, systems, services, environments and installations, graduates have a wide range of local and global opportunities available to them.

Roles open to graduates include interaction design, user experience (UX) design, product design, web design, usability engineering, user interface design, information architect, and design-led research. The School of Design actively participates in the EU-funded Erasmus+ programme, which offers recent graduates the opportunity to avail of internships in high profile design companies within the European Union. Students are also supported to progress to PhD level.

The MA in Interaction Design is a new programme launching in September 2015. Many graduates from Industrial Design in NCAD have moved into the Interaction Design field working as Product Designers, User Experience Designers and User Interface Designers for companies such as Nokia, Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Frontend and Intercom. Paul Adams (graduate 2000) has taken this route with success as Global Head of Brand Design at Facebook and Head of Product Design at Intercom. Alongside industry graduates have taken up key positions in academia. Notably Professor Anthony Dunne who is currently head of the Design Interactions programme at the Royal College of Art in London.



The programme is open to graduates with an Honours degree award of 2.2 or higher, or an equivalent academic or professional qualification across various disciplines including design, art, the humanities, social science, computer science, engineering and business. The college also takes into consideration prior learning and experience.

Students who have not been educated through English must show proof of achieving IELTS 6.5 (with a minimum of 6 in the writing section on the Academic Version) or an equivalent score in another accepted test.

View Entry Requirements and Application Procedure


Programme Team

The MA Interaction Design is jointly coordinated by Emma Creighton (BDes MSc) and Marcus Hanratty (BDes MSc PhD). Lectures, workshops and studio projects are lead by faculty members across the School of Design. A key component of the course is the delivery of intensive masterclasses, studio projects and lectures by leading practitioners in the field throughout the course of the year.

Programme Contact

Dr Marcus Hanratty