Best UX Design Schools 2018

Although some educational institutions have been offering programs that focus on UX (User Experience) Design for decades, we are seeing many emerging programs join the list of possible post-secondary choices for aspiring UX Designers. This expanding professional field has lead to the creation of a high variety of UX Design programs available to both undergraduate and graduate students. For this reason, we have released an updated version of the best UX Design schools across North America.

 

What Makes a UX Design School the Best?

This list aims to identify the best UX design schools for different educational needs and goals. We hope to offer an array of options that are based on a variety of factors such as (but not limited to) academic level, tuition costs, and completion time. For this reason, we chose to not display the schools in any hierarchical order, but instead to highlight schools by the unique characteristics that set them apart from the rest.

Best Undergraduate UX Design University

New York University, New York, New York

The Integrated Digital Media program offered at Tandon School of Engineering (NYU) is a fantastic choice for students looking to study UX design as a part of their undergraduate studies. This program offers a range of courses that all center around the four focus areas of UX design: Image, Sound, Narrative, and Interactivity. This allows students to explore a multitude of subjects and receive a well-rounded education with a deep understanding of different types of media and design. Students also have the opportunity to enroll in upper year electives, offering a higher concentration in UX Design. This program comes with an exceptional amount of different internship opportunities for its students at some of the biggest companies in the Digital Media Industry; offering valuable networking opportunities and setting students up with high-level jobs after graduation.

Best for: Ambitious students who are pursuing a well rounded undergraduate education at a recognized university with amazing internship and career opportunities.

Average Completion Time:  4 years

Cost: $24,375 / semester

Best Canadian Undergraduate UX Design University

University of Waterloo, Stratford, Ontario

The Stratford School of Interaction Design and Business at the University of Waterloo offers a highly unique Global Business and Digital Arts undergraduate program. They provide access to the latest digital technology, paid internship opportunities, and the ability to work with industry partners on relevant projects. Students get to learn in a project-based environment which emphasizes collaboration with peers, professors, and industry mentors. During the third and fourth year of the program, students will have the unique opportunity to study abroad before graduating with an Honours Bachelor of Global Business and Digital Arts.

Best for: Students who value co-op opportunities and hope to study abroad during their undergrad while receiving a versatile education with a business aspect.

Average Completion Time:  4 years

Cost: $13,155 / year

Best Canadian Undergraduate College Program

George Brown College, Toronto, Ontario

George Brown College, located in Toronto, Canada, offers an undergraduate digital experience design program which covers areas such as service design, UX design, and interaction design. This college offers the advantage of providing its students with a close connection to its many industry partners, which can lead to easier field placements for graduates. This may be the right choice for you if you are looking for a more affordable alternative to university and hope to study UX directly after high school.

Best for: Students with an interest in UX design and are looking for an alternative to university education.

Average Completion Time:  4 years

Cost: $8,684 / year

Best Distance Learning UX Certificate

UC San Diego, San Diego, California

The University of California offers an in-depth online course called “Interaction Design Specialization” which consists of 8 lessons. UC San Diego is the University of California’s public extension research school and holds a fantastic reputation within the United States. This course may be right for you if you cannot attend school full time as it allows you to incorporate the course into your own schedule. This course does require specific prerequisites to be met in order to be considered for admissions, such as basic knowledge of the field of Human-Computer interaction as well as HTML and CSS. This program is open to Non-US residents and does not require a student visa.

Best for: Students who prefer the rigor of a traditional university education but require the convenience of studying online.

Average Completion Time: 2 years (full time)

Cost: $595-794/ course

Best Free Online UX Design Program

Springboard.com

Springboard's UX design program holds the huge advantage of not requiring students to financially invest in their UX education. This program offers over 62 hours of curriculum material at no cost or time restraint! The course can be completed at your own pace and is ideal for students who cannot meet the schedule of an in-person course. This program covers critical ground for beginner UX designers and helps build the basic foundation needed to excel in the UX field.

Best for: Beginner level UX designers who are just starting out in the field and are looking to learn basic skills without the stress of a deadline.

Average completion time: At your own pace

Cost: Free

Most Distinguished Graduate Program

MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), Cambridge, Massachusetts

As the name implies, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology is one of the most prestigious schools in the field of technological innovation. MIT Media Lab, an extension school of MIT that offers graduate programs is highly selective (about 50 students per year). However, MIT offers full financial support for all students who attend. This includes tuition, medical insurance, and a stipend (allowance). MIT Media Lab alumni have gone on to become highly successful in their field, founding various companies and paving the way for technological advancement.

Best for: Ambitious students who want to become leaders and pioneers in the field of UX design.

Average Completion Time: 2 years (full time)

Cost: Free

Best Canadian University Masters Program

University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario

U of T now offers a User Experience Design masters program that aims to equip students with the necessary tools and knowledge to become successful UX designers. On average, graduates hold high chances of finding employment in the UX/UI field. This program offers an excellent 2 year paid co-op opportunity that helps its students get familiar with the field and network with professionals before beginning to work in the field themselves.

Best for: Experienced designers who wish to further their education and take advantage of the opportunities this program offers.

Average Completion Time: 2 years (full time)

Cost: $7,030/ year

Most Unique Opportunity within a Masters Program

Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Carnegie Mellon University is a private institution which became one of the first to offer MCHI (Master of Computer-Human Interaction) program. This program is special due to the rare opportunity it offers its students. During the 2nd and 3rd semesters, students get the ability to work on and complete a “substantial industry capstone project” with an external client. This opportunity provides valuable experience in the field and allows students to apply course content to a real-world scenario.  

Best for: Designers who want to take advantage of the exclusive real-world experience opportunity this program offers.

Average Completion Time: 1 year (3 semesters)

Cost: $24,000/ semester (full time)

Best Graduate Design School

Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey

Rutgers offers an in-depth user experience design masters program that focuses on current design methods and helping their students build a compelling portfolio which showcases the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in the UX Design field. Rutgers’ Master’s of Business and Science degree offers a concentration in User Experience Design that teaches the skills necessary to “design and develop engaging, easily learned, accessible and usable computer-based interfaces.” This hybrid degree combines courses from the MS and MBA programs, going into depth about topics ranging from usability evaluation to project management.

Best for: Experienced professionals looking to take their careers to the next level, with an emphasis on the business side of UX design.

Average Completion Time: 2 years (full time)

Cost: $964/credit in-state, $1194/credit out-of-state

Best Legacy School

Stanford University, Stanford, California  

Stanford University has been a long time leader in the design field while maintaining its reputation as one of the most prestigious universities in the world. Students who graduate from this institution reap the benefits of the doors opened for them by their school. Human-Computer Interaction is a subcategory of Stanford’s Computer Science program, and it equips its students with the necessary knowledge needed to be competitive UX designers. This discipline can be pursued as a master or Ph.D. program with an HCI specialization. The school's close proximity to Silicon Valley allows for many job and networking opportunities that could be instrumental for getting started in this industry.

Best for: Students who wish to enter the UX Design field through engineering and computer science.

Average Completion Time: 2 years (Masters, full time)

Cost: $10,620 / semester