Design for Interactive Experience MA

This course will give you the skills and understanding to design technology driven experiences that inspire and delight.


If you’re looking to study design in Scotland, study design in Edinburgh the capital city. The MA Design for Interactive Experience course draws from design and visual arts to understand how to create unforgettable interactions between people and technology. 

In this innovative course, you will learn applied and theoretical approaches for designing interactivity for everyday experience. Drawing from a range of disciplines including user experience, interactive art and interaction design you will learn an approach to designing across and between the physical and digital. In this way you will establish how you can develop new means for interacting with information, creative outputs, and brands, contributing to our modern experience driven economy.

MA Design for Interactive Experience student working in lab

Mode of Study:



1 years

Start date:


Course details

Working at the intersection of creativity and new and emerging technology, The MA Design for Interactive Experience programme attracts applicants with backgrounds in design, visual arts, computing, and engineering.

This course is constructed from core modules that will give you the skills and knowledge to design for creative experiences. 

This course takes a human centred design approach to incorporating technology into everyday experience in a meaningful way.  Our graduates learn a critical approach to designing with technology.  We explore how and why interaction can contribute to an engaging and satisfying experience and use experience design as a method to critique and respond to current issues.

This course is led by staff from Edinburgh Napier University’s Design Photography and Advertising group.  Our permanent staff are actively involved in cutting edge research in the fields they teach, contributing to conferences, journals and books as well as gallery exhibitions and products for visitor experiences.  Module teaching is augmented through contributions from professionals working in the field. 

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    How you’ll be taught

    This is a full-time course and is split up into three trimesters. The course starts in September and lasts 12 months.

    As a highly interdisciplinary course, the MA Design for Interactive Experience is taught through several delivery methods. Studio-based teaching and design activities will enable you apply technical knowledge within creative projects. This is supported by formal lectures and seminars that deliver core information and current state of the discipline thinking. You will benefit from experiential learning activities by visiting and critiquing relevant exhibitions and visitor attractions.

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    Assessments are focused on practical outputs (i.e. coursework) but you will be expected to contextualize your work in written reports. Studying this programme will provide opportunities to develop work that will contribute directly to your personal portfolio.
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    Work placement

    There are opportunities for working with organisations throughout your studies and staff work to involve external clients on modules.  External client work is often developed by students themselves and throughout your studies you are expected to be self-directed and self-reliant
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    Postgraduate design programmes in the School of Arts & Creative Industries are delivered in studio learning environments. There is a well-equipped workshop and digital manufacturing environment that is open to students across the design subject area.


Modules that you will study* as part of this course

Art Direction ( DES11146 )

You will design your own brief with a fictional or real client or a gallery. You will identify the goals and requirements for the shot advertising campaign or motion graphic artwork or simulation. A series of workshops and seminars will be conducted around art direction including location shooting, CGI simulation, compositing and special effects creation.You will be required to make a digital workbook including some of the following, identifying the target audience, time and location logistics, visual samples and testing, images or shot lists, mood boards, style (hair/makeup/wardrobe/set, models or props, release & Intellectual property, lighting and theoretical cost. A final project will be produced either for advertising, or for art gallery exhibition. This project will be presented to the peer group and presented using digital methods to emulate a professional pitch.

Further information

Creative Research Portfolio Part 1 ( DES11155 )

This module is a standalone module that is related to Creative Research Portfolio Part 2. This module enables you to prepare the groundwork for an extensive individual research project that tests creative practice and design issues through primary and secondary research. Over the course of this module you will be supported through your management and preparation of a literature review. This module will enhance your ability to critically assess methodological applicability, research credibility, ethics and develop an understanding of research in and through creative practice and guide your management of a research project. The suitability of format and research content will be agreed between you and your tutor early in the module. The final submission will be in the form of a 5,000 word literature review with a timeline that outlines proposed activity, primary research methods and outcomes that set out a plan for further study, typically in Creative Research Portfolio Part Two.

Further information

Creative Research Portfolio Part 2 ( DES11156 )

This module responds to work proposed in Creative Reserarch Portfolio Part 1. This modules enables you to prepare the groundwork for an extensive individual research project that tests creative practice and design issues through primary and secondary research. This module involves the delivery and evaluation of the research proposed in Creative Research Portfolio Part 1. This module is assessed through portfolio and is a rigorous demonstration and discussion of the work undertaken throughout the second part of the module. You will be guided through the delivery of your portfolio by an allocated supervisor.

Further information

Design for Heritage and Culture ( DES11137 )

This is an interdisciplinary module that will require you to place your own subject specialism within the broad context of design for culture and heritage.

Through this module you will develop your understanding of the core aspects of design for Heritage and Culture through exhibition design, site specific interpretive installations, spatial appreciation, lighting, motion graphics for immersive environments and graphic communication. User journeys, engagements, interactions and experiences will form the foundation of explorative studies where prototype designs will aim to change visitor relationship to heritage and culture.

The module introduces you to a variety of design strategies used by designers to address thematically driven project briefs in a variety of physical contexts.

Studio-based design projects form the core of the module. Within the projects you will critically explore current themes in areas of heritage and culture and you will look towards forecasting and designing for future potentialities. In developing design proposals, you are required to undertake thematic, contextual and material research and to illustrate how your design solutions provide for enhanced user experience and interaction in a defined heritage and cultural role.

Further information

Light Art & Projection ( DES11122 )

You will apply principles of light art and projection to architectural and spatial design schemes. This will include the specification of hardware and software for light art installations and interpretation of proposed locations. You will consider human factors along with technical issues (installation, power supply, control schedules). Physical and CAD modelling will be used to prototype and communicate location and layout, and details for installation. Costing and budget constraints are also included.

Further information

Research and Entrepreneurship Projects ( DES11144 )

This module gives you the opportunity to explore and understand your own professional practice.Whilst engaged with the module you are encouraged to consider entrepreneurial practice. Projects and opportunities may arise from the ongoing practice and research within the university, or may be initiated by yourself. You will work to produce a professional online presence and/or portfolio detailing your professional abilities. Over the course of the module you will be introduced to entrepreneurial skills and encouraged to consider starting your own professional practice.Learning on the module will be demonstrated through a written reflective report where you will critically analyse and appraise your own work within the context of your own professional practice.

Further information

Research as Critical Practice ( DES11143 )

This module is designed to develop the knowledge and skills required to undertake an advanced range of research methods appropriate to contemporary creative practice in design and lens media, from ethnography and interviews to phenomenology, collaborative methods and practice-based approaches . You will explore advanced research paradigms for creative practice which include critical, participative and performative-oriented research approaches and methods. You will develop and refine your skills in creative research methods, analysis of creative and practice-based research precedents, and critical and reflective interpretation of your projects. Using a wide range of primary and secondary sources you will learn to critically explore and evaluate design or lens media research practices. The knowledge acquired throughout the module will support you in the formulation of a sophisticated, reflective and fully referenced creative practice portfolio of research. The module will cover research methods that will enable you to ask, learn, look and try things during the early exploratory stages of the creative process. This will be evidenced by a portfolio submission that includes research presentations, film, installations and written work.

Further information

Sketching in Hardware & Software ( DES11106 )

You will critically engage with sketching and prototyping for electronics and hardware with an introduction to microcontroller-based prototyping platform (e.g. arduino). You will work with electronics components: LED, resistor, potentiometer, switches, LDR, using breadboards, wiring, testing, debugging. Exploring the context and precedents from working practitioners, you will upload simple example programs onto target system.You will also engage with programming/sketching in software with an overview of design concepts: execution, code vs data, variables, programming language, edit-compile-execute-test cycle. You will build graphics programmes using suitable environment (e.g. Scratch or Design By Numbers, then Processing), and respond to syntax errors, run-time errors, debugging.

Further information

* These are indicative only and reflect the course structure in the current academic year. Some changes may occur between now and the time that you study.


Study modules mentioned above are indicative only. Some changes may occur between now and the time that you study.

Full information is available in our disclaimer.

Entry requirements

What are the entry requirements for Design for Interactive Experience?

The entry requirement for this course is a Bachelor (Honours) Degree at 2:2 or above in any discipline.

We may also consider lesser qualifications if you have sufficient professional work experience within the industry.

Can I get admission into Design for Interactive Experience based on my working experience in this sector?

This course has academic entry requirements which are assessed alongside relevant work experience. Full details of any relevant work experience, including references should be submitted with your application and may be considered for entry where the minimum academic entry requirements are below those required.

Usually, unrelated work experience is not considered sufficient for entry without meeting the minimum academic entry requirements. Please contact us with your specific circumstances by submitting an enquiry form above and we will be happy to discuss your options.

Can I make an appointment with an advisor to discuss further about the admission process?

If you want to get more information on the admission process, please get in touch with the Postgraduate admissions team by submitting an enquiry form above.


If your first language isn't English, you'll normally need to undertake an approved English language test and our minimum English language requirements will apply.

This may not apply if you have completed all your school qualifications in English, or your undergraduate degree was taught and examined in English (within two years of starting your postgraduate course). Check our country pages to find out if this applies to you.

We welcome applications from students studying a wide range of international qualifications.
Entry requirements by country

Please note that international students are unable to enrol onto the following courses:
  • BM Midwifery/MM Midwifery
  • All Graduate Apprenticeship courses.

See who can apply for more information on Graduate Apprenticeship courses.

We’re committed to admitting students who have the potential to succeed and benefit from our programmes of study. 

Our admissions policies will help you understand our admissions procedures, and how we use the information you provide us in your application to inform the decisions we make.

Undergraduate admissions policies
Postgraduate admissions policies

Fees & funding

The course fees you'll pay and the funding available to you will depend on a number of factors including your nationality, location, personal circumstances and the course you are studying. We also have a number of bursaries and scholarships available to our students.

Tuition fees
Students From 2023/24 2024/25
Scotland, England, Wales, Northern Ireland, and Republic of Ireland £6,930 £7,280
Overseas and EU £17,090 £18,800
Please note tuition fees are subject to an annual review and may increase from one year to the next. For more information on this and other Tuition Fee matters please see Frequently Asked Questions about Fees Click this link for Information of Bursaries and Scholarships
The University offers a 20% discount on Postgraduate Taught Masters programmes to its alumni. The discount applies to all full-time, part-time and online programmes. The discount can only be applied to year one of a full-time Postgraduate degree, any additional years are exempt from the discount. For part time Postgraduate degrees the discount will apply to years one, two and three only and any additional years will be exempt from the discount.
Please note that the tuition fees liable to be paid by EU nationals commencing their studies from 1 August 2021 will be the Overseas fee rate. The University offers a range of attractive Tuition Fee bursaries to students resident in specific countries. More information on these can be found here.


Student experiencing VR headsets in Degree Show 2023

As well as using their entrepreneurial skills to develop their own career paths, graduates from this programme can expect to find work in:

  • Exhibition, museum, and interpretation design 
  • Interaction Design 
  • Service Design 
  • User Experience  
  • Immersive and Interactive Art 
  • Design for mixed reality. 
Student preparing crafts in the lab for Degree Show 2023