Interaction/UX Course in Sydney, Australia


[SIZE=14px]Hi there,[/SIZE]

[SIZE=14px]I’m very interested in becoming an interaction or UX designer and am attempting to decide upon which undergraduate course to begin my studies with.[/SIZE]

[SIZE=14px]I have a choice of two Bachelor’s programs in Sydney.

A Bachelor of Design with UNSW-…n_sep_2015.pdf[/SIZE]

[SIZE=14px]Or a Bachelor of Design Computing with USYD-…nrolment_guide[/SIZE]

[SIZE=14px]The links above should give you a good indication of the content of the courses.

From what I can see, the UNSW course is a more traditional and heavier ‘design’ degree ,and provides a deeper foundation in graphic design principles. Whereas the USYD degree is more technical and you jump right into coding and user experience with only a basic course in visual communication.[/SIZE]

[SIZE=14px]My question is, would it be more beneficial to start with the UNSW course, get a good foundation in design, while still doing a little bit of interaction design, and THEN top it off with a Masters in interaction design. Or am I wasting my time and should just jump into design computing?[/SIZE]



Hi @daleh and welcome. :slight_smile:

My personal view is that you should go for the deeper design foundation. Coding is very easy to learn online and requires less hand holding and critiquing. I’d go for UNSW.

I’d be interested to hear what others think.


Thanks for the advice @HAWK, much appreciated.

I guess the advantage of USYD is I’d be able to take a variety of electives, such as psychology which could be handy.

Do you know anything about the various Master’s degrees in Interaction design/ UX design?
Do they teach you programming and technical fundamentals or are they assumed knowledge from a bachelors?

I guess this is something I should follow up abit more myself.


Good questions, and I don’t know. I wonder if @Lukcha or @ASHM might have any insights to share here.


Do the UNSW degree and don’t stress about whether or not you should do a Master’s until you have to.

There’s nothing heavy about a traditional design education- it might look it but it’s not. I should know because I have one (from the University of Canberra) and UX was a big part of every project in my degree. I agree with @HAWK you can learn coding online and I notice the UNSW course allows for electives too.

As for Master’s degrees I personally see very little value in them- it’s all about attitude and how you think and not how many pieces of paper you hold. People in the workforce don’t actually give a crap about how many degrees you have. When you start working you essentially start your learning process again- your degree is incredibly valuable but it’s only the beginning. I know a few people with Master’s degrees and most of them regret it and none of them have gained any actual benefits from having one.


I guess my confusion stems from the fact that the USYD Design Computing degree actually contains User experience and Interaction design studio units, and is a degree seemingly catered specifically towards Interaction design, which is what I want to head towards.

The negative is that it means I would not be able to work in a more traditional graphic design setting as it is very limited in its visual communication education.

So, the decision here is whether I go all guns blazing towards interaction design, or get a more broad education that widens job prospects but which lessons my expertise in a specific area.

Perhaps the issue here is actually deciding which area I want to go into! Or possibly it is a symptom of a lack of clarity surrounding what type of education is needed in UX design. I hope this thread is helpful for future students in Sydney facing a similar predicament.


You’re not really going to gain expertise in a specific area without years of practice.

Like @ASHM and @HAWK I’d recommend the broader UNSW Art & Design degree. Two reasons: [LIST=1]
[]It’s a design-focussed degree. To produce great UX designers, and for UX itself to mature, we need to stand on good design foundations, and design school is the most appropriate place to learn those. Some mistakes and explorations can only be done without commercial pressure, and it’s important to start off with proficiency in design before heading into more specialised areas like interaction design.
]Early in a UX career you want to look for broad and general experience that lets you build up good generalist knowledge, as well as exposes you to an array of options you can later choose to specialise in. This still applies to your first jobs after graduating.
[/LIST] Underpinning this is my belief that uni (and an undergraduate degree in particular) is about exposing yourself to ideas and having room to discover who you are. There’s a lot of pressure to skill up ASAP, but I think discovering and fostering your aptitudes is much more important or you’re going to regret wasting 3-4 years.

I gave some advice to @Silver_Queen over in another post, that is worth repeating for you here:

At the end of the day it’s a piece of paper, but it’s effects on your career should be felt years down the track. So, the major criteria I’d assess any degree against would be it’s impact on you, the student:
[]Do you get a good, broad exposure and formal training in key areas that you’d find hard to give time to when actually working?
]Does it launch you with some practical skills and good habits that stand you in good stead for the future?
[]Does it match your personal aptitude and foster passion and fluency in the topics?
]Does it allow you access to an influential network of people you can grow with?

Master’s level study is going to push you to think about stuff, so ‘basic’ skills like learning to code will largely be assumed. You shouldn’t consider a Master level degree until you know the topic area you want to focus on WITHIN a specialisation.


+1 to what @Lukcha said :slight_smile:


Thanks for this guys it’s been helpful

Out of interest, I have the possibility of transferring to a Design/Commerce (Marketing) (5 years) double degree, do you think this would be worthwhile?


You’d need to think hard about why you’re doing the degree.

Our earlier discussion was about gaining a broader worldview and formal recognition of your thinking at a particular level—learning how to think, being exposed to a wide range of stuff, and having a qualification that looks good on your resume.

If you want to head into UX, I would generally suggest that learning extra stuff in practice may be better, or that any extra study time is better spent on a masters degree.

If you want to develop broader business skills and perhaps end up doing product management, then sure, extra study in Commerce will be invaluable.

But UX and marketing are different fields, sometimes with competing priorities. I’ve heard some people describe UX as “the new marketing”, but I think that’s neither a helpful nor accurate description.