User Experience Design

women writes on a white board during a meeting

Learn to increase user satisfaction and improve the encounters between users and interactive systems with a one-year online graduate certificate in User Experience Design from the University of Wisconsin–Madison.


Is this program right for you?

Want to design human-centered technologies and create more natural, intuitive, and satisfying user experiences? The graduate-level capstone certificate in User Experience Design or “Mad UX” gets you there in just one year, backed by the prestige and quality you expect from UW–Madison.

Working part-time and completely online, you learn how to contribute to the development of new technologies, plan and assess user interactions with interactive products and services, create conceptual designs and prototypes, and apply your growing skills to real projects rather than abstract ideas—all in an expert instructor-led virtual classroom.

As part of a robust educational community, you tackle service design, interaction design, user experience, information architecture, prototyping, interface design, and usability testing and evaluation. Prior technology experience is not required.

The Mad UX graduate-level certificate combines faculty from the Department of Computer Sciences and the iSchool at UW–Madison, uniquely merging expertise in information, media, people, and technology.

Community is an important component. Students enter in a cohort; you work together across all classes, form teams, comment, and contribute to virtual feedback sessions—or virtual crits—exactly as you will do in your user-experience career. We also take advantage of our highly engaged UW–Madison alumni, as well as our networks of tech firms in the Midwest, the Bay Area, and globally, so you make essential connections as you build your user experience skills.

Is this program right for you?

Want to design human-centered technologies and create more natural, intuitive, and satisfying user experiences? The graduate-level capstone certificate in User Experience Design or “Mad UX” gets you there in just one year, backed by the prestige and quality you expect from UW–Madison.

Working part-time and completely online, you learn how to contribute to the development of new technologies, plan and assess user interactions with interactive products and services, create conceptual designs and prototypes, and apply your growing skills to real projects rather than abstract ideas—all in an expert instructor-led virtual classroom.

As part of a robust educational community, you tackle service design, interaction design, user experience, information architecture, prototyping, interface design, and usability testing and evaluation. Prior technology experience is not required.

The Mad UX graduate-level certificate combines faculty from the Department of Computer Sciences and the iSchool at UW–Madison, uniquely merging expertise in information, media, people, and technology.

Community is an important component. Students enter in a cohort; you work together across all classes, form teams, comment, and contribute to virtual feedback sessions—or virtual crits—exactly as you will do in your user-experience career. We also take advantage of our highly engaged UW–Madison alumni, as well as our networks of tech firms in the Midwest, the Bay Area, and globally, so you make essential connections as you build your user experience skills.

Admissions requirements

All applicants must:

  • Have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution.
  • Have a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0.
  • Submit evidence of English language proficiency, if applicable. The required proficiency scores are: TOEFL IBT 92, PBT 580; or IELTS 7.0.

Ideal applicants will:

  • Have general experience with web, mobile and other interactive technologies. Prior computer programming experience is not required.

Application materials required:

  • Online application
  • Statement of interest
  • Transcripts

Connect with us

Application Assistance: Design + Innovation

December 03
noon-12:30 p.m.
Join Enrollment Coach Zach Benson and learn strategies to make your Master's in Design + Innovation application stand out. There will be time available to answer your questions.
Register for Design + Innovation Application Assistance

Meet the Program Directors: Design + Innovation

January 19
6-7 p.m.
Join Academic Director, Michelle Kwasny and Program Director, Lee DeBaillie for an in-depth conversation about the Design + Innovation Master's Program including curriculum, application process and potential career paths.
Register for Meet the Program Directors: Design + Innovation

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Program highlights

  • Our accelerated and online curriculum allows you to complete your coursework from anywhere in the world in just one year.
  • You learn from UW–Madison’s top-ranked Computer Science Department and The Information School, combining knowledge and networks from both the computing and information fields.
  • We provide a variety of sought-after UX skills, including how to collect and analyze data about user needs and environments, techniques of digital media and design, and strategies for improving usability and accessibility.

How you'll learn

  • Fully online curriculum; you choose when you do most of your work each week.
  • Complete one required course per semester, then complete your certificate with a capstone project, in which you design, prototype, test, and redesign based on feedback throughout the program—a significant addition to your professional portfolio.
  • Class materials may be accessed at any time, allowing flexibility to combine work, family, and education. Students also plan synchronous meetings with peers and instructors; these elements are recorded for later viewing.

Sample curriculum

Fall (3 credits)

  • User Experience Design I – Introduction to User Experience

Spring (3 credits)

  • User Experience Design II – Intermediate User Experience

Summer (4 credits)

  • User Experience III – Advanced User Experience
  • User Experience Capstone

Job outlook

Top Job Titles
  • User Experience (UX) Designer
  • User Interface (UI) Designer
  • User Interface (UI) Developer
  • User Experience (UX) Researcher
Top Industries
  • Administrative and Support Services
  • Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services
  • Insurance Carriers and Related Activities
  • Publishing Industries (except Internet)
  • Credit Intermediation and Related Activities

Market Salary
$98K in 2019

Projected Job Growth
14.9% Web Developers (2016-2026)

Top Employers
  • Anthem Blue Cross
  • Amazon
  • IBM
  • American Express
  • J.P. Morgan Chase Company
  • Pegasystems Incorporated

Source: Burning Glass Technologies: Labor Insight. 2020.
Burning Glass Technologies’ Market Salary is an estimated expected salary. Market Salary uses machine learning algorithms to account for experience, skill, and education among other factors that may impact individual salaries.

Ready to learn more about User Experience Design?
View the UW-Madison Guide

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Connect with our enrollment coaches

Our friendly, knowledgeable enrollment coaches are here to answer your questions. Contact an enrollment coach to:

  • Learn how to make this program work with your life/schedule
  • Verify credit transfers
  • Get help with your application
  • Determine if financial aid is available

Visit with our coaches on campus or at an upcoming student fair in your area. Search student fairs & events

Connect with a coach

Andrew McConville

 The biggest reason I chose UW–Madison is the people. My [User Experience] coursework focused on how to create meaningful, valuable and goal-driven user experiences, which I use every day at work. [User Experience] gave me what I needed to be successful.  

Andrew McConville, User Experience Engineer for a Wisconsin Company
Read more about Andrew