Master of User Experience Design

The MUXD is a Wellington ICT Graduate School programme delivered by the School of Design at Victoria University of Wellington.

User experience design is one of the largest growing design fields that addresses all aspects of user experience from understanding the identity of the users to the creation of the designs they interact with. User experience designers work across digital and physical media to improve the overall experience of design. User experience designers are skilled researchers, critical and creative thinkers, effective communicators and expert design practitioners.

The Master of User Experience Design (MUXD) is a one-year, full-time, 180 point master’s degree. It is aimed at industry professionals and/or recent graduates without an undergraduate qualification in media design, i.e. a conversion master’s degree.

The degree will build on the relevant skills these students have developed during their professional careers and/or undergraduate university study, such as problem solving, critical thinking and verbal and written communication.

The programme starts in July each year.

Who should apply?

This qualification is intended for recent graduates with non-design degrees and/ or industry professionals wishing to enter the Interaction Design (IX) or User Experience (UX) fields from another discipline or profession.

Applicants should have an appropriate undergraduate degree with at least a B average, although consideration may also be given for relevant job experience.

Enrol via our online enrolment system .

How to apply as an international student

To apply, simply download and complete the International Application Form. You will need to apply in writing and courier your application to Victoria International—the University’s international office. You cannot apply by email or fax.

Courier your completed application to:

Victoria International, Victoria University of Wellington, Level 2, Easterfield Building, Kelburn Campus, Kelburn Parade, Wellington, NEW ZEALAND

Find out more about how to apply or contact Victoria International for more information about fees, entry requirements and applying for a student visa.

Who will be teaching you?

School of Design staff:

Catherine Caudwell

Catherine is a design researcher with background in ethnographic qualitative methodologies. Her research background is in the field of Human-Robot Interaction. Catherine has completed a BFA(1st hons) and an MFA(distinction) from Massey University College of Creative Arts, and a PhD in Design Studies from Victoria University of Wellington. Catherine’s research and teaching evaluates the efficacy and impact of user experience design research methods. She teaches in the Master of User Experience Design and Design for Social Innovation programmes, focusing on advanced research skills and values-based design.

Dana Fridman

Dana has experience in digital product design, development and entrepreneurship. She completed a BA in psychology, a diploma in graphic design, and a master in design innovation. Previously, Dana worked in mental health, graphic design, user experience (UX) design for the Web, native applications, and augmented reality, co-founded a GovTech product company, and developed a passion for UX design, design for health, and design for education. Dana is a programme director for the Master of User Experience Design programme and an associate investigator at the MedTech Centre of Research Excellence. In her free time, she likes to make art, read academic papers, form collaborations, and co-organise local events for the UX community.

David Hakaraia

David’s research looks at how Māori traditions and narratives can be used to express and develop a contemporary Māori visual language. Within these studies he has incorporated both traditional and modern digital fabrication techniques to express more culturally appropriate design solutions that acknowledge mātauranga Māori. He is interested in the narratives that express his Māori heritage. These stories have captured his imagination and he relishes the expression of them in ways that depart from traditional style and enable a design approach that is distinctly his own.

Gillian McCarthy

Dr Gillian McCarthy has completed degrees in design and psychology, and her work focuses on the interactions between people and both physical and digital designs.

After graduating from the University of Otago and working in a think tank, she completed a PhD and developed a research platform in user experience design within health and accessibility contexts. Previous projects include investigating what kinds of medical technologies adolescents with type 1 diabetes want to use, designing an app to get children engaged in their health care, designing a system to help women manage pelvic floor dysfunctions, and designing ways for members of the Blind Foundation to interact with smart speaker technologies. Her research aims to work alongside people to design solutions that fit their needs, aspirations, and everyday lives.

Sarah Maxey

Sarah is a leading figure in New Zealand design, much respected in the industry, and studied in universities. She worked for Bloomsbury Publishing in London UK in the mid-90s, establishing the company’s inaugural art department. For the intervening years she has run her own studio specialising in print design for the arts sector and literary publishers, winning numerous awards for her work. She has exhibited typographic works and installations in public galleries throughout New Zealand.

We also have high calibre collaborations with industry directly involved with our teaching:

Kah Chan

Kah is a product designer at Sailthru, where he spends more time than he should drinking coffee and annoying engineers. This marks a return of sorts to teaching for Kah. He was previously a Senior Lecturer with the School of Design at Victoria University of Wellington, where he co-led a collaborative research initiative in digital healthcare utilising game design and industrial design with Dr Edgar Rodriguez.

Kah will be delivering the MDDN417 UX Design Practice course, exploring techniques common to user experience (UX) design, such as: persona development, case study analysis, user interface design, rapid visualisation and prototyping. Students will also become adept at using the industry standard tools and techniques of UX design.

To learn more about Kah's work visit LinkedIn or Twitter

Ania Mastalerz

Ania is a UX Researcher at Optimal Workshop. She spends her days understanding how designers and researchers from the world’s biggest companies use research to create better products and services.

With a background in applied psychology, Ania is passionate about qualitative research and the impact it can have on understanding human needs and creating better, more thoughtful experiences.

When she’s not researching other researchers, you’ll find her contributing to Mixed Methods, snowboarding down mountains and attending every local research, design or product meetup she can get her hands on. Ania has had the chance to present her work at UX Australia, UX New Zealand, The IA Conference, UXPA and ProductTank Wellington.

Ania will be co-delivering MDDN417 UX Design Practice along with Kah Chan, exploring techniques common to user experience (UX design), such as: observation and interviews, persona development, rapid visualisation, prototyping and usability testing.

Students will also become adept at using the industry standard tools and techniques of UX design.

To learn more about Ania’s work visit her on LinkedIn.



Trimester Two

Matauranga Design—CCDN 412 (15 points): This course engages with toi (Maori creativity) and matauranga (Maori understanding) in the production of both visual and material cultural design that honours our place and past in Aotearoa New Zealand. Guided by traditional Maori protocols and knowledge, students will learn how to understand and interact with Maori symbols and visual spatial strategies in ways that are culturally sound and appropriate.

Graphic Design Practice—MDDN 413 (15 points): In this course students will explore and utilise graphic design elements, software, and strategies in the pursuit of a body of design work, while analysing ways to leverage personal experience and unique backgrounds. Through research, exercises and projects, students will develop technical mastery, formal graphic design skills and independent research skills towards expressing a unique visual identity.

User Experience Design Practice—MDDN 417 (30 points): In this course students will become adept at the techniques common to user experience (UX) design, such as: research into persona development, case study analysis, user interface design, rapid visualization and prototyping. Students will also become adept at using the industry standard tools and techniques of UX design.

Trimester Three

Advanced User Experience Studio—MDDN 416 (30 points): In this course students will analyse and conceive user experience design and research concepts, techniques and strategies. Moving from research, prototyping, evaluation, and similar user experience design essentials, the course will explore more complex issues through an independent project requiring in-depth research relating to context and audience.

Choose one of the following elective courses:

Digital Product Design—MDDN 402 (30 points): In this course students will explore and implement current digital product design methods and software while planning and deploying independent project strategies. An emphasis will be placed on design thinking and creative approaches to front-end development, design and prototyping techniques based on industry related projects. Students will be encouraged to synthesize their unique backgrounds and personal experience within the projects

Information Design Practice—MDDN 415 (30 points): This course examines best practice for designing with information, including the importance of research, understanding the context or data, and anticipation of the intended audience. Topics will span the techniques and concepts related to data acquisition, modelling, and developing innovative ways of displaying Information through different media.

Trimester One

User Experience Design Practicum—MDDN 502 (60 points): This studio consists of a supervised research-based practicum, working towards a mastery of user experience research through a specified design project. The work will be experimental in nature, generally as a placement in industry, yet at the same time, require a conceptual approach that leverages a criticism of the status quo.

Further information

For further information about the MUXD see the Wellington ICT Graduate School website

Enrol via our online enrolment system