Frequently asked questions.

We hope that what appears below will answer many of the questions that full- and part-time applicants to our MA in Interaction Design (IXD) might have about entry requirements, costs, course locations, career outlook, and other topics.

What do interaction designers do?

Interaction designers help create effective and efficient ways for diverse groups of people to use a wide variety of technological products and services in their daily lives. Some of us work to create interfaces for websites and apps that help specific “user groups” achieve particular objectives, like executing bank transactions, buying plane tickets, or checking on the progress of our favorite sports teams. Others work in interdisciplinary, collaborative teams to help improve communications between healthcare providers and patients, or news organizations and their readerships, or teachers and students. We try to ensure that people can use what we create to have experiences that satisfy three criteria:

  1. they are desirable,
  2. they are easy to understand, and
  3. they help achieve goals.

What are the salary ranges for people in this industry?

There are a number of variables that affect what professionals earn who work in the IxD (Interaction Design) and UXD (User Experience Design) sectors in the U.S. and Texas. Among these are levels of experience and the knowledge and skills someone possesses re: planning and engaging in research, product or service development, design and/or usability testing. Other factors that have a significant affect on what IxD and UXD professionals earn are where they work geographically, and the type of organization they work for. With all of that stated: information we’ve gathered from a combination of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Texas Workforce Commission, Glassdoor and Payscale indicate that the median annual income for interaction designers in Texas ranges from just over $76,000 per year to just under $89,000 per year.

What types of jobs would this degree help me get?

Interaction designers can be hired into positions at smaller interaction and user experience design consultancies that employ five to 20 people, and they can also be hired into positions in larger organizations and companies that employ “in-house” interaction and user experience design teams. In team-based situations, interaction designers often work with professionals who have backgrounds in human + computer interaction (HCI)/computer science, marketing, anthropology and psychology.

Interaction designers are often employed to develop design strategies that guide the development of components, products and systems that are facilitated by some type of digital technology. This involves utilizing research approaches and methods that yield understandings about why particular groups of people, or “users,” are trying to meet specific goals as they engage in particular types of interactions.

Once a design strategy has been finalized, interaction designers and their collaborators use it to guide the creation of wireframes and other types of prototypes that are developed iteratively (i.e., in evolving cycles that entail multiple sequences of “build > test > analyze & interpret > build again…”). Heuristics (simply put, “trial and error”) are a big part of the jobs of most interaction and user experience designers. Most interaction design projects end with the creation of some form of a high fidelity prototype that can be used to guide manufacture and distribution.

What kinds of organizations might hire me if I earn an MA in IxD?

One of the big reasons we teach the MA in IxD program at UNT’s New College in Frisco, Texas is that it’s located within 20 miles of several north Texas-based private sector and not-for-profit organizations that either operate “in-house” interaction and/or user experience design teams, or who specialize in offering these design and consulting services.

These include larger organizations that employ hundreds of people near our location in Frisco (and that may also employ many more at national or international locations), and smaller organizations that employ between five and a few dozen to a hundred professionals.

The organizations listed below all now employ professionals who have accrued knowledge and skills in interaction and user experience design;

  • IDEO
  • frogdesign
  • Bottle Rocket
  • Microsoft
  • Dell
  • Tekzenit
  • Fjordnet
  • Huge
  • Intuit
  • RIGA
  • Crispin Porter
  • Blackband
  • Projekt202
  • AT&T
  • NBC Universal
  • Accenture
  • Cisco Systems
  • Intel Corp.

What type(s) of undergraduate and/or professional experiences does this program require?

We accept students into the MA in IxD program who have accrued either undergraduate degrees and/or professional experiences in one or more of the following disciplines/professions:

  • interaction or user experience design;
  • journalism;
  • marketing and/or logistics;
  • visual communication or graphic design;
  • technical communications;
  • business management;
  • anthropology;
  • psychology;
  • sociology;
  • information technology and decision sciences;
  • computer science;
  • information science

What types of financial support/Assistance are available for students in this program?

There are several ways that students enrolled in UNT CVAD’s MA in IxD program can obtain financial support to support their studies. These are described briefly here, and more details are available on the webpages linked to the URLs listed below.

We strongly recommend that potential MA in IxD students begin by visiting UNT’s Student Accounting and University Cashiering Services (SAUCS) to calculate what the cost of your specific tuition would be. Several variables affect this calculation, such as whether you are an “in-state,” “Oklahoma resident,” or “out-of-state” student, whether you are a U.S. citizen or a citizen of another country, whether you are a veteran of the U.S. military, etc. These are explained clearly at the webpages you’ll find at:


Many students in the MA in IxD program are eligible for Federal Student Aid. We encourage all of the students enrolled in our program to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) once per year.

We also encourage students in the MA in IxD program to make use of the tools and resources at the Gradsense website to help them plan and manage their costs:

When it comes to funding that MA in IxD students can obtain through scholarships, awards, grants, fellowships, and teaching and research assistantships, the space available here is too confined to list them all. To see a much more comprehensive list of:

  • UNT Toulouse Graduate School Scholarships & Awards;
  • UNT-sponsored scholarships;
  • Opportunities for External Grants and Scholarships

please peruse the information you’ll find by visiting:

In particular, we encourage students enrolled in the MA in IxD program to use the information found at the URL above to learn about:

  • Academic Achievement Scholarships (AAS);
  • The Tuition Benefit Program (TBP);
  • General Academic Scholarships (GAS);
  • UNT’s Office of Nationally Competitive Scholarships;
  • Teaching Assistantships and Fellowships offered by the College of Visual Arts and Design (CVAD) and CVAD’s Department of Design (

What TOEFL or IELTS score is required for ESL students in the MA in IxD program?

Students who speak and write English as a second, third, or fourth language must earn a score of 83 or higher on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), OR score at least a 7 on the IELTS to be admitted into this program. The ability to actively and effectively communicate in written and spoken English on a daily basis is a necessity for all MA in IxD students. An applicant’s “professed success” during his, her, or their enrollments in other undergraduate or graduate programs wherein English proficiency may have been required does NOT meet the standard of the MA in IxD program.

Are MA in IxD students eligible for the F-1 STEM Optional Practical Training Extension?

Graduate students who enroll in UNT CVAD’s MA in Design with a concentration in Interaction Design, or “MA in IxD,” are NOT eligible for the F-1 STEM Optional Practical Training Extension.

What GRE or GMAT score is required for acceptance into the MA in IxD?

Students do not need to take the GRE or the GMAT to gain admission into the MA in IxD.

What are the undergraduate GPA requirements for admission into the MA in IxD?

The minimum undergraduate Grade Point Average required for admission into the MA in IxD program is a 3.0, and we prefer a 3.3. With that stated, please know that we admit individuals to this program on a case-by-case basis, and that it is possible to gain admission with an undergraduate GPA of between 3.0 and 3.3. We believe strongly that undergraduate GPA is but one of several means to assess an individual applicant’s potential to achieve success within this program.

For American applicants, this undergraduate GPA must reflect the completion of a Bachelor’s-level degree program that requires fulfilling at least 120 credit hours of study from an institution of higher learning accredited by at least one of the following regional accreditors:

  • The Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools
  • The New England Association of Schools and Colleges
  • The North Central Association of Colleges and Schools
  • The Northwest Accreditation Commission
  • The Western Association of Schools and Colleges
  • The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools


  • The National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD)

When and where are the courses in this program taught?

The majority of the courses that comprise the MA in IxD curriculum (six, to be exact, one of which is worth six graduate credit hours) are taught at UNT’s New College in Frisco. This campus is located at 2811 Internet Boulevard in Frisco, Texas (75034). These courses are taught between 6:30 and 9:20 pm Monday—Thursday nights.
Some of the three elective courses MA in IxD students must take—there are several choices across a variety of disciplines—may be taught at either the UNT New College in Frisco or the UNT Denton campus.

Is it possible to take courses in the MA in IxD program “a la carte?”

Yes, although we recommend taking some courses (particularly ADES 5410 and ADES 5420) prior to taking others (like ADES 5430 and ADES 5440).

ADES 5450 “Data and Information Visualization” may be taken at any time by anyone who meets the graduate admission requirements described here:

Course descriptions for each of the learning experiences that constitute this program can be found here:

We’ve designed this curriculum to meet the needs of students who wish to earn the complete MA in IxD degree, and for those who may wish to enroll in a specific course or two to bolster their bases of knowledge and skill sets in interaction and user experience design.

It all starts with a user…

and understanding the nature of the relationships he or she has with a product, service or system. This understanding then expands to consider the nature of the environment that these interactions occur within, when they occur, and under what types of circumstances.

Running toward “trouble”

Interaction design projects often begin because someone—or lots of someones—has experienced frustration, confusion or was made to feel stupid as they attempted to use a specific app, website, customer service or complete a procedure. Where many others see a situation that they’d rather avoid, interaction designers see an opportunity to innovate and invent.

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