I would like to get a Masters in Human-Computer Interaction and live in NYC.
Does anyone have any suggestions for a program in the area?
There is a program at SVA but I am not sure if it is exactly correct.http://www.sva.edu/graduate/mfa-interaction-design
I would greatly appreciate any help in finding a good program.
Thanks in advance.
There is also the Interactive Telecommunications Program at NYU. But there is very little emphasis on a formal interaction design process, just lots of hands-on technology work. I've heard that the SVA program does focus more on core interaction design principles.
My personal opinion is that the cost to benefit ratio of graduate school is very low. Most people I know that went to ITP are in over $100k in debt. It does open you up to a wonderful, and well-connected community, but is that worth the debt?
If I wanted to focus on interaction design only, I would learn web design online through codeacademy.com (plus other sources), read everything I can online about ixd, create personal projects, attend every ixd/ux meetup I can find, go to workshops, and find an internship to get that experience on your resume.
My 2 cents!
I live in the NYC area and am currently in the Human Factors masters program at Bentley University (based in the Boston area). I couldn't find anything that suited my needs within the NYC area, so I opted to go with this hybrid (online & some in-person) program. I had a hard time breaking into the field, and this program let me do that, so for me it is/was worth it. (In terms of cost it's 10 classes, and each class is about $3,600, so it comes to about $36,000 for the degree.)
To provide a counterpoint to Michael, that substantial bill for grad school is primarily a way of getting your foot in the door I've been in many agencies that only consider candidates with a UX-related Masters degree. As to specific schools in NYC, I've seen some great people come out of both ITP and Pratt, but haven't worked with anyone out of SVA. If you're willing to go up to Albany, I've been very impressed by talks from some of Rensselaer Polytechnic's faculty.
As to the actual costs of grad school, there are a number of reasons that the initial price tag should be less intimidating. One is that fellowships and assistantships are often available, particualrly if you have prior experience. Another thing to consider is that student loans are considered "good debt" that will improve your credit rating. If you get into a financial bind, it's fairly simple to defer payment. My personal approach to funding my degree was to find an in-state program at a public university, which is much cheaper than than the private programs you'll find at NYU, Pratt etc. I also attended part-time with a full-time job. It was a little rough, but I was able to pay most of my tuition out of my salary.
And for the record, I personally don't agree with a degree as a hard requirement. When it comes to developing practical skills, on-the-job experience will develop your UX skills, portfolio and references beyond what you would get in most masters' programs. Additionally, when I've been making hiring decisions, I deliberately look for someone who has the capability to learn outside the classroom, which is essential for a field developing as quickly as ours. But that's me... most of the time, that master's degree is what you need to land a solid job, even if the degree program teaches very few practical UX skills.
If you can somehow gain an internship with an agency or firm instead - do that. Commercial experience is far more valuable than academic, especially in this industry where the initial job is so hard to find. The cost of supporting yourself on an unpaid internship in my opinion would be better for your career than a masters degree.
A masters degree can be very useful of course but I'm just talking from the employability side of things only. Good luck.
Pratt Institute School of Information and Library Science (Manhattan) just launched a User Experience concentration. The core UX and IA classes are good and get you a solid set of portfolio pieces. As it is part of what is primarily an art school the portfolio is now a requirement for the degree so you also get training in how to set one up, which I like. Other relevant courses are in knowledge organization, information visualization, digital archives, human info seeking behavior, linked data and GIS. What you won't get that many HCI programs like Carnegie Mellon do have is technology development of devices that aren't the websites, databases and mobile apps that a librarian would be most likely to work with. The MLIS core is still very much an info science program, but the newest classes are definitely in more of an interaction technology vein given that the library is becoming more and more of a tech learning community space.
As for requiring a UX degree, as an older professional I see that as potentially a form of age discrimination. UX degrees are very new so someone with more than five or ten years of experience may not have that specific qualification, unless they go back to school for it, but they may have related degrees that are quite relevant. HCI has been around much longer, and of course computer science cognitive science and MLIS degrees have been around forever. I've attended a lecture by a Bentley professor at NYTECH and was impressed. NYTECH.org has a series of UX lectures throughout the year, usually at NYIT near Lincoln Center. There are many great learn on your own programs. Code Academy is awesome and hacker spaces like NYC Resister in Brooklyn are great hands on ways to learn interaction design skills.
Speaking of alternative credentialing, Bill Clinton just announced the expansion of Open Badges, with support from Mozilla, the MacArthur Foundation and HASTAC.
Bentley University has a Human Factors in Information Design MS program that you can do online (bentley.edu). Many of the leaders in our field (that you see presenting at conferences) either went there or teach there - it's a great program (I went there too :-D).
Good luck!Courtney Jordan