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BSc (Hons) User Experience Design

BSc (Hons) User Experience Design

Institution code: N39
Course UCAS code: I141
Course length: 3 years

Our BSc (Hons) User Experience (UX) Design degree course explores two fundamental questions: how does a user experience a digital product or service? and how can we design the best possible experience for them while meeting wider business objectives?

You’ll explore these questions and master the skills you need to become a successful UX designer by understanding the technical computing skills required to implement great user interfaces, as well as the research and creative skills that will inform your designs.

Your user experience design skills

With a focus on design led by the psychology of user-needs, data gathering and analysis, our undergraduate user experience design course will teach you how to apply principles of cognitive science and computer programming to develop innovative and effective design solutions.

You’ll discover how UX designers gather data through ethnographic research and combine these insights with other data sources such as website statistics and industry trends. You’ll learn how to analyse and apply that data to devise and refine a digital experience that works best in any given situation.

Your user experience design future

Throughout your degree your learning will be oriented around the application of user experience design principles in support of successful business models. You’ll use industry standard techniques to develop professional solutions for a range of contexts; in each case moving from research to the creation of user journeys to the design of user experience design that works across multiple digital environments.

You’ll learn how to work with the commercial sector through contact with businesses via live briefs and a student-led consultancy, developing project management, communication and collaborative working skills that will make your CV stand out to employers.

Typical career paths include

  • User Interface Designer
  • UX Designer
  • Interaction Designer
  • Digital Designer
  • Visual Designer
  • Product Manager
  • UX Design Manager
  • Front End Developer
  • Digital Web Designer
  • UX Architect
  • UX Business Analyst
  • Product Marketing Manager 

You’ll also get specialist creative careers advice from our Careers Team in the Ideas FactoryNUA to help support you as you plan your career.

Watch a film about where User Experience Design can take you

“Ask why and ask why does it have to be that way and can it be better?” – Charles Reeves, Director of User Experience Design at Aviva and previously at Call of Duty gives a guest lecture at NUA. 

Course content

  • Yeart 1
  • Pursue a common first year with fellow BSc routes Games Development and Interaction Design, enjoying the wider insights gained from interdisciplinary learning while maintaining a sharp focus on developing core user experience skills
  • Research and develop aspects of user experience design, and visual usability within the design of user interfaces, through the application of digital design principals and frameworks
  • Learn fundamental practices associated with implementing user interfaces and build core technical competency
  • Undertake web development projects using industry standard practices and frameworks, incorporating relevant coding languages
  • Develop techniques for the collection and analysis of user interaction metrics
  • Develop prototyping and user testing skills and awareness of the role of cognitive science within digital design
  • Develop awareness of the digital project lifecycle, key milestones and processes by designing and implementing a fully functional user experience design project.
  • Year 2
  • Gain a greater understanding of the business of digital design through the application of user experience design on a live project with an external client
  • Develop user-centred design methodologies
  • Develop awareness of business models, processes and requirements and how these can be serviced by good design
  • Undertake app development projects
  • Develop digital design solutions for specific platforms
  • Investigate the wider ethical and sustainable implications of digital design
  • Consolidate knowledge of cognitive science within digital design
  • Gain project management experience, using industry standard tools for developing and tracking the delivery and results of projects
  • Consolidate and develop user testing skills
  • Develop awareness of issues concerning professional practice, such as health and safety, funding structures, curation/display, enterprise and entrepreneurship.
  • Year 3
  • Actively investigate and incorporate trends in user research, user-centred design, data-driven design and new digital tools/technologies
  • Have the opportunity to undertake industry work placement, internship and student-led consultancy
  • Develop and deliver a final project involving an external client, in which you'll demonstrate an in-depth command of contexts, processes and mastery of techniques in the development and realisation of an effective and commercially viable user experience design solution as part of your graduate portfolio.

Typical UK offers

A / AS Levels – GCE
3 A-level qualifications at grades BBB, at least one of which must be in a science/technical subject (e.g. maths, physics, computer science). Where candidates are not taking 3 A-levels, NUA will consider combinations of A-level/AS-level and other Level 3 qualifications.

BTEC Extended Diploma (QCF or RQF)
Distinction, Merit, Merit in a science/technical subject (e.g. maths, physics, computer science)

BTEC Diploma (QCF or RQF)
Distinction*, Distinction in a science/technical subject (e.g. maths, physics, computer science)

UAL Extended Diploma
An overall Merit in a science/technical subject (e.g. maths, physics, computer science)

Access to Higher Education Diploma (Art and Design)
Pass in a science/technical subject (e.g. maths, physics, computer science)

International Baccalaureate Diploma
A minimum of 32 points

NUA welcomes applicants of all ages from all backgrounds. Your application will be primarily assessed through interview and portfolio review so even if you have no formal qualifications or do not meet our typical offers it can still be worth applying.

If you are studying at the time of your application and your interview is successful, it is likely that you will receive a conditional offer.

If the qualification that you are studying is not shown, do not worry as we are able to accept other pre-entry qualifications as well as combinations of different qualifications. Please do contact our Student Recruitment Team if you have any queries.

International applications

We accept qualifications from all over the world, to find our entry requirements from a specific country, please check our dedicated international pages.

Most international students are required to hold an English language qualification. Applicants are required to have a minimum UKVI approved IELTS exam score of 6.0 overall, with a minimum of 5.5 in each section. Equivalent English language qualifications are acceptable such as, IB English language syllabus A or B/English Literature (Grade 4).

You can email us on international@nua.ac.uk if you’d like to discuss your application individually.

BSc (Hons) User Experience Design degree portfolio guidance

Your interview

After you apply to study BSc User Experience Design at NUA we’ll invite you to an interview on campus or by skype or telephone, depending on your circumstance.

If you apply by the UCAS deadline of 15 January your interview will usually take place in February. We’ll ask you to prepare your portfolio ready to bring with you or submit online ahead of your interview.

Read our tips for interviews at NUA.

Your portfolio

This is your chance to show us what you’re all about. Choose pieces that reflect your creativity and personal interests, as well as demonstrating your technical skills.

How much work should I include?

Choose at least two projects that show the steps you took to develop an idea. This might mean you include experiments, drafts or variations that demonstrate the progression of a project from the earliest stages through to completion. Don’t worry if they’re not perfect drawings, paintings or renderings – we want to understand how you think during the creative process.

What type of work should I include?

Finished projects that you’re excited about! Remember, we’re interested in you. What motivates your choice in discipline? What shapes your creative identity? You can submit assessed projects and coursework, but we recommend including independent work where possible. Self-initiated projects showcase your ability to generate ideas and tell us more about you and your ambition.

Things to consider

Take your time choosing pieces for your portfolio

You should be confident and passionate talking about each piece. You may not be able to talk us through everything in your portfolio at the interview, so be sure to present the work in a logical way. Choose a layout that tells the story of each project and use a structure that gives a full picture of your creative practice.

Show us the full range of your creative experience and interests

Tell us about contemporary creatives that have influenced your practice. Exhibitions, shows or festivals that have inspired you or influenced your work. Competitions you’ve entered and prizes you’ve won. If you can, avoid too much repetition in style and subject matter.

Your portfolio should be relevant to the course you’re applying to, but you can include a wide range of work that shows your creativity, technical competence and understanding of space.

You may wish to include some of the following:

  • Any coding projects you’ve undertaken
  • Drawings, diagrams and illustrations that demonstrate your skills, including images drawn from observations or from imagination
  • Product designs that demonstrate awareness of user interaction
  • Evidence drawn from a focus group (such UX experience or other data capture techniques)
  • Visual research into similar products or services in the market place
  • Mood boards (showcasing products, statistics and idea developments)
  • Work created using WordPress, Unreal Engine, Unity or other related software
  • Photography
  • Examples of experimental collaborative projects (such as attending Game Jam events).

Hardcopy portfolios

  • If you’re only submitting hardcopy materials you should aim to submit 20-30 pieces. Portfolios should be ring bound or loose boards between A4 and A1 in size.
  • Include 2-3 sketchbooks with the portfolio to demonstrate idea development, contextualisation and your work strategies.
  • Large, intricate or fragile pieces should be shown as good quality photographs.
  • If you’re submitting a showreel you should also present 10-15 images of other work (see digital portfolios guidance below).
  • Labels should be discreet, neat and used in a consistent manner for clear navigation.
  • Ensure your name is on the portfolio.

Digital portfolios

  • Include up to 30 images, including images from sketchbooks, research, experimental work and finished pieces.
  • If you’re presenting a showreel, your work should be no longer than five minutes, but you can include 10-15 accompanying images.
  • Ensure photographs and scans are in focus and in large enough format to see clearly.
  • Digital work should be presented on an online platform such as your own website, Tumblr, Flickr, Prezi, MeMyArt, YouTube, Vimeo or a personal blog. The link should then be submitted through the Applicant Portal or by emailing the relevant address below.
  • Ensure your digital portfolio is accessible before you arrive for interview, as your interviewer will load it in advance of the interview.
  • UK and EU applicants should send their link to admissions@nua.ac.uk
  • Non-EU and EEA applicants should send their link to international@nua.ac.uk

Written submission

As part of your offer you may be asked to submit a piece of written work in addition to your application, usually after your interview.

Typically an essay, report or completed log of between 500 and 1,000 words, your submission should demonstrate your ability to think critically, make informed analysis and communicate confidently in a subject area related to your proposed course of study.  

“We’re looking for evidence that you have the ability to take on board scientific principles and apply them to a creative endeavour.”

– Saint Walker, Course Leader



Fees and Funding

The cost of your course is determined by your status as either ‘UK/EU’ or ‘International’, so it’s important to check your fee status. If you’re unsure, the UKCISA website will help you determine whether you’re eligible to pay a UK/EU fee (also called a ‘home’ fee). If you’d prefer to speak to NUA directly, please contact student.finance@nua.ac.uk

UK/EU students are eligible for a tuition fee loan from the UK government, meaning you won’t have to pay your fees up front. Further details about tuition fee loans are provided below. International students are not eligible for the UK government tuition fee loan.

2018/19 Tuition Fees For New Entrants

Citizen status



UK/EU nationality

Undergraduate degree (full-time three and four year degree)


International (non-EU)

Undergraduate degree (full-time three and four year degree)


Fees will remain the same for each year of your course. 

International students

Find out more about 2018 fees for international students and the support available.

Financial support for UK/EU students in 2018

Tuition fee loans and loans for living costs are available, as well as non-repayable NUA bursaries that take into account family income. Find how to apply for funding.

Tuition Fee Loan for Undergraduate study

Tuition fee loans are available for UK and EU students.

  • Available to cover the full cost of your tuition
  • You don’t have to pay for your course up front yourself
  • Only start paying back when you are earning over £25,000 per year

Maintenance Loan for Undergraduate study – 2018/19

Student Maintenance Loans are available for UK and eligible EU students to help with living costs such as accommodation, food, clothes, travel and course expenses. The amount students receive is dependent on household income and any maintenance grant received.

  • A loan of up to £8,700 may be available if you live away from home.
  • A loan of up to £7,324 may be available if you live with your parents.

How can you find out more?

To learn more about loans, repayment calculations and other financial support, visit Student Finance. If you have any questions about fees, please email student.finance@nua.ac.uk


Find out about scholarship programmes available to NUA applicants.


NUA offers bursaries to new students whose household income is £42,875 or less.

NUA alumni, staff and feeder staff discount

All NUA alumni are eligible for a £1,000 discount on NUA postgraduate degree fees. All NUA staff and staff from feeder institutions are eligible for a £500 discount on NUA postgraduate degree fees.


portrait photo of alum Amy Shore sitting at desk and smiling at camera with long brown hair and a long top with flower pattern

Amy Shore

"My practice improves the lives of millions of people around the world. A bold statement but a true one."

BA (Hons) Graphic Communication graduate


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    The User Story
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Need help? Chat to our friendly recruitment team

Book a place on an Open Day, or to find out more about how to apply for a course at NUA, please contact Lynne, Sam, Tom, or Tori:

Call: +44 (0) 1603 610561

Email: studentrecruitment@nua.ac.uk

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