Interaction Design (MDes)

The fast-changing world of new technology has given rise to a new breed of designers who are putting people first.


The Interaction Design specialism is directed at students with a passion for people and technology, who have curiosity about the future and want to shape how information is accessed and used, how environments might change based on need, or how embedded information in products support use. Those with a Bachelor’s degree in design (visual communication, product, digital media, or environmental design), communication, information technology, or even psychology may find interaction design to be the next step in their professional development.


With the introduction of the restructured one-year full-time Master of Design (MDes) curriculum in the academic year 2022/23, the existing Interaction Design will no longer be offered. You may consider the related, new programme,  Intelligent Systems Design, or check out all revamped MDes specialisms here.


This specialism seeks to enhance human ability and life through the design of innovative, interactive and experiential ideas, based on a synthesis of human thought patterns and habits with technical means. A combination of theory, planning strategies, research, and technical skills provide the foundation for workshops that explore emerging aspects of interaction design, based on human needs and pleasures as well as technological development.

Related: an article on Interaction Design Education by PolyU Design faculty and visiting faculty, sharing a vision for its future based on their combined years of teaching in design schools in HCI/ Interaction Design programmes (ACM Interactions, volume XXI.6 November-December 2014)

See also: Employers of MDes graduates


This specialism seeks to join theory and action by:

  • putting people first in the people/technology equation — explore human-centredness
  • understanding active communication processes on which interactivity is built
  • learning methods for analysis and construction of interaction design
  • working across communication technology, product interface, and service systems
  • focusing on one of the above as an alternative focus
  • developing a holistic approach to human-centred interaction that includes problem or opportunity identification, research, prototyping and execution

Learn more about: International academic collaborations

New designers understand the importance of creating design which are people friendly.

Programme structure

The specialism is structured by a combination of intensively taught short courses that directly support a workshop investigation. Workshops take various forms from individual to teamwork, from self-initiated projects to externally sponsored projects. A range of electives are available to tailor the experience to individual interests. Some classes meet during weekends and evenings. The expectation is that the student is fully committed to the programme and works in the studio environment. The programme concludes with a demonstration project that unites: research, creative exploration, user understanding, and prototype testing toward a solution. Graduation requires the successful completion of 36 credits.

Common Core Subjects (compulsory) (1 credits)
SD5400 Vision and Change (1 credit)

Specialism Core Subjects (compulsory) (29 credits)
Theory/Method Subjects (12 credits)
SD5018 Research and Analysis for Design (3 credits)
SD5502 Information Architecture and Visualization (2 credits)
SD5507 Graduate Seminar I: Theories in Interaction Design (2 credits)
SD5508 Graduate Seminar II: Human Computer Interaction (2 credits)
SD5509 Prototyping and Scripting (3 credits)

Workshop Subjects (17 credits)
SD5520 Concept Workshop (1 credit)
SD5524 Tangible Interaction Workshop (2 credits)
SD5527 Graduate Studio Workshop I (3 credits)
SD5528 Graduate Studio Workshop II (3 credits)
SD5529 Embedded Interaction Workshop (3 credits)
SD5530 Demonstration Project (5 credits)

Electives* (6 credits)
These will be drawn from regularly occurring subjects within the MDes Scheme, including:
SD5001 Innovation Tools for Strategic Design (3 credits)
SD5002 Design and Culture: Cultural Identity and Authorship (3 credits)
SD5012 Future Contexts for Design (3 credits)
SD5015 Globalization and Design (3 credits)
SD5021 Chinese Traditions and the 21st Century (3 credits)
SD5022 Special Topics in Contemporary Design I (3 credits)
SD5023 Special Topics in Contemporary Design II (3 credits)
SD5104 Branding: From Local to Global Strategies (3 credits)
SD5163 Managing Value Creation (3 credits)
SD5202 Innovative Products and Services Development (3 credits)
SD5203 Designing Services
SD5217 Design and Innovation: Protecting Creativity (3 credits)
AF5340 Finance and Accounting for Design Business (3 credits)
MM5761 Marketing Management (3 credits)

Electives* offered by other specialisms
SD5701 Urban Ecology (2 credits)
SD5702 The City from Inside (2 credits)

* Remarks: Not all elective subjects are offered every year. Time table will be provided by individual MDes Specialism before the academic year begins. Students should refer to the Scheme Document and may consult Specialism Leader when choosing electives.

Class delivery mode & duration

Classes are normally held during daytime on weekdays, except some shared electives are delivered on weekday evenings and weekends. Each of these weekend subjects requires three weekends spread over 4–5 weeks. Normally it takes one year to complete the programme.

Specialism leaders

Dr. Kenny Chow — Associate Professor, PhD, MFA, MSc, BSc(Hons)

Dr. Kenny Chow

Kenny K. N. Chow obtained a Ph.D. in Digital Media at the Georgia Institute of Technology. He also received an M.F.A. degree from the City University of Hong Kong and an M.Sc. degree from the University of Hong Kong.

Kenny is interested in "Animation as Experience"  the influences of "lively" artifacts, interfaces, or environments enabled by technology on individuals' imagination, emotion, reflection, understanding, and behaviours. 

Dr. Huaxin Wei — Associate Professor, PhD, MSc, BSc

Dr. Huaxin Wei

Huaxin Wei holds a PhD from Simon Fraser University and a M.Sc. in Computing Science from University of Alberta. Her primary research explores the use of interactive technologies in narrative design for digital media. In her doctoral research, she established a descriptive framework for systematic analysis of video games using a variety of structural perspectives. She then demonstrated the use of the framework through case analyses in several published works. Her current teaching and research subjects lie in the intersection of user-centred design and interactive media.

Teaching staff

Recent collaboration partners


Entrance requirement

A Bachelor’s degree in design or the equivalent in a related discipline is required. Candidates with other tertiary qualifications complemented by substantial relevant professional experience will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

A complete application includes

  • Application form
  • Letter of intent
  • Three letters of recommendation (Academic/ Profession)
  • Evidence of academic qualification, i.e. Official Full Transcripts and Degree Certificates 
  • Portfolio (refer to FAQ for requirements and submission)
  • IELTS/ TOEFL report^

^ Except for native English speakers whose Bachelor’s degree (or equivalent qualification) is awarded by a recognised university where the medium of instruction is English. Otherwise, you are expected to fulfil the following minimum English language requirement for admission purpose: A Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) score of 80 for the Internet-based test or 550 for the paper-based test; OR An overall Band Score of at least 6 in the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). All English language test scores are considered valid for two years after the date of the test.

All admissions must go through the interview process. Shortlisted applicants will be invited to attend an interview in person (for local applicants) or over internet video calls (for non-local applicants). 

  • Number of credits: 36

  • Normal Period of Study: 1 Year (full-time)

  • Tuition: HK$167,400 (local) / HK$190,800 (non-local); Initial Programme Fee: Local student HK$18,600 (4 credits x HK$4,650)/ Non-local student HK$53,000 (10 credits x HK$5,300)

Financial Aid

  1. Subject to approval, a financial aid as an Alumni Bursary# (with a reimbursement of an amount equivalent to 5.4 credits) will be granted to PolyU Design BA graduates admitted into the Master of Design programmes in 2021-22. Eligible admittees will be informed of the application procedures before the academic year begins. This financial aid, offered in limited places, is administered by the School/ PolyU.
  2. Some subjects in the MDes scheme are Continuing Education Fund (CEF) reimbursable for eligible Hong Kong residents (who have the right of abode or the right to land or to remain in Hong Kong without restriction). Students taking these subjects will benefit from the CEF subsidy ceiling of HK$20,000. For further information on CEF, eligibility and the reimbursable courses list, please visit CEF official website.  
  3. Extended Non-means-Tested Loan Scheme (ENLS), administered by Student Finance Office (SFO) of the HK Governments, offers interest-bearing loans to eligible local residents (who have the right of abode in the Hong Kong or have resided or have had their homes in Hong Kong continuously for three complete years prior to the commencement of the programme) to settle tuition fees. For details of the scheme, eligibility and application, please refer to SFO official website.
  4. This specialism under Master of Design is an eligible programme in the Targeted Taught Postgraduate Programmes Fellowships Scheme (2021-22). MDes Scheme has been allocated 22 fellowship places. Each Fellowship subsidises HK$120,000 of the programme tuition. Details are available online on UGC's website for public information. Visit SD news for information on eligibility, selection criteria, application procedures and application results and deadline.
  5. No scholarship is available for non-local students for 2021 entry.

Remarks: Remarks: This financial aid is not applicable to CEF reimbursable courses. Applications from those who have obtained other forms of financial aid from the government or the PolyU pursuing the same programme will not be considered. The School reserves the right to change the terms or withdraw from offering the financial aid. In case of any dispute or disagreement, the School’s decision is final.

Type of VISA (for International Students)

People’s Republic of China and foreign nationals, and those who are holding a valid employment or working holiday visa/ entry permit may apply to this programme as non-locals. You will need a student visa to take this full-time programme.

Holders of dependant visa or a visa under IANG are also considered as non-locals but do not require a student visa.

Applicants will be informed by the University’s Academic Registry (AR) about the visa application process when receiving the Notice of Offer. 

Visa applications are processed and determined by the Immigration Department of the Government of the HK SAR. The process normally takes 8 - 10 weeks upon receipt of all the required documents.


You can now view the playback of the webinar on Interaction Design: A Multi-disciplinary Approach hosted by PolyU Interaction Design faculty. In the webinar, specialism leader, Dr. Kenny Chow introduced the programme in four parts, namely Theories & Perspectives, Methods & Processes, Students Background, and Prospects. He was joined by our recent alumni: Kesaven shared more on his decision to relocate to Hong Kong and Wallace on steering a career change.


Should you require further assistance, feel free to contact us by email at or by phone +852 3400 3440.