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UW HCDE vs UMICH MSI vs UCI MHCID

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Hi all,

Thankfully, I have been accepted to the three programs above (UW HCDE, UMICH MSI, and UCI MHCID) and those are my top choices for HCI/Design masters programs that I have applied to. I am having difficulty deciding what school to choose. Any help or advice by anyone who has heard about or done these programs would be greatly appreciated.

I currently work in Los Angeles, CA as an associate interaction designer and since UCI has a mostly online program that caters to working professionals, it helps me budget wise. I would not have to worry about moving and can still work at my current job. However, UCI (still a great school) seems to be the least known program out of the other two for HCI.

UW HCDE and Michigan's MSI program seem to be really well known in the HCI world and have access to a large alumni network as well. It seems like big companies recruit at both schools quite often. Michigan's program does cost almost twice as much because of the out of state tuition however.

So far I am leaning towards UW since it still in the west coast and the cost difference compared to Michigan (even though cost is not the biggest concern for me). I also feel like I am not growing too much at my current job so I am not too scared to leave it. I feel like I would prefer Seattle to Ann arbor as well but it does seem like U of Michigan has slightly more prestige. Ideally, I would like to work at a large/well known company soon after graduating (automotive industry a bonus).

Those are my current thoughts but if anyone has any general insight to any of these programs or are also deciding and can give their thoughts, that would be great! Thanks in advance.

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With your work experience, how important is prestige of the program for getting a job afterward? I’m not familiar with your industry, but if it’s relatively easy to get work in it with a master’s and work experience, I would save the money and life interruption and go to UCI. Also, Seattle is considerably more expensive than Ann Arbor, so I would take the cost of living into account when looking at your cost of attendance. Congrats on having options!

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37 minutes ago, Psyhopeful said:

With your work experience, how important is prestige of the program for getting a job afterward? I’m not familiar with your industry, but if it’s relatively easy to get work in it with a master’s and work experience, I would save the money and life interruption and go to UCI. Also, Seattle is considerably more expensive than Ann Arbor, so I would take the cost of living into account when looking at your cost of attendance. Congrats on having options!

Great points! Thanks for the response!

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It really depends on what you want to get out of your grad school experience! I considered UCI's program as well but I decided not to apply because of the online learning model. As great as the program could be, I believe I would benefit more from learning and collaborating with peers and professors in person. Working in small teams and in studio environments is similar to real-world jobs so I really wanted this aspect to be part of my experience. Since you're already working as a designer, I guess you should ask yourself what you want to gain from grad school and what environment would push you to grow the most. 

Cost wise I would say UW and UCI's program are pretty similar and living expenses in LA vs. Seattle can be comparable. UW and UMich would offer a change in scenery and expose you to different job opportunities if you want to explore outside of California. I don't know too much about Ann Arbor but Seattle has a great tech scene outside of UW. With HCDE, I believe most of their classes are at night to cater to working professionals so you could technically be a part-time or full-time student and still have a job or internship during the program.

Congrats on your acceptances! It's a big decision. I'll be attending UW for their MHCI+D program next fall.

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Hci at university of Michigan has been for a long time compared to the emerging 1 year curriculum by various schools. From my friends at Umich I’ve found that they are extremely selective to choose a  talented group of cohort who mainly drive the learning experience inside out with industry based learning. In fact alumni’s like tony fadell (father of interaction for iPod and iPhone) has his roots from Univeristy of Michigan. It’s not the location where the univeristy is present but the learning outcome that one must look into. If the program has existed for a longer time at a top notch univeristy there’s a reason why they keep getting competitive and produce great alumni’s.

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