The Value of a Master’s Degree in UX Design

Wondering whether a master’s degree in UX design is worth the time and money? Read about the value of an MS in UXD and whether you should get one.


Millions of people apply for a master’s degree program in the hopes of getting advanced education to improve their careers. In some career fields, a master’s degree is required for certain positions. In others, it’s good to have but not essential.

Many people wonder whether a master’s degree in UX design (UXD) is relevant to your career. We’ll explore what a master’s degree covers, and why it might, or might not benefit your career.

What is a Masters Degree in UX Design?

Before we get into the specifics of what a user experience (UX) master’s degree offers, it’s important to understand the UX industry and career landscape.

UX designers are involved in every stage of product development, creating an efficient and effective design that allows customers to interact with products and services in a way that adds value and enhances their overall experience. While many people think of UX careers in technology, UX designers are in demand for many different industries today, from websites and apps to vehicles and personal entertainment devices. UX designers can also be involved in product launches, marketing, and new product research.

A master’s degree in UX design provides the technical knowledge, as well as research skills to understand human behavior, and leadership skills to manage teams and oversee UXD projects in a wide variety of industries.

MS in UX Design Career Opportunities

One of the significant benefits of pursuing a master’s in UX design is the wide variety of careers that are available with this type of degree. It will obviously prepare you for a job as a user experience designer, but there are so many other opportunities as well, including:

Information architecture: UX designers are in demand for jobs where you oversee the entire architecture of a product or service. Information architects create maps for how someone will navigate a given system or experience.

Research: User experience begins long before product creation. In fact, some of the most important parts of a UX come in the earliest research stages. With an MS in UX design, you gain insight into human behavior—why people do certain things or want certain things—and you can use that research to consult companies and product design teams on how to innovate to meet consumer demand.

Project management: Today’s UX experience is complex, and creating products that satisfy the needs of your customers requires research, development, testing, launch, implementation, marketing, and customer service. With an MS in UX design, you can lead and coordinate these teams as a project manager.

Why You Should Consider Getting an MS in UXD Online

There are several reasons to consider going back to school for a master’s degree in UX design. It is true that you can get into UX design without any degree, but there are still some advantages to having this education:

Change careers

Someone who starts their career as an entry-level user experience designer may learn all the relevant skills through trial and error, continuing education, and other training opportunities. However, for those interested in a career change later in their professional life, it might not be feasible (or necessary) to start in an entry-level position. A UX design master’s degree online can provide you with training and skills to qualify for higher-level positions.

Develop new skills

An MS in UX design can also benefit someone with a bachelor’s degree in UX or who has been working for several years by exposing you to new areas of UX. For example, you might have design skills but lack any formal training in design, research, and human behavior psychology. These additional skills will make you a more well-rounded employee and provide opportunities for new positions.

Advance your career

A final reason to consider a master’s degree in UX is to gain leadership skills and experience that position you for career advancement. Technical skills are usually not enough to lead a team or climb the management ladder. A master’s degree in UX online includes courses on leadership and team management to help you develop these skills and position yourself for advancement.

How Relevant is This Degree?

A quick online search about MS degrees in UXD will reveal that many people think real-world experience is the most valuable learning opportunity for a UX designer. The truth is that not everyone needs a master’s degree in this field.

However, for those interested in higher-level positions, management opportunities, or a deeper dive into subjects like research and the psychology behind human behavior, the master’s degree is definitely relevant.

Is it Worth Getting a Master’s Degree in UX?

For someone interested in expanding your knowledge or rising to management and corporate positions in UXD, a master’s degree is a great investment.

The online Master of Science in User Experience Design at Kent State University offers a robust curriculum that digs into the most valuable skills you can have as a UX designer. In the program you’ll study and practice using a variety of research methods specific to UX design, learn how to make experiences accessible to all types of people, and gain valuable leadership skills all without stepping foot on campus. Kent State’s online UXD master’s is made for busy professionals(whether you’re already working in the field or not) and can be completed in as few as 24 months.

If you’re interested in transforming today’s digital experience for users in a wide variety of industries, set up a call with one of our Admissions Advisors to get started on your application today. Or, if you’re ready to claim your spot to set off on a leadership career in UXD, apply now.

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He is an Associate Professor in the Evaluation and Measurement program within the College of Education, Health and Human Services at Kent State University. He is also the program coordinator for the online Master of Education degree in Research, Measurement, and Statistics.
Dr. Astrid N. Sambolín Morales is an Assistant Professor in Kent State Online’s 100% Online Master of Education degree in Cultural Foundations. She received her PhD in Educational Equity and Cultural Diversity from the University of Colorado Boulder and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania. Her research provides a more nuanced picture of the agency, resistance, and empowerment enacted by displaced Puerto Rican m(others) in the U.S., and her work was funded by several grants, including the University of Colorado Natural Hazards Center, the BUENO Center for Multicultural Education, the URBAN Research Network, and the NAEd Spencer Foundation.
Felesia McDonald, ’14 is an adjunct instructor in the iSchool, teaching courses in the 100% Online Master of Science in User Experience. McDonald is also the Sr Manager UX Design at Optum, a branch of UnitedHealth Group.