The User System Interaction (USI) Programme was founded by the Stan Ackermans Institute in theTechnical University of Eindhoven (TU/e), the Netherlands. It is a two-year post-graduate programme leading to the degree of `Professional Doctorate in Engineering` (PDeng). The User System Interaction post-graduate programme requires an internationally recognized master degree. The content of the curriculum is regulated by staff of the university from different faculties working in the field of USI and HCI and is carried out by nationally and internationally wellknown experts from university and industry.
USI graduates are trained to improve the interaction between people and systems and to make technology truly accessible and beneficial for all people. They are at the forefront of the enabling technologies for the digital society equipped to function at the interfaces between people and technology. They are prepared to work on challenging problems, in multidisciplinary projects and in international environments. Being trained to provide solutions and services for people in their home, work and social environments by employing user-centered design methodologies, accounting for the benefits for stakeholders and users, and balancing between system functionality and user experience. People are at the heart of the USI program. The key components of the program are related to information and communication technology, user interaction technology, perception and cognition, behavioral sciences, as well as the various design methodologies. The program is organized in modules on: user experience, software engineering basics, interaction technologies, user research methodologies, and user centered design processes. These modules are taught by specialists in the domain, who bring in their international experience from universities and industries.
The USI design program is characterized by its:
- Focus on design – Students are positioned as designers throughout the program, that is, as intermediate between market demand and technical possibilities, between user needs and product satisfaction.
- Practical training – Students work in their second year on a project in industry or government supervised by university staff and the host organization.
- Focus on applicability – Students work on assignments and case studies throughout the program.
- Teamwork – Students with backgrounds in the engineering, behavioral and physical sciences work in small interdisciplinary teams.
- Cross-cultural and international orientation – Students with different national and cultural backgrounds work together.
A very important part of the USI program is the nine-month industrial assignment, which is carried out in the second year of the curriculum. The general requirements for this assignment are, amongst others, a conceptually challenging problem, participation in a multidisciplinary team, and a strong design and evaluation orientation.