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FLUX believes that user experience design and human-computer interaction are extremely interdisciplinary fields, covering knowledge from fields like computer science, cognitive psychology, linguistics, and visual communication. We have grouped what we believe are relevant courses throughout UNC-CH which touch upon these topics.

We believe that the most successful designers have both theoretical and practical experience, as well as both analytical and creative skills. We highly suggest taking at least two or three “Foundational Courses” first and then moving on toward more project-based courses later as you advance in your studies.

These courses are only recommendations from UNC-CH students who have found an interest in UX Design. Double check with your advisor to make sure they can count toward your degree!

HCI ultimately focuses on how humans interact with information with the help of technology. Understanding mental processes (including memory and perception) and how users think is essential for user-centered design.

PSYC 230: Cognitive Psychology

All about how people think. Heavy emphasis on memory, perception, attention, and language. Click here for sample syllabus.

INLS 418: Human Factors in System Design

Topics include: visual, tactile, and auditory systems; decision making; memory; attention; errors. Click here for sample syllabus.

INLS 718: User Interface Design

Covers fundamentals of visual design and best practices when it comes to UI design. Students also work on a semester-long project which can be featured on a portfolio. Click here for sample syllabus.

INLS 719: Usability Testing and Evaluation

Covers fundamentals of usability engineering, testing, and evaluation while exploring best practices for usability and design. Students work on a semester-long project. Sample syllabus.

INLS 500: Human Information Interactions

Surveys human information interactions through information science literature. Graduate version of INLS 203. Required for all SILS master’s students. Click here for sample syllabus.

INLS 203: Human Information Behavior

Core concepts of human information behavior, including: information seeking behavior, information needs, user-centered design, HCI. Undergraduate version of INLS 500. Click here for sample syllabus.

PSYC 330: Introduction to Cognitive Science

Studies the phenomenon of the mind and how it processes information. Click here for sample syllabus.

Information Architecture is all about organizing and displaying content in a way user’s can best understand. Design-thinking involves being able to use conceptual information to generate solutions.

INLS 582: Systems Analysis

Students work on a semester-long project while learning about working on a team. Required for all SILS master’s students. Sample syllabus.

INLS 520: Organization of Information

Explores how information is structured. Required for all SILS master’s students. Sample syllabus.

INLS 523: Database Systems I

Covers relational databases, conceptual modeling, and SQL. Required for all SILS students. SILS also offers Database II and Database III. Sample syllabus

INLS 620: Web Information Organization

Fundamentals of how the web is organized and structure as well as how the web works as an information system. Sample syllabus.

INLS 509: Information Retrieval

Required for all master’s students. Sample syllabus

INLS 202: Retrieving and Organizing Systems 

Sample syllabus.

COMP 411: Computer Organization

Prior to 2018, UNC’s School of Media and Journalism offered an Editing & Graphic Design track, offering visual design courses, several of which are listed here.

MEJO 182: Foundations of Graphic Design

Hands-on experience with Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, and Adobe InDesign. Sample course website.

MEJO 581: User Experience and Usability

Students will gain experience with design challenges, personas, storyboarding, wire framing, and usability testing. Sample syllabus

INLS 541: Information Visualization

Students learn information visualization techniques (e.g. GIS, charts) while working with tools like Tableau. Sample syllabus.

INLS 641: Visual Analytics

Students work on a semester-long project using D3, a JavaScript library. Sample syllabus.

MEJO 336: Advertising UX and Engagement Design

Includes UX, UI, and content strategy. Sample syllabus.

MEJO 588: Emerging Technologies

Students work on an interdisciplinary team of developers, designers, and storytellers to design for emerging technologies (i.e. virtual reality, augmented reality). Sample syllabus.

While knowing how to code isn’t essential for UX design, learning to communicate with developers when working on a project can go a long way. We suggest learning the basics of HTML/CSS as well as some JavaScript, either by taking classes or learning on your own with sites like or Codewars.

SILS offers 3 web development courses for a total of 6 credits, which should be taken one after the other. INLS 572 and INLS 573 are usually offered during the same semester, sequentially.

INLS 572: Web Development I (1.5 credits)

Students will create a site from scratch using HTML, CSS, and some Javascript. Sample syllabus.

INLS 573: Mobile Web Development (1.5 credits)

Builds upon INLS 572 and incorporates responsive design. Students will learn popular front-end frameworks like Bootstrap and Foundation. Sample syllabus.

INLS 672: Web Development II

PHP, Ruby on Rails, JavaScript, SQLite, development servers (WAMP, MAMP, LAMP). Sample syllabus.

MEJO also has a three-part course track for interactive media, although they are offered less frequently.

MEJO 187: Introduction to Interactive Media

Covers: HTML, CSS, PHP, WordPress. Sample syllabus.

MEJO 487: Intermediate Interactive Media

HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and jQuery (JavaScript Framework). Sample syllabus.

MEJO 583: Advanced Interactive Media

Designing and building dynamic projects. Past topics include: Vue.js, D3, and Laravel. Sample syllabus.

UNC’s Computer Science Department offers several web design and development courses for a range of skill level.

COMP 126: Practice Web Design and Development for Everyone

HTML, CSS, basic JavaScript. Sample syllabus.

COMP 426: Advanced WWW Programming

Fast-paced web programming course with a focus on Model-View-Controller architecture, AJAX, Restful Web services, and database interaction. Other topics include: PHP, JavaScript, and Google APIs. Sample syllabus.

One major aspect of UX is collecting and analyzing data from user research.

INLS 560: Python Programming

INLS 625: Information Analytics

INLS 626: Introduction to Big Data

MEJO 570: Data Driven Journalism

Topics covered: Excel, Tableau, SQL, Python, and Carto. Sample syllabus.

STORY 151: Introduction to Data Analysis

How does UX design affect society and its users?

INLS 539: Going the Last Mile: Information Access for Underserved Populations

INLS 660: Social Media and Society: A Theoretical and Empirical Overview

Explores the evolution, implications and complications of social media in multiple spheres of life including sociality, community, politics, power and inequality, education, and information from theoretical and empirical perspectives. Offered annually.

INLS 690: Big Data, Algorithms, and Society


INLS 818: Seminar in Human-Computer Interaction

Prerequisite: INLS 718 or permission of instructor.
Research and development in design and evaluation of user interfaces that support information seeking. Major topics: interactivity, needs assessment, query and browser interactions, interactive design and maintenance, usability testing. Offered annually.

INLS 758: International and Cross Cultural Perspectives for Information Management

Examines information in society for selected nations/cultures. Compares institutions, processes, and trends in the globalization of information management in the face of barriers of language and culture. Offered biennially.

INLS 515: Consumer Health Information 

Examines concepts of health, health conditions, policy, and information collections and services from social and cultural perspectives. Analyze and design methods for provision and access to consumer health information services. Offered annually.