User Experience and Usability

This is a Graduate Certificate with a User Experience and Usability emphasis.

The User Experience and Usability (UXU) Certificate, offered by the School of Information Science & Learning Technologies, prepares students to design and evaluate technology tools and information systems. The multi-faceted human-centered lens for design and evaluation is a systematic process supported by research and best practices.

Our UXU certificate is uniquely positioned in the area of usability because our Information Experience Laboratory (IE Lab) performs extensive usability and user experience research with internal and external clients. You will prepare for jobs in an expanding field where UXU competencies are used in education, industry, healthcare, museums and other learning and performance settings.

The certificate curriculum consists of 12 graduate credit hours that may be transferred into SISLT’s M.S. or Ed.Sp. programs. The 12 graduate credit hours apply toward any of the emphasis areas: Online Education, Technology in Schools.

Student Learning Outcomes

  1. Demonstrate Human-Centered Design concepts through prototyping
  2. Analyze and develop strategies to support efficient user performance with effective tools and systems.
  3. Design data instruments and implement data collection that embraces user centered, culturally sensitive, and inclusive characteristics
  4. Recommend and implement user experience and usability tools and methodologies
  5. Organize and manage user experience and usability related projects.


  • Delivery mode: 100 percent online
  • Credit hours: 12
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission, Teacher Education Accreditation Council
  • Estimated program cost: $4,997.88*
    *This is an estimate for illustrative purposes only; hours and fees will vary. See more about tuition and financial aid.
The graduate certificate requires 12 graduate credit hours. The overall program structure includes two categories:

  1. Required 12 credit hours with no electives
  2. Competency Portfolio

Credit hour limitations:

  • A maximum of 3 hours of transfer credits


The internship is coordinated with the Information Experience Lab activities, wherein you can participate in weekly meetings via virtual conference tools and work on team projects. An alternative project for the internship can be coordinated with a local, national, or international company or organization.

Students can complete the internship at-a-distance and are not required to move to Columbia or quit their job. Expected time commitment during the Fall and Spring semesters is approximately 6 to 8 hours per week.
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Required Courses (12 credit hours)

  • 9474: Front End Analysis of Systems
  • 9461: Interaction Design
  • 9421: Usability of Systems and Services
  • 9480: User Experience Internship

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Your performance will be assessed through a portfolio process. You should start on your portfolio early in your coursework.

Portfolio Assessment

In your online portfolio, you will document your mastery of user experience and usability competencies through narratives and supporting examples of work. You will work with a faculty adviser to ensure that your portfolio meets all requirements.

Each portfolio includes:

  • Professional resume, including a list of UXU related skills and experiences
  • Self-assessment narrative of your mastery of UXU competencies with special attention given to
    • needs assessment and task analysis
    • design frameworks and theories
    • usability data analysis
    • usability engineering
  • Artifacts and course content linked to competencies as it relates education, industry, organization practice
  • Data and report confirming usability of portfolio website

Portfolio Details

A portfolio is a website consisting of products and artifacts demonstrating mastery of the user experience and usability competencies. There must be some representation of requirements listed in the portfolio assessment

Ideally, products and artifacts are added to the portfolio as the work is completed rather than waiting until the last minute to assemble the portfolio. Creating the portfolio is just like creating any other website: Design it, build it, test it and revise it. Periodically, you will probably add something to the website.

A SISLT adviser will examine the portfolio before it is presented for formal review and make suggestions for improvement when warranted.

Presenting and Evaluating Your Portfolio

Portfolios are presented completely online. The portfolio must be available for faculty review on the date given. The portfolio and its presentation are considered collectively. Consideration is given to the entry knowledge and skills of the student and the student’s professional goals. The SISLT review committee examines your portfolio and either passes it or suggests revisions.

The review process asks:

  • Does the student know what the competencies mean?
  • Has the student demonstrated adequate mastery of the competencies?

If a portfolio or presentation is found to be lacking, the student is given the opportunity to make the necessary adjustments (e.g., add elements to the portfolio, enhance the presentation, enhance the products or innovations). A conference call or email correspondence will be used to get the portfolio back on track. The review committee will offer suggestions for additional work or changes to the portfolio. Once the committee is satisfied the competencies are adequately addressed, the portfolio is accepted.

You must be a registered student the semester in which you plan to graduate. Simply put: You cannot finish all of your coursework and present your portfolio the following semester without being enrolled in something. This means you must register for at least one course, or there is an exam-only option available for students who have completed all required coursework.
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Admission Materials and Criteria

  • A GPA of 3.0 or higher (A=4.0) on the last 60 hours of undergraduate coursework.
  • Resume summarizing education and relevant experience.
  • A statement of purpose that demonstrates your goals align with our program.
  • GRE scores are not required.
  • TOEFL scores (if applicable): at least 500 (paper-based) or 61 (Internet-based).

How to Apply

  • Prepare electronic versions (e.g., Word files) of your resume and statement of purpose (what you hope your degree will do for you).
  • Apply using our convenient online Graduate Application system. Be sure to upload your resume, and statement of purpose.
  • Provide an official copy of your transcript from the college or university where you received your bachelor’s degree and your TOEFL scores if English is not your first language.
    • Official transcripts should be sent to Graduate Admissions, 210 Jesse Hall, Columbia, MO 65211

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SISLT Student Services Office
Student Coordinator — Amy Adam
303 Townsend Hall
Columbia, MO 65211

Toll-free: 877-747-5868
Local: 573-882-4546
Fax: 573-884-0122