Basic information on the minor

Name of minor in other languages: Käytettävyyskoulu

Scope of the minor in credits: 20 credits

Teachers-in-charge for the minor: Professor Marko Nieminen, Aalto School of Science, Professor Turkka Keinonen, Aalto School of Arts, Design and Architecture, Professor N.N., University of Helsinki, Cognitive Science

Language of instruction of the minor: Finnish/English

Target group: Master's degree students in Computer Science and Engineering at the School of Science, master's degree students in Collaboration and Industrial Design or New Media at the School of Arts, Design and Architecture, and master's degree students in Cognitive Science at the University of Helsinki.

Limitations to the minor: The minor is mainly limited to the target groups.

Level of the minor: Advanced studies

Interdisciplinarity: The minor is interdisciplinary in nature and is produced by Aalto University School of Science and School of Arts, Design and Architecture, and by the University of Helsinki Cognitive Science Unit.

Description of content

Learning outcomes for the minor

Usability School/USchool is a joint minor of the School of Science and School of Art and Design at Aalto University and the University of Helsinki, which provides the students with specialist skills in user-centred design.

Technology plays an increasing role in our everyday lives. Some of it is hidden from the ordinary user, while sometimes it is right in our faces. Most of us have had to assist our parents in using a digi box or a mobile phone. To ensure that technology will in the future meet user needs better, we need people who understand the multidisciplinary nature of usability and master its basics both in theory and in practice. In the Usability School, students focus on these problems from the perspectives of cognitive science, design and information technology.

Content of the minor

The minor consists of studies in interface, usability and user-centred product development. Usability School studies familiarise the student with working and collaboration in an interdisciplinary product design environment. The artistic and technical design competence learned at the School of Arts, Design and Architecture is supplemented by information technology and cognitive science studies in the partner schools.

Structure of the minor

Course code


ECTS Credits

Compulsory courses



Methods for user-centred product development


Cog421 (HY)

Tieteellinen päättely ja selittäminen kognitiotieteilijöille (Scientific reasoning and explanation for cognitive scientists)



User Inspired Design

(This course is included in major studies for ARTS students)



Alternative courses



Käyttäjäkeskeisen tuotekehityksen kurssit ja seminaarit (User-centred product development courses and seminars)


Cog101 (HY)

Johdatus kognitiotieteeseen


Cog115 (HY)

Kognitiivinen psykologia I (Cognitive Psychology I)


Cog116 (HY)

Kognitiivinen psykologia II (Cognitive Psychology II)


Cog212 (HY)

Havaintopsykologia I (Observation Psychology I)



User Inspired Design



Experience Driven Design



Strategic Co-Design



Designing  for Services



Interactive Prototyping


Timing of the minor

The students are granted a two-year right to study for Usability School courses.

Application and selection

Number of positions in the minor

Five students from each partner school are selected for the Usability School each year.

Application process and criteria for selection

Students apply for the minor by means of a free-form application. The application period for the Usability School is in May. The application should be submitted by 31 May 2014 to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. The professors in charge of the minor select the students. The selection criteria used to assess the applications are: academic success and an interest in and possible familiarity with the topic area as well as any earlier studies. A transcript of records must also be attached to the free-form application.


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