If you have questions about this program, email the program leader listed below.

Digital Civics and User Experience Design

Program Details

The arrangements for the travel, housing, meals, excursions and course content of this program have been made by the leader. Questions about this program can only be answered by the program leader listed below.

Program Type Departmental
Program Location Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom
Course # SA 10923 or
SA 59000
Duration Summer
Upcoming Program Dates
To Be Announced
Past Dates
Summer 2023 05/15/23 to 05/31/23

Program Leader

Name Austin Toombs
Email toombsa@purdue.edu
Please Note: Due to COVID-19, programs may be altered or adapted with little notice

Enrollment Details: Enrollment Currently Closed

Program Description

Technology not only drives global communication across vast distances and contexts, but is also vital to the sustainment of community resources and the interaction among people that live in a specific geographic context. While some technological tools can effectively be used across multiple contexts and cultures, there are a wide range of social challenges that require more customized efforts to meet local challenges. In the past decade, community informatics has emerged as an interdisciplinary field that is focused on solving local problems through the use of information communication technologies (ICTs). This field represents an area of applied investigation and practice that requires the designer to have knowledge of local issues, stakeholders, and unique characteristics of technology use across a particular geographic context.

In this study abroad program, students will engage in local community informatics projects that have relevance to the urban center of Newcastle upon Tyne, located in North East England. This program will offer students a unique opportunity to work with world-established leaders in digital civics located at Open Lab, Newcastle University, as well as interaction design and ux design students and faculty at Northumbria University. This program is unique in offering a wide range of inter- and multi-disciplinary experiences that engage with the local target community in England. Students will explore engagement opportunities with local and regional stakeholders in a wide variety of application contexts, including existing strands such as healthcare, education, transport, and social care. The primary language will be English, and Open Lab at Newcastle University has agreed to provide on-campus meeting and design space during the study abroad engagement. No exchange or credit will be provided from Newcastle University as part of the program.

Participants will work alongside members of an internationally-diverse Digital Civics research lab and MS/PhD program at Open Lab, Newcastle University, as well as members of NORTH Lab at Northumbria University. As part of this arrangement, students will engage with active lab projects and use their skills in User Experience (UX) design, user research, and/or technical knowledge to contribute to one or more projects. Where possible, students will be engaged in interactions with local stakeholders through workshops, interviews, and other forms of user research or co-design.


Academic Credit

You will be eligible to receive three credits through the following courses:

Undergraduate: CGT 390-00: UXD Experience Studio III: Digital Civics in the United Kingdom

Graduate: CGT 572-00: Digital Civics and User Experience Design

For UX Design majors, this experience can count as either a semester of Experience Studio or a Globalization selective.


All Purdue students are eligible to apply, although students with strong skills, interest, or motivation in relation to UX design and digital civics will be given priority in the application process. 

Program Cost

Students pursuing program participation accept financial responsibility. Purdue will take measures to mitigate financial risks, although will not be liable for loss.

Program cost: the estimated program cost is $1,691.61, which includes the program fee, the study abroad fee, and a baseline insurance option (but not full coverage, we can talk more about that later). It's "estimated" because the rate request has been submitted but is not yet approved.

The rest of these are estimated additional expenses. These are not included in the program fee, so you will have to track these on your own for a more accurate count.
Airfare: possibly around $1,500. Depends on how you are flying in and where you are flying from. We will be meeting in Newcastle upon Tyne for the start of the program, and we will be ending the program in Edinburgh, Scotland. Our first night in Newcastle is May 15th, which means you likely need to travel on May 14th to get there in time. Our last day of the program will be in Edinburgh on May 31st, meaning that we will be checking out of our hotels on the 31st. You are free to continue on your journey from there or go home from there.
Passport: depends on which services you use, but getting a passport for the first time, including passport photos and including any traveler visas you might need, can cost up to $175.
Meals: on our sheet they've estimated that meals will cost about $500. That seems high to me. It's VERY easy to each cheaply in the UK. And our breakfasts at the hotel are included. You could easily eat very expensive stuff if you want, but it's possible to spend less than 10 dollars per meal, easy.
In-country transportation: likely around $25, as the travel expenses related to curriculum activities are included.
Personal expenses: best to budget at least $100 for stuff like souveniers, snacks, treats, etc.

If you are an undergraduate student, you might also be eligible for between $0 and $2500 in additional support through the Purdue Moves scholarship program, depending on your family’s income. Go tohttps://www.studyabroad.purdue.edu/programs/aid/details.cfm?scholarid=228 for more details. You can only receive this scholarship once, and I believe you start the application process when you apply through the Study Abroad site.

If you are a graduate student, you do not qualify for the scholarship, but we did have students get some money by applying to our college’s Office of Globalization. I would recommend chatting with us, if you need more information.

Application Deadline

As part of the application process, we ask all interested students to provide detailed responses to the following questions in a 1-2 page essay. This essay and other additional questions will be submitted using this form [submission form]. We will begin our formal review of applications on January 15th, 2023.

  • What do you hope to learn by working on a digital civics-focused project?
  • What areas of digital civics interest you the most, and why? (use the Open Lab Digital Civics website as a guide for the kinds of projects we might be engaged in)
  • What skills do you anticipate that you would be able to contribute to a digital civics-focused project?
  • How do you want to grow as a designer and as a person during this Maymester?

Financial Aid

Purdue University financial aid may be applied to the costs of studying abroad. Students interested in receiving financial aid should

NOTE:  Recipients of certain tuition remission and scholarship programs should pay careful attention to the regulations for using those benefits for study abroad.  Ask your financial aid advisor about any limitations.

Click here for a list of scholarships and grants available to assist with the costs of studying overseas.