Master of Science in Human-Computer Interaction
The M.S. in Human-Computer Interaction is a 36-credit-hour program that integrates computing, usability, interface design, the social sciences and other disciplines in the design and development of user-friendly technologies, software and information systems.
As a graduate, you’ll be well prepared for a career in private industry or academia, or for admission to the Ph.D. in Informatics program with a human-computer interaction specialization. Upon or before graduation, our HCI students found full-time jobs and internships as user experience researchers and designers at top companies including Yahoo!, Dell, ExactTarget, Intel, GE, PARC, SAP and many others.
The program may be completed in two years by a full-time student. Part-time study options are available for domestic students. However, international students and any students funded directly by the School of Informatics and Computing (in the form of an assistantship or fellowship) must complete the program in two years.
Careers in HCI
Employers from around the country are seeking highly qualified junior and senior candidates with advanced degrees in HCI. The field is at an all-time high, and opportunities for HCI graduates are increasing daily.
Get in touch with our Career Services staff to explore HCI internship opportunities and prepare your portfolio to land your dream job in HCI. See our selected HCI job banks to view the many HCI job opportunities currently available.
Successful applicants to our master of science program must have a strong background in computing and information technology. You should be able to demonstrate the skills and knowledge required of the undergraduate Informatics degree.
Promising applicants lacking competencies necessary for admission may be allowed to take courses that will satisfy those requirements, as determined by School of Informatics and Computing faculty. Those courses, however, would not count towards degree or certificate completion.
- Minimum of a Bachelor’s degree (with demonstrated technical skills)
- Minimum Overall GPA: 3.0 (4.0 point scale)
- Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores from within the past five years if you are seeking direct financial assistance (such as an assistantship or fellowship) from the School of Informatics and Computing. A GRE score is not required to submit your FAFSA or to seek other federal or private financial assistance opportunities.
Successful applicants will have a foundation of core knowledge and skills (from either past education or work experience) in one or more of the following proficiency areas:
- Programming– Proficiency in programming/scripting, including:
- One or more languages (e.g., HTML, JAVA, C++ and Visual Basic)
- A basic understanding of programming methodologies, such as system design and architecture, problem and algorithm analysis
- Other systems knowledge such as artificial intelligence and database analysis/database technology
- Design– Proficiency with the principles and processes of visual communication, industrial design, new media or other disciplines that deal with design theory and practice, including:
- Knowledge and application of 3D animation and/or modeling tools
- Design methodologies for 2D and 3D product development
- Conceptual modeling, prototyping and product delivery
- Fundamental concepts of visual communication (e.g., page design/layout)
- Design principles, typography and color theory
- Knowledge and application of a range of digital (vector and raster) authoring tools for Web or interface design
- Social Sciences– Coursework in the following key areas:
- Psychology (general, cognitive and behavioral)
- Sociology and anthropology (ethnography)
- Cross-cultural psychology and communication
- Information management and/or Information and library science
Plan of Study
Below are the degree requirements or you can download a degree map based on your start date.
- Students starting Fall 2015
- Students starting Spring 2015
- Students starting Fall 2014
- Students starting Spring 2014
- Students starting Fall 2013
- Students enrolled prior to Fall 2013
Core (24 cr.)
- INFO I501 Introduction to Informatics (3 cr.)
- INFO H541 Interaction Design Practice (3 cr.)
- INFO H543 Interaction Design Methods (3 cr.)
- INFO H561 Meaning and Form in HCI (3 cr.)
- INFO H563 Psychology of HCI (3 cr.)
- INFO H564 Prototyping for Interactive Systems (3 cr.)
- INFO H566 Experience Design for Ubiquitous Computing (3 cr.)
- INFO H565 Collaborative and Social Computing (3 cr.)
Final Project or Thesis (6 cr.)
Final Project Option
All HCI students must complete a final project by registering for two courses: H680 HCI Professional Practice 1 (offered ONLY in the Fall) and H681HCI Professional Practice 2 (offered ONLY in the Spring). Each course includes a formally scheduled in-class time that students must attend. Students will work on one final project that extends throughout the two courses, i.e., in both fall and spring semesters. Students will receive an official grade at the conclusion of each course/semester. Students are encouraged to propose a project that can be realistically completed by the conclusion of H681, the Spring semester. Incompletes are NOT permitted.
- INFO H680 HCI Professional Practice 1 (3 cr.) – Required for Final Project
Note: Pre-requisites: INFO H541, H561, H543, H563, and H564
- INFO H681 HCI Professional Practice 2 (3 cr.) – Required for Final Project
Note: Pre-requisites: INFO H680
The Thesis option is reserved for students who possess a demonstrated ability to carry out publishable empirical research. Qualified students must find a research-active faculty member willing to advise them on a thesis by the end of the second semester.
Students taking the Thesis option must take and successfully pass I575 Informatics Research Design by the completion of their first year. They should also take an additional statistics course prior to their final regular semester. As with the final project, an incomplete will NOT be permitted. It is the student’s responsibility to propose a thesis that can be completed within a two-semester timeline. To do this, students MUST provide their primary thesis advisor with a full thesis proposal and outline that includes a timeline for the writing of the thesis.
- INFO H694 HCI Thesis (6 cr.)
Electives (6 cr.)
School of Informatics and Computing
- INFO H503 Social Impact of Information Technologies (3 cr.)
- INFO B505 Informatics Project Management (3 cr.)
- INFO H534 Seminar in Human Computer Interaction (1-3 cr.)
- INFO H550 Legal and Business Issues in Informatics (3 cr.)
- INFO H554 Independent Study in Human Computer Interaction (1-3 cr.)
- INFO I575 Informatics Research Design (3 cr.)
- INFO I590 Topics in Informatics (3 cr.)
- LIS S503 Organization and Representation of Knowledge & Information (3 cr.)
- LIS S532 Information Architecture for the Web (3 cr.)
- NEWM N503 Digital Media Application Design Processes (3 cr.)
- NEWM N510 Web-Database Concepts (3 cr.)
- NEWM N501 Foundations of Digital Production (3 cr.)
- NEWM N504 Advanced Interactive Design Applications (3 cr.)
Herron School of Art / Design Thinking & Methods*
- HER V501 Intro to Design Thinking [Fall Wks 1-8 Seminar] (1.5 cr.)
- HER V502 Intro to Human Factors in Design [Fall Wks 1-8 Seminar] (1.5 cr.)
- HER V511 People-Centered Design Research [Fall Wks 1-8 Methods] (1.5 cr.)
- HER V521 Design Analysis [Fall Wks 9-16 Methods] (1.5 cr.)
- HER V531 Design Synthesis [Spring Wks 1-8 Methods] (1.5 cr.)
- HER V541 Design Evaluation [Spring Wks 9-16 Methods] (1.5 cr.)
- HER R511 Studio: Designing Integrated Experiences 1 [Fall] (3 cr.)
- HER R512 Studio: Designing Integrated Experiences 2 [Spring] (6 cr.)
Note: Herron design courses are offered during the day. Full-time graduate students are encouraged to register for these courses as electives.
- PSY I643 Field Methods and Experiments (3 cr.)
- SOC S551 Sociological Research Methods (3 cr.)
- SOC S659 Qualitative Methods in Sociology (3 cr.)
- ANTH E404 Field Methods in Ethnography (3 cr.)
- X000 Courses from the social sciences: psychology, sociology, anthropology (3 cr.)
- CSCI 507 Object-Oriented Design and Programming (3 cr.)
- CSCI 550 Computer Graphics (3 cr.)
- CSCI 552 Advanced Graphics and Visualization (3 cr.)