Human computer interaction (HCI) merges a social science like psychology and computer science to help improve the interaction between users and computers. Find out what a master's degree program in HCI is like and what's required to be eligible for admission.
Master's Degree in Human Computer Interaction (HCI) Program Information
Often available as a Master of Science, these programs require students to complete essential core courses, take up electives as per their line of specialization and complete a final project. Around 30-36 course credits are needed. Generally, the minimum GPA during the program is 3.0 and above. Prior knowledge of programming, design or psychology may be preferred although not mandatory. The master's degree program typically includes the following courses:
Prototyping for Smart Systems
This course covers the various techniques for designing and making model user interfaces that are descriptive and friendly. How the design of the interface effects the user's inputs is explored. Students also learn how to test the system's response to human behavior.
Human Computer Interaction Psychology
Under this course, the psychological aspect of HCI is studied. Some of the core areas of study include problem solving and perception by a smart system based on the its interaction with a user and how this is transferred to the design and testing stage in technology development.
Designs in HCI
In this course, students are made familiar with user-friendly designs. This involves taking inputs from the prospective users and incorporating into prototype machines. Testing to validate if the designs worked are also covered under this. During this course, the students will learn how to arrive at the right design.
This course mainly focuses on the organized approach to designing an effective user interface. The various experimental methods to reach a good design based on qualitative analysis is a part of this course. The course also touches on existing systems, improvement methods and research methods for design.
The focus of this course is researching and challenging the beliefs that often form the basis for designing in HCI. Students understand how these theories can limit the development of good design. The class examines the purpose behind these assumptions and why they are beneficial.
Master's in Human Computer Interaction Admission Requirements
For HCI programs, a bachelor's degree in a related field such as programming or one of the social sciences is typically required. Other common requirements include a resume/CV, GRE scores, letters of recommendation, transcripts and a personal statement. Some colleges may require a digital or print portfolio to show any creative HCI projects. A minimum of a 3.0 GPA in undergraduate work is often sought for master's degree applications. Work experience in related field may get preference.
A master's in HCI is an apt choice for those interested in a career focusing on technology with human touch. It teaches the students about good and bad user interfaces and explore ways in whic to improve the usage of smart systems with respect to the users.