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Human-Computer Interaction MS

Program overview

Human-computer interaction (HCI) addresses the design, evaluation, and implementation of interactive computing and computing-based systems for the benefit of human use. HCI research is driven by technological advances and the increasing pervasiveness of computing devices in our society. With an emphasis on making computing technologies more user-friendly, HCI has emerged as a dynamic, multifaceted area of study that merges theory from science, engineering, and design––as well as concepts and methodologies from psychology, anthropology, sociology, and industrial design––with the technical concerns of computing.

The master of science degree in human-computer interaction provides the knowledge and skills necessary for conceptualizing, designing, implementing, and evaluating software applications and computing technologies for the benefit of the user, whether the user is an individual, a group, an organization, or a society. Human, technological, and organizational concerns are interwoven throughout the curriculum and addressed in team- and project-based learning experiences.

Curriculum

The program is comprised of four required core courses, up to three program electives (depending upon capstone option chosen), two application domain courses, and a capstone project or thesis.

Core courses

The core courses provide knowledge and skills in the conceptual and methodological frameworks of HCI and HCI research. Emphasis is on understanding human cognition as it applies to information systems plus interaction design, interface prototyping, and usability evaluation.

Application domain courses

To gain breadth in a technical area to which HCI concepts can be applied, students complete two courses in any of the following application domain areas: website development, design and development of smart devices, geographic information science and technology, eLearning technologies, biomedical informatics, or ergonomics and safety. A special topics option is also available, with faculty approval, for individuals with interest in other HCI-related areas.

Thesis/Capstone project

Students may complete a thesis or capstone project. (Student who choose the capstone will complete one additional elective.) This experience is meant to be an empirical study of a HCI problem, which can be the development of a software product through user-centered design processes. The results are either published in a peer-reviewed journal or publicly disseminated in an appropriate professional venue.

Human-computer interaction (capstone project option), MS degree, typical course sequence

CourseSem. Cr. Hrs.
First Year
HCIN-600 Research Methods 3
HCIN-610 Foundations of Human-Computer Interaction 3
HCIN-620 Information and Interaction Design 3
  Application Domain Courses 6
HCIN-630 Usability Testing* 3
  Program Electives 6
Second Year
   Program Elective  3
HCIN-795 MS HCI Project  3
Total Semester Credit Hours 30

 

Human-computer interaction (thesis option), MS degree, typical course sequence

CourseSem. Cr. Hrs.
First Year
HCIN-600 Research Methods 3
HCIN-610 Foundations of Human-Computer Interaction 3
HCIN-620 Information and Interaction Design 3
  Application Domain Courses 6
HCIN-630 Usability Testing 3
  Program Electives 6
Second Year
HCIN-796 MS HCI Thesis 6
Total Semester Credit Hours 30

Admission requirements

To be considered for admission to the MS program in human-computer interaction, candidates must fulfill the following requirements:

Applicants with a GPA below 3.0 may be considered, but are required to submit standard Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores.

Additional information

Prerequisites

The program requires strong technical and social science skills. Knowledge of quantitative statistical methodologies is important since students review research studies as well as analyze the results of their own usability evaluations. Students are also expected to have a solid background in computer programming and experience in interactive multimedia development. These competencies may be demonstrated by previous course work, technical certifications, or comparable work experience. Bridge courses are available to fulfill any gaps in an applicant's qualifications. Applicants will be made aware of any areas where additional course work may be necessary.

Maximum time limit

University policy requires that graduate programs be completed within seven years of the student's initial registration for courses in the program. Bridge courses are excluded.

Online option

The program can be completed on campus or online.


Career Outcomes

Job Titles

Usability engineer, usability analyst, interaction designer, human factors/UI designer, user experience specialist, information architect, user research specialist

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