RIT Launches Master of Science Degree in Human Computer Interaction

Degree looks at effects of computing systems on the user; masters offered on-campus or onlin

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Human-computer interaction, the study of design, evaluation and implementation of interactive computing systems to benefit the end user, is the focus of a new Master of Science degree at Rochester Institute of Technology.

The degree, offered through RIT’s B. Thomas Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences, is available either on-campus or online.

“Companies such as Google, Yahoo, Adobe and Oracle are looking for people with in-depth knowledge and skills in developing computing systems that people will enjoy using and want to use,” says Evelyn Rozanski, RIT professor of information technology and a developer of the degree program. “Companies have come to recognize the return on investment from adopting user-centered design and usability testing practices. Products with poor usability are costly in terms of errors, unfinished tasks, frustration and even safety.”

The curriculum for the degree includes studies in such complementary areas as software development, learning and knowledge management, cognitive psychology, industrial design and game design. RIT first offered a master’s concentration in human-computer interaction more than five years ago.

Melissa Spike, a content producer at Fisher-Price, graduated from RIT in 2003 with an M.S. degree in information technology, and concentrations in human computer interaction as well as learning and performance technology and multimedia programming.

“From my classes in human factors and interface design, I learned principles of design that apply directly to my current job at Fisher-Price,” says Spike. “I work on some of the more complex toys with speech and multiple modes of play, kid-friendly electronics video games and personal computer software. With more and more computers in homes and so much competition with Web sites and software, consumers are starting to demand interfaces that are easier to use and industry is taking notice. This is only going to increase the need for graduates with degrees in human-computer interaction.”

The master’s degree requires completion of a capstone project in which research will be conducted in institute labs, including the Usability Testing Laboratory and labs within the Center for Advancing the Study of Cyberinfrastructure.

For more information about the degree program, call (585) 475-6791 or visit http://www.rit.edu/emcs/ptgrad/online.

NOTE: Rochester Institute of Technology is internationally recognized for academic leadership in computing, engineering, imaging technology, and fine and applied arts, in addition to unparalleled support services for students with hearing loss. More than 15,800 full- and part-time students are enrolled in RIT’s 340 career-oriented and professional programs, and its cooperative education program is one of the oldest and largest in the nation.

For nearly two decades, U.S. News & World Report has ranked RIT among the nation’s leading comprehensive universities. The Princeton Review features RIT in its 2007 Best 361 Colleges rankings and named the university one of America’s “Most Wired Campuses.” RIT is also featured in Barron’s Best Buys in Education.