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Human-Computer Interaction MS

Semester Requirements

Pete Lutz, Graduate Program Director
(585) 475-6162, Peter.Lutz@rit.edu

http://www.ist.rit.edu/

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

Course Sem. 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

Course Sem. 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:

  • Hold a baccalaureate (or equivalent) degree from a regionally accredited institution,
  • Have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 (B average),
  • Submit official transcripts (in English) of all previously completed undergraduate and graduate course work,
  • Have prior study or professional experience in computing; however, study in other disciplines will be given consideration, and
  • Complete a graduate application.
  • International applicants whose native language is not English must submit scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language. Minimum scores of 570 (paper-based) or 88 (Internet-based) are required.

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.

[arrow] Click to view program requirements in the Quarter Calendar

Quarter Curriculum - For Reference Only

Effective fall 2013, RIT will convert its academic calendar from quarters to semesters. The following content has been made available as reference only. Currently matriculated students who began their academic programs in quarters should consult their academic adviser for guidance and course selection.

Program overview

Human-computer interaction (HCI) is a professional discipline that 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 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 constitutes an individual, a group, an organization, or a society. Throughout the curriculum human, technological, and organizational concerns are interwoven and addressed in team- and project-based learning experiences.

Curriculum

This 52 quarter credit hour program is comprised of five required core courses, four advanced electives, two application domain courses, and an 8 quarter credit hour capstone experience.

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 and on interface design, prototyping, and evaluation.

Advanced electives

Upper-level electives expose students to cutting-edge research and applications in the HCI discipline. The application domain courses provide foundational knowledge in a computing or computing-related domain to which HCI theories and practices may be applied during the capstone experience.

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, interactive multimedia development, computer game design, application development, learning and human performance, bioinformatics, or ergonomics and safety. Special topic courses are offered by the IST department or from graduate-level coursework offered by other departments at RIT, or other universities with faculty approval.

Capstone thesis/project

The multi-term, 8 quarter credit hour capstone may be completed as a thesis, which is an empirical study of a HCI problem, or as a project 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 publically disseminated in an appropriate professional venue.

Semester conversion
Effective fall 2013, RIT will convert its academic calendar from quarters to semesters. Each program and its associated courses have been sent to the New York State Department of Education for approval of the semester plan. For reference, the following charts illustrate the typical course sequence for this program in both quarters and semesters. Students should consult their graduate program adviser with questions regarding planning and course selection.

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

CourseQtr. Cr. Hrs.
First Year
4002-726 Research Methods 4
4004-745 Foundations of Human-Computer Interaction 4
4004-748 Usability Engineering 4
4004-749 Usability Testing 4
4002-765 User-centered Design Methods 4
Choose four of the following electives: 16
   4002-823     Agent-Based Modeling  
   4002-892     CSCW and Groupware  
   4004-755     Advanced Topics in HCI  
   4004-744     Eye Tracking: Theory, Methodology and Applications  
   4004-781     Usability Economics  
   4085-757     Graphical Elements of the User Experience  
   4085-855     Innovation and Invention  
   0514-785     Advanced Perception*  
   0514-787     Advanced Cognition*  
  Application Domain Course 1, 2 8
Choose one of the following: 8
   4004-897    MS HCI Thesis  
   4004-898    MS HCI Project  
Total Quarter Credit Hours 52

* Course offered by the department of psychology.

Human-computer interaction (capstone project option), MS degree, typical course sequence (semesters), effective fall 2013

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 Course 1, 2 6
HCIN-630 Usability Testing 3
  Program Elective 1, 2 6
Second Year
   Program Elective 3  3
HCIN-795 MS HCI Project  3
Total Semester Credit Hours 30

Human-computer interaction (thesis option), MS degree, typical course sequence (semesters), effective fall 2013

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 Course 1, 2 6
HCIN-630 Usability Testing 3
  Program Elective 1, 2 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:

  • Hold a baccalaureate (or equivalent) degree from a regionally accredited institution,
  • Have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 (B average),
  • Submit official transcripts (in English) of all previously completed undergraduate and graduate course work,
  • Have prior study or professional experience in computing; however, study in other disciplines will be given consideration, and
  • Complete a graduate application.
  • International applicants, whose native language is not English, must submit scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language. Minimum scores of 570 (paper-based) or 88 (Internet-based) are required.

Applicants with a GPA that is 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 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 gradaute 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 through distance learning.