Human-Computer Interaction MS

A degree driven by real-time employer demand

These jobs are growing by 16%, more than twice the rate of overall labor market growth.

The human-computer interaction job market


Average annual salary


Growth in demand for user research


Growth in demand for design thinking


Graduate outcomes rate

Program Highlights

The master of science in human-computer interaction integrates service and design thinking into a rigorous HCI curriculum that prepares our students to design and guide the future of human and technology interactions. You will gain the knowledge and skills to conceptualize, design, implement, and evaluate software applications and computing technologies with the user in mind. Human, technological, and organizational topics are interwoven throughout the curriculum and addressed in team and project-based learning experiences. 

This professional degree will prepare you for industry and a career related to user experience, human-computer interaction and beyond. This degree program is practical and applied. To gain a working knowledge in a technical area to which HCI concepts can then be applied, students complete two courses in any of the application domain areas. A special topics option is also available, with faculty approval, for individuals with interest in other HCI-related areas.

Curriculum packed with high-demand skills

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Demand for user research skills is growing 35%, and carries a competitive advantage in the marketplace.

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Information architecture skills carry a salary premium in the workforce.

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Design Thinking

Demand for design thinking skills is growing 112%.

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Demand for front-end development skills is growing 12% and carries a salary premium.


Credits 3
This course provides students with an introduction to the practical application of various research methods that can be used in human computer interaction. The course provides an overview of the research process and the literature review, and provides experience with qualitative, survey, and experimental research methods. Students will study existing research and design and conduct studies. Students will need to have taken a statistics course before registering for this class.
Credits 3
Human-computer interaction (HCI) is a field of study concerned with the design, evaluation and implementation of interactive computing systems for human use and with the study of major phenomena surrounding them. This course surveys the scope of issues and foundations of the HCI field: cognitive psychology, human factors, interaction styles, user analysis, task analysis, interaction design methods and techniques, and evaluation. This course will focus on the users and their tasks.
Credits 3
Designing meaningful relationships among people and the products they use is both an art and a science. This course will focus on the unique design practice of: representing and organizing information in such a way as to facilitate perception and understanding (information architecture); and, specifying the appropriate mechanisms for accessing and manipulating task information (interaction design). This course will also explore the various design patterns (design solutions to particular problems) that are appropriate for the HCI professional. Students will need prior knowledge of an interface prototyping tool.
Credits 3
This project-based course will focus on the formal evaluation of products. Topics include usability test goal setting, recruitment of appropriate users, design of test tasks, design of the test environment, test plan development and implementation, analysis and interpretation of the results, and documentation and presentation of results and recommendations.
Credits 3
In this course, students will design a proposal for a capstone project to apply the theories and methodologies to a problem in the HCI domain. Students working through the guidance of the instructor, will investigate a problem space, perform a literature review, develop the problem statement, write a proposal for how they intend to design and implement a solution, and communicate the proposal to potential capstone committee members.
Credits 1 - 4
In this course, students will apply the theories and methodologies to the investigation of a problem in the HCI domain. Students who have already prepared a proposal for their capstone project,will design and implement a solution to a problem, and communicate the results.

Application Domain Courses

Credits 3
Instructional Technology encompasses the basic processes for developing and delivering instruction. Instructional Systems Design (ISD) is a well-established methodology for describing knowledge and skills and developing instructional systems to effectively conveying knowledge. This course enables the student to be able to plan, organize, and systematically develop instructional materials. The course uses an ISD model to analyze, design, deliver, and evaluate instruction.
Credits 3
Computer software that teaches is referred to as courseware. This course is a continuation of HCIN-660 that transitions from general instructional design into the actual application of these principles in a computer-based environment. Although the basic principles of instructional design hold true in all media environments, using these teaching and learning principles is somewhat different when developing instruction that will be delivered by computer. This course teaches procedures that have already been successful in the design and development of courseware. Successful students should have one year of object-oriented programming.
Credits 3
This course provides a survey of the theory, concepts, and technologies related to representation and understanding of the earth - a scientific domain known as Geographic Information Science and Technology (GIS & T). Students will gain hands-on experience with technologies such as Global Positioning Systems (GPSs), Geographic Information Systems (GISs), remote sensing, Virtual Globes (Google Earth), and web mapping mashups. Furthermore, students will learn relevant GIS & T theory, concepts, and research trends such as spatial reasoning, spatiotemporal data representation, and spatial analysis.
Credits 3
This course examines concepts and techniques associated with dynamic map construction, usage, and assessment. Specific topics include thematic cartography, geographic information visualization, sources of dynamic geographic information, developing animated and interactive maps, mapping mashup development, using maps as a means to support group work, usability of dynamic maps, and current geovisualization research areas. Development of a visualization prototype and an associated scholarly paper in an area related to thematic cartography and geographic visualization are required.
Credits 3
This class provides an introduction to internet and web technologies. Topics include an introduction to the internet and basic internet technologies (including, but not limited to: SSH, SFTP, UNIX, XHTML, CSS, Client-Side programming, and website publishing).
Credits 3
This course builds on the basic aspects of web page development that are presented in the first course and extends that knowledge to focus on issues and technologies related to the design and development of web sites. Topics include advanced internet technologies (including, but not limited to: AJAX, server-side programming, database use and access, client libraries, server frameworks, and creating and consuming information services).

Additional Electives

Credits 3
Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) is an evolving field. This course is designed to study the current themes and advanced issues of HCI. Topics will vary depending upon current research and developments in the field.
Credits 3
This course will focus on the major user centered design methodologies used in the development of applications and environments. Topics include: evolution of software design methods, emergence of user-centered design, and key concepts, attributes and process of the major design methodologies. Software design projects will be required.

Admission Requirements

  • Complete a graduate application.
  • Hold a baccalaureate degree (or equivalent) from an accredited university or college
  • Have a minimum undergraduate cumulative GPA of 3.0 (or equivalent)
  • Submit official transcripts (in English) of all previously completed undergraduate and graduate course work
  • Submit a current resume, personal statement, and two letters of recommendation
  • Have prior study or professional experience in computing; however, study in other disciplines will be given consideration
  • A year of object-oriented programming is expected
  • Applicants from international colleges or universities outside the US are required to submit GRE scores
  • International applicants whose native language is not English must submit scores from the TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE. The English language test score requirement is waived for native speakers of English or for those submitting transcripts from degrees earned at American institutions.


The online MS in Human-Computer Interaction requires 30 credits and costs $1,237 per credit hour (Academic Year 2021 – 2022). This tuition reflects the RIT Online discount of 43% off the MS Human-Computer Interaction campus-based program cost. 

Keep in mind that there are many options available that may help you lower your costs including: 

  • Military tuition benefits
  • Support from employers 
  • Private scholarships 
  • Financing 
  • Payment plans

Certain countries are subject to comprehensive embargoes under US Export Controls, which prohibit virtually ALL exports, imports and other transactions without a license or other US Government authorization.