Master of Human-Computer Interaction
The interdisciplinary Master of Human-Computer Interaction (HCIM) provides the opportunity for advanced, systematic study of how to design, evaluate, and implement new information technologies that are understandable, usable, and appealing to a wide variety of people. The major objectives of the program are to prepare students to become human-computer interaction (HCI) leaders in industry and government, or to enable them to be successful in doctoral work in a particular specialization of HCI.
The iSchool offers an interdisciplinary program of study through which students develop a fundamental understanding of the technology design process, tool-building technologies, evaluation techniques, application areas for users, and the social impact of technology on the individual and community.
What are the unique aspects of the Program?
The program's focus on information studies, policy, user populations, and diverse design methods sets this program apart from most other HCI programs. In the 30-credit program, students enroll in three core courses; take a three-credit internship; complete a thesis or a capstone project; and select four additional elective courses, which support their career goals. The required internship enables students to work with experts, not only in industry, but in government, non-profits, and even in the university's own Human-Computer Interaction Lab (HCIL) where many research projects are conducted in partnership with outside organizations.
Students also may choose to write and defend a thesis or create a capstone project, allowing them to conduct original research or produce an applied project—whichever option best suits their future goals of employment or doctoral study. HCIM students have the opportunity to be strongly affiliated with the HCIL at Maryland, one of the oldest HCI research labs in the world.
What is the Program Based On?
Students completing the HCIM degree will gain:
- An understanding of the fundamentals of the HCI field and research methodologies used within the field.
- Specific knowledge of the technology design process, tool-building technologies, evaluation techniques, application areas for users, and the social impact of technology on the individual.
- Preparation to become leaders in the HCI field within academia, private industry, and government organizations.
- Opportunities to apply insights from the classroom to real-life technical problems for organizations in the public and private sectors.
What opportunities are there with the degree?
There is a need for skilled information technology professionals. Our HCI graduates are qualified candidates to meet a range of industry and government work force needs, including technical project managers, technology evaluators, and user interface developers. According to US News and World Report, Usability Experience Specialist was named as one of the best careers in 2009. Through observation of users, analysis, and iterative prototyping, Usability Experience Specialists ensure products and software are “pleasurable to use.” US News and World Report suggests that “an advanced degree “can enhance your ability to get hired.”
Industry, government, and non-profits all need students who understand HCI and who have skills in areas including user needs assessment, evaluation of new technologies, and participatory design. These skills are not only applicable to industry; many doctoral programs are looking for master’s students who have a firm grounding in research methods, technology development, and more.
Transforming the Connection to Information
As the world grows increasingly more dependent on new technologies, the need has never been greater to create easy-to-use, meaningful technologies for diverse populations. Today, technology is an integral part of the lives of individuals everywhere; it touches every aspect of the ways in which people learn, work and play. The Master of Science in Human-Computer Interaction degree integrates information studies, computer science, education, psychology and engineering to prepare HCI leaders of the future.
Through coursework and research experiences, students in this program will develop skills in:
- Fundamentals of Human-Computer Interaction
- Advanced research methods
- Usability analysis and testing
- Social computing strategies and technologies
- Technology design
Electives, individual research experiences and projects will allow students to develop their own specialties within HCI.
- Prepare students to become HCI leaders in industry, government, education and other sectors
- Strong preparation for future Ph.D. work in a particular specialization of HCI
The Human-Computer Interaction program requires the successful completion of 30 academic credits with a B minimum grade point average. The four required elements are as follows:
- Three Core required courses (9 credits)
- Principles of Human-Computer Communication
- HCI Design Methods
- Research Methods
- Four Elective courses from the following areas: Information Policy, Information Ethics, Users and Use Context, Information and Universal Usability, Information Environments (12 credits)
- Required Internship (3 credits)
- Thesis or Capstone Project (6 credits)
- More Information
- Contact Info:
For admissions and enrollment information please contact:
iSchool Admissions and Student Affairs Office