HCIM Admissions

APPLY BY JANUARY 15, 2020
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Fall 2020 HCIM Admissions Checklist

UMD Graduate School Requirements
  • Complete the UMD Graduate School application form.
  • Submit the names and e-mail addresses of three references.
  • Upload transcripts for all undergraduate and graduate courses at each institution you have attended (Unofficial transcripts may be submitted initially; official transcripts will be required upon admission and enrollment).
  • Provide a 1,000 to 2,000-word Statement of Purpose describing your experience and interests. Note that the HCIM program has specific instructions for what to include in your Statement of Purpose when you talk about your past work. You are asked to select 1 or 2 prompts from the Supplementary Application to address within your Statement of Purpose. You can use the remaining word count as you wish within the Graduate School’s general guidance
  • Upload a current resume or CV.
  • Maryland State Residency Information: If you are a resident of the State of Maryland or believe you qualify as one, be sure to fill out the Maryland Residency section of the Graduate Application. If you have questions about Residency Classification, please direct them to resclass@umd.edu.
  • Upload the 1 or 2 work product(s) that relate to what you wrote in your Statement of Purpose as a Supplemental File or Files. 
  • Pay the application fee of $75 to the UMD Graduate School.
UMD HCIM Program Requirements
  • HCIM Supplementary Application
  • HCIM applicants must address the above Supplementary Application prompts within their Statement of Purpose and upload their supporting work products in the Supplementary Application section of their application.  
  • Admission to the HCIM program is competitive. The admissions committee will evaluate applications holistically to assemble a diverse cohort consisting of roughly equal numbers of students with backgrounds, experiences, and skills in the social sciences, art/design, and computers/technology.
  • Applicants are not required to have prior programming experience. Students who do not have an educational or professional background in computer science will be required to take a programming course, as many HCIM classes require facility with programming. Consult the HCIM FAQs for more information about the program and admissions.

To be considered for Fall 2020, your application must be completed and submitted by January 15, 2020, at 11:59 pm, EST.

As you work on your application, be sure to follow the Special Instructions and Helpful Hints below. If you need additional information or assistance with the application process, contact us at hcim@umd.edu.


Special Instructions and Helpful Hints

General instructions for completing the UMD  Graduate Application are available in the Graduate School’s Step-By-Step Guide to Applying. For the Master of Human-Computer Interaction application keep in mind the following application-specific information:

► Graduate Program/Department Code

On the UMD Graduate School application form, in box 16 (p.1) and box 34 (p. 2), you should enter "HCIM" for the Proposed Graduate Program/Department.

► The Graduate School's Required Statement of Purpose

UMD has a general 1,000 to 2,000-word Statement of Purpose for all programs. Within the Statement of Purpose, the HCIM program wants you to respond specifically to one or two of three prompts listed in the Supplementary Application. This will help you provide specific details to showcase your work and your thinking about HCI.

Prompts - Choose ONE or TWO of the following prompts to discuss within your Statement of Purpose in relation to your past work:

  1.  Prospective HCI students typically have some level of interest in interaction or visual design. You may have experience creating sketches, diagrams, workflows, mock-ups, or prototypes for websites, mobile apps, or other product designs. Please describe an example of the work you did in this area. Describe your process, major elements of the design and important design decisions and their rationale. 
     
  2. The study of human-computer interaction and user experience is interdisciplinary and draws on a variety of fields, such as psychology, sociology, anthropology, education, and information science to ask and answer questions about people and technology. Select and describe an example of a specific situation in which you formulated a question and applied quantitative and/or qualitative methods to collect and analyze relevant data. This could be an academic research project, or it could be product evaluation or user testing. Describe your process and major findings. *Note: Please do not include market research. 
     
  3. Prospective HCI students often have some level of technical experience building front-end user interfaces and/or back-end programming. This may include: a. Front-end user interfaces - e.g., HTML/CSS/JavaScript, Swift, Java, etc. b. Back-end programming - e.g., application servers, databases, search engines, etc. c. Content management systems, e.g., Drupal, Joomla, WordPress, etc. Please help us understand your technical experience and problem-solving approaches by describing a technical project or assignment. Describe the objective, your approach, challenges and what you produced. For your example, you can draw on a course assignment or a professional or personal project.

 
After you have responded to 1 or 2 prompts about your past work, feel free to use the remaining words in your 1,000 to 2,000-word Statement of Purpose as you wish to present a fuller picture of your interests and experiences. 

► HCIM's Required Supplementary Application

As part of the Statement of Purpose (1,000 to 2,000 words), you are asked to describe your reasons for studying at UMCP and your past work. When describing your past work, you must respond to ONE or TWO of the following three prompts and explain how it illustrates your interests and shows your potential for a career in HCI or UX. In the rest of your Statement, you are free to choose what to discuss and how to organize it, within the general guidelines for the Statement of Purpose.

Prompts - Choose ONE or TWO of the following prompts to discuss within your Statement of Purpose in relation to your past work:

  1. Prospective HCI students typically have some level of interest in interaction or visual design. You may have experience creating sketches, diagrams, workflows, mock-ups, or prototypes for websites, mobile apps, or other product designs. Please describe an example of the work you did in this area. Describe your process, major elements of the design and important design decisions and their rationale.
     
  2. The study of human-computer interaction and user experience is interdisciplinary and draws on a variety of fields, such as psychology, sociology, anthropology, education, and information science to ask and answer questions about people and technology. Select and describe an example of a specific situation in which you formulated a question and applied quantitative and/or qualitative methods to collect and analyze relevant data. This could be an academic research project, or it could be product evaluation or user testing. Describe your process and major findings. *Note: Please do not include market research.
     
  3. Prospective HCI students often have some level of technical experience building front-end user interfaces and/or back-end programming. This may include:
    1. Front-end user interfaces - e.g., HTML/CSS/JavaScript, Swift, Java, etc.
    2. Back-end programming - e.g., application servers, databases, search engines, etc.
    3. Content management systems, e.g., Drupal, Joomla, WordPress, etc.

Please help us understand your technical experience and problem-solving approaches by describing a technical project or assignment. Describe the objective, your approach, challenges and what you produced. For your example, you can draw on a course assignment or a professional or personal project.

► Selecting References

Recommendation letters help us estimate if you will be successful in the HCIM program. It is in your best interest to request that your recommenders focus on your predilection for information management. Recommendations should be provided by faculty and employers who can best speak to your ability to succeed in this graduate program. Note that recommendations should not come from family, friends, or peers.

Individuals who know you well and have completed technical graduate programs are best able to comment on your capacity for graduate school and information management. If you have been out of school for a while, references with current knowledge about your strengths and skills will be more effective than professors whose knowledge is limited to your past academic performance.

► Tips for Writing your Statement of Purpose and Supplementary Application

The Statement of Purpose and Supplementary Application are the primary way of telling us about your experiences, interests, and goals in joining our program, so please be open and honest.

Keep in mind:

  • Authentic essays help us understand you as an applicant. We are interested in learning about you and how a HCIM degree can shape your future.
  • We value academic integrity, so avoid presenting us with unoriginal work (purchased, written, edited, or borrowed from other sources).
  • Express yourself clearly and concisely! Avoid advanced vocabulary words that are meant to impress.
  • Avoid repetition. If you already said it on the statement of purpose, don't repeat it in the supplementary application.