Master of Human-Computer Interaction & Design
Human computer interaction & design is a new and growing field wherein students learn how users interact with computers. Graduates are prepared for high-paying careers designing interactions between human beings and computers.
Degree information for a Master of Human-Computer Interaction & Design
This master's degree program focuses on the interaction between human beings (users) and computers. While there is no specific prerequisite bachelor's degree, background experience in computer science is useful. Within this 1-2 year program, students take a combination of classes in computer science, cognitive science, and design.
Introduction to Human-Computer Interaction & Design
Because human-computer interaction & design (HCI/d) is a brand new field, students begin their studies by tracing the roots of HCI/d in a range of fields (including psychology, philosophy, design and new media). Students read and debate the latest academic literature in the field. They are introduced to the complexities of creating interactive systems.
In this course, students observe how users interact with existing technology to better understand the principles of good and bad design. Students learn the qualitative and quantitative research techniques they need to conduct research for their own projects. Graduate students work in a lab where they can practice their newfound skills by conducting user experience testing for a project of their choice.
Designing Information Experiences
In the field of HCI/d, students learn to view computers as environments rather than as mere tools. They study the difference between designing user experiences and designing interfaces. As they learn the philosophical and anthropological foundations of human experiences with computers, they apply their knowledge by designing digital environments.
In the Ideation Studio course, students learn to work together to brainstorm great ideas for user-centered designs. Students learn to create and evaluate which ideas are promising enough to prototype. They engage with hands-on activities that reflect the process of user experience designers in the workplace.
Visual Thinking classes develop a student's understanding of the use of digital images in interaction design. Students learn advanced skills in digital image creation and manipulation, visual thinking and reasoning. It is a studio-based class wherein students complete projects and discuss their results.
As they navigate the design process, students need a way to translate their newfound theoretical knowledge of design into real-world practice. In this lab-based class, students begin to prototype user-interface designs. Topics include various techniques for improving designers prototypes, like cognitive walkthroughs, heuristic evaluation, and interaction criticism.
All students in the master's program complete a capstone project during their final semester. Students choose a problem that they can solve by designing an interactive system. Students work with industry partners and mentors to research, design, prototype, and evaluate their product/solution. At the end of the semester, they produce a portfolio to present their project as a comprehensive solution to their chosen problem.
Jobs with a Master of Human-Computer Interaction & Design
User Experience Designer
A user experience designer's goal is to improve a user's experience of a product. HCI/d graduates can work for massive corporations or startups with a single product. They brainstorm ideas, conduct user-testing research, evaluate designs and implement user-centered solutions.
Every company that produces physical or digital products hires designers to brainstorm product design and ensure maximum customer satisfaction. Product designers must stay updated with market trends, conduct user research and prototype product ideas. A master's degree in HCI/d prepares students with the research, design, prototyping and communication skills to rise to the top in a product design career
For students with skills in computer programming, a strong background in HCI/d can prepare graduates to rise to the top of a software development firm. Developers with an HCI/d master's degree have the skills to apply design principles to their software products, which makes them highly valued among startups and large technology companies.
A master's degree in HCI/d offers students advanced experience in usability research and testing. Students who enjoy the research aspect of the program can apply their skills by conducting research for computer software companies. User experience researchers find ways to improve user-interaction and increase customer loyalty and satisfaction.
|Careers with a Master's in Statistics||Median Salary (2019)*|
|User Experience Designer||$73,798|
|User Experience Researcher||$86,389|
Human-computer interaction & design master's programs are interdisciplinary, incorporating philosophy, psychology, computer science, research skills and design into one program. Due to the many skills students practice within the program, graduates are well-prepared to succeed in a variety of work environments.