Master of Science in Human-Computer Interaction

General

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Program Description

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Overview

Explore the design methods, evaluation, and implementation of interactive computing systems for human use. Building on decades of research in psychology and human behavior, the human-computer interaction master’s degree focuses on the skills needed by user-experience researchers and computing professionals, including observing how people interact with websites and software and the design new technologies to help them accomplish their goals. With computing moving rapidly away from the traditional desktop, companies need professionals that understand how evolving technologies can be designed to be intuitive, effective, and compelling for users.

Human-computer interaction 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 MS 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.

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.

Electives

Students choose up to three electives, depending on which capstone option they choose to complete.

Program electives

Students select two elective courses. In select cases, students can petition for approval to include a course complementary to the degree program as a program elective.

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 application domain areas. A special topic option is also available, with faculty approval, for individuals with interest in other HCI-related areas.

Self-defined Application Domain

Design your own concentration.

Web Development

Study the foundations of web technologies, enabling students to better understand how The Internet can be built to improve the experience of a diverse range of end-users.

Geographical Information Science and Technology

Research how digital technology is revolutionizing how humans view earth with topics in thematic cartography and geographic visualization.

e-Learning Technologies

The recent boom in online learning has created a need for professionals to design such systems. Students learn the fundamentals of instructional technology and interactive courseware.

Smart Device Application Design & Development

Smart devices are no longer limited to phones. Design and study human interaction with cutting edge mobile technology.

Thesis/Capstone project

Students may complete a thesis or capstone project. This experience is meant to be an empirical study of an 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.

Industries

  • Internet and Software
  • Design
  • Research
  • Scientific and Technical Consulting

Typical Job Titles

  • Usability Analyst
  • User Experience Designer
  • Human Factors Engineer
  • Usability Specialist
  • Web Designer
  • Interaction Designer
  • Information Architect

Curriculum

Human-Computer Interaction (capstone project option), MS degree, typical course sequence

First Year

  • HCIN-600 Research Methods
  • HCIN-610 Foundations of Human-Computer Interaction
  • HCIN-620 Information and Interaction Design
  • HCIN-630 Usability Testing
  • HCIN-794 MS Human-Computer Interaction Capstone Proposal
  • Application Domain Courses
  • Program Elective

Second Year

  • HCIN-795 MS HCI Project
  • Program Elective

Human-Computer Interaction (thesis option), MS degree, typical course sequence

First Year

  • HCIN-600 Research Methods
  • HCIN-610 Foundations of Human-Computer Interaction
  • HCIN-620 Information and Interaction Design
  • HCIN-630 Usability Testing
  • Application Domain Courses
  • Program Electives

Second Year

  • HCIN-796 MS HCI Thesis

Application domain courses

  • eLearning technologies
  • Geographic information science and technology
  • Smart device application design and development
  • Web development

Admission Requirements

To be considered for admission to the MS program in human-computer interaction, candidates must fulfill the following requirements:

  • Complete a graduate application.
  • Hold a baccalaureate degree (or equivalent) from an accredited university or college.
  • Have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 (or equivalent). Applicants with a GPA below 3.0 may be considered, but are required to submit standard GRE scores.
  • Submit official transcripts (in English) of all previously completed undergraduate and graduate course work.
  • Submit a current resume or curriculum vitae.
  • Submit two letters of recommendation from academic or professional sources.
  • Have a prior study or professional experience in computing; however, a study in other disciplines will be given consideration.
  • International applicants whose native language is not English must submit scores from the TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE. A minimum TOEFL score of 88 (internet-based) is required. A minimum IELTS score of 6.5 is required. The English language test score requirement is waived for native speakers of English or for those submitting transcripts from degrees earned at American institutions.
  • Applicants with undergraduate degrees from foreign universities are required to submit GRE scores.
Last updated May 2020

About the School

With more than 80 graduate programs in high-paying, in-demand fields and scholarships, assistantships and fellowships available, we invite you to take a closer look at RIT. Don't be fooled by the word ... Read More

With more than 80 graduate programs in high-paying, in-demand fields and scholarships, assistantships and fellowships available, we invite you to take a closer look at RIT. Don't be fooled by the word "technology" in our name. At RIT, you will discover a university of artists and designers on the one hand, and scientists, engineers, and business leaders on the other – a collision of the right brain and the left brain. Read less