Back to school: HCI & higher education

XII.5 September + October 2005
Page: 38
Digital Citation

HCI programs

Jonathan Arnowitz, Elizabeth Dykstra-Erickson

back to top  DePaul University

What is your school? The School of Computer Science, Telecommunications and Information Systems (CTI) at DePaul University offers BS and MS degrees in Human-Computer Interaction. In addition to HCI, the School of CTI offers 16 graduate degrees and 13 undergraduate degrees in technology. DePaul University is nationally recognized for its emphasis on teaching and a "learn-by-doing" approach that incorporates work-study programs, internships and community service into its curricula. With enrollment growing more than a third in the past decade, DePaul is among the nation's ten largest private universities and CTI is the largest school of information technology in the country.

Where is it located? DePaul University has two main campuses within the city of Chicago, Illinois, USA and five satellite campuses throughout the metropolitan area. The School of CTI is located on the Loop campus in downtown Chicago. Courses in the HCI programs are generally offered there. A few courses are offered through distance learning and may be taken by students anywhere in the world.

What do you have to offer students (with cost information)? The undergraduate degree is interdisciplinary, emphasizing fundamentals in information technology, graphics, and psychology. It is part of a comprehensive liberal studies program. The graduate degree is oriented towards students pursuing professional HCI careers. Required courses cover methods and techniques for user research, interaction design, visual design, usability evaluation, and system implementation. In addition to core HCI courses, both programs draw upon courses among the school's many programs including computer graphics and animation, information systems, computer science, e-commerce technologies, and instructional technology systems. The graduate program offers preparatory courses for students who do not have any background in HCI or information technology.

Cost of study: Graduate-level costs are $2,140 per course, totaling $27,820 to complete the 13 courses required by the degree. Undergraduate costs are $1476 per course or $19,700 per year for full-time students. Ninety percent of students receive some form of financial aid, via loans, scholarships, or assistantships.

For students with HCI-related coursework or experience, the preparatory courses for the graduate program are frequently waived. Also, practicing HCI professionals may enroll in graduate-level courses as a non-degree-seeking student. The costs per course are the same as for students pursuing a degree.

What do you have to offer people already working as HCI practitioners (with cost information)? See above.

What are the dates and deadlines for the next available admissions? There are no stringent deadlines but rather "suggested guidelines" for applying. It is highly recommended that students submit the application with enough time so that the application can be evaluated before the quarter begins. Admissions will accept an application at any time and does its best to provide an admission decision before the anticipated quarter begins. Below are suggested guidelines:

If your last degree was earned:

In the USA: two to three weeks before quarter begins

Outside the USA, but you live in the USA: one to two months before quarter begins

Outside the USA, and you live abroad: three to four months before quarter begins

Contact person: For more information about DePaul CTI's programs, please contact Maureen Garvey, Director of Graduate Admissions, via email at or via telephone at 312.362.8714. For information specific to the HCI programs, contact Dr. Craig Miller ( or Dr. Adam Steele (

back to top  University of Texas at Austin

What is your school? The University of Texas at Austin School of Information

Where is it located? Austin, Texas, USA

What do you have to offer students (with cost information)? Master of Science in Information Studies (usually takes two years) has been accredited by the American Library Association (

A PhD usually takes four years, when thenew student has a master's degree.

A semester tends to cost about $7500, including in-state tuition, fees, and living expenses. Out-of-state tuition increases those costs by about $4500 per semester.

Part of the HCI curriculum will be the opportunity to meet with and hear from local HCI/usability practitioners, and a chance for a capstone experience whereby the student performs an industrial-strength piece of user interface design or evaluation work for some industry, educational, or government entity. Professional internships are not required, but frequently a part of a student's curriculum.

What do you have to offer people already working as HCI practitioners (with cost information)? We offer an Endorsement of Specialization (EOS) as an opportunity for formal recognition of a student's having taken coursework beyond the basic 40 semester credit hours required of the master's of Information Studies. The endorsement attests that the student has successfully completed 12 semester credit hours of planned, cohesive study. A student may acquire an EOS in Human-Computer Interaction & Information Architecture or in User Behavior.

What are the dates and deadlines for the next available admissions? Students can begin the pursuit of their master's degree in the School of Information in any semester. Application deadlines are April 15 for the fall or summer semester, and October 1 for the spring semester.

For doctoral applicants, the deadlines are October 1 for the spring semester, December 1 for the summer semester, and December 15 for the fall semester.

Contact person: Dr. Phil Doty, Graduate Advisor

back to top  Carnegie Mellon University

What is your school? The Human-Computer Interaction Institute at Carnegie Mellon University is a uniquely diverse institution, with over 30 faculty from Computer Science, Design, Psychology, Social and Decision Sciences, Robotics, English, and Business Administration, four of whom have been elected to the CHI Academy. The Masters in HCI program trains professionals to work in interdisciplinary teams, using techniques from the behavioral sciences, engineering, and design, to create effective and enjoyable computer-based systems

Where is it located? Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA

What do you have to offer students (with cost information)? The HCI Institute offers a 12-month professional master's in HCI. Its core courses in HCI Methods, Interaction and Interface Design, and Programming Usable Interfaces or Software Architectures for User Interfaces, come together in an eight-month capstone project course sponsored by external clients. Individual programs of study are personally crafted from electives in all departments of the university. Reflecting a commitment to the professional development of our students, all MHCI students are subsidized to attend the CHI conference in the semester before they graduate.

The MHCI student body is as diverse as our faculty, with students coming from computer science, design, the behavioral sciences, and the humanities. The collegial environment, with many opportunities for group work, makes learning from each other as easy and beneficial as learning through courses, studios, and seminars. Tuition is approximately $14,000/term for this three-term course of study.

The MHCI is a terminal, professional Masters degree for practitioners dedicated to making our lives better through development of digital products in industry. CMU's HCII also offers a doctoral program; people interested in HCI research should apply to that program.

What do you have to offer people already working as HCI practitioners (with cost information)? The majority of MHCI students have worked in industry as an HCI practitioner or other related field before attending school at the HCII. Professionals choosing to attend part-time pay approximately $400/unit (most courses are nine to 12 units). Students are expected to spend 48 hours per week working on the capstone project in their last summer in the program, which may be incompatible with full-time employment elsewhere.

What are the dates and deadlines for the next available admissions? Admission applications are due in January 2006, for entry into the program in August 2006.

Contact person:

Ms. Queenie Kravitz, Graduate Program Coordinator, Master of Human-Computer Interaction Program, Carnegie Mellon University, 5000 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3891
Phone: 412.268.2564; Fax: 412.268.1266

back to top  University of Michigan

What is your school? The School of Information (SI) at the University of Michigan offers a master's of Science in Information (MSI) with a specialty in Human Computer Interaction, one of five specialties in the school. We also offer a PhD.

Where is it located? SI is located in Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA

What do you have to offer students (with cost information)? The Masters program is a 48-credit-hour program, typically completed in four semesters over two years, although we have a number of students who do the program on a part-time basis. In-state tuition is $6,373 per semester; out-of-state tuition is $12,906.

What you have to offer people already working as HCI practitioners (with cost information)? The program requires four integrative foundations courses, required of all MSI students in the school, covering topics such as Contextual Inquiry, Search and Retrieval, Collections and Organizations, and Choice and Learning. HCI students then are required to take Design, Evaluation, and Fundamentals of Human Behavior, plus two other HCI courses from a set of ten offered. Many students do an internship in the summer between their first and second years. We offer no special certificate program for those already in the profession.

What are the dates and deadlines for the next available admissions? Applications for fall enrollment are due February 1 for consideration of financial aid, and May 1 if not. For winter enrollment (much smaller), the deadline for admission and financial aid is October 1 (September 1 for International students) and November 1 for regular admission.

Contact person:

Judy Olson ( is the head of the HCI program

Judy Lawson ( is the director of student services.

back to top  University of Missouri, Rolla

What is your school? The University of Missouri, Rolla (UMR), Missouri's Technological University, is one of the nation's premier technological research universities.

Where is it located? UMR is a 284-acre campus located in Rolla, Missouri, USA, a town of 16,000 in the heart of the Ozark Mountains. Rolla is surrounded by state parks where you can hike, swim, canoe, bike, camp, or simply enjoy the scenery. Rolla was ranked one of the best 100 small towns in the US and the number-one small town in Missouri, in Norm Crampton's, Best Small Towns in America.

What do you have to offer students (with cost information)? There is a special emphasis track in Human-Computer Interaction within the BS degree in Information Science and Technology (IST). The emphasis area includes three courses: Introduction to HCI, HCI Prototyping, and HCI Evaluation. In addition, a user-centered design theme runs through many other courses within the IST BS curriculum. There are also a number of opportunities for students to participate in HCI research projects, as well as opportunities to communicate with industry professionals both in and out of the classroom. We are also currently working on establishing internships with industrial partners. The program is housed within the department of Information Science and Technology in the School of Management and Information Systems.

What do you have to offer people already working as HCI practitioners (with cost information)? For those already working in the HCI field, who need additional certification, we offer a graduate HCI certificate, which consists of three core courses (HCI, HCI Prototyping, and HCI Interaction) and an additional elective in a specialized HCI area. For those who are seeking a graduate degree we offer an MS degree in Information Science and Technology, where students have the option to emphasize Human-Computer Interaction in their course work and in their research.

Additional Information (admissions dates, fees, etc.)

Contact person: Richard H. Hall, Professor, Information Science and Technology at

back to top  Technical University of Eindhoven

What is your school? The User-System Interaction (USI) program of the Technische Universiteit Eindhoven (the Netherlands) is a two-year design program for graduates with a master's degree in the engineering or behavioral sciences.

The overall goal of the USI program is to provide graduates with the skills and capabilities to design innovative user system interactions for new products and services in the domain of information, communication, and network technology. Graduates of the USI program receive the degree of professional doctorate in Engineering (PDEng), which is accredited by the Royal Netherlands Institute of Engineers.

Where it is located? The USI program is located on the campus of the Technische Universiteit Eindhoven in the center of Eindhoven, the Netherlands. The technische Universiteit Eindhoven is one of Europe's leading technical universities. Eindhoven is located in the center of a geographical area in which many high-tech companies are cooperating with the university in joint R&D projects.

What do you have to offer students (with cost information)? The USI program offers students:

  • a full scholarship. This scholarship constitutes a two-year salaried position at the Technische Universiteit Eindhoven, including employee benefits and tuition waiver
  • high-quality training by international recognized experts in the User System Interaction domain and in the supporting engineering disciplines
  • a combination of 14 months of study, followed by a nine months internship in an industrial R&D environment.
  • two years of working experience in multidisciplinary and multinational teams.

What you have to offer people already working as HCI practitioners? See above.

What are the dates and deadlines for the next available admissions? The next available admissions procedure start in January 2006 for the program starting in October 2006. More information is available on the Web site - admission.

Contact person:

Secretary User System Interaction
phone +31 (0)40 2475230
fax +31 (0)40 2475291

back to top  Savannah College of Art and Design

What is your school? The Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) exists to prepare talented students for careers in the visual and performing arts, design, the building arts, and the history of art and architecture. The college emphasizes learning through individual attention in a positively oriented environment.

Where is it located? Savannah, Georgia, USA

What you have to offer students (with cost information)? While SCAD offers a number of majors, the School of Design offers an undergraduate minor in interaction design. Interaction design involves the creation of a representational dialogue between people and intelligent products, environments and communications encountered in everyday human experience.

Open to students of all majors, the interaction design minor focuses on the convergence and integration of digital media and traditional product design. The curriculum covers aesthetics, usability and creativity.

Additionally, graduate students taking courses in any major may elect to take part in the interaction design courses for elective credits, and non-degree-seeking students may enroll to take individual courses at SCAD.

As products become more complicated (often due to technology), designers face new challenges in gaining strong user acceptance. The number of people that use and develop products powered by some sort of technology continues to grow; these new systems are more functional and robust than ever, providing more features, functionality, and capabilities.

However, with the added complexity, the new generation of products is becoming more difficult to understand and use. As a result, users become more frustrated, unhappy and less productive. Large portions of functionality in the complicated software products and consumer electronics go unused, and products often fail in the consumer world due to their unnecessarily complicated user interfaces.

What you have to offer people already working as HCI practitioners (with cost information)? See above.

What are the dates and deadlines for the next available admissions? Applications are accepted on a rolling basis; SCAD operates on the quarter system, with summer quarter beginning on June 20 and fall quarter beginning in September.

Contact person: Questions about the Interaction program can be directed to Jon Kolko:

back to top  University of Hamburg

What is your school? HCI Group & Software Technology Group, Department for Informatics, University of Hamburg

Where is it located? The Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg is Germany's second largest city with 1.8 million inhabitants and a total of four million living in the Greater Hamburg Metropolitan Region. Its harbor is the second largest in Europe, and Hamburg is also strong in the publishing and Internet businesses. The University of Hamburg dates back to 1767; with some 38,000 students, it is the fifth largest university in Germany.

What do you have to offer students (with cost information)? The department for Informatics in Hamburg is switching from the traditional German diploma education to a new bachelor/master program in fall 2005. Special master's programs for Software Architecture and Interactive Systems are in preparation.

What you have to offer people already working as HCI practitioners (with cost information)? Courses in HCI and software engineering, usability engineering and extreme programming can be individually arranged through HITeC e.V.

What are the dates and deadlines for the next available admissions? Application dates: summer semester: 1 December to 15 January; winter semester: 1 June to 15 July

Contact person:

Prof. Dr. Horst Oberquelle

Prof. Dr. Christiane Floyd

Department for Informatics
University of Hamburg
Vogt-Kölln-Str. 30
22537 Hamburg

back to top  Figures

UF1Figure. CTI building at DePaul University

UF2Figure. University of Texas at Austin

UF3Figure. NSH building at Carnegie Mellon University

UF4Figure. West Hall at the University of Michigan

UF5Figure. Gulfstream Center for Design at the Savannah College of Art and Design

UF6Figure. Aerial view of Hamburg University's main campus.

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