Written By - Bob Litt

Edited By Darryl S.

Review & Contribution By Brian Bliss

Human-computer interaction (HCI) involves constructing and implementing user-friendly interfaces and technologies that cater to individual needs. HCI professionals analyze user tasks to simplify interfaces and enhance satisfaction. These interfaces integrate auditory and visual elements, such as sound recognition, graphic animations, and cutting-edge technology. HCI programs combine computer science, ergonomics, psychology, cognitive sciences, and linguistics. Students learn cognition and perception principles to design effective interfaces, develop data collection and troubleshooting skills, and understand potential issues with specialized technology. They also gain visual design knowledge for prototyping and acquire basic research skills in HCI.

Online HCI Masters

Table Of Contents

Featured Online Programs

Southern New Hampshire University

PROGRAM: Online Masters Degrees

Southern New Hampshire University is a private, nonprofit, accredited institution with more than 3,000 on-campus students and over 60,000 online students, making us one of the fastest-growing universities in the country. Founded in 1932, we’ve been relentlessly reinventing higher education ever since and have gained national recognition for our dedication to helping students transform their lives and the lives of those around them.

We’re proud to provide affordable, accessible education that students can pursue on our 300-acre campus in Manchester, NH, over our innovative online platform or at our regional centers in Manchester, Nashua, Portsmouth and Salem, NH, and Brunswick, ME.

SNHU has earned the GetEducated.com Best Buy and Best of Business – Best Online Degree awards and is consistently ranked as a top Military Friendly® School by G.I Jobs®.

Best Online HCI Master’s Programs

A few of the biggest dilemmas while deciding to do a master’s in Human-Computer Interactions are which program to pursue, which school to pick, and which university to enroll in. And then there are other considerations such as cost, placements, starting salary, employment rates, acceptance rates, etc. The OMC team went through all these matrices, used a unique methodology, and created a list of the best online master’s in operations research programs:

<a href="https://www.onlinemasterscolleges.com/online-hci-masters/">Masters in Human Computer Interaction </a>

Code copied successfully!

College Name & AddressTuitionGraduation Rate
Iowa State University
1750 Beardshear Hall, Ames, Iowa 50011
University of California-Irvine
501 Aldrich Hall, Irvine, California 92697
DePaul University
1 E Jackson Blvd, Chicago, Illinois 60604
Bentley University
175 Forest St, Waltham, Massachusetts 02452
University of Southern California
University Park, Los Angeles, California 90089
Kent State University at Kent
Executive Office, 2nd Floor Library, Kent, Ohio 44242
University of Wisconsin-Madison
500 Lincoln Dr, Madison, Wisconsin 53706
University of Baltimore
Charles at Mount Royal, Baltimore, Maryland 21201
Brandeis University
415 South St, Waltham, Massachusetts 02454
Carnegie Mellon University(on-campus)
5000 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15213
University of Washington(on-campus)
1400 NE Campus Parkway, Seattle, Washington 98195
Stanford University(on-campus)
Stanford, California 94305
Georgia Institute of Technology(on-campus)
225 North Ave, Atlanta, Georgia 30332
Massachusetts Institute of Technology(on-campus)
77 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139

Source – Integrated Post Secondary Education Data System & University Data
*Tuition rates are for in-state and per year. Program specific rates may apply.
**NA – data not available

Understanding Human-Computer Interaction Master’s Programs

A Master’s in Human-Computer Interaction Design offers a unique graduate experience shaping professionals for the future of design. The program navigates the evolving technology landscape, emphasizing how computer systems support people in various settings. This intensive two-year journey focuses on crafting engaging user experiences, meeting stakeholders’ needs, enhancing communication, and enriching users’ lives. Graduates culminate their studies with a capstone project, showcasing their expertise in a chosen design space. This master’s program is generally classified as STEM, emphasizing science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

Curriculum and Skills Gained in Master’s in Human-Computer Interaction Programs

A master’s in HCI would have common coursework for most credits, but some concentration courses would vary depending on the course’s specialization. Below are a few typical courses in a master’s in HCI online program:

Fundamentals of Instructional Technology

Instructional Technology encompasses the basic processes for developing and delivering instruction. Instructional Systems Design (ISD)  is a well-established methodology for describing knowledge and skills and developing instructional systems to convey knowledge effectively. This course enables the student to be able to plan, organize, and systematically develop instructional materials. The course uses an ISD model to analyze, design,  deliver, and evaluate instruction.

Geographic Information Science and Technology

This course surveys the theory, concepts, and technologies related to the representation and understanding of the earth – a   scientific domain known as Geographic Information Science and Technology (GIS  & T). Students will gain hands-on experience with technologies such as   Global Positioning Systems (GPSs), Geographic Information Systems (GISs),  remote sensing, spatial data science and analysis, and web mapping.   Furthermore, students will learn relevant GIS & T theory, concepts, and research trends such as spatial reasoning, spatiotemporal data representation, and spatial analysis.

Geographic Visualization

This course will provide in-depth exposure to advanced topics in biomedical informatics and knowledge discovery. Large datasets will illustrate and explore methods for transforming data into information and integrating information with domain knowledge. Topics will include high-throughput technologies in genomics, descriptive and inferential statistics, machine learning, visualization, and human-computer interaction.

Prototyping Wearable and Internet of Things Devices

Wearable computers and Internet of Things devices involve both hardware and software. To design user experiences for these systems,  professionals must understand how they are built. Students will learn to rapidly prototype and evaluate wearable and IoT devices combining hardware and software. Experience in programming is helpful but not a prerequisite.

Human-Computer Interaction with Mobile, Wearable, and Ubiquitous Devices

Mobile phones are now a major computing platform, and wearable and Internet of Things devices are emerging as major technologies.  Each device offers different interaction opportunities and challenges.   Students will learn about the research in interaction with these devices and how to design effective interactions for mobile, wearable, and ubiquitous devices.

User-Centered Design Methods

This course focuses on the major user-centered design methodologies in developing applications and environments.  Topics include the evolution of software design methods, the emergence of user-centered design, and key concepts, attributes, and processes of the major design methodologies. Software design projects will be required.

Upon successful completion of a master’s degree in Human-Computer Interaction, students would have acquired the following skills:

  • User interface design
  • Data collection and analysis
  • Troubleshooting and problem-solving
  • Understanding of specialized technology and software
  • Visual design
  • Research skills
  • User-centered design approach
  • Usability testing and evaluation
  • Prototyping and wireframing
  • Collaboration and teamwork
  • Communication and presentation skills

Master’s in Human-Computer Interaction Degree Types

The Master’s in Human-Computer Interaction degree types include Master of Science (MS), Master of Arts (MA), and Master of Human-Computer Interaction (MHCI) programs, each offering diverse focuses and curriculum emphases. These degrees prepare students for user experience design, interface development, and usability research careers.

Master’s in Human-Computer Interaction (MHCI)

An online master’s in Human-Computer Interaction focuses on implementing interactive computer and computing-based systems for human benefit. Merging the fields of computer science and social and behavioral sciences, the master’s program in Human-Computer Interaction degree emphasizes how students can make computing technologies more user-friendly. Students conduct team and project-based learning through designing software applications and user technologies for their degree.

Master of Arts in Human-Computer Interaction

The Master of Arts in Human-Computer Interaction (MA) explores the design, evaluation, and implementation of interactive computing systems. Rooted at the intersection of computer science, behavioral sciences, and design, the program integrates service and design thinking. Graduates are equipped to shape the future of human-technology interactions through practical skills and theoretical understandings.

Master of Science in Human-Computer Interaction

The Master of Science in Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) program explores the advanced study of designing, evaluating, and implementing interactive computing systems. Based on computer science, psychology, and design, this program equips graduates with specialized knowledge to shape user experiences, interface design, and human-centered technologies for the evolving digital landscape.

Specializations in Master’s in Human-Computer Interaction Programs

An online master’s program in HCI will open a world of specializations in that field of study. Below are a few of those specializations:

Area of FocusDescriptionCareers This Concentration Prepares For
Interaction DesignIn this specialization, students delve into creating meaningful interactions between users and digital systems, focusing on usability, user engagement, and the seamless integration of technology into everyday life.User Experience (UX) Designers, Interaction Design Specialists, and Usability Analysts.
Mobile Interaction DesignThis specialization addresses the unique challenges of designing user interfaces for mobile devices, emphasizing responsive and user-friendly experiences tailored to diverse mobile platforms.Mobile User Interface (UI) Designers, App User Experience (UX) Designers, and Mobile Interaction Design Consultants.
Accessibility and Inclusive DesignFocusing on creating digital interfaces for diverse user needs, this specialization ensures accessibility and inclusivity, promoting designs that cater to a wide range of users, including those with disabilities.Accessibility Specialist, Inclusive Design Consultants, and User Experience (UX) Accessibility Analysts
Healthcare User ExperienceApplying human-computer interaction principles to healthcare, this specialization optimizes digital tools for medical professionals and patients to enhance efficiency, accessibility, and user satisfaction in healthcare settings.Healthcare User Experience (UX) Designers, Medical Software Interface Designers, and Health Technology User Researchers.
Social Impact DesignExploring the intersection of technology and societal challenges, this specialization leverages human-computer interaction to address social issues, striving to create a positive and meaningful impact through innovative and inclusive design approaches.Social Impact Designers, Humanitarian UX Specialists, and Design for Good Consultants.

Timeline For Graduating From Online HCI Master’s Programs

Most master’s in HCI online typically takes between 16 and 24 months, while many accelerated master’s programs require just one year of study after students have completed their bachelor’s. In doing an accelerated program, students can save money on tuition. Typically, for a master’s in interior design, students must take around 36 total credits to complete the course.

Accelerated HCI Programs

Accelerated master’s programs in Human-Computer Interaction offer a streamlined pathway for students to complete their degree efficiently in a shorter time frame. These programs are meticulously designed to motivate motivated and committed students to complete their studies and graduate sooner. To expedite their program, students may opt for an increased course load, including summer or intensive courses, to hasten their progress. Additionally, they may be able to transfer credits from prior coursework or relevant professional experiences, reducing the time required to obtain the degree.

Certain accelerated programs may provide condensed or streamlined curriculum plans emphasizing essential coursework, omitting elective requirements. This allows students to focus on their program’s core components and efficiently fulfill their degree requirements. The Carnegie Mellon University[1] is an excellent example of a university offering an accelerated master’s in human-computer interaction.

Admission Requirements For Online HCI Master’s Programs

Admission requirements for online Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) master’s programs in the U.S. may vary among institutions, but common requirements often include:

Bachelor’s Degree:

A completed undergraduate degree, typically in a related field such as computer science, psychology, design, or a relevant discipline.


Official transcripts from all previous academic institutions attended.


A minimum GPA requirement, often around 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.

Letters of Recommendation:

Typically, two to three letters of recommendation from academic or professional sources who can attest to the applicant’s qualifications.


A detailed resume or curriculum vitae highlighting relevant academic and professional experience.

Statement of Purpose:

A written statement outlining the applicant’s academic and career goals and their interest in pursuing an HCI master’s program.

Work Experience:

Some programs may require or prefer applicants to have relevant work experience, particularly in fields related to HCI.


A portfolio showcasing the applicant’s previous work in design, user experience, or related areas may be required for programs with a design emphasis.

GRE Scores:

Some programs may require Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores, though this requirement is becoming less common.

English Proficiency Test Scores:

For international students, proof of English proficiency through tests such as TOEFL or IELTS may be required.


An interview may be part of the admission process, allowing the program to assess the applicant’s suitability and motivations for pursuing HCI.

Coding/Technical Skills:

Some programs may require evidence of coding or technical skills, especially for those with a more technical focus.

Prospective students should check the specific requirements of the HCI program they are interested in, as these can vary widely among institutions. Additionally, contacting the admissions office for the most accurate and up-to-date information is advisable.

Accreditation for Online HCI Master’s Programs

Accreditation is a vetting process wherein an institution has been evaluated by an independent accrediting body and found to meet the high standards of a rigorous education. Thus, accreditation, in essence, is enforcement of quality. Hence, to ensure that the industry and fraternity recognize the degrees they are getting into, and more importantly, to be eligible for US federal student aid2, one must ensure that the institution one is enrolling in is accredited by one of the federally recognized accreditation bodies3.

Most colleges also gain regional accreditation by one of the following accrediting authorities:

Free Human-Computer Interaction Courses

Numerous online platforms offer free Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) programs; however, they usually do not culminate in a comprehensive master’s degree. These programs, often provided as certificate programs or standalone modules, are designed for current students, professionals, or enthusiasts who wish to enhance their knowledge and skills in HCI. Below are a few free courses in HCI that may interest some students:

CourseHuman-Computer Interaction10
Provided byUdacity
DescriptionThis course is an introductory course on human-computer interaction, covering the principles, techniques, and open areas of development in HCI.
CourseHuman-Computer Interaction I: Fundamentals & Design Principles 11
Provided byedX
DescriptionThis course covers the initial eight lessons of CS6750: Human-Computer Interaction from the Georgia Tech Online Master of Science in Computer Science program. It covers the fundamentals and explores HCI’s connections to user experience design, user interface design, human factors engineering, and psychology.
CourseHuman-Computer Interaction 12
Provided byClass Central
Description(University of California, San Diego): In this course, students learn crafting technologies that elicit joy rather than frustration in users. They will be taught various techniques for swiftly creating prototypes and assessing multiple interface options. Rapid prototyping and comparative evaluation will be emphasized in achieving exceptional interaction design. Furthermore, students will learn how to conduct fieldwork to gather design ideas through interactions with individuals. 

How to Pay for Online HCI Master’s Programs

Paying for online Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) Master’s programs can be daunting due to their costs. Many students grapple with the financial aspect and seek ways to enroll without breaking the bank. Exploring financial aid options, scholarships, and part-time work can help alleviate the financial burden. Here are some examples of how students can fund their human-computer interaction master’s degree:


Scholarships are financial awards granted to students based on criteria like academic merit, talent, or need. They alleviate the financial burden of education without requiring repayment.


Grants are non-repayable funds institutions, governments, or organizations provide to support students based on specific criteria. They offer financial assistance for education, helping ease the cost burden.

Student Loans

Student loans are financial aid that requires repayment. They enable students to cover educational expenses, offering a means to pursue higher education by borrowing money, which is later repaid with interest.

Graduate Assistantships

Graduate assistantships allow students to work part-time within their academic department. They may receive financial support, tuition waivers, or stipends in exchange for their services.


FAFSA, or Free Application for Federal Student Aid, is a form prospective students can fill out and submit to determine their eligibility for financial aid.

Read the Financial Aid Guide for more information on funding higher education.

Scholarships for HCI Master’s Degree Students

Scholarships are awarded to eligible candidates enrolled in master’s degree programs in human-computer interaction. These scholarships serve to reduce the financial burdens associated with these programs significantly. Some scholarships encompass the cost of tuition fees, travel expenses, and other related expenditures. Some human-computer interaction master’s degree scholarships are listed below:

Microsoft Scholarship Program13

The Women at Microsoft Scholarship targets promising high school seniors, current undergraduate women, and non-binary individuals pursuing vocational or academic education with a focus on careers in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math). Eligibility criteria include identifying as a woman and/or non-binary, aspiring to a career in a STEAM field, planning enrollment in an accredited U.S. college or university, and maintaining a high school GPA of 3.0 or above for the upcoming academic year.

Award/Amount: $5,000

Deadline: Varies

Generation Google Scholarship (North America)14

Designed to support students aspiring to enter the computer technology field and emerge as leaders, the Generation Google Scholarship is awarded to a deserving student demonstrating leadership potential, academic excellence, and a dedicated commitment to promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion within the academic environment.

Award/Amount: $10,000

Deadline: Varies

Careers and Salary Outlook For Online HCI Master’s Graduates

Post a master’s in HCI online, one can delve into many roles in the design and architecture fields. This could vary from a UI/UX designer role at an entry level to a chief executive role of a graphic design studio at the top of the hierarchy. There would be other intermediary roles in between. Below is a list of roles and salaries with their responsibilities outlined:

Occupation Median Annual SalaryJob Growth (2022-2032) Job Description 
Web Developers and Digital Designers15$80,73016% (much faster than average)Web developers create and maintain websites. They are also responsible for the site’s technical aspects, such as its performance and capacity, which are measures of a website’s speed and how much traffic the site can handle. Digital designers develop, create, and test website or interface layout,  functions, and navigation for usability. They are responsible for the look and functionality of the website or interface.
Computer Systems Analysts16$102,24010% (much faster than average)Computer systems analysts, sometimes called systems architects, study an organization’s current computer systems and procedures and design solutions to help the organization operate more efficiently and effectively. They bring business and information technology (IT) together by understanding the needs and limitations of both.   Most computer systems analysts specialize in computer systems specific to their organization.
Special Effects Artists and Animators17$98,9508% (faster than average)Special effects artists and animators create two- and three-dimensional models,  images that appear to move, and visual effects for television, movies, video games, and other forms of media.  They often work in a specific medium, some focusing on creating animated movies or video games, others  creating visual effects for movies and television shows. Animators also design scenery or backgrounds for locations.
Computer and Information Research Scientists18$136,62023% (much faster than average)Computer and Information Research Scientists design innovative uses for new and existing technology. They study and solve complex problems in computing for business, science, medicine, and other fields. To create and improve software, computer and information research scientists work with algorithms and sets of instructions that tell a computer what to do.
Graphic Designers19$57,9903% (as fast as average)Graphic designers create visual concepts, using computer software or by hand, to communicate ideas that inspire, inform, and captivate consumers. They develop the overall layout and production design for applications such as advertisements, brochures, magazines, and reports.   Graphic designers, also called graphic artists or communication designers, combine art and technology to communicate ideas through images and the layout of websites and printed pages.

Certifications and Licensure For Online HCI Master’s Students

Certifications offer an opportunity to enhance skills, showcase expertise, and stand out in the competitive job market. They provide a valuable addition to resumes, signaling a commitment to professional development. Although not mandatory, exploring relevant certifications allows students to align their academic achievements with practical skills, fostering a well-rounded foundation for a successful career in HCI.

Additional Resources For Online HCI Master’s Students

A master’s in HCI is a gateway to an industry with huge potential. But to further their careers, remain relevant in this fast-paced industry, and practice their craft, professionals must become members and accredit themselves with a professional organization in their chosen field. Apart from being a body that assists in developing and distributing knowledge, professional HCI association bodies keep their members informed about the newest developments and innovations in the industry. Two such organizations are:

Professional OrganizationDescription
Special Interest Group on Computer-Human Interaction20SIGCHI is the premier international society for professionals, academics, and students interested in human-technology and human-computer interaction (HCI). It advances education in HCI through workshops and outreach, and we promote informal access to a wide range of individuals and organizations involved in HCI.
Human-Computer Interaction Consortium 21The Human-Computer Interaction Consortium was founded in 1988 to foster interaction among universities, companies, and government research laboratories interested in promoting academic training, basic and applied research, and technology transfer in Human-Computer Interaction. Membership is by an organization, and only employees of member organizations are eligible to participate in the consortium’s activities

FAQs About Online HCI Master’s Programs

Frequently asked Questions

What are the three main components of HCI?

The three main components of Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) are input, output, and feedback. Input refers to the user’s actions or commands, the output is the system’s response, and feedback provides the user with information about the system’s state. These components work together to facilitate effective communication between users and computers.

Is human-computer interaction a good career?

What is meant by human-computer interaction?

Is human-computer interaction a major?

What does an HCI graduate do?


Is HCI part of computer science?


Find Your Master’s Program

Start Your Next Step Today

Let’s help you find the right online master’s degree. You can browse through thousands of schools and their online programs. Start exploring the top 20 best online master’s programs now.