Online HCI Masters
Human-computer interaction deals with the construction and implementation of interfaces and tool-building technologies that would adapt seamlessly to people’s needs. Human-computer interaction focuses on creating simplified interfaces to achieve the best satisfaction for various types of users. To do so, professionals analyze the tasks users need to perform and determine what changes they need to make their job easier. Interfaces used in the human-computer interaction field integrate auditory systems like sound and speech recognition as well as visual elements like graphic animations, and other state-of-the-art technology. Programs in human-computer interaction combine theories from computer science, ergonomics, psychology, cognitive sciences, and linguistics. Students enrolled in human-computer interaction programs will learn principles of cognition and perception that will help them design effective user interfaces. They will develop their data-collecting and troubleshooting skills and gain an understanding of possible issues that may come up when interacting with specialized
technology or software. Students will also learn elements of visual design for developing program prototypes and will acquire basic research skills.
Featured Online Programs
Best Online HCI Masters
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, which university to enroll in. And then there are other considerations such as cost, placements, starting salary, employment rates, acceptance rates, etc. We at OMC went through all these matrices and created a list of the best online master’s in operations research programs. See the ranking below:
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|College Name & Address||Tuition||Graduation Rate|
Iowa State University
1750 Beardshear Hall, Ames, Iowa 50011
University of California-Irvine
501 Aldrich Hall, Irvine, California 92697
1 E Jackson Blvd, Chicago, Illinois 60604
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
Rutgers University-New Brunswick
83 Somerset St, New Brunswick, New Jersey 08901
University of Baltimore
Charles at Mount Royal, Baltimore, Maryland 21201
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, 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 Masters Programs
A Master’s in Human-Computer Interaction Design is a unique graduate experience that creates professionals who will shape the future of design. The Human-Computer Interaction program helps students make sense out of the rapidly changing world of technology. It focuses on ways computer systems support people at work, at home, and play. This intensive two-year program teaches students how to shape new media, interactive tools, artifacts, and systems in ways that:
- Contribute engaging user experiences
- Serve the need of stakeholders
- Facilitate communication
- Enrich the lives of the people using them
You will complete your degree with a capstone project—an opportunity to showcase your work in a design space of your choice. This master’s program is generally classified as a STEM program.
Masters in Human-Computer Interaction Degree Types
There would typically be a few variants of a master’s in HCI, with a few subjects changing concerning the specialization being pursued. Below we would discuss the different types of master’s programs in HCI that can be pursued:
Masters in Human-Computer Interaction:
A fully online master’s in Human-Computer Interaction focuses on the implementation of 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 emphasized how students can make computing technologies more user-friendly. Students conduct team and project-based learning through designing software applications and user technologies for the course of their degree.
Masters in Interactive Media:
The MS in Interactive Media and Communications prepares students to design, produce and manage a wide range of content that effectively connects with a wide range of audiences. Students will learn the principles of user-centered design and be well-equipped to leverage design thinking strategies to solve complex technical and business-related challenges. Moreover, they will grow as a creative thinker and visual leader and be able to craft powerful and ethical cross-media communication strategies.
Master’s in Strategic Communication:
This a fully online program is designed for students pursuing careers in advertising, public relations, corporate communication, and communication management. The program also focuses on giving students hands-on experience with advanced platforms, tools, and techniques from the industry including audio and visual software, graphic design tools, new media, and publication layouts. WSU also offers a Bachelor’s in Integrated Strategic Communication fully online for students at the undergraduate level.
Master’s in Digital Media
This online master’s degree focuses on ensuring students can balance their artistic visions with commercial demands and production realities. Designed for students with experience in digital media, Concordia’s career-focused program can be completed in under 2 years and includes 8-week courses on digital video production, game design, and interactive media.
Master’s in Interaction Design and Information Architecture
Available fully online, this graduate program emphasizes the design, development, and application of information technologies related to human-computer interaction and cognitive psychology. Students leave UB’s program in Interaction Design ready for careers as an information architect, interaction designer, multimedia developer, user researcher, and creative director. This advanced degree helps students understand how human factors influence and interact with technology.
Specializations in Masters in Human-Computer Interaction Programs
An online master’s program in HCI will open a world of specializations in that field of study. Below we would discuss a few of those specializations:
|Area of Focus||Description||Careers This Concentration prepares for|
|Master of Science in Human-Computer Interaction||The program provides the practical skills and theoretical understandings needed to become leaders in the design, implementation, and evaluation of the next generation of human-computer interfaces. The degree requires 36 credit hours, which are usually taken over four semesters. All students take the same core courses, a set of courses related to their chosen specialization (Computing, Digital Media in LMC, Industrial Design, Psychology), a broader set of electives, and complete a master’s project.|
|Master of Science in Digital Media||The Master of Science in Digital Media program offers arts and humanities-based advanced study in digital media design and critique. The core approach of this program is the design of digital artifacts as a defining creative and intellectual challenge of the 21st century, comparable in its cultural complexity and historical importance to the inventions of the book, the photograph, and the moving image. It is a studio and seminar-based curriculum that prepares students for leadership positions as designers, producers, and critical analysts in a changing digital culture.|
|Human-Centered Design & Engineering (HCDE)||Master of Science in Human-Centered Design & Engineering (HCDE) prepares its graduates for leadership roles in user experience research and design, interface design, interaction design, product design, and human-computer interaction.|
|Master of Science in Information Management (MSIM)||All MSIM students take a set of foundational core courses that cover key areas: strategic leadership, information management, professionalism, information technology, ethics and policy, and system thinking and problem-solving. These foundational courses set the framework of what makes the MSIM graduate stand out in the job market from other candidates with similar skills.|
|Master of Science in Human-Computer Interaction Design (HCI/d)||Master of Science in Human-Computer Interaction Design (HCI/d) is a unique graduate experience that creates professionals who will shape the future of design. This intensive two-year program teaches you how to shape new media, interactive tools, artifacts, and systems in ways that: |
|Master of Information Management and Systems (MIMS)||The Master of Information Management and Systems (MIMS) program is designed to train students in the skills needed to succeed as information professionals. Such professionals must be familiar with the theory and practice of storing, organizing, retrieving, and analyzing information in a variety of settings in business, the public sector, and the academic world. This profession is inherently interdisciplinary, requiring aspects of computer science, cognitive science, psychology and sociology, economics, business, law, library/information studies, and communications.|
Curriculum and Skills Gained in Masters in Human-Computer Interaction Programs
A master’s in HCI would have common courseware for most of the credits, but per the specialization of the course, some concentration of the courseware would vary. Below we would discuss a few subjects learned in a master’s in HCI online program, and the skills attained.
|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 effectively convey knowledge. 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 provides a survey of the theory, concepts, and technologies related to 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 an in-depth exposure to advanced topics in biomedical informatics and knowledge discovery. Large datasets will be used to illustrate and explore methods in the transformation of data to information and the integration of information with domain knowledge. Topics will include high-throughput technologies in genomics, descriptive and inferential statistics, machine learning, visualization, 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 how 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 will focus on the major user-centered design methodologies used in the development of 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.|
|MS Human-Computer Interaction Capstone Proposal||In this course, students will design a proposal for a capstone project to apply the theories and methodologies to a problem in the HCI domain. Students working through the guidance of the instructor, will investigate a problem space, perform a literature review, develop the problem statement, write a proposal for how they intend to design and implement a solution and communicate the proposal to potential capstone committee members.|
|Visual Analytics||This course introduces students to Visual Analytics or the science of analytical reasoning facilitated by interactive visual interfaces. Course lectures, reading assignments, and practical lab experiences will cover a mix of theoretical and technical Visual Analytics topics. Topics include analytical reasoning, human cognition and perception of visual information, visual representation and interaction technologies, data representation and transformation, production, presentation, and dissemination of analytic process results, and Visual Analytic case studies and applications. Furthermore, students will learn relevant Visual Analytics research trends such as Space, Time, and Multivariate Analytics, and Extreme-Scale Visual Analytics.|
Accreditation for Masters in Human-Computer Interaction 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. Read more about Accreditation.
Hence, to ensure that their degrees are recognized by the industry and fraternity they are getting into, and more importantly to be eligible for US federal student aid one must ensure that the institution one is enrolling in is accredited by one of the federally recognized accreditation bodies.
Timeline For Graduating From Online HCI Masters Programs
Most master’s in HCI online typically takes anywhere between 16-24 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 need to take around 36 total credits for the completion of the course.
Admission Requirements For Online HCI Masters Programs
Even though every online master’s program will have a specific requirement, a master’s in HCI online would require a bachelor’s degree majoring in a related field, a GPA of around 3 in undergraduate work, and some programs might also require some work experience.
Free Human-Computer Interaction Programs
Below are a few free courses in HCI that might be of interest to the readers:
- Human-Computer Interaction by Georgia Tech: This course is an introductory course on human-computer interaction, covering the principles, techniques, and open areas of development in HCI.
- Human-Computer Interaction I: Fundamentals & Design Principles: This course takes you through the first eight lessons of CS6750: Human-Computer Interaction as taught in the Georgia Tech Online Master of Science in Computer Science program. Students will learn the fundamentals of how HCI relates to fields like user experience design, user interface design, human factors engineering, and psychology. Students will also learn how human-computer interaction has influence across application domains like healthcare and education; technology development like virtual and augmented reality; and broader ideas like context-sensitive computing and information visualization.
- Human-Computer Interaction (University of California, San Diego): In this course, you will learn how to design technologies that bring people joy, rather than frustration. You’ll learn several techniques for rapidly prototyping and evaluating multiple interface alternatives — and why rapid prototyping and comparative evaluation are essential to excellent interaction design. You’ll learn how to conduct fieldwork with people to help you get design ideas. How to make paper prototypes and low-fidelity mock-ups that are interactive — and how to use these designs to get feedback from other stakeholders like your teammates, clients, and users.
How to Pay for Online HCI Masters Programs
Keeping in mind the cost of education these days and the amount of debt that each student carries it is of prime importance how you choose to fund your master’s in interior design online program. The smartest way to fund education is a scholarship. For further reference, students can refer to this link here for scholarships.
It might happen that someone does not qualify for a scholarship, for such candidates if they are working professionals, they can check with their employers to reimburse the tuition fee. The other way of funding your master’s in HCI is to apply for a student loan. Students can also check if they are eligible for federal student aid also called financial aid. Here is a link to the application for FAFSA Application.
FAQs about Online HCI Masters Programs
|Q: What are the 3 main components of HCI?|
|A: As its name implies, HCI consists of three parts: the user, the computer itself, and the ways they work together.|
|Q: Is human-computer interaction a good career?|
|A: Acquiring a degree in Human-Computer Interaction can open many different career paths.Graduates enjoy excellent employment prospects and are highly sought after both in academia and industry, including IT & software, creative industries, product development, and research and education.|
|Q: What is meant by human-computer interaction?|
|A: Human-computer interaction (HCI) is a multidisciplinary field of study focusing on the design of computer technology and, in particular, the interaction between humans (the users) and computers. While initially concerned with computers, HCI has since expanded to cover almost all forms of information technology design.|
|Q: Is human-computer interaction a major?|
|A: Otherwise known as HCI, this major explores exactly how we interact with computers, how they impact us, and how to improve this relationship through product and interface design. In some circles, this major is also known as interaction design, information science, user experience design, or human-centered design.|
|Q: What does an HCI graduate do?|
|A: As a graduate of Human-Computer Interaction (HCI), you will be ready to integrate human, computational, and technical skills in real-life contexts and will have no problem finding a suitable job, such as an HCI consultant. Information analyst. Multimedia designer.|
|Q: Is HCI a stem?|
|A: Developing a human-computer interaction (HCI) system to solve real-world problems requires the inventors to have interdisciplinary STEM knowledge and skills. … All the finished HCI projects applied the interdisciplinary knowledge and skills from the domains of STEM.|
|Q: Is HCI part of computer science?|
|A: Human-computer interaction (HCI) is the study of the interaction between people (users) and computers. It is often regarded as the intersection of computer science, behavioral sciences, design, and several other fields of study.|
Careers and Salary Outlook For Online HCI Masters 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 highlighted.
|Occupation||Median Annual Salary (US $)||Job Growth (2019-2029)||Job Description|
|Web Developers and Digital Designers||$77,200||13%||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. In addition, web developers may create content for the site. 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 Analysts||$93,730||7%||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 that are specific to the organization they work with. For example, an analyst might work predominantly with financial computer systems or with engineering computer systems. Computer systems analysts help other IT team members understand how computer systems can best serve an organization by working closely with the organization’s business leaders.|
|Special Effects Artists and Animators||$77,700||16%||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. Special effects artists and animators often work in a specific medium. Some focus on creating animated movies or video games. Others create visual effects for movies and television shows. Creating computer-generated images (known as CGI) may include taking images of an actor’s movements and then animating them into three-dimensional characters. Other animators design scenery or backgrounds for locations.|
|Computer and Information Research Scientists||$126,830||22%||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, sets of instructions that tell a computer what to do. Some difficult computing tasks require complex algorithms, which these scientists simplify to make computer systems as efficient as possible. These simplified algorithms may lead to advancements in many types of technology, such as machine learning systems and cloud computing.|
|Graphic Designers||$53,380||3%||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 referred to as graphic artists or communication designers, combine art and technology to communicate ideas through images and the layout of websites and printed pages. They may use a variety of design elements to achieve artistic or decorative effects.|
Certifications and Licensure For Online HCI Masters Students
HCI graduates typically don’t need a certification nor a mandatory license to practice their craft. But organizations put a lot of value on professional certifications while hiring candidates. If one has completed a master’s in HCI it would not be a bad idea to pursue one of the certifications relating to their field of work or a graduate certificate in data analytics. A few of such are discussed below:
|Formal Design Methods: Formalism and Design||This course introduces the student to the below: |
|Get Your Product Used: Adoption and Appropriation||This course introduces the student to the below: |
|Gestalt Psychology and Web Design||This course introduces the student to the below: |
|Service Design: How to Design Integrated Service Experiences||This course introduces the student to the below: |
Additional Resources For Online HCI Masters Students
A master’s in HCI is a gateway to an industry with huge potential. But to further their careers and keep being relevant in this fast-paced industry, and also to practice their craft, professionals need to become members and hence 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. We discuss two such organizational bodies below:
|Special Interest Group on Computer-Human Interaction||SIGCHI is the premier international society for professionals, academics, and students who are 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||The Human-Computer Interaction Consortium was founded in 1988 as a means of fostering interaction among universities, companies, and government research laboratories interested in promoting academic training, basic and applied research, and technology transfer in the area of Human-Computer Interaction. Membership is by an organization and only employees of member rganizations are eligible to participate in the activities of the consortium.|