HCI Curriculum

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Program of Study

Technology’s influence on all aspects of life, now and in the near future, has positioned Human- Computer Interaction (HCI) as an important and growing field. UCSC’s new Master of Science in Human Computer Interaction is a four-quarter (15 month) STEM program with an optional summer internship. The M.S. in Human Computer Interaction aims to train students in core skill sets for human-computer interaction professionals, including design methodologies, prototyping and technical build skills, eliciting and integrating subject matter knowledge, designing and conducting efficacy measurements, effective teamwork, and career planning – all within the context of user experience and interaction. UCSC’s HCI program is unique in that it is collocated at the Silicon Valley campus alongside Games and Playable Media and Serious Games M.S. programs, offering opportunities to explore the intersection of HCI and Games research.

 

The curriculum is designed to accommodate students with a range of backgrounds and expertise, including social sciences, technical skills, and/or subject matter knowledge. Students with varying knowledge will be intentionally mixed together in coursework, in order to maximize peer learning and collaboration across strengths. This includes the completion of a collaborative capstone sequence, in which students develop an interactive system and measure its efficacy.

 

The program’s curriculum is designed so that all students develop a baseline understanding of the necessary areas: design, methodologies, building, eliciting and integrating subject matter knowledge, designing and conducting efficacy measurements, effective teamwork, and career planning – all within the context of user experience and interaction.
 

Course Requirements

The minimum unit requirement for the M.S. Degree in Human Computer Interaction is 53 units. Unit requirement breakdown:

  • Core Courses - 28 credits
  • Elective Courses - 10 credits
  • Capstone Project - 15 credits

Core Courses

All students are required to enroll and pass (letter grade "B-" or better or an “S” grade) the following six courses:

  • HCI 200 - Introduction to HCI (5 credits)
  • HCI 201 - Introduction to Design (5 credits)
  • HCI 202a - Introduction to Build, Bootcamp (5 credits), or
    • HCI 202b - Introduction to Build, Advanced (5 credits)
  • HCI 203 - Introduction to Research (5 credits)
  • HCI 290 - HCI Seminar (2 credits) taken four times for total of 8 credits

Elective Courses

All students are required to enroll and pass (letter grade "B-" or better or an “S” grade) in a minimum of two elective courses. As HCI is housed within the Computational Media department, including the Computational Media M.S./Ph.D., Games and Playable Media M.S., and Serious Games M.S., HCI students will be able to choose from a wide variety of electives related to human computer interaction. A full list of pre-approved electives is available in the UCSC Catalog. 


Capstone Project Courses

All students are required to enroll and pass (letter grade "B-" or better) the Capstone Project series:

  • HCI 271 - Capstone 1 (5 credits)
  • HCI 272 - Capstone 2 (10 credits)

During Part 1 of the capstone series (HCI 271) students form project teams, brainstorm and iterate ideas for the capstone projects, culminating in approved briefs and project teams, including an approved committee of advisors for each project. Advisors may be local industry people (including industry partners who have proposed projects), or may also be UCSC faculty from main campus. During Part 2 of the capstone series (HCI 272), students produce capstone projects through extensive workshopping, critique, testing. The capstone experience culminates in an end-of-fall showcase of student work, with all project advisors and project sponsors invited. Part 2 of the capstone series includes professional development.
 

Sample Program Plan
Fall Winter Spring Summer Fall
HCI 200 (5) HCI 202a or
HCI 202b (5)
HCI 271 (5) Optional
Internship
HCI 272 (10)
HCI 201 (5) Elective 1 (5) HCI 203 (5)   Elective 2 (5)
HCI 290 (2) HCI 290 (2) HCI 290 (2)   HCI 290 (2)

 

Graduates from the M.S. in Human Computer Interaction will be able to:

  1. Use an understanding of the role of subject matter expertise to successfully identify the scope of the project and the appropriate resources available, to elicit the necessary knowledge to inform the project, and integrate that knowledge into the appropriate high level specifications for system design and user experience.
  2. Use fundamental HCI design and evaluation knowledge to compose a detailed specification of systems that will lead to a desired user experience and to design expert and user evaluations for assessing what experience is achieved, making necessary modifications to complete within available time and resources.
  3. Use fundamental interactive technology and HCI knowledge to select appropriate platforms and frameworks for a project, construct a list of hardware and software components as necessary to integrate into project frameworks, and conduct and execute iterative prototyping to achieve desired system and user behaviors and outcomes.
  4. Use knowledge of appropriate HCI methodologies to design expert and user evaluations for an interactive system, perform the evaluations, analyze results, and identify potential design improvements arising from the results.
  5. Use an understanding of communication and collaboration approaches to operate effectively as a member of a team, and support others in doing so.
  6. Use the knowledge of HCI design, build and methodology to communicate, to scientific and professional communities, the evolution of the developed system and its evaluations.
  7. Use knowledge of the professional landscape of the HCI field to define their own intended career trajectory.