Human Computer Interaction (HCI) is probably the single most important area for the success of a computer system and also provides great opportunities for innovation and creativity. In this course you will cover the underpinning theories, methodologies and practice of the discipline.
You will also have the opportunity to broaden your studies through optional modules in areas such as Robotics, Nature Inspired Computing or Security. The course builds upon the worldclass research of the HCI Centre through project work and is designed to prepare you for a career in research or in industry or commerce.
The discipline of Human Computer Interaction is about many things: It is about the interface that a system provides (and, therefore, is the most important and most complex component of most systems) but it is also about so much more. We need to understand the people that use the systems and their abilities and constraints. We need to understand how to build systems that really work and also how to evaluate them. We also need to be able to think creatively in order to build innovative solutions to new problems and emerging applications and domains - to be able to solve the problems of tomorrow’s world rather than just those of today.
This course covers the underpinning theories, methodologies and practices of HCI. It includes specialist modules in application domains. Through course and project work your degree is intimately integrated into the research of the University’s HCI centre.
Breakdown of course
This is a one year, full-time course. In the first 8 months, students will spend half of their time studying taught modules. Here we will cover the core principles, theories, methodologies and application areas of the discipline, there will also be an opportunity to take optional modules.
You will also complete a research project. Here you will work one-to-one with one of our research-active staff to explore an area in great depth – analysing the problem and existing solutions, developing new ideas and building or evaluating prototype systems. You will develop your skills in analysis, research, technology and also in presenting and explaining your work clearly and effectively.
Learning is via lecture classes, problem-based workshops and one-to-one supervision. There will be some group work as part of the taught modules and there may be opportunities for industry-based project work. Most importantly, you will be part of a small, highly qualified group of students working closely with researchers within the HCI centre.
Assessment is by both practical and written coursework and examination. The project is assessed on the basis of a practical demonstration and a written report.
The research project, which may be based on your mini-project, is performed in collaboration with one of our active researchers. You will need to demonstrate an ability to define aims, objectives and plans, manage your project and time, use the results of systematic literature searches and communicate in writing and verbally. The project may also involve the development of software. It is through the mini-project and the final project that you can really develop your skills and expertise.
The application of HCI is relevant to a number of industries including health care, games and entertainment and mobile communication. Graduates will have the skills to undertake a wide range of roles, such as user experience, user research, interactive design or information architecture. In addition, graduates of this programme are well prepared to continue their studies through research for a PhD.
University Careers Network
Preparation for your career should be one of the first things you think about as you start university. Whether you have a clear idea of where your future aspirations lie or want to consider the broad range of opportunities available once you have a Birmingham degree, our Careers Network can help you achieve your goal.
Our unique careers guidance service is tailored to your academic subject area, offering a specialised team (in each of the five academic colleges) who can give you expert advice. Our team source exclusive work experience opportunities to help you stand out amongst the competition, with mentoring, global internships and placements available to you. Once you have a career in your sights, one-to-one support with CVs and job applications will help give you the edge.
If you make the most of the wide range of services you will be able to develop your career from the moment you arrive.
This course is for people who want to design technology that meets user needs, creating interactive systems that are useful, easy-to-use and engaging. It is for people who get frustrated when they interact with unnecessarily complicated websites, mobile apps or other interactive systems and want to improve them. This course will help you appreciate design technology based on an understanding of users' needs and ensure that the products you and others design meet those needs.
This course will help you to:
Accredited by BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT for the purposes of partially meeting the academic requirement for registration as a Chartered IT Professional.
After the taught part of the course is completed, you will have the opportunity to take part in a six-month internship which gives you valuable work experience and increases your employability. Internships offer an exceptional opportunity to make you stand out in a competitive job market place. We have extensive experience in helping students to secure placement employment in the IT industry.
You will benefit from the use of the City Interaction Lab - a combined commercial and research lab, where we have undertaken UX consultancy for prestigious companies including Virgin Atlantic.
The lab is fitted with the latest technologies including:
We employ student consultants on some projects, providing the opportunity to work on real client projects.
The course is delivered by distinguished academics from City University London's Centre for HCI Design, who all have a passion for user-centred design. We also have close links with industry. Industry professionals help inform and shape the curriculum, setting briefs for the assessments and participating in teaching and learning - by giving guest lectures and running practitioner tutorials. They also provide feedback on students' design outputs and input into module content, ensuring that students learn the knowledge and skills most valued by industry.
The course is delivered through a combination of lectures, online activities and interactive workshops and tutorials. It is assessed in a variety of ways, including:
Each of these account for around one-third of the total course assessment. However, the exact balance varies according to the chosen elective module.
You will study seven core modules and one elective module that cover the entire user-centred design and evaluation process. Modules are delivered through a combination of lectures, online activities and interactive workshops and tutorials. These include sessions delivered by guest lecturers from industry.
Full-time students spend eight hours per week in lectures and four hours per week in seminars and tutorials. Part-time students spend half this time in classes.
Overall workload is around 36 hours per week for full-time and 18 hours per week for part-time students.
You will also undertake an independent Research Project, for which our module on Research Methods and Professional Issues will prepare you.
A series of optional, but recommended, practitioner tutorials supplement the taught modules. These include talks, workshops and field trips. Previous tutorials have featured HCI/UX practitioners from prestigious companies, such as Foolproof, Futureheads and eBay.
This course enables you to make informed decisions on how to apply your knowledge in original and creative ways. As a result, this course empowers you to succeed in a variety of User Experience (UX) roles in leading digital agencies, business consultancies, IT companies and commercial/government organisations.
There is an increasing need for specialists with a deep knowledge of Human-Computer Interaction design. As the industry continues to expand, there is no better time to become a Master in this field. The course is also an excellent starting point for those wanting to pursue a PhD in HCI.
This course provides the theoretical grounding, practical knowledge, and hands on experience needed to shape computing systems for the 21st century.
As computing becomes ever more pervasive and reaches out into everyday life, academia and industry recognise that successful systems development increasingly relies on our ability to place people at the centre of the digital revolution.
Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) is a distinctive branch of computer science dedicated to understanding the relationship between people and computers, and to enabling systems designers and software engineers to develop computing applications that better respond to the needs of customers, clients and end-users. Related terms include human-centred design, interactive systems design, user experience design, user interface design, and usability engineering.
HCI is a key area of computing, promoted globally by the Association of Computing Machinery (ACM) and nationally by the British Computer Society (BCS). The course addresses core areas of the ACM SIGCHI Curricula for Human-Computer Interaction and is intended for students with diverse disciplinary backgrounds and experiences, including computer science, engineering, natural science, social science, and art and design.
Whatever your background, whether you are a software engineer seeking to further develop professional skill and competence or someone with little or no experience of systems design, if you believe that people should be at the heart of computing and are interested in shaping our digital future to meet human need, then this is the course for you.
The course comprises 180 credits, split across 120 credits’ worth of compulsory and optional modules and a 60-credit research project. Please visit the online prospectus for detailed module information.
There is an increasing need in industry for graduates with an understanding of the human element in systems design. The MSc Human-Computer Interaction provides you with skills and knowledge essential to design companies that appreciate the value of human-centred design. The course will equip you with the knowledge and skill sets necessary to shape the development of new technology that puts people at the heart of computing, including core HCI techniques for identifying user needs, shaping systems design, and evaluating developed systems and applications. It provides a pathway to careers in interactive systems design, user experience design, user interface design, and usability engineering.
The MSc HCI is also good starting point for students who wish to study for a PhD in Human-Computer Interaction and the associated area of Computer Supported Collaborative Work (CSCW). Beyond academia, PhD students in the Mixed Reality Laboratory have also taken up internships in world-leading industrial labs across Europe and America, including Xerox, Microsoft, IBM, and Hewlett-Packard, where they have gone on to develop their careers.
Visit our website for more information on fees, scholarships, postgraduate loans and other funding options to study Computing and Future Interaction Technologies at Swansea University - 'Welsh University of the Year 2017' (Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2017).
This Research Masters in Future Interaction Technologies and Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) teaches graduate students to go beyond simply building new software and hardware, to evaluating how they would be used, and how they can be improved.
The MRes is taught by the Future Interaction Technology (FIT) Lab, within the Computer Science. The FIT Lab’s mission is to explore and apply Advanced Computer Science to make interaction technologies dependable, enjoyable and effective. Interaction technologies include mobile devices, the Web, Web 2.0, implants, home TVs, microwave cookers, ticket machines, navigational aids, etc. Furthermore, we aim to work on grand challenges, like improving safety in healthcare, or developing technology to reach the millions and help us live more effective and sustainable lives.
Our Research Masters programme in Future Interaction Technologies mainly concludes of a large individual research project worth 120 credits. Inclusive of this 120 credits is training and experience provided by our Lab & Field Research Methods module. You will spend around 8 months preparing for and working on this extensive project, which provides key experience in performing research-oriented projects. As the MRes has a research focus, you will spend more independent research time building a strong knowledge of research literature and striving to make a novel contribution to the HCI community.
In addition to the research project, you can choose from a range of modules that provide skills and development training in different areas during your studies on the Computing and Future Interaction Technologies MRes.
Modules available currently include:
Human Computer Interaction Project
Interaction Technologies: Lab & Field Work (compulsory)
Interaction Technologies: Seminars & Readings (compulsory)
Research Methodology (compulsory)
Mobile Interaction Design
Interactive Systems Design
Interaction Technologies: Information Retrieval
Interaction Technologies: Hardware & Devices
The MRes in Computing & Future Interaction Technologies is ideally suited for continued academic research, but also provides the necessary skills and key experience to apply research methods in HCI practitioner positions in industry.
Music Technology is a rapidly evolving field of study with a diverse and expanding range of possibilities.
The MSc in Audio Technology is designed to go beyond the simple provision of training, and to instead enable you to engage with current debates and actively participate in some of the most vibrant areas of contemporary research.
Throughout the course you will be encouraged to demonstrate self-direction and autonomy as you critically explore and define your position within the wider field. One overarching aim is that you should leave the course as not only an adept user of various hardware and software technologies, but as someone able to actively shape and develop their own, responding as necessary to future developments.
Thus, in addition to developing your theoretical and methodological understanding, the MSc in Audio Technology features a strong emphasis on practical work in a number of different (but related) areas. For example, you will study modules in Advanced Studio Practice, Sound on Screen, Music Computing and Musical Human-Computer Interaction. These are supported by a technology-orientated Research and Development module that provides robust foundation for the final Audio Technology Project.
Acting as summary of all that you have learned and a portfolio going forward, the Audio Technology Project provides an opportunity to plan and execute a substantial project in an area of personal specialism or interest. Innovative projects are encouraged, and there exists the potential for interdisciplinary and/or collaboration with practitioners in other fields.
Advanced Studio Practice
This module explores various methodologies employed in the planning, recording, editing, mix down and mastering stages of audio production. You will conduct research into genre and equipment-specific working practices, which will lead to the development of innovative engineering concepts and techniques. You will evaluate and use a variety of software and hardware tools and produce work in both stereo and surround sound.
Sound on Screen
The module aims to investigate the relationship between sound and the moving image in contexts such as film, television, advertising and video games. Throughout the module you will develop your understanding of theories, practices and techniques used in the production of music intended to be experienced in conjunction with other media. This will initially involve analysing and deconstructing a range of audio-visual media, examining their aims and how effectively these aims are met. You will then use your understanding of the work of others in the field to critically inform and evolve your own approaches. Using a variety of techniques and technologies, you will create a number of short practical pieces to accompany a variety of linear and non-linear media.
In this module you will explore the relationship between theories of music and computing and creative practice. More specifically, you will study perception and cognition of sound, the ways in which computers can analyse music and audio, generative musical structures, and how these compositional processes can be applied to the generation and transformation of audio. In carrying out the practical assignment, you will critically evaluate, understand the differences between, and demonstrate mastery of common musical programming languages in the realisation of your ideas.
Musical Human-Computer Interaction
Musical interaction is a vibrant area of contemporary research with considerable crossover into more established areas such as Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) and Physical/Ubiquitous Computing. In the first part of the module you will look at recent work by the New Interfaces for Musical Expression (NIME) community, using these examples to examine and explore a range of pertinent design issues. These include: novice versus virtuoso users (i.e. ease of use versus the potential for mastery), single versus multi-user, discrete versus continuous data control, the provision of haptic feedback, and causality of sound. Using appropriate Physical Computing technologies (e.g. Arduino, Beagleboard, sensors, actuators, basic electronics), you will then design and implement a musical interface for a chosen real-time application (i.e. analysis, composition, or performance). Finally, you will consider how HCI-inspired evaluation methods may be applied to your work, and document your design (online) in such a way that it can be recreated and developed further by interested others.
Research and Development
The Research and Development module initially explores the nature of innovation, then moves on to examine research process including design and development, fundamentals of both quantitative and qualitative traditions, and HCI-inspired methodologies for the evaluation of audio software, musical interfaces and other technologies. Towards the end of the module the emphasis then shifts to the development of an individual research design/proposal that may form the basis of your final Audio Technology Project.
Audio Technology Project
The Audio Technology Project is an opportunity for students to pursue a substantial, self-directed project in a chosen area of audio or musical technology.
The course will actively equip both graduates and those already in industry with a diverse range of skills to enhance their career prospects. It will also develop a range of opportunities for experience and employment in areas such as studio recording, media production and content creation, video game and software development, education (FE/HE), research assistantships/studentships, and employment in HE institutions.
In addition to subject-specific practical skills, you will also acquire a range of transferable skills relevant for pursuing a research degree. These include critical, analytical, project management and research skills from the study of a broad spectrum of literature, research, and external projects.
Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) is concerned with the design and use of computer and mobile technology, focusing on the interfaces between people and systems. This interdisciplinary degree programme sits at the intersection of engineering, behavioural sciences, and design. It combines academic rigour with practical and professional skills highly valued by employers.
Students develop an understanding of the relevance and application of human physical, cognitive, social, and affective knowledge to the design of interactive systems. They learn to analyse and test user performance, preferences and experience in relation to human-centred interactive systems. Students will be able to characterise and apply a range of human-computer interaction and user-centred design styles.
Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.
The programme consists of two compulsory 30-credit core modules, four 15-credit optional modules and a 60-credit research project.
A Postgraduate Diploma (120 credits, full-time nine months or flexible up to three years is offered) consisting of two compulsory 30-credit core modules and four 15-credit optional modules.
A Postgraduate Certificate (60 credits), full-time three months or flexible up to two years is offered. This consists of one 30-credit core module and 30 credits of optional modules.
The MSc project gives you the opportunity to conduct research in the area of human-computer interaction under the supervision of a member of UCLIC staff. A broad range of topics and questions are offered and you will work closely with your supervisor in selecting and carrying out your project. Many former projects have contributed to publications at leading international conferences, such as the ACM SIGCHI conference.
Teaching and learning
Our modules use a combination of lectures and practical activities. Activities are often structured around individual or group projects, such as the evaluation of a system or the creation of a prototype. Modules are assessed through a mixture of coursework and exams. Coursework is varied and includes design portfolios, presentations, videos, reflective reports, and online peer learning tasks as well as more traditional academic essays.
Further information on modules and degree structure is available on the department website: Human-Computer Interaction MSc
Our graduates are employed by technology multinationals, start-ups, government agencies, consultancies and in academia. They take up roles such as User Experience (UX) Researchers, Interaction Designers, Usability Specialists and Information Architects. Many progress to senior roles within a few years of graduation.
This degree is highly regarded by our colleagues in industry. Along with developing HCI research skills, the programme allows students to demonstrate skills in presenting, writing and collaboration that are valued by employers. We have a large network of alumni working in London and across the world. Many of them are involved with our industry speaker series and careers events, and they regularly send opportunities to our jobs mailing list for recent graduates.
This programme is taught by the UCL Interaction Centre (UCLIC), a world leading Centre of Excellence in Human-Computer Interaction, working collaboratively with industry and the research community. UCLIC, and before it the UCL Ergonomics Unit, have provided training in this field for over thirty years. We have excellent links with industry partners, offer students a weekly industry speaker series and run visits to consultancies and field sites.
Our modules use a combination of lectures and practical activities. Activities are often structured around individual or group projects, such as the evaluation of a system or the creation of a prototype. Assessments are varied and include design portfolios, presentations, videos and reflective reports as well as academic essays and exams.
The MSc research project allows students to undertake cutting-edge research in human-computer interaction. Many former projects have been published and presented at leading international conferences.
The Research Excellence Framework, or REF, is the system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. The 2014 REF was carried out by the UK's higher education funding bodies, and the results used to allocate research funding from 2015/16.
The following REF score was awarded to the department: Division of Psychology & Language Sciences
83% rated 4* (‘world-leading’) or 3* (‘internationally excellent’)
Learn more about the scope of UCL's research, and browse case studies, on our Research Impact website.