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.
Visit the Human Computer Interaction - MSc page on the University of Birmingham website for more details!