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    School of Computer Science Logo
  • Study Type

    Full time & Part time available

  • Subject Areas

    Computer Science

  • Start Date

    September

  • Course Duration

    One year full time or two years part time

  • Course Type

    MSc

  • Course Fees

    UK and EU: £9,450
    Overseas: £23,090

  • Last Updated

    04 September 2019

The MSc in Human Computer Interaction is a one-year taught programme run by the School of Computer Science. Much of the core content is delivered by members of the St Andrews Human Computer Interaction (SACHI) research group.

The course consists of two semesters of taught components followed by an 11-week project leading to the submission of a 15,000-word dissertation in August.

Highlights

  • The MSc in Human Computer Interaction is a specialist course but retains some flexibility, allowing students to pursue other areas of computer science alongside the compulsory specialist modules.
  • The course develops students' practical skills in the process and practice of prototyping and implementing interactive computing systems.
  • Students undertake a significant project, including a wide-ranging investigation, leading to their dissertation which enables them to consolidate and extend their specialist knowledge and critical thinking.
  • The School has a dedicated HCI laboratory with specialist equipment, including an 84-inch Microsoft Hub, a 3D printer, Google Soli sensors, and a diverse range of eye-tracking and motion-capture equipment.
  • Students have 24-hour access to modern computing laboratories, provisioned with dual-screen PC workstations and group-working facilities.

Students may switch to an MSc in Advanced Computer Science or in Information Technology after the first semester.

Teaching format

The taught portion of the MSc programme includes eight modules: five compulsory and three optional from a wide range available. Teaching methods include lectures, seminars, tutorials and practical classes. Most modules are assessed through practical coursework exercises and examinations. Class sizes typically range from 10 to 50 students. 

All students will be required to complete a Post Entry Language Assessment (PELA) on arrival at University of St Andrews. Based on their performance in this assessment, students will be advised to attend targeted support sessions during the year to improve language and academic skills. This assessment is required, but will not count towards the final degree classification.

You will also be assigned an advisor who meets with you at the start of the year to discuss module choices and is available to assist with any academic difficulties during the year. A designated member of staff provides close supervision for the MSc project and dissertation.

Modules

The modules in this programme have varying methods of delivery and assessment. For more details of each module, including weekly contact hours, teaching methods and assessment, please see our website; some elements may be subject to change for 2020 entry.

Compulsory

Students must take the following compulsory modules

  • Human Computer Interaction Principles and Methods: introduces the principles of human computer interaction in the context of evaluation paradigms. 
  • Interactive Software and Hardware: develops prototype-building skills for a wide range of interactive technologies.
  • Object-Oriented Modelling, Design and Programming: introduces and reinforces object-oriented modelling, design and implementation to provide a common basis of skills, allowing students to complete programming assignments within other MSc modules.

and one or both of:

  • Information Visualisation: explores how to utilise visual representations to make information accessible for exploration and analysis.
  • User-Centred Interaction Design: studies methodologies in interaction design that are at the core of current practice for user interface engineering and application development.

Optional

The following modules are optional for Computer Science programmes. Not all combinations of modules will be available for all programmes, and some modules are subject to pre-requisites being satisfied. Please consult the relevant course catalogue for available options.

Students choose two or three optional modules. In the 'Additional modules' lists below, students can only take up to two of the modules in each list. See our website for their descriptions.

Optional modules

  • Advanced Topics in Computer Communication Systems
  • Artificial Intelligence Practice
  • Artificial Intelligence Principles
  • Critical Systems Engineering
  • Data-Intensive Systems
  • Human Computer Interaction Principles and Methods
  • Information Visualisation
  • Interactive Software and Hardware
  • Knowledge Discovery and Datamining
  • Language and Computation
  • Masters Programming Projects
  • Practice in Computer Communication Systems
  • Principles of Computer Communication Systems
  • Software Architecture
  • Software Engineering Practice
  • Software Engineering Principles
  • User-Centred Interaction Design

Additional optional modules

Students may take up to two of the following:

  • Computer Architecture
  • Computer Graphics
  • Computer Security
  • Concurrency and Multi-Core Architectures
  • Constraint Programming
  • Distributed Systems
  • Logic and Software Verification
  • Programming Language Design and Implementation
  • Signal Processing and Perception for Digital Media
  • Video Games

Students may take up to two of the following:

  • Database Management Systems
  • Green Information Technology
  • Information Security Management
  • Information Technology Projects
  • Web Technologies

Optional modules are subject to change each year, and some may only allow limited numbers of students. 

Dissertation

During the second semester, students work with staff to define and agree upon a topic for the extended project, which they will work on during the final three months of the course, and which culminates in a 15,000-word dissertation. Dissertation projects may be group-based or completed individually (students are assessed individually in either case).

The dissertation typically comprises:

  • a review of related work
  • the extension of existing or the development of new ideas
  • software implementation and testing
  • analysis and evaluation.

Students are required to give a presentation of their work in addition to the written dissertation.

Each project is supervised by one or two members of staff, typically through regular meetings and reviews of software and dissertation drafts.

If students choose not to complete the dissertation requirement for the MSc, there is an exit award available that allows suitably qualified candidates to receive a Postgraduate Diploma instead, finishing the course at the end of the second semester of study.

The modules listed here are indicative, and there is no guarantee they will run for 2020 entry. Take a look at our website for the most up-to-date list of modules.


Visit the Human Computer Interaction (MSc) page on the University of St Andrews website for more details!

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