Graduate Programs

Degree Programs

Human-Computer Interaction

The Ph.D. in Human-Computer Interaction is a 90 credit hour program that includes:

Credit Hours
Core A courses 18
Core B courses
Research Rotations 6
Elective Courses 9-18
Research Methods 9
Seminar 1 and 2 6
Minor 9
Dissertation 1-30

Areas of Specialization: Faculty research projects often involve representatives from several different research areas working together to develop innovative and even revolutionary new solutions. While students can expect to concentrate in particular areas, they will also be expected to explore the broader significance of their work as well as ways that their expertise can be leveraged to solve problems outside of their own domains.

Areas of research: Because HCI is a multidisciplinary discipline, students are encourage to expand the scope of their research to cross-traditional disciplinary boundaries into such areas as: user-centered design, cross-cultural theory and application, related areas within new media such as gaming and virtual reality, computer-mediated communication, usability engineering, health informatics, information visualization, biomedical informatics, android science, social robotics, sensorimotor representation, symbol grounding and symbol emergence, and computational neuroscience, etc.

Minor: All students will be required to have an appropriate minor outside or partially inside the school. Minors will be selected with the advisor’s recommendation. The selected minor should be appropriate to the student’s choice of sub discipline within Informatics. Some appropriate minors would include: Biology, Chemistry, Cognitive Psychology, Computer Science, Media Arts, History and Philosophy of Science, information Science, or Sociology.

In all cases the number of hours to be included in the minor will be consistent with the requirements of the unit granting the minor. Some of the courses included in the minor may also count toward the student’s methodology or other requirements.


Core A - Foundations in HCI (18 credit hours)
  • I557 HCI Design 1
  • I558 HCI Design 2
  • I555 Usability and Eval. Methods in Interactive Design
  • I563 Psychology of HCI
  • I575 Informatics Research Design
  • I624 Advanced Seminar I in HCI

Core B - Foundations of Informatics (18 credit hours)

  • I501 Introduction to Informatics
  • I600 Professionalism and Pedagogy in Informatics
  • I564 Prototyping for Interactive Systems
  • I790 Research Rotations (3 credits)
  • I790 Research Rotations (3 credits)
  • I634 Advanced Seminar II in HCI

Qualifying Examination - Written (Required)

All students will take a written qualifying examination that covers the core courses (CORE A and B). The examination will be set by a group of faculty who are familiar with the content of the core courses. Examinations will be offered in August.Examinations must be taken at the conclusion of the second year, usually in August. Students who do not successfully complete the examination can retake the examination a second time in the following December of the same year.

Qualifying Examination – Oral (Required)

The oral examination will take place after the student successfully passes the written exam. Students must pass both the written and the oral exam before passing on to candidacy. Only two attempts to pass the oral examination will be allowed. The oral exam will be based on the student’s response to the written exam and any material from the core courses.

Dissertation Proposal (Required)

This is an oral review that covers in-depth knowledge of the student’s primary research area and dissertation proposal. The research proposal for dissertation must be approved by the student’s research committee. That committee may have the same membership as the program committee or the students

may choose different members. The advisor for the dissertation will be a faculty member in the School of Informatics and a member of the Graduate Faculty. At least one of the three members of the committee will be based outside of the school. The student will defend the thesis proposal at a public colloquium in the school. The review should be completed within one-year after passing the Qualifying Examinations. The time requirement can change with approval from the student primary advisor.

Dissertation (Required)

A written elaboration of significant original research must be successfully presented to the research committee in a public defense as described in the Graduate School Bulletin.

It is recommended that I790 be divided up into different semesters and under the supervision of different faculty members to support a broader and richer learning experience for the student.