Undergraduate major in HCI
Carnegie Mellon University - Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA
Are you fascinated by how daily life has become completely integrated with technology? Are you looking for a career that allows you to explore how human beings interact with the computers around them? A degree in Human Computer Interaction may be a great fit for you and your career goals.
About This Program
In the modern world, humans are constantly interacting with technology. A major in Human Computer Interaction gives students the knowledge that they need to pursue successful careers in information architecture and design. Students will learn how to create digital programs that are easy to use and can use that knowledge for information architecture careers in corporations, nonprofits, and governments.
The goal of the HCI major is to introduce students to the basics of human-computer interaction. Four major topical areas are covered in this IA program -design, implementation, human behavior, and evaluation. By completing all of the core classes, students will have a base of knowledge in each of these areas.
All students in the Human-Computer Interaction program are required to take eight core courses. These are cognitive psychology, interaction design studio I, interaction design studio ii, statistics, introduction to programming, interface programming, user-centered research and evaluation, and a project course. These courses must be taken in a specific order, so students need to take care to plan their class schedule in a way that allows them to graduate on time. In addition, students must take four HCI related elective classes. These courses help students develop both their breadth and depth of knowledge.
For this information architecture degree, students need to maintain a 3.0 average in all of their HCI courses. This major is completed as part of a standard undergraduate degree from Carnegie Mellon University. Students join the IA program typically as juniors and complete the coursework in HCI while also completing their additional major. Most students complete their entire IA degree in four years, although some take a bit longer.
Unlike other undergraduate IA programs, the Human-Computer Interaction program is only available as a second major or minor. Requiring students to obtain an additional major means that every graduate has a unique and broad range of knowledge. This diverse academic background will help them when they seek employment. Human-computer interaction is a skill that is in wide demand, and exceptionally so when combined with other specialties.
To enter this IA program, you will need to be accepted to Carnegie Mellon as an undergraduate student. You will also need to select a different major as your primary course of study. After accepted into the university and completing freshman level work, you can apply into the program. Most Carnegie Mellon students apply to the major during their sophomore year and begin during the fall of the junior year. However, students in any year may apply for the major. Few freshmen are admitted due to their limited academic experience, and freshmen who are rejected are encouraged to apply again as sophomores. Most accepted applicants have a GPA of at least 3.5.
About This School
Carnegie Mellon was founded by Andrew Carnegie in 1900 and began granting four-year degrees in 1912. It merged with the Mellon Institute of Industrial Research in 1967. Today, the school enrolls more than 13,000 students and is ranked 25th in the United States. It has one of the oldest Computer Science departments in the world.
What I Will Learn
- Interaction Design
- Information Architecture
- UI Design
- Human Computer Interaction
- Cognitive Psychology
- User Research
Why We Recommend This IA School Program
This IA program is ideal for someone that did really well in high school and wanted to study computer science but were more interested in usability and the relationship between humans and computers. If this is you and you haven’t already earned a bachelor’s degree, this information architecture program should be high on your list. Sure, you’ll have to double major to earn a degree in HCI, but it’s worth it.
Course Requirements / Prerequisites
Applicants must be currently enrolled at Carnegie Mellon. They should submit a list of all declared majors and minors, a statement of purpose, a proposed schedule, and an unofficial transcript.