Do you have a knack for design and an interest in technology? This article will introduce you to the best human-computer interaction master’s degrees and give you all the information you need to choose the best school for you. Human-computer interaction (HCI) is the study of how humans interact with computer technology. Earning a human-computer interaction master’s degree is a good idea today as it increases both your employability and earning potential.
Dive in to get a full breakdown of the best Master’s Degrees in Human-Computer Interaction and find some of the highest-paying human interaction master’s degree jobs to help you get started in the field.
Where Can I Get a Master’s Degree in Human-Computer Interaction?
You can get a Master’s Degree in Human-Computer Interaction at Carnegie Mellon University, Drexel University, Indiana University, Rochester Institute of Technology, and the University of Washington, Seattle. These schools offer high-quality education and have some of the best HCI programs in the country.
What Schools Offer the Best Human-Computer Interaction Master’s Degrees?
- Carnegie Mellon University
- Drexel University
- Georgia Institute of Technology
- University of California, Irvine
- University of Maryland, College Park
What Are the Admission Requirements for a Master’s Degree in Human-Computer Interaction?
The admission requirements for a Master’s Degree in Human-Computer Interaction include an online application form, two or three letters of recommendation, a statement of purpose or personal essay, current resume/CV, portfolio, official transcripts, GRE scores, and a minimum GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. The specifics of these requirements vary depending on the school.
Some schools may request all of these, while others will ask for just a number of them. However, some of them are constants in practically all school requirements, namely letters of recommendation, a statement of purpose, a resume/CV, an online application form, and official bachelor’s degree transcripts.
Human-Computer Interaction Master’s Degree Admission Requirements
- Online application
- Letters of recommendation
- Statement of purpose or personal essay
- Resume/CV outlining work and academic experience
- Official transcripts
- Minimum of 3.0 GPA
How to Get a Master’s Degree in Human-Computer Interaction
You can get a human-computer interaction master’s degree by completing the program’s degree requirements. Each program has its specific requirements, which may differ from others. The most common degree requirements are listed and explained below.
How Many Credits Do You Need for a Master’s Degree in Human-Computer Interaction?
You need between 30 to 52 credits to earn a Master’s Degree in Human-Computer Interaction. This number varies by school, but 30 credit hours are the most common. Most of these credit hours are earned through the program’s core courses, while others are through the electives or general education courses.
During the first year of the two-year program, students complete 15 credit hours, of which three are for capstone projects. Each semester will require the students to complete six to seven credit hours.
Human-Computer Interaction Degree Requirements
- Total of 30 – 52 credit hours
- 15 credit hours for each program year
- Six to seven credit hours for each semester
- Capstone project/thesis
- Core courses
- General education or elective courses
Best Human-Computer Interaction Master’s Degree Programs and Schools: Overview
|Carnegie Mellon University||Master of Human-Computer Interaction||Middle States Commission on Higher Education|
|DePaul University||Master of Science Human-Computer Interaction||Higher Learning Commission|
|Drexel University||Master of Science in Information, Human-Computer Interaction and User Experience Major||Middle States Commission on Higher Education|
|Georgia Institute of Technology||Master of Science in HCI||Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges|
|Indiana University-Bloomington||MS in Human-Computer Interaction||Higher Learning Commission|
|Iowa State University||Master of Human Computer Interaction (MHC)||Higher Learning Commission|
|Rochester Institute of Technology||Human-Computer Interaction
Master of Science Degree
|Middle States Commission on Higher Education|
|University of California, Irvine||Master of Human-Computer Interaction & Design||WASC Senior College and University Commission|
|University of Maryland – College Park||Master of Science in Human-Computer Interaction (HCIM)||Middle States Commission on Higher Education|
|University of Washington – Seattle||Master of Human-Computer Interaction and Design||Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities|
Best Schools for Human-Computer Interaction: Top Human-Computer Interaction Master’s Degree Programs
This section includes detailed information on the best schools for human-computer interaction master’s degree programs. This can be used as a guide to help you make the best choice for your academic career.
What Is a Human-Computer Interaction Master’s Degree?
A human-computer interaction master’s degree is an interdisciplinary two-year postgraduate program. It is designed to equip students with the theoretical and practical skills needed to understand, design, and use the interactions between computer technology and humans.
The human-computer interaction degree program consists of behavioral sciences, social sciences, arts and humanities, and sciences. This allows students to choose an area of specialization between psychology, user experience design, product design, industrial design, and interactive computing.
The program may be offered as a thesis/non-thesis program or capstone project program. The thesis path prepares students to start a role while the project path gives students hands-on experience. HCI typically doesn’t have any academic background requirement, so students with any bachelor’s degree can apply.
How Important Is a Master’s Degree in Human-Computer Interaction?
A Master’s Degree in Human-Computer Interaction is important if you want to pursue a career in the field. However, it is not necessary if you have a background in computer science as most companies don’t request it. There are multiple certifications you can earn as evidence of skills.
A master’s degree is beneficial for those who want to break into the tech industry but don’t have a background in the academic field. This degree will give you the necessary knowledge and skills needed to start a career by helping you understand the interaction between humans and computers, an in-demand skill today.
What Types of Master’s Degrees Can You Get in Human-Computer Interaction?
The types of master’s degrees that you can get in human-computer interaction are a Master of Science Degree (MS) and a Master of Arts Degree (MA). An MS explores scientific and technical expertise, while an MA focuses on humanities and theoretical understanding.
Is It Better to Get a Master of Science or Master of Arts in Human-Computer Interaction?
It is better to get a Master of Science Degree in Human-Computer Interaction if you want to pursue higher education such as a doctorate degree. This is because MS degree programs are designed to explore scientific and technical expertise, which will be applied in doctoral programs.
A Master of Arts degree is the highest degree you can pursue in this vein as it doesn’t have an opportunity for continuing education. An MA is a good option for those who want to go into the workforce directly and don’t want a doctoral degree.
What Is the Difference Between a Human-Computer Interaction Master’s Degree and a Human-Computer Interaction Certificate?
The difference between a human-computer interaction master’s degree and a human-computer interaction certificate is that a certificate program is used to learn new skills, while a master’s degree is used to get adequate knowledge and specialization in a field.
The main difference between a degree and a certificate is that a master’s degree proves that the student has attained a certain level of mastery, while a certificate shows that they have the necessary skills required for the field. A graduate certificate or professional certificate will typically take no more than a year to complete, while a master’s degree takes about one to two.
How Much Does It Cost to Get a Master’s Degree in Human-Computer Interaction?
According to NCES, it costs an average of $19,314 to get a Master’s Degree in Human-Computer Interaction. This amount is based on the total cost of attending public and private institutions in the US. The average cost of attending public institutions is $12,171, and the total cost of attending private institutions is $25,929.
How Long Does It Take to Get a Human-Computer Interaction Master’s Degree?
It takes one to two years to get a human-computer interaction master’s degree, depending on the school and the program. The learning format is also a factor as distance learning can lengthen the duration of a program. A two-year program done online may take about 2.5 years to complete.
During a Master’s Degree in Human-Computer Interaction, students will have to complete between 30 to 52 credit units. Some schools also emphasize that students have to maintain a GPA of 3.0 before graduating from the program and failing to meet this expectation can lengthen your studies.
How Hard Is It to Get a Master’s Degree in Human-Computer Interaction?
It isn’t hard to get a Master’s Degree in Human-Computer Interaction. The program admission requirements are typically easy as some do not have a minimum GPA requirement or don’t require any specific academic background. This means that students with any bachelor’s degree can enroll.
So long as you stay focused and excel in your courses, completing the program requirements shouldn’t be too difficult. The courses taken during the program can be challenging if you don’t have a strong interest in the field.
Why Should You Get a Human-Computer Interaction Master’s Degree?
You should get a human-computer interaction master’s degree because it is a promising field. The HCI skill is in demand by many companies today, which provides a wide range of job opportunities for you to explore after graduation. Employers tend to prefer graduates with a master’s degree, so your chances of getting hired would be much higher.
What Courses Do You Need to Take in a Master’s Degree Program in Human-Computer Interaction?
The courses you need to take in a Master’s Degree in Human-Computer Interaction program include research methods, programming languages, interaction design, data structures and algorithms, interaction design, and product design. Below is a detailed outline of possible courses you may encounter.
This course can also be referred to as user experience research methods or psychology research methods. It introduces students to standard UX research methods used to generate ideas and how they are used in the field.
Also referred to as programming foundations or introduction to programming, this course is designed to teach students the basics of programming. It will help them learn about the different programming languages and their purposes. It is a perfect beginning course for a student with no programming experience.
This course focuses on teaching students the relationship between people and products. They will learn about the practice of design, patterns of design, and solutions to design problems. Students emerging from this course will be experts in information architecture, interaction design, and design solutions.
This course is the main focus of the entire program. Some schools will have a prerequisite course that focuses on the foundations of HCI. The course will cover design’s psychological, physiological, and engineering basis. It will teach the theoretical foundations of HCI, cognitive modeling of human interactions, and task analysis techniques.
Data Structures and Algorithms
Data structures are used to store data, and algorithms are the different steps involved in problem-solving. This course will teach students the analysis and implementation of algorithms, data structures and their analysis, and the implementation and application of classical algorithms.
Continuing Education Paths for Human-Computer Interaction Master’s Degree Graduates
After completing your Master’s Degree in Human-Computer Interaction, you can choose to join the workforce or further your studies by earning a doctoral degree. This option is available to those who get an MS degree. You can also get professional certifications or graduate certificates in your area of specialization to further upgrade your skills in your chosen career path.
Related Human-Computer Interaction Degrees
What to Look For in the Best Human-Computer Interaction Master’s Degree Programs
The things to look for in the best human-computer interaction master’s degree programs are accreditation, cost, school reputation, flexibility, and career services. Read more below to discover why these factors are important in choosing your dream program.
A good program should be offered by a nationally or regionally accredited school. Being accredited means that the school meets the quality standards expected of a good school. Employers in all industries tend to favor graduates from accredited programs.
The cost of a good Master’s Degree in Human-Computer Interaction can be expensive. While master’s programs are typically more costly than undergraduate degree programs, the tuition should still be affordable. Choose a program that allows you to study stress-free from student debt and loans.
The program should be offered by a school with a good reputation, one that makes your degree respected by employers in the tech industry. When a school is known for providing quality education by the top professors, job hunting becomes easier for its graduates.
When a program is flexible, it makes it easier for working professionals to attend and complete the program. Students can work professionally while working towards career advancement. Graduate programs are taken mainly by working professionals, so the program needs to offer flexible programs.
Graduates of a program need to be able to land good jobs after completion. Look for programs that offer students career services to help them navigate the job market and start rewarding careers in the human-interaction design field.
What Is the Most Affordable Human-Computer Interaction Master’s Degree?
The most affordable human-computer interaction master’s degree is the Indiana University, Bloomington’s MS in Human-Computer Interaction program. It costs $418 per credit hour to attend for in state students and $1,330.51 per credit hour for out-of-state students.
This brings it to a total of $15,048 for the entire program, as it requires students to complete 36 credit hours before graduation. Out-of-state students will pay a total of $47,898 for tuition for the whole program.
Salary and Job Outlook for Human-Computer Interaction Master’s Degree Graduates
The field of human-computer interaction promises a wide variety of job opportunities for master’s degree graduates. This section focuses on the various job opportunities available for human-computer interaction master’s degree graduates and answers any questions you may have about the field.
How Hard Is It to Get a Job With a Human-Computer Interaction Master’s Degree?
It is not hard to get a job with a human-computer interaction master’s degree. The skills that this program will equip you with are in high demand by employers in various industries which puts you at an advantage. You will have the luxury of choosing which industry your skills will be of the best use.
You will have less difficulty landing a good job as there are not many people with this degree and the programs also offer career services that teach students how to navigate the labor market. Graduates can easily handle the pressure and secure great jobs. These career services include online branding, resume writing, career coaching, and interview prep.
What’s the Average Human-Computer Interaction Master’s Degree Salary?
The average human-computer interaction master’s degree salary is $90,000 per year, according to PayScale. The actual amount will differ based on various factors, including the industry, company, and individual skills.
What Types of Jobs Can You Get With a Human-Computer Interaction Master’s Degree?
The jobs you can get with a human-computer interaction master’s degree are found in the design and engineering sectors. Specific examples include UX designer, software engineering or development, visual designer, and usability engineer jobs.
Human-Computer Interaction Degree Jobs
- User experience researcher
- Interaction designer
- Product designer
- Software engineer
- Usability engineer
Potential Careers With a Human-Computer Interaction Degree
How Much Money Can You Make With a Master’s Degree in Human-Computer Interaction?
With a Master’s Degree in Human-Computer Interaction, you can make between $75,624 and $101,481 annually depending on your specific career, as displayed in the table below. The actual amount you can earn is dependent on various factors such as the industry you work in, the company you work with, your job role, your experience, and your expertise level.
The section below covers the highest-paying master’s degree jobs and their salaries. This will give you a detailed breakdown of the duties, salaries, and job outlook of various positions open to you after graduation.
Highest-Paying Human-Computer Interaction Master’s Degree Jobs and Salaries: Overview
|Human-Computer Interaction Master’s Degree Jobs||Average Salary|
|User Experience Researcher||$88,593|
|User Experience Designer||$75,624|
Best Jobs for Human-Computer Interaction Master’s Degree Grads
The best human-computer interaction master’s degree jobs are in the research, engineering, and design fields. These types of jobs have similar roles and distinct differences that make each one stand out. Find out more on the highest-paying jobs with this degree below.
Best Jobs According to Your Major
Is a Master’s Degree in Human-Computer Interaction Worth It?
Yes, a Master’s Degree in Human-Computer Interaction is worth it. It is an excellent idea for those who are already professionals and those who are looking to transition into the human-computer interaction design field. A master’s degree will provide you with the knowledge and skills required to practice and give you a higher level of mastery.
A master’s program also increases your chances of securing a well-paying job after completion. Since these degree programs typically don’t require any specific academic background, the chances of getting accepted are higher. If you choose a reputable school that provides career services, you will find it easier to navigate the job market and have a competitive advantage.
Additional Reading About Human-Computer Interaction
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Human-Computer Interaction Master’s Degree FAQ
There are various jobs you can do with a Master’s Degree in Human-Computer Interaction. Some of them are visual design, UX research, UX design, front-end development, software engineering, and product management. You can also choose to pursue higher education with a doctorate degree.
A master’s in HCI will typically take between one year and two years, depending on the program. However, the majority of them take exactly two years to complete.
HCI is a growing field with a positive job outlook for most of its positions. Product designers have a 6% job outlook, software engineers have a 22% job outlook, and usability engineers and user experience designers have a 13% job outlook.
HCI professionals need and develop interpersonal people skills such as cognitive skills, empathy, and communication. They also need to be proficient in technical skills such as user interface, visual design, information architecture, application development, usability testing, interactive design skills, software design, project management, and web services.
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