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Best Doctorates in Human-Computer Interaction: Top PhD Programs, Career Paths, and Salaries

Aiman Rathore - May 29, 2022


The use of human-computer interaction (HCI) learning systems and assistive technologies is growing in numerous exciting industries. In this article, we will cover 10 of the best PhDs in Human-Computer Interaction offered in the United States, as well as the PhD in Human-Computer Interaction salary opportunities and jobs in the interaction design field.

A PhD in Human-Computer Interaction is focused on interactive design and understanding how users interact with computers. This knowledge allows students to create research-backed digital interfaces for users based on their needs and preferences. These PhD degree programs will increase students’ level of experience and design thinking skills to make them experts in the computing and information technology field.

What Is a PhD in Human-Computer Interaction?

A PhD in Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) is a doctoral degree program that combines many different disciplines, including artificial intelligence, graphic design, assistive technologies, social computing, cognitive science, and interaction design thinking to create relevant computing and information technology that can solve real-world problems for technology users.

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During an HCI PhD program, the graduate student will utilize different learning systems and collaborate with faculty advisors to define their area of interest and research in the field. No matter their future career goals, students will gain excellent skills in interactive systems and have the opportunity to perform cutting-edge research in this key industry.

How to Get Into a Human-Computer Interaction PhD Program: Admission Requirements

The admission requirements for prospective students of human-computer interaction PhD programs include a master’s or bachelor’s degree and official transcripts from previous academic programs they have pursued. Other requirements may include a statement of purpose that describes your primary research interests in the HCI academic field, a resume, and letters of recommendation.

English as a second language (ESL) and all international students will need to provide proof of English proficiency in the form of Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) exam scores or an equivalent exam. Individual programs may also require Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores and application fees in order to be considered for admission.

PhD in Human-Computer Interaction Admission Requirements

  • Master’s or bachelor’s degree in a related field
  • Official transcripts
  • GRE exam scores, depending on the school
  • TOEFL exam or equivalent for ESL and international students
  • Online application and fee to be completed according to application deadlines
  • Statement of purpose
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Current resume

Human-Computer Interaction PhD Acceptance Rates: How Hard Is It to Get Into a PhD Program in Human-Computer Interaction?

It can be hard to get into a PhD in Human-Computer Interaction program. Doctoral studies that focus on interactive systems can be somewhat limited, so these programs are typically more challenging to get into as compared to programs with a social science focus, for example.

Acceptance rates will vary by the type of graduate study, a candidate’s previous academic progress, and the college’s reputation. You can research the general acceptance rates for each university, and the program may disclose acceptance information and how competitive the program is on the department’s website.

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Best PhDs in Human-Computer Interaction: In Brief

School Program Online Option
Arizona State University PhD in Human Systems Engineering No
Carnegie Mellon University PhD in Human-Computer Interaction No
Clemson University PhD in Human-Centered Computing No
Cornell University PhD in Information Science No
Georgia Institute of Technology PhD in Human-Centered Computing No
Indiana University Bloomington PhD in Informatics: Human-Computer Interaction/Design Specialization No
Massachusetts Institute of Technology PhD in Computer Science and Engineering No
Rochester Institute of Technology PhD in Computing and Information Sciences No
Stanford University PhD in Computer Science No
University of Washington PhD in Human-Centered Design and Engineering No

Best Universities for Human-Computer Interaction PhDs: Where to Get a PhD in Human-Computer Interaction

The best universities for human-computer interaction PhD programs include the desirable Stanford University, Indiana University, and Carnegie Mellon University. Continue reading below for an overview of each human-computer interaction PhD degree program and relevant details like tuition costs, application details, and funding options.

1

Arizona State University

Mesa, AZ

Arizona State University (ASU) is a public research university founded in 1885. ASU enrolls over 25,000 graduate students that come from all walks of life. Among public universities, ASU is considered an innovative university as it offers many popular graduate programs, including information and technology, information systems, supply chain management, and engineering programs.

PhD in Human Systems Engineering

The 84-credit-hour program in Human Systems Engineering will help you launch your academic and professional career in the exciting interaction design field. Subjects and research areas of this degree track include digital technologies, mobile computing, and advanced computing. students will also complete a dissertation and faculty-guided research.

PhD in Human Systems Engineering Overview

  • Program Length: 5 to 6 years
  • Acceptance Rate: N/A
  • Tuition and Fees: $11,720/year (in state); $23,544/year (out of state)
  • PhD Funding Opportunities: Dean’s Fellowship, Interdisciplinary Enrichment Fellowship, Graduate College Fellowship

PhD in Human Systems and Engineering Admission Requirements

  • Bachelor’s Degree in Cognitive Science, Computer Science, Engineering, or a related field
  • Official transcripts
  • Statement of purpose
  • 3.0 minimum GPA
  • GRE exam scores
  • Resume
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Working knowledge of cognitive science and statistics
2

Carnegie Mellon University

Pittsburgh, PA

Carnegie Mellon is a private university in Pittsburgh founded in 1900 by Andrew Carnegie. Carnegie Mellon University has one of the best computer science degree programs in the country and is currently ranked second on the list of the Best Computer Science Schools by the US News & World Report. The university offers full tuition aid and a stipend to accepted PhD students.

PhD in Human-Computer Interaction

An HCI student in this PhD program studying full time will take two and half years to complete the required credit hours for coursework. Current students can choose to conduct their dissertation research in behavioral science, product design, and user experience design.

HCI graduates will have a broad range of expert-level skills to qualify for work in digital media, interaction design, and social sciences, or more research-based and technical industry positions.

PhD in Human-Computer Interaction Overview

  • Program Length: 3 to 5 years
  • Acceptance Rate: 8%
  • Tuition: $46,400/year
  • PhD Funding Opportunities: Full tuition coverage and a yearly stipend; NSF Graduate Research Fellowship, Microsoft Research PhD Fellowship, Siebel Scholars Program

PhD in Human-Computer Interaction Admission Requirements

  • Bachelor’s or master’s degree
  • Statement of purpose
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Resume
  • Official transcripts
  • Video essay
  • GRE exam scores
3

Clemson University

Clemson, SC

Clemson University was founded in 1889 as a public land-grant university. A few of the most popular graduate programs offered by the college include biomedical engineering, computing, nursing, and digital media. Clemson is ranked 75th for best national universities and 30th for top public schools, according to US News & World Report.

PhD in Human-Centered Computing

The 60-credit hour program in human-centered computing features research and dissertation opportunities and will effectively prepare prospective students for a career path in academia, user experience design, and many other key industry-specific positions.

Prospective students have the option of enrolling in Clemson’s dual degree program and can take coursework that counts toward both an MS and PhD degree.

PhD in Human-Centered Computing Overview

  • Program Length: 3 to 6 years
  • Acceptance Rate: N/A
  • Tuition and Fees: $5,654/semester (in state); $11,242/semester (out of state)
  • PhD Funding Opportunities: Graduate assistantships, NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program, NVIDIA Fellowship, Microsoft Research PhD Fellowship, Facebook Fellowship

PhD in Human-Centered Computing Admission Requirements

  • Bachelor or Master of Science in Computer Science, Engineering, or Mathematics
  • 3.5 minimum GPA
  • GRE exam scores
  • Personal statement
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Resume
  • Research writing sample
  • Letter of support from an academic advisor from the department
4

Cornell University

Ithaca, NY

Cornell University is a private land-grant university that was founded in 1865 by diplomat Andrew Dickson White. Cornell is an Ivy League school and is famous for being the first university to provide degree programs in journalism, electrical and industrial engineering, and veterinary medicine.

PhD in Information Science

The PhD in Information Science doctoral program is a cutting-edge research degree with a focus on human-computer interaction and technological systems. Prospective students who have research interests in areas like interactive design, mobile computing, computer modeling, and applied machine learning will thrive in this comprehensive university PhD curriculum.

PhD in Information Science Overview

  • Program Length: 5 years
  • Acceptance Rate: 10%
  • Tuition: $29,500/year
  • PhD Funding Opportunities: Graduate teaching and research assistantships, yearly stipends, Cornell fellowships, and numerous external fellowships

PhD in Information Science Admission Requirements

  • Bachelor’s or master’s degree
  • Official transcripts
  • Personal statement
  • Statement of purpose
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • $105 non-refundable application fee
5

Georgia Institute of Technology

Atlanta, GA

Georgia Institute of Technology is a public research university founded in 1885. Georgia Tech is popular for its advanced computing and engineering colleges and has many of the highest rankings for its numerous technology programs. The innovative university is currently ranked sixth on the US News & World Report’s list of the Best Computer Science Schools.

PhD in Human-Centered Computing

Georgia Tech’s PhD in Human-Centered Computing program requires graduate students to complete a minimum of 27 credit hours during their initial two and a half years of coursework. Core courses explore topics like human-centered computing (HCC) basics, prototyping interactive design systems, and advanced research seminar work in HCC.

PhD in Human-Centered Computing Overview

  • Program Length: 5 years
  • Acceptance Rate: 17%
  • Tuition: $586/credit hour (in state); $1,215/credit hour (out of state)
  • PhD Funding Opportunities: ARPA-E Fellows Program, Microsoft Research PhD Fellowship Program, NASA Fellowships, and numerous additional external grants and fellowships

PhD in Human-Centered Computing Admission Requirements

  • Bachelor’s or master’s degree
  • Official transcripts
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Statement of purpose
  • Examples of HCC research
6

Indiana University Bloomington

Bloomington, IN

Indiana University Bloomington is a public research university founded in 1820 and is the flagship university of Indiana University’s seven other campuses. The comprehensive university is known for its great student-to-faculty ratio and enrolls more than 8,500 graduate students. Indiana University was the first university in the US to offer an informatics PhD degree program.

PhD in Informatics: Human-Computer Interaction/Design Specialization

This Luddy College of Engineering PhD program requires 90 credit hours of coursework. The requirement consists of 30 credits each for elective courses and dissertation work, 18 credits for core coursework, six credits each for seminar and research, and 12 credits for theoretical courses.

Graduate students of this program will gain expert-level skills in user-centered design, design pedagogy, interaction design and information architecture tools , and advanced computing during their human-computer interaction design track specialization.

PhD in Informatics: Human-Computer Interaction/Design Specialization Overview

  • Program Length: 5 to 7 years
  • Acceptance Rate: N/A
  • Tuition: $420/credit (in state); $1,330/credit (out of state)
  • PhD Funding Opportunities: Associate Instructor/Research Assistant Appointment and Stipend, Tuition Fee Remission, UGS Grant-in-Aid PhD Research Award

PhD in Informatics: Human-Computer Interaction/Design Specialization Admission Requirements

  • Bachelor’s or master’s degree
  • Statement of purpose
  • Resume
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Portfolio
  • Official transcripts
7

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Cambridge, MA

One of the world’s most desirable universities, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) was founded in 1861 as a private research university. MIT’s most popular undergraduate and graduate programs include degrees in tech, engineering, and physical sciences. According to the US News & World Report, MIT ranks as the number one school for engineering, computer science, mathematics, and economics graduate programs in the United States.

PhD in Computer Science and Engineering

The Schwarzman College of Computing at MIT offers a human-computer interaction degree program within the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science department. Students of this program will gain theoretical knowledge and excellent research skills in concepts like machine learning, artificial intelligence , mobile computing, and graphic information technology.

PhD in Computer Science and Engineering Overview

  • Program Length: 5 years
  • Acceptance Rate: N/A
  • Tuition: $28,795/year (out of state)
  • PhD Funding Opportunities: Graduate teaching and research assistantships, monthly stipends, and numerous MIT and external fellowships

PhD in Computer Science and Engineering Admission Requirements

  • Bachelor’s or master’s degree
  • Official transcripts
  • Statement of objectives
  • Resume
  • Three letters of recommendation
8

Rochester Institute of Technology

Rochester, NY

Rochester Institute of Technology is a private research university founded in 1829. The university is known for its online and on-campus graduate programs in engineering, computer science, and business. Rochester Institute of Technology currently enrolls more than 19,000 undergraduate and graduate students.

PhD in Computing and Information Sciences

The PhD in Computing and Information Sciences program at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) features a comprehensive, interdisciplinary 60-credit curriculum that focuses on subjects such as access technologies and computer-based instructional systems.

Students will complete a dissertation, research, and core coursework in numerous disciplines, such as human-computer interaction, cyber infrastructure, social computing, and machine learning and AI.

PhD in Computing and Information Sciences Overview

  • Program Length: 3 to 4 years
  • Acceptance Rate: N/A
  • Tuition and Fees: $2,257/credit
  • PhD Funding Opportunities: Graduate research and teaching assistantships

PhD in Computing and Information Sciences Admission Requirements

  • Bachelor’s Degree in Engineering, Science, or a related field
  • Official transcripts
  • 3.0 minimum GPA recommended
  • Personal statement
  • Professional portfolio
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Research paper samples
9

Stanford University

Stanford, CA

Stanford University is a private research university founded in 1885 and is among the most prestigious universities in the United States. Stanford is highly competitive and is known for its popular graduate engineering and social sciences programs. The school currently hosts more than 8,000 graduate students and offers over 200 master’s and doctoral programs.

PhD in Computer Science

The PhD in Computer Science degree program at Stanford offers students a chance to become experts in computing and features coursework in interactive design, prototyping, and interaction techniques. This degree program requires students to pass qualifying exams, conduct and orally defend a thesis and relevant research, and complete 135 course and research credits.

PhD in Computer Science Overview

  • Program Length: 5 years
  • Acceptance Rate: N/A
  • Tuition and Fees: $66,297/year
  • PhD Funding Opportunities: Graduate teaching and research assistantships, GEM Fellowship Program, numerous grant and scholarship opportunities

PhD in Computer Science Admission Requirements

  • Bachelor’s or master’s degree
  • Statement of purpose
  • Resume
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Official transcripts
10

University of Washington

Seattle, WA

The University of Washington (UW) was founded in 1861 as a public research university. UW is  one of the oldest universities on the West Coast and is known for its popular degrees in engineering, medicine, and business. The school offers over 300 programs to more than 12,000 graduate and doctoral students.

PhD in Human-Centered Design and Engineering

Prospective students of this human-computer interaction design track will learn about interaction design and information architecture, user-centered design, and the important interactive technologies used in everyday life. This PhD program requires a minimum of 90 total credits, including graduate school coursework, research, and dissertation work.

PhD in Human-Centered Design and Engineering Overview

  • Program Length: 5 years
  • Acceptance Rate: 65%
  • Tuition: $17,136/year (in state); $30,036/year (out of state)
  • PhD Funding Opportunities: Graduate teaching and research assistantships, NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program, GSEE graduate tuition award, numerous UW and external fellowships

PhD in Human-Centered Design and Engineering Admission Requirements

  • 3.0 minimum GPA
  • Official transcripts
  • Bachelor’s or master’s degree
  • Statement of purpose
  • Research summary with faculty matches
  • Resume
  • Three letters of recommendation

Can You Get a PhD in Human-Computer Interaction Online?

Yes, you can get a PhD in Human-Computer Interaction online. However, online PhD programs in this field are rare, as most degrees are only offered on campus.

Auburn University and Dakota State University offer online PhD programs. Most HCI degrees are computer science programs and will offer certain core courses or specializations in human-computer interaction, digital media, and user interface interaction design .

Best Online PhD Programs in Human-Computer Interaction

School Program Length
Auburn University Online PhD in Electrical and Computer Engineering 4 years
Dakota State University Online PhD in Information Systems 3 years

How Long Does It Take to Get a PhD in Human-Computer Interaction?

It takes between three to six years to get a PhD in Human-Computer Interaction. A PhD student of an HCI degree program usually takes two years to finish their PhD coursework after having completed a master’s program in a related field.

After completing your HCI degree program coursework, the rest of your time will be spent conducting research and dissertation work on real-world problems that can be solved through HCI interactive design, analysis, and research.

Is a PhD in Human-Computer Interaction Hard?

Yes, a PhD in Human-Computer Interaction can be quite hard to complete. This type of PhD program requires knowledge of many interdisciplinary fields such as cognitive science, computing, mathematics, and statistics. Research interest in how humans and creative technologies interact and problem-solving skills in interaction design are crucial for the field.

Prospective students for graduate school in HCI who are scientifically aligned and have an aptitude for creative thinking and interaction design would make the ideal candidates for an HCI degree program. The hard work spent in a doctoral program will be more than worth it.

How Much Does It Cost to Get a PhD in Human-Computer Interaction?

It costs an average of $19,314 to get a PhD in Human-Computer Interaction, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. This value is the average tuition figure of all public and private institutions.

It is important to remember that tuition costs will depend on different factors, such as whether the university is private or public, whether you are a resident or non-resident, and what financial aid and funding opportunities are offered by the program.

How to Pay for a PhD in Human-Computer Interaction: PhD Funding Options

The PhD funding options that students can use to pay for a PhD in Human-Computer Interaction include full or partial tuition funding and fixed yearly or monthly stipend payments offered by the university through the means of teaching or research assistantships, grants, and fellowships. Other federal or state aid options are available, such as the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and state-approved grants.

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What Is the Difference Between a Human-Computer Interaction Master’s Degree and PhD?

The difference between a human-computer interaction master’s degree and a PhD is the length of study and the depth of each program’s curriculum. An HCI master’s program prepares a graduate student for their future goal of obtaining relevant employment and is usually two years in length.

A PhD human-computer interaction degree program is a longer commitment, taking between three to seven years to complete. It prepares students for academic pathways in HCI and gears them toward lifelong careers in academic research in the areas of interaction design, computing, and engineering. PhD students also tend to have more intellectual autonomy and can choose to conduct paid research in specific areas of interest.

Master’s vs PhD in Human-Computer Interaction Job Outlook

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the job outlook for PhD in Human-Computer Interaction degree holders is projected to grow by 22 percent by 2030 for those who become computer and information research scientists. This career path typically requires at least a master’s degree, but a PhD is preferred.

In comparison, the job outlook for those with HCI master’s degrees who become industrial engineers is projected to grow by 14 percent by 2030 . The job outlook for human-computer interaction jobs is generally better for PhD degree holders because they are the most qualified candidates by default and have more job opportunities than master’s degree holders.

Difference in Salary for Human-Computer Interaction Master’s vs PhD

The difference in the average salary for those with human-computer interaction master’s degrees vs PhDs is about $30,000 per year, according to PayScale. Those with a Master of Science in HCI earn an average base salary of $90,000 per year . Human-computer interaction PhD graduates, on the other hand, earn an average salary of $119,000 per year.

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Why You Should Get a PhD in Human-Computer Interaction

You should get a PhD in Human-Computer Interaction because it will shape the future, specifically in the ways in which humans interact with digitally creative technologies. Human-centered interaction design a lucrative field with a rapidly growing job outlook, and obtaining a PhD will make you an expert in the field with unlimited room for career growth.

Reasons for Getting a PhD in Human-Computer Interaction

  • Great job outlook. Getting a PhD in Human-Computer Interaction guarantees you a great career in terms of employment opportunities and job growth. According to BLS,  there are 3,200 openings for computer and information research scientists every year.
  • High earning potential. According to BLS, the median pay after getting a PhD in Human-Computer Interaction is about $131,490 per year . Yearly salaries can be even higher, depending on the industry and your years of experience.
  • Cutting-edge research. Pursuing a PhD in Human-Computer Interaction will put you at the forefront of cutting-edge technologies and research involving subjects like brain informatics, design pedagogy, interactive data exploration, and user-centered design.
  • Wide range of career options. As human-computer interaction design is an interdisciplinary degree, getting a PhD in the subject means you are eligible to work in multiple exciting positions, such as UX research and interaction designer, human systems engineer, or human-computer research scientist roles.

Getting a PhD in Human-Computer Interaction: Human-Computer Interaction PhD Coursework

Woman wearing virtual reality goggles. 
Virtual or augmented reality exists only when users choose to interact with it. Pursuing a human-computer interaction PhD will make you an expert in these thrilling technologies.

Getting a PhD in Human-Computer Interaction involves finishing mandatory human-computer interaction PhD coursework. Below you will find some of the most common courses taught in a PhD in Human-Computer Interaction curriculum.

Interaction Design

A PhD in Human-Computer Interaction typically involves a core subject in interaction design, in which graduate students learn how to design a digital experience, physical product, or service that anticipates and caters to the need of its users.

HCI Process and Theory

As a required part of the coursework during a PhD in Human-Computer Interaction design, students are taught the basic theories, methodologies, and processes involved in human-computer interaction design and engineering.

Social Computing

Students in this course will learn how digital technologies can support social interaction among human beings. It studies the intersection of computational technologies and online social behavior or interaction with digital systems.

Foundations of Applied Cognitive Science

This course explores the psychology and the cognitive science behind users’ needs, knowledge, and actions. It focuses on understanding the user’s psychology in terms of human-computer interaction to accurately predict, design, and achieve agreeable human-centered results.

Fundamentals of Human-Centered Computing

This subject is similar to applied cognitive science but focuses more on the behavior and actions of humans interacting with technologies. The course teaches computer systems engineering and methodologies which combine social science, cognitive science, and computing to fill technological gaps for users.

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How to Get a PhD in Human-Computer Interaction: Doctoral Program Requirements

If you are still wondering how to get a PhD in Human-Computer Interaction, continue reading below to find out more about the doctoral program requirements for HCI graduate students to complete their PhD degrees.

1

Core Courses

To get a PhD in Human-Computer Interaction, you’ll have to fulfill the core course requirements. The course requirements for an HCI doctoral program usually include courses on interaction design, applied cognitive science, and social computing.

2

Teaching Requirements

Graduate students will usually have to complete one or two teaching assistantships during the duration of their PhD to fulfill the doctoral program requirements. These assistantships are typically paid and can help cover tuition costs.

3

Specialization Courses

Doctoral students of computer science and human-computer interaction will have to complete required core and elective courses for their specialization, usually amounting to between 10 to 18 credit hours.

4

Usability Skills Requirements

Graduate students are required to complete an internship or project, teach an introductory course on human-computer interaction, or take a Usability Methods course in HCI. This is done within the doctoral program so faculty and advisors can make sure that the doctoral student is ready for HCI-related work beyond the degree program.

5

Thesis for PhD in Human-Computer Interaction

Perhaps the most important requirement of a PhD in Human-Computer Interaction is for doctoral students to propose, conduct, report, and defend a PhD thesis in human-computer interaction. As a PhD student of HCI, you’ll have to propose an original thesis topic, collaborate with your PhD committee consisting of faculty members and advisors, and present and defend your thesis, both orally and in written form.

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PhD in Human-Computer Interaction Salary and Job Outlook

The salary and job outlook available after getting a PhD in Human-Computer Interaction significantly improves as compared to the job outlook of a bachelor’s or master’s program in human-computer interaction or human-centered design and engineering. A PhD opens doors to exciting careers and higher-paying jobs and makes you more qualified than most in the field.

What Can You Do With a PhD in Human-Computer Interaction?

With a PhD in Human-Computer Interaction, you can have your pick of career opportunities. You can choose to work solely in academia as a professor or researcher or get hired by large private corporations to work as a usability engineer, interaction and interface designer, or information architect.

Best Jobs with a PhD in Human-Computer Interaction

  • Usability Engineer
  • Information Architect
  • Interaction and Interface Designer
  • Visual Analyst
  • UX Designer

What Is the Average Salary for a PhD in Human-Computer Interaction?

The average salary for someone with a PhD in Human-Computer Interaction is $119,000 per year , according to PayScale. You can also earn up to $180,000 per year as a user experience researcher, a lead UX designer, or a senior product manager after obtaining a PhD in Human-Computer Interaction.

Highest-Paying Human-Computer Interaction Jobs for PhD Grads

Human-Computer Interaction PhD Jobs Average Salary
Senior Product Manager $159,010
UX Researcher $131,490
Research Engineer $101,780
Computer Programmer $93,000
UX Designer $77,000

Best Human-Computer Interaction Jobs with a Doctorate

Read on to learn more about the best human-computer interaction jobs available to those with a doctorate in HCI or a specialization in human-computer interaction under a computer science PhD program. Most of these jobs require at least a master’s degree, but PhDs are preferred.

1

Senior Product Manager

PhD Salary: $159,010

A senior product manager takes care of the product strategy and roadmap of the product line. They are responsible for estimating the product’s business value, overseeing its design, and leading the product team from the product’s conception to its launch date.

2

UX Researcher

PhD Salary: $131,490

A user experience (UX) researcher is responsible for the testing and data analysis of the user’s experience. They are responsible for determining the needs of their users and better understanding their psychology through analytics and insights. A UX researcher works cross-functionally with designers, product managers, and engineers to ensure best practices.

3

Research Engineer

PhD Salary: $101,780

A human-computer interaction research engineer builds highly interactive user interfaces and systems. They create websites or product infrastructures and software applications and conduct experimental testing on user interfaces to improve the overall user experience.

4

Computer Programmer

PhD Salary: $93,000

A computer programmer is responsible for developing various software applications through full stack development. A computer programmer with a PhD in Human-Computer Interaction will be highly skilled and specialized in creating, testing, and improving research-backed user-centric interface designs.

5

UX Designer

PhD Salary: $77,200

A user experience (UX) designer creates the visual interface of a digital product. Their responsibilities include ensuring usability, clean infrastructure, accessibility, and ease of use in the interactive user interfaces they design. They also create storyboards and conduct testing and case studies to come up with the best design solution to fulfill user needs.

Is a PhD in Human-Computer Interaction Worth It?

Yes, a PhD in Human-Computer Interaction is worth it. After getting an HCI PhD, you’ll have abundant career options available to you. You can secure top-paying human-computer interaction jobs like computer or information research scientist, UX researcher, or usability engineer roles.

If you decide to take the academic route after your PhD in HCI, you can teach at the top schools around the world after completing your degree. You can also conduct your own research, get funded, and get published as you teach. The options are endless for PhD degree holders.

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PhD in Human-Computer Interaction FAQ

How long is a PhD in HCI?

A PhD in HCI is usually four to six years long. However, there are part-time study options available that may take longer. During full-time studies, graduate students can finish their coursework in two or two and a half years and then take another year or two to complete their thesis.

What is the scope of human-computer interaction?

The scope of human-computer interaction is very broad and covers multiple disciplines. With a human-computer interaction degree, you’ll acquire excellent skills and knowledge in various subjects, including computer science, cognitive science, mathematics, and technology, while also becoming qualified to work in these fields.

Is human-computer interaction tough?

Yes, human-computer interaction can be quite tough. However, it can be less challenging to learn for students who have a natural aptitude for statistical, mathematical, cognitive, and technical subjects. It is doable for any student who develops a genuine interest and curiosity in the field.

What can you do with a PhD in Human-Computer Interaction?

There are many career options available to those with a PhD in Human-Computer Interaction. After getting a PhD in HCI, you can take the academic route and start teaching the subject while conducting your own research. You can also work in the field as an interaction designer, visual analyst, or UX researcher. Some students end up working with a university’s industry partners as well.

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Aiman Rathore

About the author: Aiman is a writer and content developer. Their writing credentials include a Master of Philosophy in English Literature, a Creative Writing Certificate from The Missing Slate, and Content Marketing, Email Marketing, and SEO Certifications from HubSpot Academy. Outside of work, they help run a charity school in Pakistan that provides primary education to children from underprivileged families.

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