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The Undergraduate Major and Minor in HCI Human Computer Interaction Institute School of Computer Science Carnegie Mellon University. Vincent Aleven Newell Simon Hall 3135 [email protected] What is the HCII?. Our Mission

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The Undergraduate Major and Minor in HCIHuman Computer Interaction InstituteSchool of Computer ScienceCarnegie Mellon University

Vincent Aleven

Newell Simon Hall 3135

[email protected]

what is the hcii
What is the HCII?

Our Mission

  • Engineering & Design: To create effective, usable, enjoyable experiences with technology through interdisciplinary research and teaching in design, computer science, the behavioral and social sciences, and engineering
  • Science: To understand the impact of technology on individuals, groups, and organizations.
the philosophy of the hci undergraduate programs
The Philosophy of the HCI undergraduate programs

Take excellent students with depth in one discipline relevant to HCI and give them the educational opportunity to “walk in the shoes” of the other disciplines.

Make the students more effective members of interdisciplinary teams in industry

Prepare students for leadership in HCI-related industries

educational programs for undergraduates
Educational programs for undergraduates
  • Second major:
    • Formal admissions with ~50% admissions rate
    • 11 courses, including a final project
    • Guaranteed admission to core courses
  • Minor
    • No formal admission, just sign up
    • 7 courses
    • No guarantees in getting into courses
      • After one core course, access to other core course guaranteed
on the philosophy
On the Philosophy…
  • Undergrad education HCI will provide students
    • Basic skills for designing and implementing user-centered software
    • Appreciation of the varied skills necessary to make useful, usable & satisfying interactive products
    • Ability to communication with specialists in other areas
  • It will not make software developers into designers or psychologists into programmers.
  • It is not a second degree.
human centered design the user is not like me
Human-Centered DesignThe User is Not Like Me

Human FactorsCognitive PsychologyMotivationGroup behavior

ColorLayoutGraphic Design

Interaction Design




Think alouds

Heuristic evaluation

Focus groups

Cognitive walk-throughs

Statistical analysis

Flash, Director, Visual Basic, HTML, Databases, Java, C++, GUI toolkits, UI architectures

what makes the hcii dynamic
What makes the HCII dynamic?
  • CMU has the best Human-Computer Interaction program in the country
  • One of the few (only?) with an undergraduate major
  • Tight integration of
    • Technology
    • Behavioral Science
    • Design
  • Breadth and Depth
    • Students from SCS, CFA and H&SS
    • Interdisciplinary faculty
what students like about the program
What students like about the program
  • Interdisciplinary
  • Project focused
  • Flexible
  • “Working with people from other disciplines “
  • “The interdisciplinary nature. I learned a lot from having courses outside my major and from working with people that have different focii”
  • “Courses were project oriented”
  • “Applying the skills I learned in classes to research projects”
  • “Without this major, I would have never discovered my enjoyment for creatively solving problems with constraints and business needs.”
  • “The professors. I was lucky because all of the core classes … were taught by professors who were well-respected in the field and clearly knew their stuff”
hci second major curriculum
HCI Second Major Curriculum

4 Pre-requisites

3 Core courses + 4 Electives

Senior project

hci second major core courses

HCI Second Major Core Courses

Introduction to User Centered Research and Evaluation

Use empirical and analytical methods to figure out what users of systems want and will find easy and fun to use and learn

Test whether you delivered the right experience

Basic Interface Design/Interaction Design Fundamentals

Translate between problem definitions and innovative designs

Technology core differs by technical skill

Programming Usable Interfaces (non-CS majors)

Software Structures for User Interfaces (CS majors)

UI lab (sections on GUI, mobile applications, web applications)

Capstone Project

hci second major senior capstone project course goals
HCI Second MajorSenior Capstone Project Course Goals
  • Apply HCI skills on a semester-long project
  • Work in interdisciplinary teams (3-5 people)
  • Work with clients
  • Integrate skills gathered over the curriculum
  • Learn to write reports & give presentations
quote by a student about the capstone project
Quote by a student about the capstone project

“I had the chance to use HCI methods and understand the basis for them. We had to constantly test and change things based on the very specific needs of our users. Things that seemed so simple to us were like a foreign language to them. It really helped drive the entire point of HCI home to me.”

2 restricted electives 2 others
Human Factors

Social Web


Educational Games

Applied Cognitive Psych

Rapid Prototyping of Computer Systems

Advanced Topics UI Software

Usable Security & Privacy

Visualization & i-Pad programming

Computer Supported Cooperative Work

Speech Recognition and Understanding

Applied Machine Learning

Introduction to Product Design

Assistive Technology

Smart Homes

Personalized Online Learning

2 Restricted Electives + 2 Others
  • Many electives offered by the HCII
  • >100 others in other part of the university
    • Business, CFA, H&SS, CS, Robotics, Entertainment Technologies
Skills: How to build interactive devices (AKA: “”!)
  • Add to your toolbox of techniques: Prototyping simple µcontroller-based electronic devices

Concepts:What can be done with them from an HCI perspective

Join the struggle:build somethingfor the user!

taught by Scott Hudson

design of educational games 05 418 05 818 hcii vincent aleven
Design of Educational Games05-418/05-818 HCII – Vincent Aleven

The potential of digital games to improve education is enormous. However, it is a significant challenge to create a game that is both fun and educational. In this course, students learn to meet this challenge by combining principles and processes from game design and instructional design.

Steven Dow


social media

micro-task crowds

A-B testing




making a pitch



EMAIL: [email protected]

Crowd-Driven Innovation


applied cognitive science 05 395 r klatzky
Virtual Reality

Perceptually Based Decisions

Eyewitness Testimony

Cognitive Tutoring

Learning To Read

Spatial Thinking

Speech recognition and synthesis

Rational vs. Emotional Marketing

Automated Language Understanding

Neural Plasticity and Remediation

Expertise & Sport

Sleep Learning

Applied Cognitive Science05-395 (R. Klatzky)

personalized online learning vincent aleven
Personalized Online LearningVincent Aleven
  • Learners are different and personalized learning is far more effective than one-size-fits-all approaches. This course covers a number of proven personalization techniques used in advanced learning technologies.
  • One of the techniques is the use of cognitive modeling to personalize practice of complex cognitive skills in intelligent tutoring systems. This approach, developed at CMU, may well be the most significant application of cognitive science in education and is commercially successful.
independent study
Independent Study
  • Many students do an independent study to explore a particular area in depth
  • Personalized, a negotiation between the student and a professor
    • Can be in any department, just like any other elective
    • Often grows out of personal contacts after taking class with an instructor
    • I send out announcements at beginning of semester
comparison of requirements

Just sign up & complete courses

No guarantees

1 Prerequisites

Freshman-level programming

2 Core courses

Designing Human-Centered Systems (DHCS)

Combines User Centered Research

+ Programming Usable Interfaces

Design for HCI (DHCI)

Combines Interaction Design Fundamentals + Interaction Design Studio

4 Electives

No Project

HCI Second Major

Formal admissions process

Guaranteed slots for core courses

4 Prerequisites

Freshman-level programming

Interaction Design Fundamentals

Statistics (introductory)

Cognitive psychology

3 Core courses

User Centered Research

Interaction Design Studio

HCI Programming (PUI/SSUI)

4 Electives

Capstone Project

Comparison of Requirements
designing human centered systems core course for the minor
Designing Human-Centered Systems (core course for the Minor)
  • How to design human-centered systems that people find useful and usable
    • Into to designing, prototyping, evaluating user interfaces
    • Cover theory and practical applications of HCI concepts
    • Lecture-style, discussion, homework, class presentations
    • Big group project
bhci vs mhci requirements

3 Prerequisites

Freshman-level programming

Interaction Design Fundamentals

Statistics (thru multivariate regression)

4 Core courses

User Centered Research

Interaction Design Studio

HCI Programming (PUI/SUUI)

HCI Pro-seminar

MHCI Project (2 semesters; 60 units)

5 Electives


4 Prerequisites

Freshman-level programming

Interaction Design Fundamentals

Statistics (introductory)

Cognitive psychology

3 Core courses

User Centered Research

Interaction Design Studio

HCI Programming (PUI/SSUI)

BHCI Project

4 Electives

BHCI vs MHCI Requirements

Similar goals, quite a bit overlap!

accelerated masters option
Accelerated Masters Option
  • Complete a masters degree in 2 semesters past undergrad degree
  • More in-depth project course
  • 5 electives (most at Masters level)
  • Pro-seminar (outside lectures & meetings with visiting HCI researchers and professionals)
careers in hci
Careers In HCI
  • Undergraduates get good jobs & job offers (AY 2011/2012 data)
other reasons for getting an hci 2nd major minor
Other reasons for getting an HCI 2nd major / minor
  • More interesting problems to work on
  • More interaction with stakeholders
  • Creative expression
  • Working on the parts of computers that everyone sees
  • Fame
  • Personal interest
  • Career security, etc.
companies where b mhci alumni work




Apple Inc

Applied Predictive Technologies

Athena Health

Bank of America Global Markets Technology




Cengage Aplia


Democratic National Committee

Deutsche Bank


Discovery Engine



Epic Systems



Fuild Inc

General Electric Co.

Goldman Sachs


Green Hills Software




JPMorgan Chase

Jonnson & Johnson

Kaiser Permanente


Lockheed Martin


Manhattan Associates, Atlanta


Merrill Lynch


Moment Design


New York Times




PNC Bank

Palantir Technologies




Ready at Dawn Studios

Companies Where B/MHCI Alumni Work
  • Riberbed
  • Rosetta Stone
  • Round Arch
  • RoundArch
  • Roundarch
  • Schematic
  • Schoolnet
  • Shiny Entertainment
  • Speaker Text
  • Tagged
  • Teach for America
  • Team Detroit
  • Thermo Fisher Scientific
  • Thomson Reuters
  • TripAdvisor
  • UBS Investment Bank
  • Union pacific railroad
  • University of Michigan
  • VMware
  • Vanguard
  • Vistaprint
  • Wizzard Media
  • WorldEvolved Services
  • Yadseiir
  • Yahoo
  • Yinzcam
  • Zazzle

Plus ~15% have started their own companies

admission to the major
~25-30 Students / Graduating Year

Applications due by March 8, 2013 (Friday before Spring Break)

Follow instructions on the website

Statement of purpose (Why is HCI for you?)

Proposed course schedule (Can you fit everything in?)

Letter of reference (optional)

Decisions announced April 1, 2013 (well before Fall Registration Week)


QPA (threshold  3.0+)

Relevance and clarity in statement of purpose

Viable plan for completing major

Diversity & relevance of courses taken

Available Slots

Admission to the Major
chances of admission 2011
Chances of Admission (2011)
  • Freshman:
    • 8/16
    • 50%
    • Mean GPA=3.6
  • Sophomores & Juniors
    • 26/38
    • 68%
    • Mean GPA=3.5
  • If you don’t get in at first attempt, apply again next year!
more information
Vincent Aleven

Director of Undergraduate Program

3531 NSH

[email protected]

412 268-5475

Robert Kraut

Director of Undergraduate Program

3515 NSH

[email protected]

412 268-7694

Indra Szegedy

Program Coordinator

3526 NSH

[email protected]

412 268-4431

More Information
cmu court reservation system
CMU Court Reservation System

Now in use at UC!

Basis of (failed) small business!

more popular electives
Computer Science

Technology Consulting in the Community

Web Application Development

Engineering Software Intensive Systems

Human Aspects of Software Engineering

Architectures for Software Systems

Computers and Security

Artificial Intelligence

More Popular Electives


  • Designing Identities
  • Understanding Perception Through Design
  • Design‚ Management and Organizational Behavior
  • Designing for Service
  • Mapping and Diagramming
  • Color and Communication
  • How Things Are Made
  • Product Planning
  • Sketching and Modeling
  • Industrial Design Fundamentals
  • Conceptual Models
  • Methodology of Visualization
  • Typographic Play

Behavioral Sciences

  • Perception
  • Human Information Processing and Artificial Intelligence
  • Interpersonal Relationships
  • Evolutionary Psychology
  • Research Methods for
    • Cognitive Psychology
    • Social Psychology
    • Developmental Psychology
    • Learning Sciences
  • Organizational Behavior
  • Human Expertise
  • Applications of Cognitive Science
  • Cognitive Modeling