About the Program
The Master of Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) degree is open to students from a wide variety of disciplinary backgrounds in the human, technological, or engineering sciences. It offers students an opportunity explore their native discipline in more depth while also gaining insight into the language and constraints that specialists in other disciplines in the HCI field work under. The degree prepares all students for direct entry into a career in HCI, bringing cross-disciplinary skills in quantitative and qualitative laboratory and field research that are increasingly sought after in industry and governments. While no PhD program is offered in HCI at Carleton as yet, qualified students who wish to continue their studies beyond a Master’s degree may enroll in the PhD program of their native discipline, with permission from the relevant School or Department.
The HCI program is a two-year full-time degree, although part-time study may be considered in some cases. It is expected that students will complete the coursework in the first year of study and the thesis in the second year. The degree comprises three streams of study (MA, MASc, MCS). All students take the following three courses in the first year: software and user interface development; fundamentals of design and evaluation; and designing and developing interactive entertainment systems. The HCI discipline aims to ensure that interactive computer systems make sense to people by delivering the information they need in the right format and the right modality (speech, text, graphics, animation) at the right time.
Although professors in all three streams are in Human-Computer Interaction, the three streams have been rather loosely defined in three ways: the MA stream is based on the human sciences. Professors representing the following departments will be able to supervise HCI student theses (Cognitive Science, English/Cultural Mediations, Eric Sprott School of Business, Geography, Journalism, Music (School for Studies in Art and Culture), Comparative Psychology, Sociology & Anthropology. The MASc stream focuses primarily on the design sciences; Professors in the following departments can supervise student theses (Azrieli School of Architecture and Urbanism, Department of Systems and Computer Engineering, School of Industrial Design, School of Information Technology). The MCS stream is based primarily on computer science, with professors from the School of Computer Science able to supervise student theses in that stream. This structure enables students from a wide range of disciplinary backgrounds to complete the HCI degree. A full list of contributing faculty and the Schools or Departments they represent is provided here .