The HCI Master’s Program

The Master of Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) degree is open to students from various disciplinary backgrounds in the human, technological, or engineering sciences. It offers students an opportunity to explore their native discipline in more depth while also gaining insight into the language and constraints under which specialists in other disciplines in the HCI field work. 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 industry and governments increasingly seek. While no Ph.D. 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 Ph.D. 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 studies may be considered in some cases. It is expected that students will complete the coursework in the first year of studies 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: Fundamentals of HCI design and evaluation, Software and user interface development, and Emerging interaction techniques. The HCI discipline aims to ensure that interactive computer systems make sense to people by delivering the information they need in the proper format and the proper modality (speech, text, graphics, animation) at the right time.

The three streams are defined in three ways: the MA stream for students from social sciences or humanities, the MASc stream for students from design or engineering, and the MCS stream for students from computer science. However, we recognize that many students interested in HCI have knowledge from multiple areas. That is also true of the faculty members, so professors from any academic unit can supervise any theses for any student in the program. The norm is for students to work with their thesis supervisors to choose a thesis topic that utilizes their backgrounds and allows the development of skills in other areas.

A full list of contributing faculty and the Schools or Departments they represent is provided here.