There is more to computer science than just the machines, which is why we put the humans first.

Our Beginnings

In a 1967 a letter to Science entitled "What is Computer Science?," Allen Newell, Herbert A. Simon, and Alan J. Perlis wrote that the new discipline of computer science should include the study of the phenomena surrounding computers, not just the theory and design of the computation devices themselves. 

Their forward thinking and broad definition of computer science paved the way for Carnegie Mellon scholars to be thought leaders in this field.

Long before we all carried tiny touchscreen computers in our pockets, CMU opened its first user studies lab in the 1980s, offered its first human-computer interaction course in 1993, and a committee of interdisciplinary faculty founded the Human-Computer Interaction Institute the following year. At the time, our institute brought people from the seemingly unrelated fields of computer science, design, behavioral and social sciences together in a new way.

HCII Today

It's hard to believe that over a quarter century has now passed since our earliest days in Wean Hall. With technology now a ubiquitous part of our daily lives, the human-computer interaction discipline is well established and arguably more important than ever.

As the HCII continues to grow, our footprint has expanded beyond three floors of Newell-Simon Hall to several other buildings on campus. Learn more about our People, Centers and Labs, and Facilities.

Academic Programs

Our Master's in HCI program was the first in the world dedicated to preparing professionals for careers in user-centered research and UX design. Today, we offer a variety of HCI Courses, as well as undergraduate, master's and Ph.D. degree programs in HCI that span a full cycle of knowledge creation. We are proud to have graduated more than 1,000 alumni who have gone on to make an impact in education and industry.

The academic programs have different admissions deadlines throughout the year. Visit our Apply Now page for details about when to apply.  

HCI Research

In addition to teaching the next generation of HCI professionals, our faculty conduct interdisciplinary research with colleagues at CMU and around the world. Learn more about Doing Research with Us.

Our Vision

At the HCI Institute, we are dedicated to connecting thought leaders in computer science, design, behavioral and social sciences in order to develop human-centered software, services and systems that improve people's lives through technology.

Our collaborative and interdisciplinary nature connects us with faculty and students in the School of Computer Science, Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Tepper School of Business, College of Fine Arts, College of Engineering and the Software Engineering Institute.

Our Mission

  • To apply rigor and creativity consistently and pervasively
  • To infuse HCI methods appropriately across CMU and beyond
  • To push the boundaries of problems HCI addresses
  • To expand the tools and methods we use to address those problems
  • To deliver artifacts, services, and systems that improve people’s lives
  • To always remember that people are at the heart of our work