Important: Design Course Changes for Fall 2023

05-651: Interaction Design Studio 1 and 05-392/692: Interaction Design Overview are being retired and combined into one new course: 05-360/05-660: Interaction Design for HCI (12 units).

Any undergraduate student who would normally take 05-651 OR 05-392 will replace that course with 05-360. It will be offered both semesters beginning fall 2023.

(Note: students who have already successfully taken 05-651 OR 05-392 have already completed this requirement and will not need to take the new replacement course, 05-360.)


About the Additional Major

The Additional Major in Interdisciplinary Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) is available to current undergraduate students from any CMU college. Students maintain their primary major, and by adding an additional major in HCI, students can explore multiple areas of study during their time at CMU.

Applications to the additional major are processed once a year, in the spring. Learn more about our Additional Major in Interdisciplinary HCI admissions process.


The Additional Major in Interdisciplinary Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) consists of 12 prerequisite and required courses.

Prerequisite Courses (4)

These courses do not need to be taken before applying to the additional major program. However, please note the required order sequence for two courses, listed below. 

  • Introductory statistics course, details below
  • Psychology [85-211 or 85-213 or 85-241]
  • A freshman-level programming course [15-110 or 15-112 or 15-121 or 15-104] 
    must be completed before enrolling in the HCI core course 05-430 or 05-380
  • 05-651: Interaction Design Studio I 
    must be completed before enrolling in HCI core course 05-650

HCI Core Courses (4)

To graduate with the HCI additional major, students must:

  • maintain a 3.0 average across the HCI core courses and HCI electives and
  • pass each of the HCI core courses with at least a B grade.

The HCI core courses include the following required courses. (Prerequisite courses and the electives are not core courses.)

Electives (4)

HCI additional major students must take four HCI-related electives (9 units or more), and must maintain a 3.0 average in their HCI electives.

Students can take electives from the HCI Institute or courses relevant to HCI from many other departments on campus. All electives are approved on a case-by-case basis. Undergraduate additional majors must submit electives for approval beforehand using the HCI Institute’s EASY requirements management system. The director of the undergraduate program will approve the request, ask for more information or reject the request. The EASY system then keeps a record of the electives approved for a particular student.

Learn more about the HCII's undergraduate electives. Electives from an approved list of courses describing applications of HCI will be approved automatically. However, students can request approval to count an elective in any HCI-relevant course in all departments, even if it is not on the pre-approved list, as long as the course is not a basic course in their primary major.

Electives are intended to provide HCI additional majors with advanced concepts and skills relevant to HCI or breadth of experience not available from their primary major. Given these goals, most electives will be 300-level courses or higher. Courses at the 100-level and 200-level in a student's primary major will not count as electives towards the HCI additional major, although the same course taken by a non-major may. For example, a communication design student cannot take 51-247: Color and Communication as an elective, although a computer science major can.


Students can only double-count up to two core courses with their primary majors (prerequisite courses do not apply to the double-counting rule).

Special Notes

Statistics prerequisite - A statistics course is required so that majors will be able to understand and conduct empirical research in HCI. The Statistics prerequisite requirement can be satisfied by taking any of the following one or two semester courses, or by receiving credit for courses taken elsewhere (which must be approved by the Undergraduate Advisor prior to signing up for the course).

  • 36-200 Reasoning with Data
  • 36-201 Statistical Reasoning and Practice
  • 36-220 Engineering Statistics and Quality Control
  • 36-225 Probability and Statistics AND 36-226 Probability and Statistics
  • 36-247 Statistics for Lab Sciences

Interaction Design Studio prerequisite - Design majors do not need to take 05-651 Interaction Design Studio 1 as a prerequisite, since they learn similar material in other courses for their major.