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.)

Bachelor of Science in HCI Degree Requirements

The primary major in HCI supports students by preparing them with very strong technical knowledge, skills, and understanding. HCI majors must take a minimum of 360 units (35 courses) distributed as follows:

  • CS Core:  5 courses + freshman immigration course
  • Computing @ Carnegie Mellon: 3 units
  • Mathematics and Statistics:  4 courses
  • HCI Core: 6 courses
  • HCI Electives: 4 courses
  • HCI Capstone Project: 1 course
  • Free Electives: 4  courses
  • Science and Engineering: 4 courses
  • Humanities and Arts (Gen Ed):  7 courses

Total: 35 courses

A visual of the HCI major curriculum. The same information is available on this page in text form


Computer Science Core  (5 courses + immigration course = 55 units)

After each course name, the number of units for the course is shown [in square brackets].

Please note that many courses have prerequisites or corequisites, documented in CMU’s course catalog.

  • Prerequisites:
    • Students with no background in programming must first take 15-112: Fundamentals of Programming and Computer Science [12].
    • Students with no prior experience with software tools (editors, scripting, code management, etc.) are encouraged to take 07-131: Great Practical Ideas in Computer Science concurrently with the 15-112 course. (CSD Curriculum)
  • Requirements (all):
    • 07-128: Freshman Immigration Course [1]
    • 15-122: Principles of Imperative Computation [10]  
    • 15-150: Principles of Functional Programming [10]
    • 15-151: Mathematical Foundations of Computer Science [10]
    • 15-210: Parallel and Sequential Data Structures and Algorithms [12] 
    • 15-213: Introduction to Computer Systems [12]

Mathematics and Statistics Core  (4 courses = min. 37 units)

  • Prerequisite: 21-120: Differential and Integral Calculus [10]
  • Requirements:
    • 21-122: Integration and Approximation [10]
    • 21-259: Calculus in Three Dimensions [9] 
  • Select one of the following courses in Probability and Statistics:
    • 15-259: Probability and Computing [12]
    • 21-325: Probability  [9]
    • 36-218: Probability Theory for Computer Scientists  [9]
    • 36-225: Introduction to Probability Theory [9]
  • And one of the following courses:
    • 15-251: Great Ideas in Theoretical Computer Science [12]
    • 21-241: Matrices and Linear Transformations [10]
    • 21-242: Matrix Theory [10]
    • 36-226: Introduction to Statistical Inference [9] 
    • 36-326: Mathematical Statistics (Honors) [9]
    • 36-401: Modern Regression [9]

HCI Core  (6 courses = 72 units)

Research and Evaluation (2 courses)

Ideation and Design (3 courses)



Students in the HCI Major are required to take at least one course in Psychology, as specified below under Humanities and the Arts, Constrained Category 1: Cognition, Choice and Behavior. Although there are many ways of fulfilling this requirement, we will encourage HCI Majors to select one of the following two courses:

  • 85-211: Cognitive Psychology [9]
  • 85-241: Social Psychology  [9]


HCI Electives (4 courses)

  • One of the electives should have strong DESIGN content, as do, for example, the following courses (other options will require approval from the program director):
    • 05-317: Design of AI Products and Services
    • 05-418: Design of Educational Games
    • 05-470: Digital Service Innovation
    • 05-499: Game Design Studio
    • 15-465: Animation Art and Technology
  • One of the electives should have strong TECHNICAL content, as do, for example, the following courses (other options will require approval from the program director):
    • 05-434: Machine Learning in Practice
    • 05-436: Usable Privacy and Security
    • 05-499: Human-AI Interaction
    • 05-830: Advanced Topics in UI Software
    • 05-833: Applied Gadgets, Sensors and Activity Recognition in HCI
    • 05-839: Interactive Data Science
    • 08-421: Building User-Focused Sensing Systems
    • 10-315: Introduction to Machine Learning
    • 11-411: Introduction to Natural Language Processing
    • 15-281: Introduction to AI Representation and Problem Solving
    • 15-365: Experimental Animation
    • 15-388: Practical Data Science
    • 15-462: Computer Graphics
    • 15-464: Technical Animation
    • 15-466: Computer Game Programming
    • 15-494: Cognitive Robotics: The Future of Robot Toys
    • 16-467: Human-Robot Interaction
    • 17-428: Machine Learning and Sensing
    • 17-437: Web Application Development
    • 17-537: Artificial Intelligence Methods for Social Good
  • The remaining electives can be chosen from the above lists or from this pre-approved list of HCI electives. Other options will require approval from the program director.

HCI Capstone Project  (1 course = 12 units)

The Capstone will include significant technical communication skills including technical writing, oral presentation and visualization.


Science and Engineering  (4 courses = 36 units)

Four courses in the domain of science and engineering are required, of which at least one must have a laboratory component and at least two must be from the same department. These courses typically come from the Mellon College of Science and the College of Engineering (CIT). Courses with a primary focus on programming, computation or mathematics are not acceptable for science or engineering courses.


Humanities and Arts  (7 courses = 63 units)

These requirements follow those of the BSCS Humanities and Arts Requirements. Students are required to complete at least 63 units in the humanities and the arts (7 courses of at least 9 units each), divided into three main categories as follows.

Writing Requirement [9]

  • 76-101: Interpretation and Argument [9]

Humanities and the Arts: Constrained Categories

The choices in this category are:

  • Category 1: Cognition, Choice and Behavior [9]
  • Category 2: Economic, Political and Social Institutions [9]
  • Category 3: Cultural Analysis [9]

The Psychology requirement of the HCI Core will be satisfied through the Constrained Category 1: Cognition, Choice and Behavior.

Although there are many ways of fulfilling this requirement, we encourage HCI Majors to select one of the following two courses:

  • 85-211: Cognitive Psychology [9]
  • 85-241: Social Psychology [9]

Humanities and the Arts: Electives

Three non-technical courses of at least 9 units each from any department in the Dietrich College or the College of Fine Arts (with additions and deletions noted on the web page listed above).


Free Electives (4 courses = min. 39 units)

A free elective is any Carnegie Mellon course. However, a maximum of 9 units of Physical Education and/or Military Science (ROTC) and/or Student-Led (StuCo) courses may be used toward fulfilling graduation requirements. These could be used for optional Research Track or an optional HCI minor.


Computing @ Carnegie Mellon 99-10x course (3 units)