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.)



In this concentration, students learn techniques, processes, principles, and theory of Human Computer Interaction (HCI). This interdisciplinary field aims at understanding how interactions with digital technologies and services can augment what humans do. It also aims at understanding what design, prototyping, and evaluation processes lead to innovative digital technologies and services that fulfill human needs. The concentration enhances what is learned in the SCS majors by addressing how digital products and services can be designed and evaluated so they benefit individuals, small groups, organizations, larger networks, and societies. It is synergistic with SCS majors in that envisioning, designing, and implementing innovative digital interactions benefit from superior technical skill. The concentration consists of 5 courses (2 required courses and 3 electives). The concentration helps prepare students for jobs as technically-skilled specialists in design and development of interactive systems. The concentration will give students a broader perspective on how technologies impact humans, which may help them move faster into product management positions. It also lays a foundation for graduate study in the field of Human Computer Interaction.

Concentration Form

To request approval to add or drop the HCI Concentration, please fill out the following HCI Concentration Form (pdf) and then send your completed form to Amelia Baisley, academic program coordinator, via email.

Learning Objectives 

Students will learn skills and methods for:

  • Eliciting and understanding human objectives, preferences, and needs through qualitative and quantitative methods for data collection and analysis
  • Generating and imagining possible solutions and design concepts that involve human/technology partnerships
  • Basic visual design, including typography, grids, color and the use of images
  • Design of interactive systems, experiences, and technologies
  • Developing and evaluating interactive prototypes as a way of iteratively refining designs
  • Evaluating interactive technologies to assess and improve their functioning through data-driven redesign, including discount and empirical evaluation methods

They will also learn about:

  • Digital technologies, including, possibly, web and mobile platforms, conversational technologies, wearable computing, gadgets, digital fabrication, virtual reality and mixed reality
  • Human psychology, regarding individuals, groups, organizations, societies, and cultures, as it relates to interactions with digital products and services

Course Requirements

Students in an SCS major wanting to complete a concentration in HCI must complete 5 courses, namely, 2 required courses and 3 electives. The student will be required to get a grade of ā€œCā€ or better in each course in order for it to count as part of the concentration.  

Required courses (2)

  • 05-391 Designing Human-Centered Systems (DHCS)
  • 05-392 Interaction Design Overview (IxDO)

Electives (3)

At least one of the electives must have strong technical content and must be selected from the following list:

  • 05-434: Machine Learning in Practice
  • 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
  • 17-428: Machine Learning and Sensing
  • 10-315: Introduction to Machine Learning
  • 11-411: Introduction to Natural Language Processing
  • 15-237: Cross-Platform Mobile Web Apps
  • 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
  • 17-437: Web Application Development
  • 17-537: Artificial Intelligence Methods for Social Good

At least one of the electives must have strong design content and must be selected from the following list:

  • 05-317: Design of AI Products and Services
  • 05-418: Design of Educational Games
  • 05-452: Service Design
  • 05-470: Digital Service Innovation
  • 05-499: Game Design Studio
  • 15-465: Animation Art and Technology
  • 51-327: Introduction to Web Design

The remaining elective must be a course in HCI offered by the Human-Computer Interaction Institute, meaning it has a 05 number, or is included in the pre-approved list of undergraduate electives.


Students interested in doing research or project work in the field of Human-Computer Interaction can do an independent study with an HCII faculty member. The independent study (05-589) will count as an elective for the HCI concentration.



The prerequisites for the HCI concentration are: 

  • 15-122: Principles of Imperative Computation
  • 15-150: Principles of Functional Programming


Double Counting 

At most 2 courses can be double counted with other requirements for the SCS major (so at least 3 courses must be unique to the concentration).