Minor in Interdisciplinary Human-Computer Interaction (HCI)
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 Fundamentals (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 Minor in Interdisciplinary HCI
The minor in interdisciplinary human-computer interaction gives students core knowledge about techniques for building successful user interfaces; approaches for conceiving, refining, and evaluating interfaces that are useful and usable; and techniques for identifying opportunities to improve the quality of people’s lives through technology.
Students learn to effectively collaborate in the design, implementation, and evaluation of easy-to-use, desirable, and thoughtful interactive systems. They will be prepared to contribute to multidisciplinary teams that create new interactive products, services, environments, and systems.
The minor in interdisciplinary HCI is appropriate for CMU undergraduates who expect to get jobs where they design and/or implement information-technology-based systems for end users, and well as students with an interest in learning more about the design of socio-technical systems. It is appropriate for students with majors in computer science and information systems, as well as students in less software-focused majors, including design, architecture, art, business administration, psychology, statistics, decision science, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, English and many others.
Admissions and Application Information
Applications for the Minor in Interdisciplinary HCI are processed once a year in the spring.
An information session for students interested in applying to the undergraduate HCI Additional Major and Minor was held on Tuesday, February 7th at 7:30pm in GHC 4401. For those who were unable to attend, here are the PPT slides used at the session. Have questions? Email Amelia Baisley: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The application window is the period of time when students can submit their applications to our minor. Now that the 2023 window is closed, our next application window will open during spring 2024.
A link to an online application form will be available on this page during the next application window. Required information for the application form will include: anticipated graduation year, primary major, any additional second major or minor, cumulative GPA, mid-semester grades for the current spring semester (first-years only), plus a schedule of study that specifies when you might take the 7 courses for the minor.
Acceptance decisions will be announced before the fall registration week in April. Once decisions are announced, we will hold another information session to help our newly admitted students with their fall registration.
The number of students that can be admitted to the minor in interdisciplinary HCI is limited by enrollment caps for the two required courses. Students who are admitted to the minor will be guaranteed admission to the two required courses by their senior year. They will also receive preference for some of the electives offered by the HCII, although due to enrollment limits for courses, there are no guarantees that students will get into any elective they may want to sign up for. However, given the very large number of possible electives, once admitted, students should be able to complete the minor.
Key Concepts, Skills and Methods
The key concepts, skills and methods that students will learn in the HCI minor include:
- Fieldwork for understanding peoples' needs and the influence of context
- Generative approaches to imagining many possible solutions, such as sketching and “bodystorming”
- Iterative refinement of designs
- Basic visual design, including typography, grids, color and the use of images
- Implementation of interactive prototypes
- Evaluation techniques, including discount and empirical evaluation methods
The following requirements are for students entering Fall 2023.
Prerequisite Course (1 course)
- Select one:
- 15-110: Principles of Computing [10 units]
- 15-112: Fundamentals of Programming and Computer Science 
- 15-121: Introduction to Data Structures 
- 15-104: Introduction to Computing for Creative Practice 
Core Courses (2 courses)
- 05-391: Designing Human-Centered Software (DHCS) 
This course provides an overview of the most important methods taught in the Additional Major in HCI, such as Contextual Inquiry, Prototyping and Iterative Design, Heuristic Evaluation, and Think Aloud User Studies. It covers in a more abbreviated form the content of 05-410 User-Centered Research and Evaluation and, 05-430 Programming Usable Interfaces. Alternatively, a student can take both 05-410 and 05-430 OR 05-380. If students take this course sequence, they get credit for fulfilling this 05-391 requirement plus one elective.
- 05-360: Interaction Design Fundamentals 
Special Notes for Design Majors: HCI Minors who have a primary major in Design may substitute taking 05-391: Designing Human-Centered Software with another HCI 05 elective course; HCI Minors who have a primary major in Design must substitute taking 05-360: Interaction Design for Human Computer Interaction with another HCI 05-xxx course.
HCI minor students must take four HCI-related electives (9 units or more). Electives are intended to provide minor students with advanced concepts ad 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 one's primary major will not count as electives, although the same course taken by a non-major may count (approval is required).
Students can take electives in the HCII or courses relevant to HCI from many other departments on campus. All external electives are approved on a case-by-case basis.
All 05-xxx courses are pre-approved as HCI electives; however, core courses cannot double-count as electives. View a current pre-approved list of electives.
Students may double count up to two (2) of the required core and elective courses (prerequisite courses do not apply to the double-counting rule) with their primary major.
Relationship Between The HCI Additional Major and HCI Minor
- HCI Additional Major: Application and admissions required
- HCI Minor: Application and admissions required
Prerequisites (not necessary for admission)
- HCI Additional Major:
- Freshman-level programming
- Interaction Design for Human Computer Interaction
- HCI Minor:
- Freshman-level programming
- HCI Additional Major:
- Advanced Design Course
- User Centered Research & Evaluation (UCRE)
- Programming Usable Interfaces (PUI) or Prototyping Algorithmic Experiences (PAX) or Software Structures for User Interfaces (SSUI)
- BHCI Project (Capstone)
- HCI Minor:
- Interaction Design Fundamentals
- Designing Human-Centered Systems (DHCS)
- HCI Additional Major: Four (4) electives
- HCI Minor: Four (4) electives
- HCI Additional Major: Two (2) core courses or electives with primary major.
- HCI Minor: Two (2) core courses or electives with primary major.