HCI Concentration for SCS Majors


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: 

Please fill out the following form below to get approval for the HCI Concentration. (Turn into NSH 3509 or NSH 3531) 

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 “C” or better in each course in order for it to count as part of the concentration.  

Required courses

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


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 electives maintained on the HCII website.


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 pre-requisites 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).