Additional Major in Interdisciplinary HCI


About the Additional Major

The undergraduate Additional Major in Interdisciplinary Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) consists of 12 prerequisite and required courses. Applications are processed once a year, in the spring. Learn more about Applying to the Additional Major in Interdisciplinary HCI.


Curriculum Details

Students must take 4 electives, which they need to submit beforehand for approval by the program director. Elective course approval requests need to be submitted through the EASY system. Electives from a restricted 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. Students can only double count up to two core courses with their primary majors (prerequisite courses do not apply to the double-counting rule).

Graphically, the required curriculum for the undergraduate additional major in interdisciplinary HCI is shown in the chart below. The arrows in the chart represent prerequisites. For example, the Intro to Programming and Statistics requirements are prerequisites for the User-Centered Research and Evaluation course. The additional major involves courses in human behavior, design, computer science, statistics and a project course.

Psychology 85-211 or 85-213 or 85-241


Interaction Design Studio 1

36-200 or 36-201 or 36-207 or 36-247 or 36-220 or 36-225 & 226 or 70-207
Introduction to Programming
 15-104 or 15-110 or 15-112 or 15-121 
HCI Electivesd
four 9 unit (or more) HCI related courses
Interaction Design Studio 2
User-Centered Research and Evaluation
Interface Programminga
  Project Course


To graduate with the HCI additional major, you 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. 
By 'core courses' we mean the four required courses, including the capstone course.  (I.e., the prerequisite courses and the electives are not core courses. The rest are core courses.)

You can check your progress in the major and request approval for electives using the EASY system. If the information about your progress in EASY is inaccurate, please submit a request through the system.

Special Notes

  • a When registering for the required HCI programming course 05-430 (Programming Usable Interfaces), you must also sign up for a recitation time, which is equivalent to the User Interface Lab. The labs differ on their computer science prerequisites. Section E should be taken by students majoring in computer science or with advanced technical skills. Section A through D require only an introductory course in computer science as a prerequisite, and can be taken either by computer science majors or non-computer science majors.
  • b The statistics course is required so that majors will be able to understand and conduct empirical research in HCI. Therefore a mathematically-oriented probability course, such as 36-217 (Probability Theory and Random Processes) does not fulfill either requirement. However, the sequence of 36-225 and 36-226 (i.e., a mathematical statistics course followed by a statistical inference course) fulfills the statistics prerequisite requirement. 
  • c 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.
  • d All electives must be submitted through EASY for audit purposes.


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, 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 take electives in 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 requisition approval of an elective using The HCI Institute‚Äôs EASY requirements management system. The director of the undergraduate program will approve the request, ask for more information or reject it. The EASY system then keeps a record of the electives approved for a particular student. Here is a list of popular HCI electives.



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). As noted above, the statistics courses are required so that majors will be able to understand and conduct empirical research in HCI. Therefore a mathematically-oriented probability course, such as 36-217 (Probability Theory and Random Processes) does not fulfill the requirement.

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


Spring 2022 Admissions are now Closed.  


Undergraduate Program Information

Vincent Aleven
Director of the Undergraduate Programs
Human-Computer Interaction Institute
Newell-Simon Hall 3531 

Andrea Gnessin
Undergraduate Program Coordinator
Human-Computer Interaction Institute