Applying to the Additional Major in Interdisciplinary HCI

Because space is limited in the major’s required courses, enrollment in the HCII's undergraduate additional major is currently limited to approximately 35 students in each graduating class. Applications to the major are processed once a year. Students in any graduating class can apply to the major. Juniors can be admitted if they are able to complete all remaining requirements for the major in the semesters they have before graduation. Information about the application process is available at the bottom of this page. Decisions will be made by a committee in time for fall registration. Decisions are based on QPA, mid-semester QPA, the number of slots available, the statement of purpose, the feasibility of completing the major, the proposed schedule, and the discretion of the committee. A prospective student information session for the program is usually held in February. For Spring 2020, the prospective student information session is scheduled for January 30, 2020 in NSH 4305 at 4:30pm. Any undergraduate student who is interested in applying to either of the undergraduate HCI programs may attend. The handout for the 2020 information session is available here

Note to Freshmen

We admit a small number of freshmen each year, provided they have strong grades and a good statement of purpose. We limit freshman admittance because we only have one semester of data about them and they can easily fulfill the major if they are admitted in their sophomore year. This way, we retain slots for students who have not decided to apply for the major in HCI until their sophomore year. If you apply as a freshman but do not get in, please reapply as a sophomore.


Most admissions come from students who apply in their sophomore year. Admissions statistics depend on the applicant pool of that year. 


Since HCI work involves multi-disciplinary teams that include designers, implementers, evaluators, and those with content expertise, each graduating year will be balanced in background and expertise. 

Application Process and Deadline

Admissions for Spring 2020 will open March 10, 2020 and close March 29, 2020. Between this time period you may submit your application via the application button below. For those interested in applying, please submit the following materials by email, in a single PDF document via the button below. It will send to the HCII Academic Programs Manager (hciibachelors [at] and you will receive email confirmation of your submission.

Application Materials

  1. Cover page with: full name (can include preferred name), Andrew ID, home college, graduate year, and list of all declared majors and minors 
  2. Statement of Purpose (Maximum 1 page, single spaced)
  3. Proposed Schedule of Required Courses
  4. Unofficial Transcript including current cumulative GPA 
  5. Mid-term grades from SIO of current Spring semester 
  6. Optional (not mandatory): your portfolio and/or letter(s) of recommendation

In the Statement of Purpose, articulate why you want to pursue the HCI major. What is it about the major that attracts you and why? Communicate your vision for how the HCI major fits into your longer range educational and career goals. Do not exceed a single page. While not mandatory, you may include a link to your online portfolio and/or any letters of recommendation. A letter of reference is not required and a generic letter from someone who does not know you well will not be helpful to your case. However, we will accept a letter of reference from a faculty member or supervisor who knows you well. If you submit a letter of reference, have your reference writer send it in PDF format directly to hciibachelors [at] cs.cmu.eduIn the Proposed Schedule of Required Courses, which is NOT a contract, you should specify a plan for when you can fit the courses required for the major into your schedule. Make a table that looks something like the Sample Plan of Study given in a previous section. Include your primary major obligations as well, whenever they might conflict with HCI courses. The idea is to show that you have thought through, in some detail, whether you can actually do this major. For example:

  Fall Spring
Freshman 36-201 15-110
Sophomore 85-211 and Elective 1 Elective 2
Junior 05-651 and Elective 3 Elective 4
Senior 05-410 and 05-430 05-571 and 05-650



Decisions on admittance to the major will be made in time for fall registration week. A Fall course registration information session will be scheduled after spring break for returning and newly admitted HCI students.


Applications for 2020 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
Newell Simon Hall 3509

  • hciibachelors [at]