MHCI Curriculum

MHCI core courses guide students through HCI fundamental theories and methodologies.

Carnegie Mellon University's Master of Human-Computer Interaction degree is a rigorous, interdisciplinary program. The MHCI curriculum is strategically designed to teach core user-centered research, interaction design, user experience and interface programming skills while allowing students to customize their own HCI path with unique electives from across the university.

Students enrolled in the MHCI program are required to take seven core classes and four electives to graduate. Students must complete the required courses and number of electives to be eligible to complete their degree.

Prospective students can view sample study plans for both full-time and part-time student schedules. Part-time studies are only available for domestic students on the Pittsburgh campus for our Master of Human-Computer Interaction program. At this time, there are no online degrees or classes available for any programs in the Human-Computer Interaction Institute. 

Seven Core HCI Courses

05-600 HCI Pro-Seminar: Communications in HCI
This course has three objectives to strengthen HCI communication skills for work in industry: to expose students to the world of HCI through research and industry expert talks; to give students the opportunity to sharpen their English writing skills; And to introduce students to conflict management, teamwork and active listening skills in order to give them tools to collaborate more efficiently on multi-disciplinary teams.

05-610 User-Centered Research and Evaluation (UCRE)

This course provides an overview and introduction to the field of human-computer interaction. It introduces students to tools, techniques and sources of information about HCI and provides a systematic approach to design. The course increases awareness of good and bad design through observation of existing technology, and teaches the basic skills of task analysis, and analytic and empirical evaluation methods. Graduate students will also participate in a laboratory where they will practice HCI techniques in an independent, self-defined project.

05-651 Interaction Design Studio 1

This studio course introduces students to design thinking and the basic practices of interaction design. It follows a human-centered design process that includes research, concept generation, prototyping, and refinement. Students must work effectively as individuals and in small teams to design mobile information systems and other interactive experiences. Assignments approach design on three levels: specific user interactions, contexts of use, and larger systems. Students will become familiar with design methodologies such as sketching, storyboarding, wire framing, prototyping, etc. No coding is required. This course serves as a prerequisite for Interaction Design Studio 2 (05-650).

05-650 Interaction Design Studio 2

This course follows Interaction Design Studio 1 (05-651). Students are expected to apply what they have learned about design thinking and methodologies as a starting point for all assignments. Students will work in teams to perform guerrilla research, synthesize data, and consider the needs of multiple stakeholders in their design of mobile services and other intelligent systems. Design concepts go beyond user inter faces to include sensors, controls, and ubiquitous computing. Emphasis is placed on the quality of the students’ ideas and their ability to give form to their design concepts. By completing and presenting their work, students will gain skills related to professional UX design practice.

05-630 Programming Usable Interfaces (PUI)

This course combines lectures and an intensive programming lab and design studio. It is for those who want to express their interactive ideas in working prototypes. It will cover the importance of human-computer interaction/interface design, iterative design, input/output techniques, how to design and evaluate interfaces, and research topics that will impact user interfaces in the future.

05-671 HCI Project I (15-unit spring course) and 05-672 HCI Project II (48-unit summer course)
Experiential learning is key component of the MHCI program. Through a substantial team project, students apply classroom knowledge in analysis and evaluation, implementation and design, and develop skills working in multidisciplinary teams. The project begins in the spring semester before graduation and continues full-time through the final summer semester; it must be taken in consecutive spring and summer semesters. The course number for spring is 05-671 and for summer 05-672.

Students can learn more about favorite electives from other students or visit the HCII course guide to see more available classes.

MHCI Application is Now Open

Apply now for our next MHCI program cohort (fall 2022 start).

We will be accepting applications through January 15, 2022.

HCII Electives

Learn more about electives in the MHCI program and see which classes are favorites from past students.

HCII Electives


MHCI Policies and Procedures

For more information about our policies and procedures, please view our MHCI Handbook.

MHCI Handbook 2020-21 (pdf)

MHCI Handbook 2021-22 (pdf)

Our Student Outcomes

Since its founding, our program has graduated more than 1,000 students. The in-depth interdisciplinary experiences here at Carnegie Mellon make our students the glue between design, development and management in many companies. The MHCI student is often hired to play one role, but quickly becomes an indispensable team player — in many cases, a team leader for research, design and strategy in software, technical or consulting engagements.

MHCI Director of Student Affairs

Nicole Willis
Human-Computer Interaction Institute
Carnegie Mellon University
300 S. Craig Street, Suite 209
Pittsburgh, PA 15213