MSc in Human Computer Interaction (HCI)

Human Computer Interaction is probably the single most important area for the success of a computer system and also provides great opportunities for innovation and creativity. In this course you will cover the underpinning theories, methodologies and practice of the discipline. You will also have the opportunity to broaden your studies through optional modules in areas such as Robotics, Nature Inspired Computing or Security. The course builds upon the world class research of the HCI Centre through project work and is designed to prepare you for a career in research or in industry or commerce.

Course overview

The discipline of Human Computer Interaction is about many things: It is about the interface that a system provides (and, therefore, is the most important and most complex component of most systems) but it is also about so much more. We need to understand the people that use the systems and their abilities and constraints. We need to understand how to build systems that really work and also how to evaluate them. We also need to be able to think creatively in order to build innovative solutions to new problems and emerging applications and domains - to be able to solve the problems of tomorrow’s world rather than just those of today.

This course covers the underpinning theories, methodologies and practices of HCI. It includes specialist modules in application domains. Through course and project work your degree is intimately integrated into the research of the University’s HCI centre.

Minimum entry requirements

Entry requirements for this course are high. You should, typically, be in the top 15% of your year. The minimum requirement is an upper second class degree. Most students will have either a first class or a high upper second class degree. Students who have not studied in English must pass a recognised English test.

Programme details

This is a one year, full-time course. In the first 8 months, students will spend half of their time studying taught modules. Here we will cover the core principles, theories, methodologies and application areas of the discipline. There will also be an opportunity to take optional modules in areas such as Computer Security, Robotics or Nature Inspired Computation. The other half of your time will be spent on two mini-projects. Here you will work one-to-one with one of our research-active staff to explore an area in great depth – analyzing the problem and existing solutions, developing new ideas and building or evaluating prototype systems. Here you will develop your skills in analysis, research, technology and also in presenting and explaining your work clearly and effectively.
The final four months will be spent extending the work of one of your mini-projects, again with expert one-to-one supervision.

Learning and teaching

The course will be taught through a variety of methods. There will be some small lecture classes, problem-based workshops and also one-to-one supervision. There will be some group work as part of the taught modules. There may be opportunities for some industry-based project work. Perhaps most importantly, you will be part of a small, highly qualified group of students working closely with researchers within the HCI centre.

Career opportunities

Through the course you will become a specialist in HCI but also build skills for analyzing and researching new problems, construct and present creative and innovative solutions.
Graduates of this programme are well prepared to continue their studies through research for a PhD.  Although many students choose to progress onto a PhD, the demand for experts in Human Computer Interaction and the opportunities for successful careers in industry and commerce are vast.

Important application dates

If you are applying for 2015 entry, the MSc will commence on 28th September 2015. There is no closing date for admissions, although you are advised to apply as early as possible, particularly if you need to arrange a visa. Please click here for further information on term dates.

How to apply

Applications for all Computer Science MSc programmes are made directly to the University of Birmingham. For full details visit 'How to Apply'.

Further details on programme modules

For further details on programme modules, please click here: