Applying to the Undergraduate Major
The HCI undergraduate major is currently available only as a second major.
Because space is limited in the major’s required courses, enrollment in the HCII undergraduate major is currently limited to approximately 25 students in each graduating class. Applications to the major are processed once a year. Information about the application process is available at the bottom of this page. The application deadline for 2015 is Friday, March 6, at 11:59 p.m.Decisions will be made by a committee in time for spring pre-registration. Decisions are based on 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. Information sessions for the program are usually held in February. The handout from the 2014 information session is available here.
Students in any graduating class can apply to the major. First year students can only be pre-admitted, but are automatically admitted in their sophomore year if they carry a QPA of 3.0 or higher. Juniors can be admitted if they can complete all remaining requirements for the major in the semesters they have before graduation.
Pre-Admittance: Freshman Only
We admit a small number of freshman 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. In 2012 we admitted ony 5 of the 25 freshman who applied. (20%); their average GPA was 3.6. If you apply as a freshman, but do not get in, please reapply as a sophomore.
Pre-admission entitles you to pre-register for HCI courses, and guarantees full admission in the sophomore year with a QPA higher than 3.0.
Full Admittance: Sophomores and Up
Students who were pre-admitted as freshmen are automatically fully admitted as sophomores, provided they have a QPA of 3.0 or higher. Most admissions come from students who apply in their sophomore year. In 2012, we admitted 20 students of 45 sophomores and juniors who applied (44%). Their average GPA was 3.5. We will also admit juniors, provided they can fit the required courses into their schedule. In 2012 we admitted 3 of 14 juniors (21%).
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. In each graduating class, we will hold 6 slots for Design students 6 slots for H&SS students 6 slots for SCS students and we will leave 7 slots unconstrained This means that for each of Design, H&SS, and SCS, we will admit the best 6 candidates (above threshold) from primary majors in these schools, and we will then admit 7 additional applicants from any primary major. The current situation with respect to majors and the slots available is given in the following two tables.
Applications are due by Friday, March 6, 2015. For those interested in applying, please submit the following materials by email, in a single PDF (preferably) or MS Word document enclosure, to the Academic Program Coordinator (hciibachelors [at] cs.cmu.edu). You will receive email confirmation of your submission.
- Full name, student number, and email address
- Home College, year you intend to graduate, and list of all declared Majors and Minors
- Statement of Purpose (Maximum 1 page, single spaced)
- Proposed Schedule of Required Courses
- Unofficial Transcript (including mid-term grades of semester applying)
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. In 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:
|Sophomore||85-211 (MW 2:30) PM Course 1 (MW 9:00) PM Course 2 (TR 10:30)|
|Junior||05-410 (MW 1:30) 51-261 (TR 6:30) PM Course 3 (TR 3:00)||51-422 (TR 6:30) PM Course 4 (MW 12:00)|
|Senior||PM Course 5 (MWF 9:00)||05-430 (TR 1:30) 05-571 (MW 12:00) PM Course 6 (TH 3:00)|
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 directly to hciibachelors [at] cs.cmu.edu.
Decisions on admittance to the major will be made in time for fall registration week. You will be notified by email no later than the Friday before Fall Registration Week.