About the HCI Minor
This university-wide minor is steadily gaining popularity as understanding of human computer interaction continues to grow in importance. If you have questions, contact hciibachelors [at] cs [dot] cmu [dot] edu.
The minor in human-computer interaction will give students core knowledge about techniques for building successful user interfaces; approaches for conceiving, refining, and evaluating interfaces that are useful and useable; and techniques for identifying opportunities for computational technology to improve the quality of people’s lives. The students will be able to effectively collaborate in the design, implementation, and evaluation of easy-to-use, desirable, and thoughtful interactive systems. They will be prepared to contribute to multidisciplinary teams that create new interactive products, services, environments, and systems.
The HCI minor is targeted at undergraduates who expect to get jobs where they design and/or implement information-technology-based systems for end users, and well as students with an interest in learning more about the design of socio-technical systems. It is appropriate for students with majors in computer science and information systems, as well as students in less software-focused majors, including design, architecture, art, business administration, psychology, statistics, decision science, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, English and many others.
Key Concepts, Skills and Methods
The key concepts, skills and methods that students will learn in the HCI minor include:
- Fieldwork for understanding peoples' needs and the influence of context
- Generative approaches to imagining many possible solutions, such as sketching and “bodystorming”
- Iterative refinement of designs
- Basic visual design, including typography, grids, color and the use of images
- Implementation of interactive prototypes
- Evaluation techniques, including discount and empirical evaluation methods
The only prerequisite for this minor is an introductory-level college programming course (such as 15-110, 15-112, 15-121, 15-123, or 51-257) and to be in good standing with the university.
In addition to the programming prerequisite, the minor has required two courses—05-391 Designing Human-Centered Systems (DHCS) and 05-4xx Interaction Design Overview (IDO)—and four electives from an approved list. The student will be required to get a grade of “C” or better in each course in order for it to count as part of the minor. There is no final project or research required for the minor.
- 05-391 Designing Human-Centered Systems (DHCS)1: This course provides an overview of the most important methods taught in the Second Major in HCI, such as Contextual Inquiry, Prototyping and Iterative Design, Heuristic Evaluation, and Think Aloud User Studies. It covers in a more abbreviated form the content of 05-410 User-Centered Research and Evaluation, 05-430 Programming Usable Interfaces and 05-433 User Interface Lab.
- 05-392 Interaction Design Overview (IDO)2: This is a new design course that will combine material from 05-651 Interaction Design Fundamentals and 05-650 Interaction Design Studio for students who do not have any previous experience with design, in a form that will fit appropriately into a one-semester format. It will be first offered in the spring of 2014. (Earlier announcements said it would be offered in the fall of 2013, but it was moved to the spring of 2014.)
The HCI minor requires four electives from the pre-approved list of electives.
Students may double count up to two (2) of the required courses or electives with their primary major.
Relationship Between the BHCI Major and Minor
||Application and admissions required
||Sign up for minor by filling out this form. Minors get priority for required courses and some electives, but no guarantee.
||• Freshman-level programming (51-257 or 15-110 or 15-112 or 15-121 or 15-123)
• Statistics (introductory)
• Cognitive psychology
• Interaction Design Fundamentals or Communication Design Fundamentals
|• Freshman-level programming (51-257 or 15-110 or 15-112 or 15-121 or 15-123)
||• Interaction Design Studio (IDS)
• User Centered Research & Evaluation (UCRE)
• HCI Programming (PUI/SSUI)
• BHCI Project
|• Interaction Design Overview (IDO)
• Designing Human Centered Systems (DHCS)
||4 electives (2 from defined list and 2 free electives approved by the director of the BHCI major)
||4 electives ( from defined list)
||2 courses with primary major
||2 courses with primary major
1Alternatively, a student can take both the BS/MHCI empirical methods course (05-410/05-610 User-Centered Research and Evaluation) and the BS/MHCI core programming course (either 05-430 Programming Usable Interfaces or 05-431 Software Structures for User Interfaces, along with its associated 05-433 User Interface Lab). If students take this course sequence, they would get credit for fulfilling this requirement plus one elective.
2Alternatively, students can fulfill the design requirement by taking 05-650 Interaction Design Studio and 05-651 Interaction Design Fundamentals. If students take this course sequence, they would get credit for fulfilling this requirement plus one elective.
These alternative ways of fulfilling the requirements for the HCI minor are designed for students who are in the HCI second major who want the “downgrade” to the minor. These students can use some of the courses completed for the HCI second major as a way of fulfilling the requirements for the minor.
Students in the HCI minor from the start are strongly encouraged to follow the regular requirements outlined above and are strongly discouraged from trying these alternative ways of fulfilling the requirements. It can be extremely difficult to get into any of the alternative courses. This is true especially for 05-650 Interaction Design Studio, but for other courses as well. The fact that a student in the minor has already taken 05-651 Interaction Design Fundamentals will not give priority for getting into studio.
Applying to the HCI Minor
There is a formal admissions procedure with the admissions deadline once a year (details below). The number of students that can be admitted to the HCI minor is limited by enrollment caps for the two required courses. Students who are admitted to the minor will be guaranteed admission to the two required courses by their senior year. Also, they will receive preference for some of the electives offered by the HCII, although due to enrollment limits for courses, there are no guarantees that students will get in to any elective they may want to sign up for. However, given the very large number of possible electives, once admitted, students should be able to complete the minor.
Applications for admission to the HCI minor are due 11:59 p.m. on April 1, 2014. A sign-up form will be available starting Friday, March 7 (the Friday before Spring Break). Acceptance decisions will be announced Friday, April 4.
Required information for the application will include: anticipated graduation year, primary major, any additional second major or minor, cumulative GPA, mid-semester grades for spring 2014, plus a schedule of study that specifies when you might take the seven courses for the minor.
We will hold an information meeting on Tuesday, April 8. During this meeting, information will be provided regarding fall course scheduling and other issues related to your program of study.