HCII Calendar

  • HCII Seminar - Laura Granka
    NSH 1305
    April 23, 2014 at 4:00pm
  • Ph.D. Thesis Proposal: Eliane Stampfer Wiese
    NSH 3305
    April 25, 2014 at 12:30pm
  • CMU Commencement

    May 18, 2014 at all day

Undergraduate Minor Program

Overview | Major | Minor | Accelerated Masters | Electives | Independent Study | Advisory Committee | Contact

For undergraduate student who are interested in HCI but do not want to complete the HCI major, the HCI Institute offers an minor, starting in spring, 2013.

Apply here 

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 multi-disciplinary teams that create new interactive products, services, environments, and systems.

The key concepts, skills and methods that students will learn in the HCI Minor include:

  • Fieldwork for understanding people’s 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 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 in the university.


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.

Required courses:

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 has been moved to the spring of 2014.)


The HCI minor requires four electives from the pre-approved list of electives.

Double counting:

Students may double count up to two (2) of the required courses or electives with their primary major.

The relationship between the BHCI Major and Minor

  BHCI Major BHCI Minor
Admission 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.
Prerequisite • 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)
Core courses • Interaction Design Studio (IDS)
• User Centered Research & Evaluation (UCRE)
• HCI Programming (PUI/SSUI)
• BHCI Project
• Interaction Design Overview (IDO)

• Designing Human Centered Systems (DHCS)

Electives 4 electives (2 from defined list and 2 free electives approved by the director of the BHCI major) 4 electives ( from defined list)
Double counting 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 2nd major who want the “downgrade” to the minor. These students can use some the courses completed for the HCI 2nd major as a way of fulfilling the requirements for the minor.

Students who are in the HCI minor right 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

***Application form is open***

Apply here 

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 HCI Institute, 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 April 1, 2014 11:59pm. 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 2nd major or minor, cumulative GPA, mid-semester grades for Spring 2014, plus a schedule of study that specifies when you might take the 7 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 you program of study.