MHCI Frequently Asked Questions
Program & Curriculum FAQs:
How many students are currently in the program?
Fall 2023 matriculation numbers: 55 MHCI with 7 continuing students.
May I work on my MHCI degree part-time?
This may be requested at the time of admission. However, the HCII Project II course must be taken in the summer session after HCII Project I, and students must be enrolled full-time during the summer. Please note that students must be residents of the United States in order to enroll part-time in the MHCI program.
I am a current student at CMU. Would I be eligible for the accelerated master's degree?
Yes. The Accelerated Master of Human-Computer Interaction degree is for Carnegie Mellon undergraduate students who are completing the BS in HCI or the additional major in HCI.
Does the department provide career counseling or job placement?
Carnegie Mellon has a centralized career services center called the Career and Professional Development Center (CPDC). The CPDC offers a variety of career service resources for our students, including career fairs, networking and conferences within Carnegie Mellon and the School of Computer Science. The HCII also hosts HCII-specific career events including recruitment sessions, portfolio reviews, and networking events throughout the year. Our students graduate with a coveted skill set and have excellent job placement records. View the recent MHCI first destination outcomes (pdf), or interact with the alumni data by year and program on the CMU First Destination Outcomes Dashboard.
What kind of jobs can I get with an MHCI degree and who employs HCI graduates?
Our graduates have successfully obtained careers as Usability Specialists, Interface Specialists, User Interface Designers, UX Researchers, Research Programmers, Product Designers, and Usability Engineers for companies such as Amazon, Apple, Bloomberg, Google, IBM, Microsoft, NASA, Sandia National Laboratories, and Wayfair, just to name a few.
The HCII is in the School of Computer Science. I do not have a strong programming background. May I still apply?
Yes! We encourage you to apply without having a strong programming background. We welcome students from many disciplines outside of computer science (e.g., design, psychology, business, etc.) Prior to starting classes in the fall, non-technical students will complete a programming requirement either by taking an external course or by completing the department's online programming course. This ensures all students, despite different backgrounds, are prepared for the technical requirements of the degree.
Will I have to take a lot of programming courses?
Once you have met the programming requirement, you will be expected to take either Programming Usable Interfaces (PUI) or Software Structures for User Interfaces (SSUI) as part of your degree requirements. The former course is intended for non-technical students, while the latter course is intended for students with a strong technical background.
May I complete the Masters of Human-Computer Interaction program online?
No, the CMU MHCI program is not available as an online degree.
What are my chances of getting in?
The 2023-24 application cycle had a 20% acceptance rate. This rate varies from year to year and many years it is lower than this.
May I apply for admission starting in the spring instead of the fall?
No, we only process admissions once a year. Applications are due in January for admission in the fall term of the same year.
I just finished my undergraduate work. Should I apply for the Master of Human-Computer Interaction program first as preparation for my Ph.D. work?
The MHCI program is not intended to serve as preparation for our Ph.D. program. The MHCI program is intended to teach the skills necessary for professional practice in various HCI related careers. The Ph.D. program, on the other hand, is designed to prepare you to be an HCI researcher. If you intend to apply to both programs, then you must submit two separate applications.
If I am not accepted for the HCII Ph.D. program will I automatically be considered for admission to the MHCI program instead?
No. Because of the different educational goals of each program, their admissions processes are separate and applications are not shared between the two programs. As noted in the previous question, the two programs are designed to address different goals.
May I apply to the MHCI program and other HCII master's degrees?
Yes, you may apply to any program, but students usually prefer one to the other. The programs have been designed to address different goals. Explore the different HCII master's degrees on our website.
Will I be interviewed?
Candidates may be considered for interviews as part of the admission process. Interviews would be scheduled via the email address you have listed on your application.
Should I visit before I apply (and will that help my chances of being admitted)?
Visiting the department before you apply does not improve one’s chances of admission. As well, due to Covid-19, we are not at full operations or able to invite guests at this time. Students who have been admitted may be invited to visit during the Spring Open House, an event for accepted students to tour the campus, meet with faculty and current students, explore curriculum and be welcomed into the department. IF we are still in the pandemic situation we will host a virtual open house again this coming spring.
Do my chances of getting admitted increase if I submit my application early?
No, all applications are reviewed as a group once the application deadline has passed. Submitting early does not increase your chances of admittance. Submitting early does ensure that your application is complete and on time for review.
I have been out of school for some time. May I submit reference letters from my employers instead of from instructors?
Yes, you may send us letters from your employers. Applicants should ask for recommendations from people who know them and their work very well.
Do I have to submit GRE scores?
GRE scores are optional.
GRE scores are only valid and accepted for the past five years. Please upload your report if you have them. We do not require students to meet a minimum requirement for GRE scores. While your GRE is an important requirement, the admission committee takes a holistic approach in reviewing applications and considers all materials for each applicant.
Anyone who is providing a GRE score must have taken the GRE General Test within the last five years. Scores should be sent directly to the HCII using Institution code, 2074; Department code, 0402. Please allow 10 business days after you have submitted your application and paid the fee to have your scores marked as received in the application.
Do I have to take the GRE Subject test?
No, applicants to the MHCI program are not required to take any GRE Subject tests.
How high do my GRE scores need to be?
We review all materials in a student's application and consider each in assessing admission to the program. Due to our unique approach, we do not set a minimum GRE requirement for applicants.
What are the GRE and TOEFL institution and department codes?
GRE: Institution code, 2074; Department code, 0402
TOEFL: Institution code, 4256; Department code, 78
Do I have to take the TOEFL or IELTS?
If you will be studying on an F-1 or J-1 visa, and English is not a native language for you (native language…meaning spoken at home and from birth), we are required to formally evaluate your English proficiency.
We require applicants who will be studying on an F-1 or J-1 visa, and for whom English is not a native language, to demonstrate English proficiency via one of these standardized tests: TOEFL (preferred), IELTS, or Duolingo. We discourage the use of the "TOEFL ITP Plus for China," since speaking is not scored.
We do not issue waivers for non-native speakers of English. In particular, we do not issue waivers based on previous study at a U.S. high school, college, or university. We also do not issue waivers based on previous study at an English-language high school, college, or university outside of the United States. No amount of educational experience in English, regardless of which country it occurred in, will result in a test waiver.
Submit valid, recent scores. If as described above you are required to submit proof of English proficiency, your TOEFL, IELTS or Duolingo test scores will be considered valid as follows: You will need to submit an English proficiency score no older than two years. (Scores from exams taken before Sept. 1, 2021, will not be accepted.)
What is the minimum TOEFL requirement? IELTS?
For the iBT, minimum score required is 25 on each subsection (for a total minimum score of 100.) For the Paper Based Test (PBT), a minimum score of 600 is required. For the IELTS, minimum score of 8.5 with no subscore below 8 is required.
Do I still need to submit a TOEFL/IELTS score if I have a degree from a U.S. educational institution?
Yes, the TOEFL or IELTS is still required. Your application will NOT be considered complete without the TOEFL or IELTS test.
MHCI continues to accept the Duolingo English Test (DET) for the Admission application. The English proficiency requirement cannot be waived for any reason.
We strongly encourage applicants to take either the TOEFL or IELTS. In cases where these are not available, it is acceptable to take the Duolingo test.
DET Minimum Scores:
- Conversation = 105
- Production = 120
- Comprehension = 125
- Literacy = 115
What if I have taken the GMAT?
The MHCI program does not accept the GMAT.
If I am accepted, can I defer my acceptance to the following year?
No, students who are accepted into the MHCI program may not defer their acceptance.
I applied last year. Can you reuse my application materials?
No, you will be required to re-submit your application for this year's application cycle.
I submitted my application. When will I hear back?
Applicants will receive an admissions decision by March 15th of that application cycle.
Tuition & Financial Aid FAQs:
Is financial aid available?
No, the HCII is not able to provide financial aid, but there are often fellowships and grants available to graduate students. It is up to the students to pursue these options.
Where can I find information on graduate student scholarships and financial aid?
An excellent source for general information on financial aid can be found at FinAid. The Carnegie Mellon Fellowships and Scholarships Office is also available for assistance. The HUB at Carnegie Mellon has more general information on graduate student financial assistance.
Do you have a list of scholarships that students have won in the past?
No, the HCII does not keep public records of this information. However, students who are accepted are invited to an Open House where they have the opportunity to meet the current cohort and ask questions.
Please email Director of MHCI Student Affairs, Nicole Willis, at firstname.lastname@example.org.