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School of Mathematics, Computer Science & Engineering


MSc in Human Computer Interaction Design

The MSc in Human Computer Interaction Design, formerly known as MSc Human-Centred Systems, has been developed and led by academic staff in City, University of London's renowned Centre for Human-Computer Interaction Design. It is specially designed to equip students with the latest research, theories and techniques in Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) with which to design, implement and evaluate interactive systems and technologies, including web-based information systems and applications, mobile devices and multi-touch tabletops. Its curriculum is based on leading-edge academic research to offer an intellectually stimulating course relevant to the workplace now and beyond. After attending this course, students will have excellent knowledge and skills for:

  • Analysing requirements for systems that involve people and computers
  • Designing for innovative interactive systems and technologies
  • Creating Interaction Design
  • Conducting usability and accessibility evaluations
  • Designing and evaluating systems to be inclusive
  • Designing for collaborative work
  • Undertaking and leading creative design activities
  • Lead on user-centred design (UCD) projects
  • Creating an engaging user experience (UX)

This is a flexible course delivered in two modes, either as a full-time or a part-time course. To ensure high teaching quality, this course is limited to a maximum of 30 students. Teaching and dissertation work can take place in the City Interaction Lab, our on-site usability lab equipped with eye-tacking equipment, screen capture software, mobile testing station, a Microsoft Surface and more.

Our students are able to produce high-calibre work to a rigorous academic and industry standard. We look to produce the next batch of leaders in HCI research as well as professional practice.

Careers and Internships

Upon graduation, students have excellent employability prospects and typically enter a career as usability and accessibility specialists, UX consultant, interaction designers and information architects. The course is also excellent preparation for doctoral (PhD) study.

We offer the opportunity to take this course with an internship route, after successful completion of taught modules. We provide help to connect with a range of UX and technology companies to gain real-life work experience of up to 6-month. Recent graduates have been on internships with a range of organisations such as Fluent Interaction, Caplin Systems, London Borough of Camden, and Network Rail.

Course Structure

To gain a Masters qualification, students will complete eight taught modules and a Masters project/dissertation. Currently, the core modules and their contents are:

  • Information Architecture
    • Fundamentals and techniques to design, implement and measure complex information-rich applications and sites.
  • Evaluating Interactive Systems
    • Usability evaluations including user-based and expert evaluation techniques.
  • Inclusive Design
    • Design and evaluation for diverse user groups, including accessibility and universal access.
  • Cognition and Technologies
    • Advanced cognitive frameworks in HCI and their impact on novel technologies.
  • Research Methods and Professional Issues
    • Approaches and techniques for conducting research, including their application in a professional and academic context.
  • Creativity in Design
    • Fundamentals, techniques and technologies for creativity.

Plus 1 elective taught module from the following list:

  • Web Applications Development
    • Implementing interactive applications.
  • Data Visualisation
    • Designing and implementing interactive visualisations of complex data.
  • Telemedicine
    • Designing and implementing e-health technology and telemedicine systems.

Student Projects

Over the years, there have been a wealth of exciting projects and dissertations by students of the MSc in Human-Centred Systems, spanning topics in creativity, information-seeking and interaction with novel interfaces. Projects have both practical and academic elements and a number of these have led to conference and journal publications. Some projects are client-focused, especially if they are carried out as part of an internship.

Teaching Staff

Dr Stephann Makri is module leader for the INM401 Information Architecture module at City, which is one of the few institutions in the world to teach this important and engaging subject. Stephann's research involves understanding how people find and make use of digital information and using this understanding to inform the design of digital information environments (such as Websites, Search Engines, Digital Libraries etc.). More information about Stephann can be found on his website: Stephann comments: "It's really important to make digital information environments are designed and structured to make sure that users can find the information they need and find it easily. The Information Architecture module will equip you with the knowledge, skills and values to help you achieve this." The module is highly interactive, with lots of discussion and hands-on activities. Practising Information Architects have provided input into the design of the module and will give guest talks as part of it.

Dr Sara Jones is currently a Senior Lecturer with interests in creativity and the design of interactive systems. She has been working in the fields of creativity, human-computer interaction and requirements engineering since 1987, and has published over 70 academic papers in conferences and journals in these areas. Sara teaches the elective module 'Creativity in Design', focusing on the use of digital tools and technologies to support the creative processes of individuals as well collaborative and sometimes distributed teams.

Dr Simone Stumpf is the Course Director for the MSc in Human Computer Interaction Design where she is responsible for the academic content and organisation of the course. She is also the Personal Tutor for students on this course. Her teaching responsibilities include Inclusive Design in which she is able to communicate her research interests in Gender HCI. She also teaches some aspects of Information Architecture, bringing in her professional experience as an UX Architect.

Activities and Events

We encourage our students take part in a number of extra-curricular events, both offered by City, University of London as well as external organisations. We offer hands-on experience in our state-of-the-art usability lab, from bootcamps to contributing to consultancy services. We hold a series of course tutorials, featuring additional material supplementing the course and guest speakers from industry. Students are also invited to attend our regular research seminars. Our students volunteer to help at our annual Open Day, giving a chance to connect with practitioners and researchers. We are also part of the Hangout, an accelerator space connecting students and start-ups.

Recent external activities have included field trips to UX agencies part of Tech City, as well as volunteering at the UCD conference and attending UXPA UK events.

Twelve questions to ask of your Masters course

Is the course being taught to me by the right people?

HCID will be taught to you by academics who are leaders in disciplines that include interaction design, systems evaluation, requirements engineering, mobile computing, digital information seeking, intelligent interfaces, creativity support tools and information visualization.

Does the course provide me with the most up-to-date and relevant knowledge and skills?

HCID will teach you up-to-date theories, models and techniques about current topics, including collaborative work, mobile computing, creativity and user experience

Does the course give me access to cutting-edge technologies and tools?

HCID will give you hands-on access to and use of state-of-the-art technologies including a Tobii eye-tracker and software such as Morae, different interactive tables including the Microsoft Surface, and Wiis adapted for different uses

Will the course enhance my future career opportunities in human-computer interaction?

HCID will give you access to networks with which to develop your career, including 6 month work internships in human-computer interaction and contacts with working students who are sitting HCID in part-time mode. Guest lectures from industry are an important part of the course

Does the course give me direct access to consulting work and experience?

HCID is based in City's Centre for HCI Design, which runs consulting projects throughout the year that students can participate in and gain valuable experience. 2009/10 examples include redeveloping the web presence of Dance UK, designing a new web module with which to teach sustainability issues, and modelling safety-related changes to a new air traffic management solution with NATS.

How can I learn new theories, knowledge and skills in human-computer interaction at City whilst continuing to work?

HCID will allow you sit the Masters course part-time over 2 years, requiring you to attend City only one day a week for 3 of the 4 semesters.

What teaching and project support can I expect?

HCID guarantees a 6:1 student/academic staff ratio between HCID students and members of the Centre for HCI Design, because we limit intake to a maximum of 30 students per year. All dissertations are supervised directly by academic staff, and most tutorials involve at least one academic staff member.

Are you theory-led or practice-led?

HCID offers a healthy balance of both, with a strong focus on intellectually-stimulating applied research. All modules have theoretical and practical components.

What opportunities do I have for international collaboration?

HCID runs in conjunction with the MSc in Human-Computer Interaction at Uppsala University in Sweden. We offer opportunities for student exchanges, shared projects and internships with Uppsala and other collaborating Universities across Europe

What might I do for my dissertation work?

HCID offers a full range of dissertation styles and topics, from theoretical research to developing new technologies and conducting client-facing usability evaluation work. Recent examples including interaction design for new multi-touch systems in a London hospital and building an interactive tabletop for £400.

What's my overall experience going to be like?

HCID teaching takes place in a mix of larger and smaller, more dedicated classes. HCID students are also encouraged to become full members of the Centre for HCI Design throughout their studies, with use of the shared common room and Interaction Lab, and participation in Centre activities such as seminars, research events and fun days. You will also have access to the 75m2 Interaction Lab for dedicated teaching and dissertation work

Where will I be studying?

HCID will be taught to you in central London: nearest stations Angel / Farringdon / King's Cross. London offers numerous future career opportunities. City, University of London is located within an area strongly associated with the creative industries, including internet development and product design companies.