Study track: Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) – University of Copenhagen

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Study track: Human-Computer Interaction (HCI)

Background

This study track concerns human-computer interaction (HCI), broadly understood as the design, evaluation, and implementation of interactive computing systems for human use and with the study of major phenomena surrounding them. HCI is a key part of computer science because designing successful software requires an understanding of how people interact with mobile, graphical, tangible, and collaborative interfaces. Successful design also requires an understanding of the reasoning behind building specific functionality into computers and the long-term effects that systems will have.

The HCI study track teaches both technical skills (e.g., implementing a user interface based on visual tracking) and analytical skills (e.g., understanding users’ needs in complex organizations). Research in HCI at DIKU is world-class and feeds into the teaching with state-of-the-art technology as well as exploring cutting edge research problems. Students who specialize in HCI area are attractive to many organizations, and they can fill roles as developers, project managers, innovators, entrepreneurs, and consultants as the human interaction with computer systems is a critical component of many software projects; they are also equipped to pursue research careers.

Track contents

The courses of this study track will provide the students with qualifications and competences in state-of-the-art research, design, and construction of human interactive systems based on a theoretical and practical understanding of the interplay between technology, work and organization as well as the ways in which humans and technical systems interact to create innovative technologies.

You will learn about technical aspects of computer science important for HCI (e.g., visual tracking, mobile technology, hardware development), methods for studying users’ work and desires (e.g., user-centered design, requirements elicitation, ethnographic methods), and approaches to analyzing the complexities of organizations and their use of information technology (e.g., groupware, collaborative systems, massive online learning systems). Courses emphasize both more theoretical competences (e.g., analyzing research papers) and more hands-on activities (e.g., implementing mobile systems and prototyping hardware).

Career prospects

Students from this study track will be attractive for employments in all types of organizations both nationally and internationally – as well as for both academic and industrial research institutions. In example, new candidgraduates will be experts in design and evaluations of various types of user interfaces (mobile as well as tangible) while having the ability to explore and understand organizational needs and desires for emerging information technologies. Possible employment companies include consultancies, the public sector, the software industry, game industry, energy sector, as well as many other industries. A good deal of entrepreneurship nationally and internationally is also departing from knowledge about human-computer interaction. Finally, this study track is related to ongoing research in the HCC section and we expect to recruit a portion of the best students for PhD students with highly competitive profiles.

Recommended requirements

Having completed HCI studies at bachelor level is a requirement; having pursued courses about computer graphics and project management is a benefit.

Sample MSc theses

To give you an idea of what an MSc thesis in the HCI track could be about, here are some representative examples of thesis titles from the past few years:

• Detecting and understanding the impact of affect in touch-based computer interaction.

• Distortion Correction on Deformable Displays.

• User-defined midair gestures for large displays.

Structure

The recommended courses in the HCI study track are shown below. Keep in mind that, like for all the study tracks, none of these are actually mandatory, and you may replace them with relevant courses from other tracks as you see fit.

Block 1 Block 2 Block 3 Block 4
Year 1 Advanced Programming Advanced Computer Systems Advanced Topics in HCC User Interface Technology
Advanced Algorithms and Data Structures Machine Learning Web Science Mobile Computing
Year 2 Project or elective course Visualization Thesis
Project or elective course Collaborative Computing

     Compulsory course
     Restricted elective course
     Elective course