Taught Courses

The aim of these courses is to learn, through information, demonstration, exploration and application, a scientific human‐centred approach to the design and evaluation of a wide range of interactive systems, and their contexts of use.

  • The MSc (Masters of Science) course runs over a full calendar year, starting in September. You will study two 30 credit core modules and four 15 credit optional modules. The programme culminates with a masters project worth 60 credits.
  • The PGDip (Postgraduate Diploma) runs over nine months, starting in September. You will study two 30 credit core modules and four 15 credit optional modules.  
  • The PGCert (Postgraduate Certificate) can be completed in as little as four months (depending on option choices). You will study one core module (30 credits) and 30 credits of optional modules (either the second core module or two 15 credit optional modules).

We also offer all three qualifications through modular flexible Part-Time Study.

For details on content, see HCI Modules. These modules cover a wide range of relevant subjects, and the research project allows students to pursue their own interests in HCI at a high level, often working with companies on real-world problems. An introductory reading list is available, and will give you a flavour of the field. 

What is Human Computer Interaction?

Human Computer Interaction (HCI) is a broad discipline that has grown out of psychology and computer science but also includes elements of design, ergonomics and informatics. It has also been influenced by sociology and anthropology. Although definitions can be constraining, it has been characterised as:

"a discipline concerned with the design, evaluation and implementation of interactive computing systems for human use and with the study of major phenomena surrounding them." (ACM SIGCHI Curriculum for Human Computer Interaction)

The notion of a 'computing system' is taken to include a wide range of interactive technologies, including mobile phones, social networking sites, virtual reality, interactive TV, transport control‐rooms, interactive toys just to name a few. Design is a central concern, although this can be considered in relation to a wide range of issues, such as ease of use, safety, engagement, teamworking, physical aspects, communication, emotion, privacy and fun (and more).

Course aims

  • To understand the relevance and application of human physical, cognitive, social and affective knowledge to the design of interactive systems.
  • To analyse the user requirements for an interactive system or product.
  • To understand the influence of context of use (both local and organisational) on user-system interaction.
  • To characterise a range of human-computer interaction and user-centred design styles and apply these to software and hardware design.
  • To test and analyse user performance, preferences and experience in relation to human-centred interactive systems.
  • To apply a range of HCI and Ergonomic research and development techniques to any of the above.
  • To acquire a range of transferable skills and the independent learning ability to equip students for future positions in industrial, academic or consultancy environments.

Teaching Methods

For details on content, see HCI Modules

Our courses use a combination of lectures as well as individual and group coursework. The latter activities are often structured around a practical mini-project such as the evaluation of a system or the creation of physical mock-ups of systems. The modules are assessed through such coursework and exams. Every student is allocated a personal tutor to monitor their achievement and wellbeing.

We also maintain good links between students and practitioners in the field. We run a series of practice seminars in which speakers from industry come in to discuss their work and related issues, and we also run visits to consultancies and field sites such as a London Underground Control room.

Students have access to UCLIC's usability labs as well as facilities of other UCL departments. The UCLIC usability labs include an eye tracker, a driving simulator as well as motion capture systems, physiological sensors (heart rate, GSR, etc.) and other facilities.

The MSc project gives students the opportunity to conduct some research in the area of human-computer interaction under the supervision of a member of UCLIC staff. There is a broad range of topics and questions that might be considered, and students work closely with their supervisor in selecting and carrying out their project. We publish prior MSc projects that were awarded a distinction.


Page last modified on 06 apr 16 23:10 by Duncan P Brumby