Master of Science Degree Program

The MS in Human Computer Interaction is an interdisciplinary degree program. In addition to four core HCI graduate courses, students take electives from a wide variety of disciplines and write a thesis of their research for graduation. The program prepares students for a career in the private or public sector, as well as, for continuation of studies in a PhD program. Specific program requirements are outlined below.

MS Course Requirements

In order to earn an MS at Iowa State University, each student’s Program of Study (POS) must include at least 30 graduate credits. A minimum 22 of the graduate credits must be earned at ISU.

MS students will be required to choose any four courses, 1 each from the Design, Implementation, Phenomena, and Evaluation categories. MS students will therefore be required to take a total of four courses from the core. In addition to these courses, MS students will be required to take two credits of HCI 591, Seminar in HCI, plus a minimum of 3 research credits.

Core Courses


      • HCI 521 — Cognitive Psychology of HCI
      • ArtGR 672A – Graphic Design and Human Interaction:  Usability
      • ArtGR 672B — Graphic Design and Human Interaction: Design for Social Inclusion


      • HCI 573 — User Interface Implementation for Web Application*
      • HCI 575 — Computational Perception
      • HCI 574 — Computational Implementation and Prototyping
      • CprE/ME 557 — Computer Graphics and Geometric Modeling


      • HCI 655 — Organizational and Social Implications of HCI
      • HCI 589 — Design and Ethics
      • JLMC / T SC 574 – Communication Technologies and Social Change
      • ME/WLC 584 – Technology, Globalization and Culture


      • ENGL/STAT 332 — Visual Communication of Quantitative Information
      • HCI 504 — Evaluating Digital Learning Environments
      • PSYCH 501 — Foundations of Behavioral Research
      • STAT 480 — Statistical Computing Applications
      • HCI 522 – Scientific Methods in HCI


*Course no longer available in catalog.  If course was taken prior to discontinuation will still count as core course.

Recommended Electives

  • ArtIS 508 – Computer Aided Visualization
  • CI 503 – Theories of Designing Effective Learning and Teaching Environments
  • CI 511 – Technology Diffusion Leadership and Change
  • ENGL/LING 516 – Methods of Formal Linguistic Analysis
  • HCI 510X Foundations of Game-Based Learning
  • HCI 520 – Computational Analysis of English
  • HCI/ME 525 – Optimization Methods for Complex Designs
  • HCI 558 – Introduction to the 3D Visualization of Scientific Data
  • HCI 580 – Virtual Worlds and Applications
  • HCI 585 – Developmental Robotics
  • HCI 587X – Models and Theories in Human Computer Interaction
  • HCI 594 – Organizational Applications of Collaborative Technologies and Social Media
  • HCI 595 – Visual Design for HCI
  • HCI 596 – Emerging Practices in Human Computer Interaction
  • HCI 603 – Advanced Learning Environments Design
  • HCI 681 – Cognitive Engineering
  • IE 572 – Design and Evaluation of Human Computer Interaction
  • IE 577 – Human Factors
  • STAT 401 – Statistical Methods for Research Workers

Admission to the MS HCI Program

Admission into the HCI graduate degree program depends on a combination of your academic qualifications, area of interest, research specialties and the current research needs of the faculty. Evidence of creative talent, the ability to speak and write English clearly, and promise for a successful career are also important considerations for entry into the HCI Graduate program. Other admission requirements include

  • Transcripts, test scores and other indicators that the student applicant can be successful at the graduate level
  • 3.0 GPA.
  • GRE is optional for all students.
  • TOEFL score of 95 iBT or greater or IELTS of 7.0 or greater for nonnative English speakers.
  • Demonstrated ability to write software competently. This requirement can be met during your course of study in the program.

In addition to the above requirements, the following conditions apply when reviewing your application for admission.

  • Meeting or exceeding these guidelines does not guarantee admission.
  • An HCI faculty member must agree to work with and support you as your major professor.  (See the faculty page to learn more about the diverse members of the HCI faculty.)
  • Your complete file must be available for HCI faculty members to review.

The MS Graduate Program Application Process


The application deadline for the fall semester is January 15.

Faculty Notification and Review

Once the application package is complete, it will be made available to all HCI faculty.  Students that are admitted for the fall semester will start receiving offers the first part of April.  Our policy is to send an email notification to those not admitted, for the fall semester, by July 1.

Contact Information

For questions about the HCI Graduate Program, please contact the HCI Program Coordinator by e-mail at, or phone at 515-294-2089.

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