Doctor of Philosophy in Human Computer Interaction

HCI Degree Progam

At a glance

Program Duration: 3-5 years

Program Tuition and Fees: Varies, based on the home department of the student’s major professor. See the graduate assistantship funding information below.

Program Start Date: Fall or Spring Semester

How to Apply: Application instructions can be found here.

Application Deadline: Completed applications are due January 15 for Fall admission and September 1 for Spring admission. 

Master’s Degree Requirement: Preferred, but not required 

Format: In-Person (required)

The Ph.D. in Human Computer Interaction is an interdisciplinary degree program that prepares students for careers in business, industry, and academia. In addition to the required HCI courses, students take electives from a wide variety of disciplines and conduct research for their dissertation under the direction of their major professor and the Program of Study Committee. 

Iowa State University requires a minimum of 72 graduate credits to earn a Ph.D. At least 36 graduate credits, including all research credits, must be earned at ISU.

Faculty Notification and Review

Once the application package is complete (all required items can be found here), it will be made available to all HCI faculty. Every applicant will be notified via email whether they were accepted or denied by April 15 for fall applications and by November 15 for spring applications.


All students admitted to the Ph.D. program receive a half-time graduate assistantship. The assistantship appointment requires you to work as a research assistant for 20 hours per week.


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

Application Process


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 the promise of a successful career are also important considerations for entry into the HCI Graduate program.

To start the application process, you can apply online. Admission requirements can be found here.

  • The program requires that admitted students have undergraduate degrees from an accredited university with a GPA of 3.0 or equivalent. International degrees must be comparable to a US bachelor’s degree or higher from a college or university regionally accredited/recognized by the Ministry of Education in that country.

  • 3-year degrees from India, Bangladesh, Canada (excluding Quebec), Nepal, and Pakistan are not accepted. 3-year degrees from other countries are reviewed on an individual basis.

  • GRE is optional for all students.

  • International applicants must submit an English proficiency exam score; the score must meet or exceed the minimum. The English exam minimums can be found at this link.

    • The English exam requirement may be waived if a degree is earned from a country where English is the only official language.

  • The 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 a major professor.

    • Your complete file is made available for members of the HCI faculty to review. See the faculty page to learn more about the diverse members of the HCI faculty.