Your Future with Human Computer Interaction

Since 2003, the Human Computer Interaction program at Iowa State has been engaging graduates’ fascination with the role of technology to transform multiple aspects of society. Offering some of the most advanced technological resources in the world, our students take part in groundbreaking research while developing independently as professionals.

“Iowa State University’s Human Computer Interaction graduate program has facilitated my professional career by providing cutting-edge facilities and through encouraging multidisciplinary collaborations. Our interactions with computing technologies are going to change over the next decade rapidly, and this program has allowed me a glimpse into that exciting future.”

Jeremiah Still, Ph.D. alumni

Graduates of our program have been offered both faculty positions at universities and employment at corporations such as Microsoft, Amazon, Collins Aerospace, Boeing, John Deere, Principal Financial, and many others.

“The coursework of ISU’s HCI program provides excellent preparation for working in the industry. Thanks to the connections I made through the program, I had an opportunity to interview for a summer internship. Much of my interview focused on projects and topics covered in the introductory HCI class. Thanks in part to this preparation, my interview went successfully, and I look forward to an internship with Microsoft conducting usability research this summer.”

– Michael VanWaardhuizen, MS Student at the time, now a Ph.D. alumni

Graduate Degree Options

On-Campus Programs

  • Ph.D. in HCI
  • MS in HCI
    • We offer two paths to complete your master’s degree on-campus at Iowa State University for the Master of Science in HCI:
      1. Path #1: Master of Science in HCI, thesis or non-thesis/creative component: An HCI faculty member must agree to serve as your major professor (to supervise your research) and usually provides funding for a half-time graduate assistantship.
      2. Path #2: Master of Science in HCI with capstone project: Students in this program take 27 credits of coursework plus a 3-credit capstone course (to fulfill the research requirement). You do not need an HCI faculty member to serve as your major professor, and assistantship funding is not available for this degree program. You are responsible for tuition and fees. This path is not offered online.

Online Programs

Admission to Graduate Study for On-Campus Programs

Admissions Process

Your admission to either of the on-campus MS or Ph.D. programs requires:

  • admission to graduate school by the ISU Graduate College
  • acceptance by a major professor (for MS path #1 and Ph.D. students)
  • For MS students, evidence of financial support, by either (1) an assistantship letter of intent, or (2) demonstrated self-support.
  • For all Ph.D. students, a half-time graduate assistantship is required.

Identifying Faculty

If you are seeking a major professor, you are urged to contact faculty members who conduct research in your anticipated area of research to discuss the potential for their support as an advisor and graduate assistantship funding.

Identify faculty members in human computer interaction with research interests similar to yours.

Once you have identified one or more potential faculty members to contact, send each a brief (1-page maximum) email message with information including:

  • A paragraph explaining your background, why you applied (or will be applying) to the program, and your specific area of interest
  • Paragraph noting why you are interested in working with them and how you think you can help them achieve their research goals
  • Semester and year when you plan to begin your studies
  • A request to join their research group and for funding via a research or teaching assistantship

For More Information

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

Or explore our FAQs for on-campus students or online students.