Studying HCI

Applications for admission in September 2020 are projected to open on or around 1st November 2019. Applications will close on 13th March 2020. Please ensure references are recieved no later than 27th March 2020.

Degree Introduction

Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) is concerned with the design and use of computer technology, focusing on the interfaces between people and computers. Research in HCI observes the ways in which people interact with computers, and designs novel ways for people to interact with computers. As a field, Human-Computer Interaction is interdisciplinary, sitting at the intersection of engineering, behavioural sciences, and design.

What will students learn?

Students develop an understanding of the relevance and application of human physical, cognitive, social, and affective knowledge to the design of interactive systems. They learn to analyse and test user performance, preferences and experience in relation to human-centred interactive systems. Students will be able to characterise and apply a range of human-computer interaction and user-centred design styles.


Our graduates are employed by technology multinationals, start-ups, government agencies, consultancies and in academia. They take up roles such as User Experience (UX) Researchers, Interaction Designers, Usability Specialists and Information Architects. Many progress to senior roles within a few years of graduation.


This degree is highly regarded by our colleagues in industry. Along with developing HCI research skills, the programme allows students to demonstrate skills in presenting, writing and collaboration that are valued by employers. We have a large network of alumni working in London and across the world. Many of them are involved with our industry speaker series and careers events, and they regularly send opportunities to our jobs mailing list for recent graduates.

Why Study This Degree?

UCLIC is a world leading Centre of Excellence in Human-Computer Interaction, working collaboratively with industry and the research community. UCLIC, and before it the UCL Ergonomics Unit, have provided training in this field for over thirty years. We have excellent links with industry partners, offer students a weekly industry speaker series and run visits to consultancies and field sites.

Our modules use a combination of lectures and practical activities. Activities are often structured around individual or group projects, such as the evaluation of a system or the creation of a prototype. Assessments are varied and include design portfolios, presentations, videos and reflective reports as well as academic essays and exams.

The MSc research project allows students to undertake cutting-edge research in human-computer interaction. Many former projects have been published and presented at leading international conferences.

Who Can Apply?

The programme is suitable for students with appropriate backgrounds in psychology, computer science, or a closely related discipline who wish to develop skills to equip them for future positions in industrial, academic or consultancy environments in the field of human-computer interaction.


The MSc HCI programme runs over a full calendar year, starting in September. For the MSc students complete two 30-credit core modules, four 15-credit option modules, and the 60-credit MSc Project.

A Postgraduate Diploma (120 credits, full-time nine months or flexible up to three years is offered) consisting of two compulsory 30-credit core modules and four 15-credit optional modules.

A Postgraduate Certificate (60 credits), full-time three months or flexible up to two years is offered. This consists of one 30-credit core module and 30 credits of optional modules.

All of our students are registered in the Division of Psychology and Language Sciences.

Detailed Module Descriptions

Module descriptions are for the current academic year and may be subject to change.

30 Credit Core Modules (First Term)
Interaction Design
Interaction Science

15 Credit Option Modules (Second Term)
Accessibility & Assistive Technologies
Affective Interaction
Future Interfaces
Human Factors for Digital health
Physical Computing & Prototyping
Serious & Persuasive Games
User Centred Data Visualisation

60 Credit MSc Project (Summer Term)

MSc Project

The MSc project gives you the opportunity to conduct research in the area of human-computer interaction under the supervision of a member of UCLIC staff. A broad range of topics and questions are offered and you will work closely with your supervisor in selecting and carrying out your project. Many former projects have contributed to publications at leading international conferences, such as the ACM SIGCHI conference.

Teaching and assessment

Our modules use a combination of lectures and practical activities. Activities are often structured around individual or group projects, such as the evaluation of a system or the creation of a prototype. Modules are assessed through a mixture of coursework and exams. Coursework is varied and includes design portfolios, presentations, videos, reflective reports, and online peer learning tasks as well as more traditional academic essays.

Contact hours and self-directed study

We estimate that full-time students spend 35 - 42 hours per week on their studies. In Terms one and two, 12-16 hours per week are spent in lectures/seminars. The remainder of the time is independent study. Over the summer students can expect up to 12 hours of supervision for their project.

Timetable Information

Provisional Timetable 19-20
This is an overview of a typical timetable and is subject to change from year to year.
UCL Term Dates 20-21

Entry requirements

A minimum of an upper second-class degree in computer science, psychology or ergonomics or a minimum of an upper second-class degree in a computer science-, psychology-, or ergonomics-related field (e.g. interface design, business IT, product design). Account will be taken of any relevant practical or work experience.

English Language Requirements If your education has not been conducted in the English language, you will be expected to demonstrate evidence of an adequate level of English proficiency.

The English language level for this programme is: Advanced.
Students who have worked or studied in country considered by UCL to be majority English speaking for less than 3 years must provide evidence in the form of a UCL approved test.

Further information can be found on our English language requirements page.

International students
Country-specific information, including details of when UCL representatives are visiting your part of the world, can be obtained from the International Students website.

Guidance on personal statements.

Additional costs

Students may be encouraged to submit work to conferences as part of taught modules. Where students are successful we normally provide up to £500 support for conference registration, travel and accomodation costs. Depending on conference location the full cost may be higher than this and students who attend will need to meet those additional costs. Attendance at conferences is optional.

Computing Requirments

You will need a laptop computer that you can bring with you to some classes for lab work, group-work and experiments. We find most students already have a device that will be suitable - see below for guideline requirements.
• Windows Laptop running Windows 7 or 10.
• Macintosh Laptop running OSx 10.9 or later