Study options

Master's Programme in Computer, Communication and Information Sciences – Human-Computer Interaction

How can artificial intelligence change the way we interact with computers? What will come after the mouse and keyboard? Human-Computer Interaction educates future leaders who study, innovate, and improve information technology for the benefit of the people and society. The study option distinguishes itself internationally by a focus on computational and engineering methods. The rigorous curriculum offers a unique opportunity for students of computer science and engineering to learn how to apply technical approaches in human-computer interaction. The study option is based on outstanding HCI research at Aalto University. The university was recently ranked #21 worldwide in research impact in the area of HCI.
Aalto university / students at computer / photo by Unto Rautio

Degree:

Master of Science (Technology)

Application period:

1.12.2020 – 4.1.2021

Language of instruction:

English

Duration:

2 years, full-time

Eligibility:

Relevant Bachelor's degree

Field of study:

Technology and Engineering

Credits:

120 ECTS

Organising school:

School of Science

Tuition fees:

For non-EU/EEA citizens, €15000/y (Master’s studies)

The application period will open 1.12.2020 09:00 (UTC+2)

Scholarships and Tuition Fees

About the studies

Description

The Master’s Programme in Computer, Communication and Information Sciences – Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) prepares students for professional and academic careers in human-computer interaction. The HCI study option is unique with its focus on methods from engineering and computer science with applications in interaction design, user interface technology, and user research. HCI graduates have:

  • A modern computational approach to HCI. Graduates learn a wide repertoire of powerful computational and engineering methods and how to apply them to practical problems in HCI.  

  • A strong interdisciplinary approach to human-centric technology. Graduates have gained an interdisciplinary experience with a strong emphasis on computer science and engineering, including contributions from psychology, social science, business, and design. The HCI study option emphasises the systematic understanding of humans as the basis of our decisions. 

  • A globally recognised skillset. Graduates understand modern design problems from a computational perspective, including challenges in concept creation, interface technologies, algorithms, data and modelling. They are ready to work in teams with a focus on AI, machine learning, robotics, electrical engineering, data science etc. 

  • Meta-cognitive skills for life-long learning. Graduates understand scientific literacy, have a mindset for critical thinking and possess strong teamwork and leadership skills. 

Upon graduation from the Human-Computer Interaction study option, graduates can pursue internationally competitive careers where they take the lead in design, research or management.

Human-Computer Interaction Doctoral Track 

Human-Computer Interaction major offers also a competitive doctoral track where a limited number of top students can be admitted. Students selected to the doctoral track can have their studies tailored towards pursuing PhD studies and can start working towards a PhD in one of the department’s research groups already during their Master studies. Applicants are asked to indicate their interest in entering the doctoral track in the application form. The best doctoral track applicants will be interviewed. Read more

Career opportunities

HCI professionals are well-employed and pursue careers related to user experience, usability, interaction design, human factors, user interface design, human-computer interaction and beyond. Our curriculum includes several contact possibilities with the industry in Finland and abroad, in particular in the capstone project. Half of our students write their Master's thesis for a company.

The programme is particularly well suited for students who will be engaged in start-up companies on interactive products and services as it includes essential knowledge to make products and services successful. The graduates will have strong engineering and design skills, as well as other technical and professional skills that enable them to take key roles in an industrial research and development environment. They are well prepared for industrial R&D jobs, user interface engineering and consulting, various expert roles related to interactive technology and user research, and doctoral studies at Aalto University and abroad. Typical job titles include User Interface Engineer, User Experience Designer, Behavioral Analyst, Interaction Designer, User Interface Developer, User Researcher, Information Visualisation Specialist. Our students have also pursued academic careers. The studies put emphasis on basic theories and methodologies, offering a solid basis for PhD studies in HCI in Helsinki or internationally.

Qualifications

Graduates of the programme will graduate with a Master of Science (Technology) degree (diplomi-insinööri in Finnish). 

Post-graduate studies

The programme qualifies for doctoral studies (Doctor of Science in an applicable field).

Language of instruction

The language of instruction is primarily English, and the programme can be completed entirely in English. Some courses can be taken in Finnish or Swedish. More information is available in the General information about studies page (aalto.fi). 

Tuition fees

The tuition fee is 15 000 euros for non-EU/EEA students per academic year. Further information is available on Scholarships and Tuition Fees page (aalto.fi).

Content of the studies

Students learn computational approaches to HCI via modeling, theories, and methods, as well as relevant design and empirical methods. As the curriculum progresses, they learn to apply their skills to increasingly more realistic problems. 

The first year of studies consists of learning the core methodologies and techniques in the design and analysis of interaction. During the second year, students specialise in a chosen technical topic. The core courses provide a strong foundation in design, empirical methods, and HCI theories on topics such as input devices, interactive media, interaction techniques, interface technologies, interactive applications and multimodal interactive systems.

Here are some examples of the wide course selection:

  • Computational User Interface Design (5 ECTS) 
  • Designing Interactive Systems (6 ECTS)
  • Emergent User Interfaces (5 ECTS) 
  • Human-Computer Interaction (5 ECTS) 
  • Intelligent Media (5 ECTS) 
  • Usability Evaluation (5 ECTS) 
  • User Interface Construction (5 ECTS) 

See all courses

Structure of the studies

The Master’s Programme in Computer, Communication and Information Sciences – Human-Computer Interaction is organised by the Schools of Science and Electrical Engineering and comprises a total of 120 ECTS credits. The two-year programme consists of:

  • Major subject studies (40-65 ECTS) 
  • Minor subject studies (20-25 ECTS) 
  • Master’s Thesis (30 ECTS) 
  • Elective studies (25-35 ECTS) 

Students can select their minor either from the other study options in the Master's Programme in Computer, Communications and Information Sciences or from other Master’s programmes offered by Aalto University. The elective studies consist of additional major courses, additional minor, multidisciplinary courses, or studies abroad.

At the beginning of their studies, students define their Personal Study Plans (PSP) together with an academic advisor. The primary purpose of PSP is to ensure that the studies support the student’s interests and are completed in a logical order.

Personal Study Plan (PSP) 
 
Personal Study Plan (PSP) is a practical tool to define a student’s own study path, i.e. compiling an optimal selection of courses, aligned with the student's interests and programme requirements. PSP is also a useful tool for keeping up with studies. At best, it shows the stage at which students are with their studies and sets concrete milestones for them to follow. 

Thesis

Students are required to complete a Master's thesis, which is a research assignment with a workload corresponding to 30 ECTS credits. The topic of the thesis is agreed upon by the student and the supervising professor. Master's theses are typically written for a company or for one of the research projects of the department(s) in question.

International opportunities 

The programme’s reputation is recognised globally and it provides students a solid  foundation for an international career. The two organising schools offer diverse possibilities for exchange studies all over the world. Other possibilities for developing one’s global competence are, for instance, conducting a practical training period, summer courses abroad or acting as a tutor for first-year students.

Aalto University is international by nature, welcoming thousands of degree and exchange students from abroad each year. These students join the diverse Aalto community not only through studies, but also multiple free time events, activities and celebrations around the campus. Programme administrators, active student tutors and student support services work rigorously to help international students integrate into Nordic culture and welcome them at home in Finland.

Multidisciplinary opportunities

Aalto University is well-known for bridging disciplines of business, arts, technology and science. The lively campus brings students from different fields under one roof. This spontaneous multidisciplinary environment sparks new ideas, gathers enthusiasts around them and gives birth to friendships, networks, and every so often, startups. 

Co-operation with other parties

The research groups involved in the programme co-operate closely with international companies and research groups of the field of HCI. They have demonstrated academic co-operation with high quality international universities and organisations. 

Research in Human-Computer Interaction at Aalto University is internationally recognized for contributions to computational design and interaction. CSRankings.com ranks Aalto University as #4 in Europe in the field of HCI. The groups are also part of FCAI, the Finnish Center for Artificial Intelligence. 

Research focus

The topics of the major are linked to ongoing research focus areas in the Department of Computer Science and Department of Communications and Networking at Aalto University.

Study-option-specific application instructions

Applicants to the programme must meet the general eligibility and language requirements that are common to all Master's programmes in the field of science and technology.

Contact information

For enquiries regarding the application process, required compulsory application documents or English language proficiency, please contact Admission Services at [email protected].

For enquiries regarding the study-option-specific application documents, doctoral track or studies in the programme, please contact Learning Services at Aalto University School of Science at [email protected].

Applying to master’s programmes

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Aalto university / students at computer / photo by Unto Rautio
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The application period will open 1.12.2020 09:00 (UTC+2)

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