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

How will artificial intelligence change the way we use computers? What will come after the mouse and keyboard as input devices? What makes a computing system trustworthy or interesting for people? How to design interactions that thrill and motivate users? Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) educates future leaders who study, innovate, and improve information technology for the benefit of people. Aalto’s HCI major distinguishes itself internationally by a focus on computational and engineering methods with a strong contribution from psychology and design. 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 #13 worldwide in research impact in the area of HCI.
Aalto university / students at computer / photo by Unto Rautio




1.12.2020 – 4.1.2021




2 vuotta, täysipäiväinen


Soveltuva alempi korkeakoulututkinto




120 opintopistettä


Perustieteiden korkeakoulu


EU/ETA-alueen ulkopuoliset kansalaiset, €15000/v (maisteriopinnot)

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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 approach to HCI. Graduates learn a wide repertoire of powerful computational and engineering methods, including state-of-the-art methods in AI, and how to apply them to practical problems in HCI.  
  • A strong interdisciplinary approach to human-centric technology. Graduates gain an interdisciplinary experience with elective contributions from psychology, social science, business, or 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, computer science, usable security and privacy, 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.

Structure of 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.


Students learn scientific and 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 interactive AI, 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 Computational Media (5 ECTS) 
  • Usability Evaluation (5 ECTS)
  • User Research (5 ECTS)
  • User Interface Construction (5 ECTS)
  • Security Engineering (5 ECTS)

In addition, there are several elective courses offered in machine learning, AI, and robotics.

>> To learn more about HCI studies, see the programme curriculum.

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 must explicitly indicate their possible interest for the doctoral track in their motivation letter when applying for the Master’s programme. The best doctoral track applicants will be interviewed. Read more >>


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.

Further study opportunities

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

Career opportunities

HCI professionals are well-employed and pursue careers related to interactive AI, interactive systems, user experience, usability, interaction design, human factors, user interface design, human-computer interaction research and beyond. Our curriculum includes contact possibilities with the industry in Finland and abroad, in particular in the capstone project. About half of our students write their Master's thesis for a company.
The programme is well suited for students who want to become engaged in start-up companies on interactive products and services, because 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

Several of our students have also pursued academic careers at top universities including ETH Zürich, University of Copenhagen, and University of Lausanne. Our studies put emphasis on basic theories and methodologies, offering a solid basis for PhD studies in HCI.

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.

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 #2 in Europe in the field of HCI. The groups are also part of FCAI, the Finnish Center for Artificial Intelligence.

Programme-specific admission requirements

Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) applicants meeting the general eligibility criteria for master's studies are evaluated according to the below Evaluation criteria. The evaluation process is described under Applicant evaluation process. In addition to the obligatory application documents, this study option asks the applicants to submit also the documents listed under Requested documents.

Contact information

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

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

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