Which Program to select for MS in HCI ???

12 May 2012 - 11:19pm
4 years ago
2 replies
2474 reads

Hi all

I have been admitted to the following universities for MS in HCI program and need to make a decision soon, so that I can apply for a visa.

  • Depaul University  
  • Rochester Institute of Technology
  • University of Maryland Baltimore County


I am now confused as to which university to select? I am more interested in the design part of HCI including evaluating hardware designs along with the usual software designing from a user's perspective. My other interests include augmented reality, ux for mobile devices, accessibility etc. I dont want to code and programs things but innovate, idealize and design things. At this point of time I am not 100% sure whether I want to go into research or the working world but I have a feeling for research as of now. If I go into research and I think I am, then I will be applying to CMU/ MIT Media Lab for a PhD later. So, need a competitive profile after my masters degree.

So, please help me out. I think the points to be evaluated would be the coursework, research interests of profs., reputation of the degree and of course the funding scenario for masters students.




14 May 2012 - 5:53am
Tarun Gangwani

Hi Aesh,

I am a second year student at the Indiana University HCI program, so I don't really have any practical knowledge of the schools above. However, I encourage you to consider these additional points when making your tough decision:

  • Social life of the students -- the best way to know the program is to ask the students themselves. Check out the websites for those schools above and see if you can find portfolios. Reach out to a couple of students. Someone is bound to respond and likely help you.
  • Learning environment -- Are courses structured and leave you little time for exploration, or are they open ended and allow for wiggle room to decide what you want to do?
  • Paradigm -- Some schools emphasize usability in UX, others experience design, still others machine learning. Which of these matters to you? Or are you looking for a mixed bag? You probably don't know the answer to this quite yet, so finding a school that allows you to explore a lot of options is best.

If you are at all considering IUPUI, let me tell you that Indianapolis is a booming city to live in, with great atmosphere and people. Also the faculty are multi-disciplined, from what I hear, which keeps career exploration open for you.

Good luck with your decision!

14 May 2012 - 7:03am


I also applied to some HCI programs, so I looked into some of these programs as well.

Depaul- as far as I know, they are very career-oriented. If you want to go for a PHD, Depaul may not be the ideal choice.

RIT- I think rit has a strong computer science focused, if want to do serious hardware/software, RIT is better.

IUPUI- they have both career and research aspects, but the down side is their reputation. AND, a lot of their professors are recently graduated PHD students (assistant professor). 

UMBC- not very familiar with this one...

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