Human Computer Interaction Masters/MSc

Human Computer Interaction (HCI) is probably the single most important area for the success of a computer system and also provides great opportunities for innovation and creativity. In this course you will cover the underpinning theories, methodologies and practice of the discipline.

You will also have the opportunity to broaden your studies through optional modules in areas such as Robotics, Nature Inspired Computing or Security. The course builds upon the worldclass research of the HCI Centre through project work and is designed to prepare you for a career in research or in industry or commerce.

The discipline of Human Computer Interaction is about many things: It is about the interface that a system provides (and, therefore, is the most important and most complex component of most systems) but it is also about so much more. We need to understand the people that use the systems and their abilities and constraints. We need to understand how to build systems that really work and also how to evaluate them. We also need to be able to think creatively in order to build innovative solutions to new problems and emerging applications and domains - to be able to solve the problems of tomorrow’s world rather than just those of today.

This course covers the underpinning theories, methodologies and practices of HCI. It includes specialist modules in application domains. Through course and project work your degree is intimately integrated into the research of the University’s HCI centre.

Breakdown of course

This is a one year, full-time course. In the first 8 months, students will spend half of their time studying taught modules. Here we will cover the core principles, theories, methodologies and application areas of the discipline, there will also be an opportunity to take optional modules.

You will also complete a research project. Here you will work one-to-one with one of our research-active staff to explore an area in great depth – analysing the problem and existing solutions, developing new ideas and building or evaluating prototype systems. You will develop your skills in analysis, research, technology and also in presenting and explaining your work clearly and effectively.

Why study this course

  • Birmingham is one of the leading universities in the country for postgraduate study in computer science, and we are proud to deliver outstanding programmes that offer a range of exciting career opportunities for students from around the world.
  • State-of-the-art, multi-million-pound facilities include dedicated laboratories for Computer Science students, a teaching laboratory for Robotics, and research laboratories for Security, Medical Imaging Intelligent Robotics and Computer Vision
  • We are a partner in The Alan Turing Institute, the UK's national institute for data science and artificial intelligence
  • Our Security and Privacy Group is recognised as an EPSRC/GCHQ Academic Centre of Excellence in Cyber Security Research and we have a strong collaboration with the Centre for Computational Biology (CCB)

Award-winning development

At the School of Computer Science we are not just renowned for teaching and research excellence. We also produce novel solutions for real-world applications, including:

  • Working with Jaguar Land Rover to make their vehicles more secure
  • Contributing to the development of the Trusted Platform Module which makes many of our computers capable of secure cryptographic operations
  • Deploying autonomous, intelligent robots in security and health support facilities
  • Developing a revolutionary, award-winning method for diagnosing skin cancer

Modules

This programme comprises 180 credits. In the first 8 months you will spend most of your time studying core compulsory modules (90 credits) and optional modules (30 credits).

The final four months will be spent working on your research project (60 credits), with expert one-to-one supervision.

Compulsory modules

  • Evaluation Methods and Statistics - 10 credits
  • Human Computer Interaction Theory and Practice - 20 credits
  • Mobile and Ubiquitous Computing (Extended) - 20 credits
  • Research Skills - 10 credits
  • Research Topics in HCI - 10 credits
  • Mini-project - 30 credits
  • Research Project - 60 credits

Optional modules

20 credits must be chosen, subject to timetabling constraints, example of optional modules are listed below:

  • Advanced Aspects of Nature Inspired Search and Optimisation (Extended) - 20 credits
  • Cryptography - 10 credits
  • Distributed and Parallel Computing (Extended) - 10 credits
  • Individual Study - 10 credits
  • Intelligent Data Analysis (Extended) - 10 credits
  • Intelligent Robotics (Extended) - 20 credits
  • Neural Computation (Extended) - 10 credits
  • Machine Learning (Extended) - 10 credits
  • Networks (Extended) - 20 credits
  • Networks Security (Extended) - 10 credits
  • Secure Programming - 10 credits
  • Security Research Seminar - 10 credits
  • Teaching Computer Science in Schools (Extended) - 10 credits

For a full list of modules available including any pre-requisite knowledge please visit the Computer Science webpage.

Please note: The modules listed on the website for this programme are regularly reviewed to ensure they are up-to-date and informed by the latest research and teaching methods.

Fees and funding

Annual tuition fees for 2019/20:

  • UK/EU students: £9,250
  • International students: £22,500

Learn more about fees and funding.

Scholarships and studentships

We offer a range of postgraduate scholarships for taught programmes and research opportunities to ensure the very best talent is nurtured and supported at postgraduate level.

Additional scholarships can be found in the funding database.

Contact the department for further information.

For further information about scholarships for our postgraduate taught programmes visit www.cs.bham.ac.uk/admissions/postgraduate-taught/scholarships/


For students applying for the 2020/21 academic year

The UK Government has confirmed that EU students will continue to be eligible for 'home fee status' for entry in September 2020, and will continue to have access to financial support available via student loans for the duration of their course. For more information take a look at the gov.uk website.

Entry requirements

2:1 Honours degree in computer science or computer engineering, however other disciplines such as
psychology or design are also considered. Learn more about entry requirements

International students:

English language

For students whose first language is not English, one of the following English language qualifications are required:

  • IELTS: 6.0 overall, with 5.5 minimum band score
  • TOEFL: 80 overall with no less than 19 in Reading, 19 in Listening, 21 in Speaking and 19 in Writing
  • PTE Academic: 51 in all four skills

Further information about postgraduate English language requirements, including alternative qualifications considered and Pre-Sessional English.

How to apply

International applicants

Please note that applications to this programme from students who are international for fees will close at midnight on 02 June 2019. Any applications that have already been submitted before 03 June will considered as normal. 

Places are still available for the MSc Computer Science programme at our Dubai Campus. Please visit this page to find out about the programme and make an application.

Applications will reopen for 2020 in October 2019. We will close applications as soon as the programme is full, early applications are encouraged.

UK/EU applicants

This programme is now closed for 2019 entry. Applications will reopen for 2020 on Monday 30 September 2019.

Before you make your application

You may wish to register your interest with us to receive regular news and updates on postgraduate life within this Department and the wider University.

Making your application

When clicking on the Apply Now button you will be directed to an application specifically designed for the programme you wish to apply for where you will create an account with the University application system and submit your application and supporting documents online. Further information regarding how to apply online can be found on the How to apply pages

Apply now

Learning is via lecture classes, problem-based workshops and one-to-one supervision. There will be some group work as part of the taught modules and there may be opportunities for industry-based project work. Most importantly, you will be part of a small, highly qualified group of students working closely with researchers within the HCI centre.

Assessment is by both practical and written coursework and examination. The project is assessed on the basis of a practical demonstration and a written report.

The research project, which may be based on your mini-project, is performed in collaboration with one of our active researchers. You will need to demonstrate an ability to define aims, objectives and plans, manage your project and time, use the results of systematic literature searches and communicate in writing and verbally. The project may also involve the development of software. It is through the mini-project and the final project that you can really develop your skills and expertise.

The application of HCI is relevant to a number of industries including health care, games and entertainment and mobile communication. Graduates will have the skills to undertake a wide range of roles, such as user experience, user research, interactive design or information architecture. In addition, graduates of this programme are well prepared to continue their studies through research for a PhD.

University Careers Network

Preparation for your career should be one of the first things you think about as you start university. Whether you have a clear idea of where your future aspirations lie or want to consider the broad range of opportunities available once you have a Birmingham degree, our Careers Network can help you achieve your goal.

Our unique careers guidance service is tailored to your academic subject area, offering a specialised team (in each of the five academic colleges) who can give you expert advice. Our team source exclusive work experience opportunities to help you stand out amongst the competition, with mentoring, global internships and placements available to you. Once you have a career in your sights, one-to-one support with CVs and job applications will help give you the edge.

If you make the most of the wide range of services you will be able to develop your career from the moment you arrive.