HCI Sub-Specialization

Update: MAGIC no longer offers a Graduate Sub-specialization in Human Computer Graphics, please see the Designing for People (DFP) website for HCI Graduate programs. http://dfp.ubc.ca/


Human-Computer Interaction is a highly interdisciplinary field of study that explores human behaviour in technology-rich environments. Among its goals are informing the design of new technologies, understanding the social contexts of technology use, and assessing the quality and effectiveness of systems designed for humans to use. Students earning a Master’s degree in participating departments can also earn a Sub-Specialization in Human-Computer Interaction by completing specific additional requirements as part of a Master’s degree in a home department.

The goal of the Sub-Specialization in HCI is to provide a structured way for students enrolled in various graduate programs at UBC to study and carry out research in HCI with guidance from relevant faculty advisors, and to bring interested students from different departments together in a graduate student community integrated into the general university research community.

  • Requirements
    Complete one Foundations of HCI course (3 credits) that provides an introduction and overview of current research and practice in the field of HCI.
  • Complete one Empirical Methods or Analysis course (3 credits) that focuses on formal methodologies used within HCI (qualitative or quantitative or mixed methods).
  • Complete one Design + Evaluation course (3 credits) that focuses on iterative user-centred design in a particular domain or application area.
  • Complete one HCI elective (3 credits) that explores some aspect of HCI.
  • Complete a major research project (6 credits) that has an HCI focus and is supervised by a faculty member affiliated with the HCI sub-specialization. The project can be a 12-credit or 6-credit thesis, or it can be a project in a course or combination of courses, including directed studies courses, if none of the courses are used to satisfy any course requirement for the sub-specialization and if the courses total at least 6 credits.

Step 1. Applying to the sub-specialization
Master’s students in participating departments may be admitted at any point in their academic program, but it is very strongly recommended that students apply before the end of the first term of their enrollment in an eligible Master’s program at UBC.

Acceptance is based upon a student’s demonstrated commitment to the field of HCI. Once accepted, a student is classified as an HCI Sub-Specialization Student and placed on the mailing list for announcements about the Sub-Specialization in Human-Computer Interaction and about other HCI-related events (such as lectures and special courses).

Accepted students are provided priority access to courses that have reserved placements for sub-specialization students.

Applicants must be students enrolled and in good standing in a Master’s-level degree program at UBC that is affiliated with the HCI Sub-Specialization.

Applications can be submitted prior to beginning studies at UBC provided that the applicant is registered in the program in which they will be enrolled.

Required materials
•    Application form requesting admission for the Sub-Specialization in Human-Computer Interaction (see below for a link) that includes a proposed list of courses to satisfy the sub-specialization course requirements
•    Curriculum vitae
•    Electronic copies of transcripts (graduate and undergraduate)
•    Letter of support from a faculty advisor who is an approved Sub-Specialization in Human-Computer Interaction project advisor

Step 2. Advancing to candidacy
After completing all course requirements, students become candidates for the HCI Sub-Specialization by entering into a supervisory agreement with an approved Sub-Specialization in Human Computer Interaction project advisor and submitting a research project proposal.
Required materials
•    An updated application form (the same one used in the first step) with the additional information related to candidacy

Step 3. Completing the Sub-Specialization
After completing all requirements for the Sub-Specialization in HCI a student files a final version of the application form documenting that all course requirements have been met and that the major project has been completed and approved by the student’s supervisor as meeting the expectations for the sub-specialization.
Required materials
•    An updated application form (the same one used in the first two steps) with the final information about the project
•    An electronic copy of the project document (thesis, essay, or report) and links to supporting materials
The Faculty of Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies will then be notified when a student is recommended for the sub-specialization.
It is the responsibility of the student to ensure that course work and all other requirements for the Master’s degree program in their home department are met. The Sub-Specialization is not itself a degree, it is an addition to a degree. It is only awarded in conjunction with a Master’s degree in a participating department.

Resources and Forms
•    List of participating departments and affiliated faculty
•    List of suggested courses

Click link to download an all-purpose fillable PDF that serves as an application form, coursework progress report form, and program completion form.

HCI Sub-specialization fillable PDF form


Click link to view all HCI Sub-specialization Courses.

HCI Sub-specialization Courses