The MSc in Human Computer Interaction provides students with the tools, knowledge and skills to become practitioners in the areas of user experience, usability, information visualisation, human factors in computing systems, and human computer interaction research.
Postgraduate; leading to a Master of Science (MSc)
One year full time or two years part time
A good 2.1 Honours undergraduate degree plus evidence of previous programming experience, as the programme includes a compulsory module in object-oriented programming.
If you studied your first degree outside the UK, see the international entry requirements.
For direct entry to a Masters in Computer Science you will require an overall score in IELTS (Academic) of 7.0, with a minimum subscore of 6.0 or the equivalent. For alternative forms of evidence, see English language tests and qualifications. If your IELTS score is 6.0 overall with a minimum component score of 5.5, we offer combined degrees in Computer Science with English Language, an 18-month option for those who would like to start a Masters degree while continuing to consolidate their ability to use English effectively in academic contexts.
The qualifications listed are indicative minimum requirements for entry. Some academic Schools will ask applicants to achieve significantly higher marks than the minimum. Obtaining the listed entry requirements will not guarantee you a place, as the University considers all aspects of every application including, where applicable, the writing sample, personal statement, and supporting documents.
UK and EU: £7,500
For more guidance, see supporting documents and references for postgraduate taught programmes.
If you started this programme in 2016, you can find information about 2016 entry on the 2016 Human Computer Interaction page. Information about all programmes from previous years of entry can be found in our archive.
The MSc in Human Computer Interaction is a one-year taught programme run by the School of Computer Science. Much of the core content is delivered by members of the St Andrews Human Computer Interaction (SACHI) research group. The course consists of two semesters of taught components followed by an 11-week project leading to the submission of a 15,000-word dissertation in August.
The taught portion of the MSc programme includes eight modules: five compulsory and three optional from a wide range available. Teaching methods include lectures, seminars, tutorials and practical classes. Most modules are assessed through practical coursework exercises and examinations. Class sizes typically range from 10 to 50 students.
All students are assigned an advisor who meets with them at the start of the year to discuss module choices and is available to assist with any academic difficulties during the year. A designated member of staff provides close supervision for the MSc project and dissertation.
The modules in this programme have varying methods of delivery and assessment. For more details of each module, including weekly contact hours, teaching methods and assessment, please see the latest module catalogue which is for the 2016–2017 academic year; some elements may be subject to change for 2017 entry.
And one or both of:
Optional modules are subject to change each year, and some may only allow limited numbers of students (see the University’s position on curriculum development).
Students choose two or three of the following optional modules (up to two of these may be taken from the second list). See the module catalogue for their descriptions.
Additional optional modules
The modules listed ran in the academic year 2016–2017 and are indicative of this course. There is no guarantee that these modules will run for 2017 entry. Take a look at the most up-to-date modules in the module catalogue.
During the second semester, students work with staff to define and agree upon a topic for the extended project, which they will work on during the final three months of the course, and which culminates in a 15,000-word dissertation. Dissertation projects may be group-based or completed individually (students are assessed individually in either case).
The dissertation typically comprises: a review of related work; the extension of existing or the development of new ideas; software implementation and testing; analysis and evaluation. Students are required to give a presentation of their work in addition to the written dissertation.
Each project is supervised by one or two members of staff, typically through regular meetings and reviews of software and dissertation drafts.
If students choose not to complete the dissertation requirement for the MSc, there is an exit award available that allows suitably qualified candidates to receive a Postgraduate Diploma instead, finishing the course at the end of the second semester of study.
The School of Computer Science organises a regular programme of colloquia, talks and seminars by external and internal speakers from both industry and academia. The talks are aimed at bringing the diversity, excitement and impact of computer science from around the globe to staff and students within the School.
The St Andrews Computing Society (STACS) regularly organises hackathons and other events open to local and external participants, including MSc students. These are very popular events, often supported by industrial sponsors.
The Computer Science blog regularly publishes news and events.
There are many potential scholarships and support schemes available to postgraduates.
Recent Graduate Discount
The University of St Andrews offers a 10% reduction in postgraduate tuition fees for students who have graduated during the last three years and are now starting a postgraduate programme.
In addition to the MSc, the School offers a two-year Master of Philosophy (MPhil) degree option in Human Computer Interaction.
The EngD programme in Computer Science is a 4-year Engineering Doctorate involving an industrial partner and incorporating a 30-week taught component and a 170-week individual research component. Students who have already completed an MSc may be able to proceed directly to the individual research component of the EngD.
Many of our graduates continue their education by enrolling in PhD programmes at St Andrews. The School of Computer Science is highly rated for its theoretical and practical research in areas such as AI, symbolic computation, networking, computer communication systems, human computer interaction, and systems engineering, and offers research opportunities leading to a PhD in Computer Science.
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council
The EPSRC offers a variety of research studentship funding in Computer Science.
The Human Computer Interaction (HCI) MSc modules have been developed by expert researchers who regularly publish in leading international conferences (for example, ACM CHI, UIST, InfoVis and MobileHCI). As a result, students who complete this MSc will be at the forefront of HCI and Information Visualisation and have access to a range of roles in industry such as UX designers, visual analysts, interaction designers and interaction architects.
Alumni of Computer Science MSc programmes have gone on to work in a variety of global, commercial, financial and research institutions, including:
The Careers Centre offers one-to-one advice to all students on a taught postgraduate course and offers a programme of events to assist students to build their employability skills.
Admission to the University of St Andrews is governed by our Admissions policy.
As a research intensive institution, the University ensures that its teaching references the research interests of its staff, which may change from time to time. As a result, programmes are regularly reviewed with the aim of enhancing students' learning experience. Our approach to course revision is described online. (PDF, 72 KB).
The University will clarify compulsory fees and charges it requires any student to pay at the time of offer. The offer will also clarify conditions for any variation of fees. The University’s approach to fee setting is described online. (PDF, 84 KB).