Triangle Skip to content
Exit nav

This course is closed to international applicants for 2021 entry.

Course overview

Human computer interaction specialises in understanding the relationship between people and digital technologies. 

Global industries are developing user research and design to improve their products and services. There is an increasing demand for graduates in this innovative field. You will learn how to develop software and systems to better respond to the needs of customers, clients, and users.

This interdisciplinary masters is taught by academics from the School of Computer Science and the Department of Mechanical, Materials and Manufacturing Engineering. You will study core modules that cover topics including mixed reality and user experience (UX) design. Optional modules give you the flexibility to study specialist areas such as games software and virtual reality.

All students will undertake an individual research project. This can be in collaboration with an industry partner or with one of our research groups: the Mixed Reality Laboratory and Human Factors lab.

Past project titles have included:

  • Research and Development of Location-Based Services for an Educational Environment
  • Personalising Hand Gesture Computing
  • The Effect of Virtual Audiences on Music Performance Anxiety
  • Developing an augmented reality head-up display interface for future in-vehicle navigation systems

Why choose this course?

Scholarship available

There are three levels to the award which range from 10-50% off your tuition fees.

Top 10

University in the UK, ranked by research power

Research Excellence Framework 2014

Ranked 6th in the UK

For universities targeted by the largest number of top employers in 2019-2020

High Fliers Report The Graduate Market 2019-2020

96.4% of postgraduates

from the School of Computer Science secured work or further study within six months of graduation

HESA Graduate Outcomes 2020, using methodology set by The Guardian

Course content

You will study a total of 180 credits, split across 120 credits of compulsory and optional modules plus a 60-credit individual project.

No computer programming experience is needed. If you are from other subjects you will study modules in fundamental computer science.

Modules

Core modules for all

Studying Human Performance 20 credits

This module aims to give a broad review of the measurement techniques which can be used in ergonomic analysis and evaluation of systems or products, together with an understanding of the need for experimental design and control in order to obtain valid and meaningful results. It also provides a theoretical basis for techniques which may be practised during laboratory work and exercises in other human factors modules.

The module covers:

  • Introduction to experimental design; experimental controls; selection and recruitment of subjects; user trials; ethical considerations
  • Observational methods: direct and indirect observation; recording techniques; measurement of behaviour; activity sampling
  • Subjective measurements: ranking methods, rating scales, application in interviews and questionnaires
  • Task analysis: task description; tabular and hierarchical task analysis; applications
  • Introduction to SPSS
  • Descriptive statistics
  • Statistical analysis: Types of data; Normal distribution; Non-parametric tests; Parametric 2 samples tests, Correlation and regression, Chi Square, ANOVA
Mixed Reality

This module focuses on the possibilities and challenges of interaction beyond the desktop. Exploring the 'mixed reality continuum' - a spectrum of emerging computing applications that runs from virtual reality (in which a user is immersed into a computer-generated virtual world) at one extreme, to ubiquitous computing (in which digital materials appear embedded into the everyday physical world - often referred to as the 'Internet of Things') at the other. In the middle of this continuum lie augmented reality and locative media in which the digital appears to be overlaid upon the physical world in different ways.

You will gain knowledge and hands-on experience of design and development with key technologies along this continuum, including working with both ubiquitous computing based sensor systems and locative media. You will learn about the Human-Computer Interaction challenges that need to be considered when creating mixed reality applications along with strategies for addressing them, so as to create compelling and reliable user experiences.

Human-Computer Systems

This module will provide students with a thorough understanding of the growth of IT and human computer systems. To examine the concepts and methods available for the analysis, design and evaluation of computer-based interfaces through hardware, software, task and systems design. 

Advanced Methods in Human Factors and Human-Computer Interaction

Topics include:

  • working as a human factors engineer/HCI professional
  • predictive evaluation techniques (eg GOMs, Fitts Law)
  • psychophysical methods
  • verbal protocol analysis
  • qualitative approaches and methodologies
  • eye-tracking methodologies
  • ethical considerations in human factors research
  • capturing and analysing human physiological data
Individual Project: Human-Computer Interaction

You will undertake a project which is relevant to human-computer interaction, developing your skills in research, such as:

  • planning research activities
  • empirical investigation
  • literature review
  • critical reflection
  • evaluation
  • oral and written communication
  • individual learning
  • time management.

Collaboration with business, industry, and other outside bodies is encouraged.

Design Ethnography

This module introduces you to the theory and practice of design ethnography.

You will cover a range of topics including:

  • origins and evolution of ethnography
  • foundations and nature of the ethnomethodological approach
  • ethnographic analysis
  • its relationship to systems design
  • the perceived problems with the approach

Core module if you have a strong background in programming

Cognitive Ergonomics in Design

This module will provide you with a thorough understanding of cognitive ergonomics and the way in which the consideration of cognitive ergonomics can impact on human performance in the workplace. 

Core module if you do not have a strong background in programming

Programming

This module will give you a comprehensive overview of the principles of programming, including procedural logic, variables, flow control, input and output and the analysis and design of programs. Instruction will be provided in an object-oriented programming language.

Optional modules for all

Collaboration and Communication Technologies

In this module, you will consider the design of collaboration and communication technologies used in a variety of different contexts including workplace, domestic and leisure environments. You will consider the basic principles of such technologies, explore the technologies from a social perspective, consider their impact on human behaviour and critically reflect on their design from a human-centred perspective.

Fundamentals of Information Visualisation

Information Visualisation is the process of extracting knowledge from complex data, and presenting it to a user in a manner that this appropriate to their needs. This module provides a foundational understanding of some important issues in information visualisation design. You will learn about the differences between scientific and creative approaches to constructing visualisations, and consider some important challenges such as the representation of ambiguous or time-based data. You will also learn about psychological theories that help explain how humans process information, and consider their relevance to the design of effective visualisations.

If you want to learn how to design and implement your own interactive information visualisation, you should also take the linked module G53IVP (Information Visualisation Project). Together, these two modules form an integrated 20 credit programme of study.

Games

This module covers the history, development and state-of-the-art in computer games and technological entertainment.

You will gain an appreciation of the range of gaming applications available and be able to chart their emergence as a prevalent form of entertainment. You will study the fundamental principles of theoretical game design and how these can be applied to a variety of modern computer games.

In addition, you will study the development of games as complex software systems. Specific software design issues to be considered will include the software architecture of games, and the technical issues associated with networked and multiplayer games.

Finally, you will use appropriate software environments to individually develop a number of games to explore relevant theoretical design and practical implementation concepts.

Information Visualisation Project

In this module you will gain practical experience of how to design and evaluate a distinctive interactive visualisation which presents information gathered from a complex and interesting data source.

You will gain experience in web-based technologies that enable the implementation of multi-layered and interactive information visualisations, supported through lab work that introduces specific features of these technologies.

This module will require some challenging programming work and assumes some basic knowledge of HTML, CSS and Javascript. Introductory tutorials will be provided to those without this prior knowledge.

Data Modelling and Analysis

This module will enable you to appreciate the range of data analysis problems that can be modelled computationally and a range of techniques that are suitable to analyse and solve those problems.

Topics covered include:

  • basic statistics
  • types of data
  • data visualisation techniques
  • data modelling
  • data pre-processing methods including data imputation
  • forecasting methods
  • clustering and classification methods (decision trees, naīve bayes classifiers, k-nearest neighbours)
  • data simulation
  • model interpretation techniques to aid decision support

Spending around four hours each week in lectures and computer classes, appropriate software (eg. R, Weka) will be used to illustrate the topics you'll cover.

Simulation and Optimisation for Decision Support

This module offers insight into the applications of selected methods of decision support. The foundations for applying these methods are derived from:

  • operations research simulation
  • social simulation
  • data science
  • automated scheduling
  • decision analysis

Throughout the module, you will become more competent in choosing and implementing the appropriate method for the particular problem at hand. You will engage in a mixture of lectures, workshops, and computer classes.

Physical Ergonomics

This module aims to equip students with fundamental knowledge and skills regarding the physical characteristics of people (body size, strength, flexibility, etc.) and environments (lighting, thermal, sound, etc.) as they relate to the design of products, workplaces and tasks/jobs. You’ll spend two hours in lectures each week when studying this module.

Simulation, Virtual Reality and Advanced Human-Machine Interface

For human factors/ergonomics work, simulation tools can enable designers, managers and end-users to experience products and systems in realistic, interactive environments. Such advancements have significant cost implications, enabling designs and their implications to be visualised early in the development life cycle. In addition, virtual/augmented reality and other advanced human-machine interfaces (HMIs) are being developed in many different industries to support different user needs.

This module will provide you with the knowledge and skills required to understand and utilise computers as human factors tools for understanding peoples’ interactions with new technology. Moreover, the module will consider HMIs that are increasingly common in modern life and frequently designed and evaluated using simulation techniques.

The module is a mix of practical and research-oriented content, and you will make extensive use of the simulation facilities and on-going research projects within the Human Factors Research Group and elsewhere in the University.

Topics include:

  • virtual reality technologies/environments/interfaces
  • augmented reality; fidelity and validity of simulators
  • presence factors for simulation
  • understanding and minimising simulator sickness
  • multimodal interfaces including the use of natural language and gesture interfaces, computers and collaborative/social interfaces, accessibility, in-car interfaces 
The above is a sample of the typical modules we offer but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. Modules (including methods of assessment) may change or be updated, or modules may be cancelled, over the duration of the course due to a number of reasons such as curriculum developments or staffing changes. Please refer to the module catalogue for information on available modules. This content was last updated on Friday 16 April 2021.

Learning and assessment

How you will learn

  • Lectures
  • Tutorials
  • Seminars
  • Computer labs
  • Practical classes
  • Project work
  • Supervision

You will study a total of 180 credits, split across 120 credits of compulsory and optional modules plus a 60-credit individual project.

You will work in classrooms and labs to develop a theoretical and practical understanding of this subject.

Teaching is typically delivered by professors, associate and assistant professors. Some practical laboratory sessions and research projects may be supported by postgraduate research students or postdoctoral research fellows.

How you will be assessed

  • Coursework
  • Written exam
  • Project work

Modules are assessed using a variety of individual assessment types which are weighted to calculate your final mark for each module. In many modules, assessments are mixed with 75/25 or 25/75 coursework/exam.

The final degree classification will be the average of all credits, e.g. an average of 120 taught credits and 60 credits on your project. To pass a module you’ll need at least 50%.

Contact time and study hours

The class size depends on the module. In 2019/2020 class sizes ranged from 25 to 110 students.

All students meet their tutors in the Induction week. Students are then encouraged to make individual arrangements to discuss any issues during the study. Some staff offer weekly drop-in time for students.

Entry requirements

All candidates are considered on an individual basis and we accept a broad range of qualifications. The entrance requirements below apply to 2021 entry.

Undergraduate degree2:2 (or international equivalent) in a computer science, engineering, natural sciences, social sciences or art and design subject.

Applying

International applicants must apply by Sunday 07 February 2021

You may also find our international postgraduate fees page useful.

Our step-by-step guide covers everything you need to know about applying.

How to apply

Fees

Qualification MSc
Home / UK £11,000
International £25,000

If you are a student from the EU, EEA or Switzerland starting your course in the 2021/22 academic year, you will pay international tuition fees.

This does not apply to Irish students, who will be charged tuition fees at the same rate as UK students. UK nationals living in the EU, EEA and Switzerland will also continue to be eligible for ‘home’ fee status at UK universities until 31 December 2027.

For further guidance, check our Brexit information for future students.

Additional costs

We do not anticipate any extra significant costs. You should be able to access most of the books you’ll need through our libraries, though you may wish to purchase your own copies which you would need to factor into your budget.

Funding

To help support our students, we offer an Excellence in Computer Science scholarship. There are three levels to the award which range from 10-50% off your tuition fees. You will also receive a tablet to use for the duration of your study.

There are many ways to fund your postgraduate course, from scholarships to government loans.

We also offer a range of international masters scholarships for high-achieving international scholars who can put their Nottingham degree to great use in their careers.

Check our guide to find out more about funding your postgraduate degree.

Postgraduate funding

Careers

We offer individual careers support for all postgraduate students.

Expert staff can help you research career options and job vacancies, build your CV or résumé, develop your interview skills and meet employers.

More than 1,500 employers advertise graduate jobs and internships through our online vacancy service. We host regular careers fairs, including specialist fairs for different sectors.

Graduate destinations

This course provides you with skills and expertise in human-centred design. You will be prepared for a range of careers and roles, such as:

  • interactive systems design
  • user experience design
  • user interface design
  • usability engineering

Our graduates have lots of great job opportunities. Computer science-related skills make up 4 of the top 5 'most in-demand skills for employers in 2020’ according to linked in.

Career progression

96.4% of undergraduates from the School of Computer Science secured graduate level employment or further study within 15 months of graduation. The average annual salary for these graduates was £28,895.*

* HESA Graduate Outcomes 2020. The Graduate Outcomes % is derived using The Guardian University Guide methodology. The average annual salary is based on graduates working full-time within the UK.

Two masters graduates proudly holding their certificates
" I'm an Associate Professor in the School of Computer Science. I teach modules related to artificial intelligence including Fundamentals of AI and Topics in AI. My main research interests include artificial intelligence algorithms (eg computational optimisation algorithms with machine learning) for intelligent transport systems (eg vehicle routing and connected vehicles) and optimisation problems in workforce scheduling, telecommunication network routing and timetabling. "
Rong Qu, School of Computer Science

Related courses

The University has been awarded Gold for outstanding teaching and learning (2017/18). Our teaching is of the highest quality found in the UK.

The Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) is a national grading system, introduced by the government in England. It assesses the quality of teaching at universities and how well they ensure excellent outcomes for their students in terms of graduate-level employment or further study.

This content was last updated on Friday 16 April 2021. Every effort has been made to ensure that this information is accurate, but changes are likely to occur given the interval between the date of publishing and course start date. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply.