If you want to know how exactly humans and computers interact with each other then this study programme is for you! The Human-Computer Interaction curriculum brings together computing, interaction design and cognitive psychology. It offers a research-based approach to designing interactive, software and technical systems. After finishing this programme you will have chance to become a discerning user experience professional, a knowledgeable interaction designer, or a scholarly design researcher.
Human-Computer Interaction curriculum brings together computing, interaction design and cognitive psychology. It offers a research-based approach to designing interactive, software and technical systems.
Our programme enables you to shape the world through what you design.
Who Are We Looking for?
We welcome students with a wide variety of backgrounds. Human-Computer Interaction programme's team favours everyone who is interested in improving the way technology is made available to people and intertwined with their lives. We gladly welcome:
Course Outline and Research Topics
The Human-Computer Interaction programme is an internationally accredited two year Master's programme (120 ECTS), fully in English, offered by the Tallinn University’s School of Digital Technologies.
The aim of the HCI programme is to prepare specialists, equipped with knowledge and skills for designing meaningful technology. You will undertake interdisciplinary courses, projects and research from the disciplines of design, technology, and cognitive psychology. The programme is organized in layers, from a very solid core to flexible electives allowing you to fine-tune your education.
Our lectures and seminars take place during the working days, starting at 16:00, some courses can start at 14:00. The exact schedule is announced some weeks before the semester will start. Occasionally some courses are organized in shorter, more intensive study cycles, or delivered via the Internet, as web-based courses. Also our labs are open daily.
Human-Computer Interaction curriculum
And if you would like to have a go at how we approach academic life and HCI, take a look at our Experimental Interaction Design and Research Methods in HCI courses in Tallinn University Summer and Winter Schools. It is an opportunity to get acquainted with Tallinn University and our team before committing to the long-term relationship we are sure you will never regret.
Within the field of Human-Computer Interaction, the HCI group focuses on advancing knowledge about how people perceive and interact with information technologies and how to further develop these technologies to support and augment their individual and collective physical, perceptual and cognitive abilities.
- User Experience
User experience is an emerging research area with a range of issues to be resolved. Among them, the measurability of the user experience remains controversial. Critical arguments hinge on the meaningfulness, validity and usefulness of reducing fuzzy experiential qualities such as fun, challenge and trust to numbers; going beyond using user’s perceptions, actions and reactions as raw data, to using neurophysiological responses as data for measuring user experience. Ongoing work focuses on trust and on hedonic aspects of user experience.
Possible topics in this area are:
- Theory and scale development.
- The study of neurophysiological correlates of user experience.
- Physiological Computing
This area combines computer science, neuroscience, engineering and design for biohacking, here understood as measuring various biomarkers and behaviours for artistic expression or to optimize health and wellbeing. This relies heavily on personalisation techniques, which in general, build upon user models and interaction adaptation techniques. Our focus is on modelling and implementing personalisation techniques using neurophysiological computing. These models are application-specific and account both for long term user properties, which are stable over longer time periods (e.g. personal preferences, attitudes, personality traits, prevailing moods) and short term user properties, which can change more rapidly (e.g. momentary affective/cognitive states, feelings).
Possible topics in this area are:
- The development of physiological user models for personalised systems.
- Design, development and validation of novel applications of physiological computing for the arts, health or wellbeing.
- Body-Centric Computing
Computing is moving closer to our body, as reflected by the growing amount of research and commercial products. However, both the research agenda, vocabulary and technology for discussing, designing and developing for the body still needs to be shaped. Currently lacking are means of reasoning about how body-centric interfaces are assigned roles and meaning; models for predicting user intent when interacting with body-centric computing ecologies; and infrastructure for enabling seamless body-centric computing and dynamic substitution of inherent body-centric interfaces.
Possible topics in this area are:
- Theories and models enabling reasoning about body-centric interactions.
- Development of adaptive technical infrastructure for supporting dynamic reconfigurations of body-centric computing interfaces.
- Design Theory and Methodology
Over the past three decades, we have witnessed shifts, connections, and re-framings in just about every area of interaction design: how it is done, who is doing it, for what goals, and what its results are. These changes show shifts from designing things to designing interactions, first on micro-level and lately also on a macro level; and from designing for people to designing with people and very recently, to designing by people. We focus on empowerment and on enabling a new wave of digital literacy as possessing the knowledge, skills and attitude to use our digital environment is no longer enough, we need to be able to shape it.
Possible topics in this area are:
- Exploratory research studies developing new knowledge about how we facilitate the design of digital artefacts.
- New understanding of designing interactions with digital artefacts enabled by existing theories, paradigms, and methods.
- Design and development research studies creating new design methods that are meant to improve in a specific way some activity in the way we design digital products and services.
- Contexts of and quality in use assessments of digital systems.
- Interplay between emerging digital technologies and HCI concepts, theories, and methods.
Why Study with Us?
This is your chance to become a well grounded Human-Computer Interaction specialist, able to act as a scholarly design researcher, a knowledgeable interaction designer, or a discerning user experience professional. It’s an opportunity to mould your future, our future, and study in Estonia.
Not only will you be able to systematically go from an idea, opportunity or challenge, to a technology-based solution, you will also be able to do it based on sound theoretical grounds. You will:
- Combine computational thinking with design thinking
- Integrate academic and practitioner perspectives
Our programme starts with a sound and thorough introduction to the field of Human-Computer Interaction, moves on to a semester long integrated interaction design project and rounds up with topics such as:
- Ambient and ubiquitous computing
- Physiological and affective computing
- Perception and attention
- Cognition and emotion
The capstone is your master thesis. Research-based, practice-base, many configurations are possible but surely it will be a in-depth experience.
Study support facilities
The main facilities are our Interaction Design and User Experience Labs. Here you can find all you need to bring your ideas to life and to further your knowledge in the field:
From raw materials such as paper and clay to sophisticated prototyping environments such as Balsamiq Mockups, Axure RP, Arduino and Phidgets
From raw media such as cardboard to computers, mobile devices, game consoles, virtual reality equipment and wearables
From simple audio and video recording equipment to a full set of Wi-Fi and RF-enabled NeuLog sensors (for recording electrodermal activity, electrocardiogram, pulse, temperature, etc.), an Emotiv headset, a static Mirametrix eye-tracker, a set of Tobii eye-tracking glasses, Empatica wristbands, Muse headbands and a couple of Nautilus wearable BCI systems, and of course, all the software to process it all (NVivo, Mathematica, E-Prime, etc.)
Both labs are dedicated to research and to support this programme and as a student in this program, you are 24/7 access to these facilities.
Further, studies also take place in the school’s:
Software Development Lab, featuring dedicated software development environments and tools
Hardware and Robotics Lab, featuring a wide range of possibilities for physical prototyping, including a 3D printer
Virtual Reality and Games Lab, featuring virtual reality and game development hardware and software
The students are also able to use the vast and diverse information resources (including electronical) of the Tallinn University Academic Library.
Take a walk around our campus via the virtual tour!
Our School's alumna Mariam Margishvili gave our Interaction Design lab a new look with her painting. Take a look, how she created it.
Please see the complete overview of general admission, application requirements and deadlines for Master's level applicants
- Motivation to study in the field of HCI, including a vision of the possible ways of applying acquired knowledge and experience in the future
- Research interests within the scope of the HCI group’s research activities
- Background and/or previous experience in computer science, design, behavioral or social sciences
- Ability to freely express oneself in English, both in oral and written form
Each applicant is required to submit:
- A transcript of previous studies, issued by the academic institution where the applicant acquired their previous degree, with an official English translation
- A situated motivation letter
- A proof of English language proficiency
- A design or research portfolio for applicants with an artistic/design or social/behavioural sciences background
Applicants are assessed based on:
1. Motivation letter
The motivation letter (up to 2 pages) should provide a clear overview of the applicant’s intention to study in the HCI Master’s programme. The aim of the motivation letter is to position the applicant's interests within the current research topics of the HCI group. The letter is an opportunity to connect the applicant's skill set and academic and/or professional background with the preferred topic. Applicants are encouraged to situate themselves within current academic and/or industry developments and to envision possible projects and outcomes for their potential Master thesis.
The motivation letter should be submitted by email to email@example.com.
A PDF version of the motivation letter should be submitted through DreamApply. Accepted formats are: PDF, Word, Google Docs.
2. Skill set
1) Applicants from an artistic or design background are expected to submit a design portfolio with a set of selected works, demonstrating their previous experience and skill set on a professional level. The portfolio can include videos, images, sketches, 3D visualizations and graphic or interactive presentations.
The expected format of the portfolio is as follows:
- Up to 5 individual works with a brief description.
- The individual pieces of work should represent and identify the best skills the candidate has.
- Each work’s description should include a brief summary and relevant background information.
- In all cases, the applicant should clearly explain the skill set required to accomplish the project and their personal contribution.
The portfolio should be submitted by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Accepted formats are: PowerPoint, Google Slides, PDF, link to a website.
2) Applicants from a technical background are expected to clearly identify their technical skill set in the CV, in terms of the programming languages and frameworks they are most familiar with. Based on this, they will be provided with technical assignments to address on the day of the interview.
3) Applicants from a social or behavioral sciences background are expected to submit a research portfolio of the previously conducted studies or projects, demonstrating their capacity to conduct analytical/research work, collect and analyse data, and draw conclusions. Descriptions of each study/project should include:
- An overview of the research problem.
- An overview of the sample and motivation for selecting the sample.
- An overview of the research design, including the data collection and analysis procedure.
- A description of the main outcomes.
The research portfolio should be submitted by e-mail to email@example.com. Accepted formats are: PowerPoint, Google Slides, Word, PDF.
The interview with the admission board is conducted in English. Each candidate is assigned a 20 minute time slot. The order of the interviews is arranged through email.
The structure of the interview is as follows:
- A personal introduction of the applicant, focusing on their previous academic and/or professional experience, as related to his/her eventual studies in the HCI programme.
- An explanation of the applicant’s motivation to study in the HCI programme, introducing the set of topics that the applicant is interested in exploring in depth during his/her studies.
- An overview of the skill set that the applicant expects to acquire during their eventual studies in the HCI programme, the relevance of this desired skill set for the applicant’s future career plans.
- Answers to the follow-up questions from the members of the admissions committee.
Applicants are evaluated based on:
- The relevance and excellence of their academic background, as illustrated by the academic transcript.
- The relevant professional experience and training, as illustrated by the CV.
- The submitted statement of research intentions, as illustrated by the motivation letter.
- Technical and/or design and/or research skills, as illustrated by the portfolio or results of addressing the technical assignments.
- English language skills, as illustrated by the English language certification and the interview.
Please send any additional questions regarding the admissions procedure or requirements to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Study counsellor and specialist of the programme
Write usNarva mnt 29, 10120 Tallinn
call us(+372) 640 9384
For additional guidelines regarding admission procedure please contact the international admission specialist.
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