Finally! HCI Undergraduate Programme at Manchester ‘a genuinely distinctive and technically rich syllabus’

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I’ve been banging on about this HCI programme for a year or so now. It has been looking increasingly like it will happen and this week we got a glowing report from our external programme examiner (from industry, actually) which seals the deal. So we now have a programme taking entries including the units that you can take and we even have 4 flavours; BSc and MEng both with Industrial Experience options meaning year long placements with vetted companies!

So our external didn’t have a bad thing to say about us, and some selected:

  1. How do we compare? ‘In the UK and internationally, MSc (or equivalent) programmes in HCI are reasonably common and generally contain the necessary taught material to take graduates from general Computer Science or Psychology undergraduate degrees, into the HCI specialism.  In the UK, there are a very small number of HCI or User Experience (UX) undergraduate degrees […] features a more ambitious selection of units from the component disciplines necessary for a rigorous education in HCI; psychophysics, perception and cognition from Biological and Psychological Sciences; a range of engineering, algorithmic and technological outcomes from the computing sciences; and practical design, methodological and experimental elements from across the disciplines. Internationally, the US university sector is home to the significant majority of most HCI study, and HCI is offered as a minor (and very occasionally a major) undergraduate degree subject at a number of very strong departments.  Once again, I would say that this proposal compares very well to these; in interdisciplinary composition and in technical rigour.’
  2. Academic coherence?  ‘The proposal is ambitious in including a rich set of technically robust units from across the component disciplines.  This places a crucial responsibility on the supervision, pastoral care, cohort management and bridging tutorials and projects, in terms of forming a coherent HCI context for students’ learning.  The proposal engages with this challenge throughout.’
  3. Good Practice? ‘The programme proposal is comprised of highly rigorous technical material from across the HCI disciplines that is ambitious and commendable.  It would have been easy for the proposers to graft on one or two HCI-based modules onto the final year of an otherwise general Computer Science degree.  Instead, this programme has high quality scientific material from psychophysical, cognitive and experimental domains throughout.’
  4. Final Comments? ‘I would like to thank the proposers for their hard work in constructing a genuinely distinctive and technically rich syllabus.  As a potential employer of graduates of this course, I welcome the scope and the ambition.’
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