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Master of Science in Human-Centered Computing (HCC)

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The MS program in Human-Centered Computing (HCC) is interdisciplinary in nature, building on significant strengths within the Information Systems Department and incorporating coursework from the Visual Arts Department. Human-Centered Computing focuses on the design, implementation, and evaluation of interactive information technology systems that are both usable and accessible. Most fundamentally, the goal of Human-Centered Computing is an understanding of how humans interact with information technologies and to use this

Students may be admitted to the program in either the Fall or Spring semesters. The MS program requires satisfactorily completing 30 credits (10  3-hour courses) at the graduate level. The deadlines for the MS Program are May 1 for Fall and October 1 for Spring. All application materials must be on file in the IS department, by the stated deadlines, for expeditious review – incomplete files will be kept open for the following semester admission decisions.information to improve the lives of those individuals.

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Non-degree seeking students can obtain application materials from the Graduate School’s website. Upon admission, non-degree students can take up to 2 IS courses with permission. However, permission to register is dependent upon seat availability.

MS in HCC degree requirements:

The HCC MS builds on an understanding of design, computing, and people. Successful applicants will have demonstrated aptitude and/or interest in one or more of these areas as well as a clear interest in the others.

photo (17)Academic Admission Requirements:
  1. The majority of successful applicants have an undergraduate GPA well above 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale).
  2. All applicants are expected to read, speak, write, and understand the English language fluently. Those whose native language is not English are required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). The only exception to this requirement is for students who have earned a post-secondary degree from an accredited university in the United States. The minimum acceptable combined TOEFL score is 550 (written), 213 (computer based) or 80 (iBT-Internet based). Students who have received post-secondary degrees from an U.S. institution and whose native language is not English may be required to demonstrate proficiency in English. (The TOEFL code for UMBC is 5835. The Information Systems Department does not have a designated code.). We will also accept IELTS (International English Language Testing System) scores, the minimum acceptable total score is 6.5.
  3. GREs are not required for the MS Program.
  4. Statement of Purpose (part of the application)
  5. Three letters of recommendation
  6. Electronic Transcripts: If your institutions use electronic transcripts as official documents, please have them sent to Kathie Nee ( for domestic applications and to Kathy Ruth ( for international applications
MS Degree Requirements:

Students have to complete 30 credits (10 courses). Fifteen credits of core courses have to be complete by all students. For the remaining 15 credits, students can choose from the following options:

  1. complete five elective courses (all 15 credits in coursework),
  2. complete an independent study (3 credits) and four elective courses (12 credits),
  3. complete a Master’s thesis (6 credits) and three elective courses (9 credits)
Core courses (15 credits)

Currently two sets of core course requirements are in effect for HCC MS students. Students who enrolled IN or BEFORE the Spring 2010 semester can choose either (old or new) set of core course requirements. Students who enroll in the Fall 2010 and following semesters can only choose the new version of the requirements (613/629/636/710/729/).

New (Fall 2010 and on) HCC MS core course requirements (15 credits):

Old (Spring 2010 and earlier) version of the HCC MS core course requirements (15 credits):

Electives (15 credits)

As stated above, students can choose to complete: 1) five regular courses, 2) one independent study and four regular courses, 3) an independent study, a Master’s thesis, and two regular courses, or 4) a Master’s thesis and three regular courses. The following courses are examples of elective courses, other courses can be taken as electives with permission from your adviser. If you choose HCC 710 or HCC/IS 760 to be a core course (old version of core course requirements), it cannot be also counted as an elective.

Additional Details:
  1. Each MS student is assigned a faculty advisor when admitted to the program.
  2. No more than 2 electives prior to completion of 5 core courses can be taken without prior permission of an advisor.
  3. Graduate students may take no more than 3 classes per semester without prior permission from their advisor and the Graduate Program Director.
  4. MS students must maintain a B average, (i.e., 3.0 GPA).
  5. Graduate students may be recommended for dismissal after earning three Cs (this includes C+, C, or C-), one D or one F in any graduate level course.
  6. MS students may not count courses that are audited as part of the MS program and may not take courses under the Pass/Fail option.
  7. All graduate students should consult the University Graduate School Catalog, which contains the University’s regulations and procedures for earning degrees.
  8. MS students who graduated from the IS BS program must substitute an additional elective for HCC 636.
  9. If you took any cross listed courses, you cannot take the course at the graduate level for credit towards your degree.
  10. MS students may take ONE independent study which counts as an elective, usually taken toward the end of the degree. In order for a MS student to take an independent study course, the student must submit the Proposed Independent Study Form.
  11. No more than two elective courses may be taken outside of the courses offered by your program. Formal approval from your advisor is required before external courses can be taken. Courses taken from the online MS program’s curriculum do not count in this category, they are in addition to the two external courses. Courses offered in the on-campus IS program and in the HCC program are not considered external and can be taken by students enrolled in either program.
  12. Of the four IS MS fundamental courses (face-to-face: IS 600, 610, 650, online: IS 607) HCC MS students can only take IS 610 as an elective for credit. IS 600, 650, and 607 will not count toward their degree. If a student took IS 410 at UMBC, they cannot take IS 610.
  13. Students in the Human-Centered Computing Masters program can take up to two courses from the online MS program as electives as part of their program. They can only take an online course if the face-to-face equivalent of the course is not offered during that semester. These two courses are in addition to the two courses that can be taken outside of the IS Department. Online MS students will have priority when registering for the online courses.
  14. A student may elect to do a masters thesis, in which case two electives may be used for thesis research credits. If a student elects to do a thesis, the student must choose a thesis advisor from the department and form a three member committee that oversees and accepts the thesis. An MS thesis must to be pre-approved by the advisor and submitted to the thesis committee at least four weeks prior to the proposal or final defense.

If you need any further information, please contact Shannon Keegan (