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The following are curriculum and requirements for completing the Human-Computer Interaction Certificate.

Foundations of HCI Requirement (one course)

Students must take one of the following:

Technical Domain Requirement (three courses)

The certificate offers five technical domain pathways focused on software interfaces, hardware interfaces, and data analysis to help students develop technical skills to do HCI work in their specific area of interest or major.

Students must complete three courses in one of the technical domain pathways below.

Technical Domain Requirement Pathways - Three Courses From One Pathway

Interfaces (CS) (suggested for computer science majors)

Interfaces (suggested for SESP, SoC, and Weinberg students)

Hardware & Robotics (suggested for mechanical engineering majors)

Data Science (suggested for SESP, SoC, and Weinberg students)

Journalism (suggested for Medill students)

Physical Computing (suggested for computer engineering and computer science majors)

Students taking the data science or hardware & robotics option for their technical domain pathway can select one additional technical course option from the list.

Students completing the interfaces (CS), interfaces, data science, and journalism technical domain pathways will satisfy the prerequisites for COMP_SCI 330 and COMP_SCI 397: HCI Studio options in the foundations requirement.

Students taking the physical computing pathway may benefit most from the COMP_SCI 397/497 Inclusive Making course to satisfy the foundations requirement.

Technical Electives

Social Sciences & Design Breadth Requirements

The breadth requirement is intended to give students interdisciplinary experience across the fields of HCI. Students must complete at least one course in the social sciences and at least one course in design.

Social Sciences Electives

Design Electives

Four New Courses Requirement

The Northwestern Office of the Registrar requires that students in any certificate programs take at least four units that are not to be counted toward the student’s major, minor, or other certificates. So while students may count any of their existing major/minor requirements to satisfy the foundation, technical, and breadth requirements, they must take four additional courses to complete the certificate.

In some cases, the four new courses requirement means that engineering students may end up taking one to three social science electives and one to three design electives, and other students may end up taking all engineering classes.

For example, a computer science student who has already satisfied the foundations requirement and technical domain requirements through their major may decide to take three social sciences electives and one design elective, whereas a SESP student who has not taken the foundations requirement or technical domain requirements as part of their major may end up using their major requirements to satisfy the social sciences and design breadth requirements.

Students may petition for one course/unit to be substituted for a social sciences or design breadth requirement if it is not listed above, at the discretion of the certificate committee. For advising on which classes to take, please contact

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