Computer Science (Human Computer Interaction) with Industrial Experience (5 Years) [MEng]

Human Computer Interaction is an exciting field which looks at the interaction between computer systems and their human users. It is radically changing the way in which we experience our world through the development of new applications in science, engineering and business. 

By giving you a deep understanding of HCI from neurophysiology to advanced social network analysis, from technically complex software engineering and application development to qualitative research design & methods (and everything in between), this course prepares you for professional careers in the Human Computer Interaction and User Experience industry as well as in other areas such as research and technical development.

Themes and specialisation

As the largest School of Computer Science in the UK, we are able to offer course units on a wide range of technical areas, thereby enabling you to match the topics you study to your interests and career aspirations. Course units in second and subsequent years are grouped into themes, which allow you to specialise your study. We work closely with industry to ensure our themes introduce cutting-edge approaches and technologies; in fact, many of our themes are sponsored by industrial partners.

Course variants

You can study this course in the following variants:

UCAS course code: I143

UCAS institution code: M20

Degree awarded: Master of Engineering

Duration: 5 years

Typical A level offer: Grades A*A*A including two of: Physics, Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics, Further Mathematics, Computer Science, Psychology and/or Statistics.

Course fees: Tuition fees for home/EU students commencing their studies in September 2018 will be £9,250. Future inflationary increases may also be applied to each subsequent year of your course, subject to government regulations on fee increases. Tuition fees for international students will be £22,000 per annum. For general information please see the undergraduate fees pages.

Scholarships/sponsorships:

All new UK/EU (home tuition fee) students, applying for first year entry, who achieve an A*A*A (A* in maths) or equivalent will be awarded the Kilburn Entry Scholarship worth £1,000.

Well qualified international students will be considered for the Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences International Excellence Undergraduate Scholarships.  For further details please see   EPS International Excellence Undergraduate Scholarships  .

Number of places/applicants: The School of Computer Science receives in the region of 2000 applications per year for 225 places across our undergraduate degree courses.

Contact email: ug-compsci@manchester.ac.uk

Contact telephone: 44(0)161 275 6124

How to apply: Apply through UCAS .

Course description

Computer Science - and more specifically Human Computer Interaction (HCI) - is radically changing the way in which we experience our world through the development of new applications in science, engineering and business. HCI is concerned with optimising the interaction between computer systems and their human users, at the intersection of computer science, behavioural sciences and social science. Here at Manchester we equip you with the skills needed to contribute to this exciting and rapidly evolving field. We provide you with the highest level of education in understanding and improving future generations of user interfaces and interactions, up to and including specialisation in advanced topics. Our course attempts to delve much deeper than other HCI related courses, in that key course units are delivered by specialists in their field, from neurophysiology to advanced social network analysis, from complex software engineering and application development to qualitative research design and methods - and everything in between.

Your first year will give you a comprehensive, broad-based foundation from which to choose your area of specialisation. You will gain not only knowledge and practical experience of the latest technologies, but also a grounding in the underlying principles of the subject. CS(HCI) is a flexible programme, allowing you to choose course units to reflect your developing and changing interests. Furthermore, a wide range of themes from across the discipline allow you to specialise in the third year. It is this combination of skills that enable our graduates to keep pace with this fast moving subject, and secure rewarding careers that can be pursued almost anywhere in the world.

Course aims

The aim of the course is to give you a deep understanding of Human Computer Interaction (HCI) from neurophysiology to advanced social network analysis, from technically complex software engineering and application development to qualitative research design & methods - and everything in between. More specifically you will learn of the tools, techniques, and the mindset necessary to approach highly challenging HCI work; or move on to advanced research, be that in a commercial R&D division, as part of a skunkworks project, or within academia.We aim to instill not just a theoretical knowledge of HCI as a science and engineering discipline, but also a solid base of practical skills, an understanding of design, comprehension of the commercial world and competence in transferable skills  such as problem solving, team working, and creativity.

Special features

  • Allows you to plan, design, develop, and evaluate all aspects of interactive systems, device interfaces, and interaction scenarios.
  • All topics are taught by experts in their field, and students attend course units from Neuroscience, Social Science, and the Statistics Unit giving them cross-disciplinary experience.
  • All required Advanced Mathematics is taught as part of the course.
  • Course units and themes of relevance to Human computer Interaction include: Fundamental to Advanced Human Computer Interaction, HCI Methodology, Software Engineering and Agile Design, Statistics and Advanced Statistical Analysis, Advanced Social Network Analysis, Human Motor and Sensory Systems, Human Learning, Memory and Cognition.
  • You have access to all the core Software Engineering units and all the additional HCI specific units only available to specialist HCI students.
  • You can specialise very quickly allowing a more detailed view of HCI than on other courses.
  • The course equips you with skills that are in high demand from industry.

Course unit details

Over the first three years of study, all students follow the same course and reach the same level of study, thus providing the grounding for careers in industry and for postgraduate study. The first year of study establishes a strategic overview of the main areas of Human Computer Interaction and introduces the underlying science and mathematics. Second, third and fourth years of study develop the key knowledge and understanding necessary to enter industry, or postgraduate study. 

Course content for year 1

Introduces you to HCI and computer science in general, as well as software engineering. You will also gain the basic knowledge and skills that are applicable to all areas of interaction engineering such as object oriented programming, distributed systems, statistical analysis, and mathematics. Further, you will gain basic knowledge and skills that are applicable to all branches of computer science, such as: mathematics; programming; and distributed systems. You will also be introduced to the fundamental principles of Human Computer Interaction and Interactive systems.

Team-working is an important part of the first year which includes a year-long team project culminating in the demonstration and examination of a fully working team application. This project sets the context for HCI design and development and enhances your awareness of current issues.

Course content for year 2

The second year starts your detailed education in key areas of HCI. Course units in software engineering, operating systems, distributed computing, motor systems, and sensory systems provide the technical foundations for HCI project work. Units in quantitative and qualitative research design and methods, and native HCI methods provide the underlying scientific base. HCI specific tutorials link these aspects into a unified whole. You will also study databases technologies - a key aspect of most modern software systems.

Course content for year 3

The third year completes the above process by introducing an integrated view of advanced HCI, with reference to applicable sciences and technologies. You are also able to take a number of optional units in the third year to further enhance your specialisation. Finally, you undertake an individual project during this year, which aims to foster your competence in research and development, as well as in professional communication.

Course content for year 4

The Industrial Experience year enables you to gain relevant industrial experience as part of your studies by spending your third year working for a company actively participating in the design and development of a computing related product or service. Besides the money that you earn during this year, you also gain practical experience that can be invaluable both in your final year project and when applying for jobs after graduating. Many students find that the experience often helps to clarify their ideas about their future career path.

The strength of the School's links with industry means that may of our students undertake placements in some of the most prestigious companies in the world. The companies at which our students are currently placed include Credit Suisse, IBM, Google, Microsoft, GlaxoSmithKline, British Telecom, Accenture, Barclays Capital, Electronic Arts and Mercedes GP.

Course content for year 5

The final year enhance the contents of the equivalent three-year BSc programmes with:

  • a) an increase in the depth and range of computing related subjects studied;
  • b) additional studies in subjects such as management, law, accounting and health and safety;
  • c) an 8 week industrial project;
  • d) a group business feasibility study.

The enhancements enable you to develop an in-depth specialist knowledge across a range of computing subjects, including some covered by the MSc in Advanced Computer Science. They also allow you to understand the business skills you need to develop and manage a successful business exploiting computing technology. Graduates from the MEng programme will be equipped with the higher level skills needed for the top jobs in business or research.

Career opportunities

The course is designed from a technical perspective and will prepare you for professional careers in the Human Computer Interaction and User Experience industry (design, development, testing and operation of interfaces, devices, and behavioural modelling) as well as in other areas such as research and technical development. It will provide you with the knowledge to accomplish highly technical interaction projects and to communicate with others, making novel, informed and sensible suggestions regarding HCI/UX work being undertaken - both by you individually or as part of a wider development team. More broadly it will prepare you for leadership positions in a successful career in industry. It will develop your transferable skills, particularly team working, creativity and adaptability, and enable you to specialise in advanced HCI topics.

Employers, from large multinational firms such as EA Games, IBM and Microsoft to small local organisations, actively target our students, recognising that graduates from the School of Computer Science are equipped with the skills that enable them to excel in a whole host of positions, including many that are not traditionally associated with computing graduates. Opportunities exist in fields as diverse as finance, films and games, pharmaceuticals, healthcare, consumer products, and public services - virtually all areas of business and society.

Selected entry requirements

A level:

Grades A*A*A including two of: Physics, Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics, Further Mathematics, Computer Science, Psychology and/or Statistics. General Studies is welcome, but is not normally included as part of the standard offer.

Subjects welcomed but not normally included as part of the standard offer: General Studies is welcome but is not normally included as part of the standard offer.

Unit grade information:

The University of Manchester welcomes the provision of unit information where available.  Like all other information provided by applicants this may be taken into consideration when assessing your application.  Unit grades will not normally form part of an offer conditions.

GCSE:

Six academic subjects at grades A and B, or grades 6 and 7 in the newly reformed GCSEs in England, including

  • Mathematics (please note we do not accept Applied GCSE Mathematics courses e.g. WJEC Mathematics - Numeracy)
  • Two science subjects from Computer Science, Physics, Chemistry, Biology or Science and Additional Science.

Key Skills qualification: The University warmly welcomes applications from students studying the Key Skills qualification. However, as the opportunities to take these modules are not open to all applicants, currently this is not an essential requirement of the University.

International Baccalaureate: 38 points overall, with 7,7,6 in Higher Level subjects, including two of: Mathematics, Computer Science, Biology, Chemistry and/or Physics.

Alternative entry requirements

Irish Leaving Certificate: Grades H1 in six higher level academic subjects, including three from mathematics, applied mathematics, biology, chemistry and/or physics.

Scottish Highers: AAAAB, including grades AA in two of Mathematics, Computing, Biology, Chemistry and/or Physics. The Highers must be taken in one sitting. Minimum of five grade 1's and 2's in academic subjects at Intermediate 2 including English, Mathematics and a Physical Science.

Scottish Advanced Highers:

We normally require grade A in Highers Mathematics and grades AAAA in four further Highers subjects with a scientific bias.  The Highers must be taken in one sitting.

Or:

Three Advanced Highers at grades AAB, including two Advanced Highers in the following subjects: Mathematics, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Computer Science and/or Statistics.  Two Highers in different subjects can replace the third Advanced Higher subject.

English Language not taken at Higher/Advanced Higher must have been achieved at SCQF level 5 (minimum National 5 grade C / Intermediate 2 grade C / Standard Grade 3). If a physical science has not been taken at Higher/Advanced Higher we require TWO science subjects at SCQF level 5 (minimum National 5 grades AB / Intermediate 2 grades AB / Standard Grade Credit level)

Welsh Baccalaureate: The University welcomes and recognises the value of the Advanced Welsh Baccalaureate Skills Challenge Certificate and this can be used in combination with two A level subjects including mathematics and/or a science subject(s).  Our A level entry requirements are grades A*A*A with two of the following subjects: Physics, Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics, Further Mathematics, Computer Science, Psychology or Statistics.  The Advanced Welsh Baccalaureate Skills Challenge Certificate can be used to replace the third A-level subject.

European Baccalaureate: An average of 90% including a minimum of 90% in mathematics studied for at least 5 periods per week and assessed by a final written examination.  A scientific bias to the specialist subjects studied.

AQA Baccalaureate: The University welcomes and recognises the value of the AQA Baccalaureate, but offers will be conditional on the A level subjects within the qualification rather than the overall Baccalaureate award.

Other international entry requirements:

We accept a range of qualifications from different countries. Detailed information on our international entry criteria is available on the  School of Computer Science Website   

For general requirements not listed above see Accepted entry qualifications from your country

BTEC Extended Diploma: Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma

We consider the National Extended Diploma for entry provided it is in IT or Engineering with grades DDD in combination with grade A* in an A level or with an alternative of D*DD in combination with grade A in an A level.  The A level must be in one of the following A level subjects: Physics, Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics, Further Mathematics, Computer Science, Psychology or Statistics.

Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Diploma

We consider the National Diploma for entry provided it is in IT or Engineering with grades D*D in combination with a grade A* or an alternative of grades D*D* in combination with a grade A.  The A level must be in one of the following A level subjects: Physics, Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics, Further Mathematics, Computer Science, Psychology or Statistics.

Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Foundation Diploma

We consider the National Foundation Diploma for entry in any subject provided it is in combination with two A levels from the following subjects: Physics, Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics, Further Mathematics, Computer Science, Psychology or Statistics. Entry requirements are based on achievement of the full National Foundation Diploma with grade M plus grades A*A* in two of the listed A-levels or an alternative of grade D plus grades A*A in two of the listed A-levels.

Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Extended Certificate

We consider the National Extended Certificate for entry in any subject provided it is in combination with two A levels from the following subjects: Physics, Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics, Further Mathematics, Computer Science, Psychology or Statistics.  Our A level entry requirements are grades A*A*A and the full National Extended Certificate can be used to replace the third A level.

OCR National Extended Diploma (18 units):

OCR Cambridge Technical Extended Diploma

We consider the Cambridge Technical Extended Diploma for entry provided it is in IT or Engineering with grades DDD in combination with grade A* in a GCE A level or with an alternative of D*DD in combination with grade A in a A level.  The A level must be in one of the following A level subjects: Physics, Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics, Further Mathematics, Computer Science, Psychology or Statistics.

OCR Cambridge Technical Diploma

We consider the Cambridge Technical Diploma for entry provided it is in IT or Engineering with grades D*D in combination with a grade A* or an alternative of grades D*D* in combination with a grade A.  The A level must be in one of the following A level subjects: Physics, Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics, Further Mathematics, Computer Science, Psychology or Statistics.

OCR Cambridge Technical Foundation Diploma

We consider the Cambridge Technical Foundation Diploma for entry in any subject provided it is in combination with two A levels from the following subjects: Physics, Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics, Further Mathematics, Computer Science, Psychology or Statistics. Entry requirements are based on achievement of the full National Foundation Diploma with grade MM plus grades A*A* in two of the listed A-levels or an alternative of grade DM plus grades A*A in two of the listed A-levels.

OCR Cambridge Technical Extended Certificate

We consider the Cambridge Technical Extended Certificate for entry in any subject provided it is in combination with two A levels from the following subjects: Physics, Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics, Further Mathematics, Computer Science, Psychology or Statistics.  Our A level entry requirements are grades A*A*A and the full National Extended Certificate can be used to replace the third A level.

Access to HE Diploma: Applications are considered on an individual basis, e.g. additional educational achievements, life experience and skills. Please contact the University for further information.  Our standard academic requirements include 60 credits with 45 at Level 3. Minimum of 40 credits should be with a Distinction grade (15 of which must be in mathematics), plus 15 credits with a Merit grade in a science-related subject.  Students are also required to have a grade A* an A level in the following subjects: Physics, Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics, Further Mathematics, Computer Science, Psychology or Statistics.

Cambridge Pre-U:

We consider applicants offering Pre-U Principal Subjects, or a mix of Pre-U and A Level subjects, provided a minimum of three distinct subjects, including two of Mathematics, Further Maths, Biology, Physics and Chemistry are taken.

Conditional offers will be set on an individual basis but are likely to include achieving grade D1-D3 in three Principal Subjects including two of the subjects listed above.

Extended Project Qualification (EPQ): The University recognises the benefits of the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) and the opportunities it provides for applicants to develop independent study and research skills. Although the Extended Project will not be included in the conditions of your offer, we strongly encourage you to provide information about the EPQ in your personal statement and at interview. A number of our academic Schools may also choose to take your performance in the EPQ into account should places be available in August for applicants who narrowly miss the entry grades for their chosen course.

Non-standard educational routes:

If you have followed a non-standard educational route and have been, for example, educated at home, your application will be considered against the standard entry criteria of the course to which you applied. You will be required to demonstrate that you meet the academic entry requirements as specified for the course. We will also require a reference which should be written by somebody who knows you well enough, in an official capacity, to write about you and your suitability for higher education. Please refer to UCAS for further information: UCAS reference guidelines

Other entry requirements:

Return-to-learn students are those who have had a substantial period away from any formal learning. Often such learners have pursued careers or raised a family. The University understands that students come from many different backgrounds, with varying qualifications, careers and skills, but they often bring to their studies a high degree of motivation and experience.

The University recognises that standard selection measures and procedures may not enable these learners to demonstrate fully their suitability for their chosen course. Where appropriate, admissions officers will seek and consider alternative evidence in order to give such learners equivalent consideration. Where they deem this alternative evidence meets entry criteria fully the learner will not be required to meet the standard academic entry requirements.

English language:

GCSE English grade C, or grade 4 in the newly reformed GCSEs in England, IELTS 6.5 with no less than 6.0 in individual components, TOEFL 100 ibt with no less than 23 in individual components.

Advice to applicants

Applicants are advised to apply through UCAS.

How your application is considered

Applicants are considered on the basis of their predicted or received grades, on the additional information supplied in their application and on their performance at interview where relevant.

Interview requirements

All promising applicants who are resident in the UK/EU and who apply before 15th January will be invited to attend an interview.

Returning to education

Return-to-learn students are those who have had a substantial period away from any formal learning. Often such learners have pursued careers or raised a family. The University understands that students come from many different backgrounds, with varying qualifications, careers and skills, but they often bring to their studies a high degree of motivation and experience.The University recognises that standard selection measures and procedures may not enable these learners to demonstrate fully their suitability for their chosen course. Where appropriate, admissions officers will seek and consider alternative evidence in order to give such learners equivalent consideration. Where they deem this alternative evidence meets entry criteria fully the learner will not be required to meet the standard academic entry requirements.

Overseas (non-UK) applicants

Applications from overseas students are very welcome.  Generally, overseas students will be considered for an offer without having to visit our School in advance.

Policy for applicants who resit their qualifications

If you have re-sat individual modules to improve your grades, we will consider your application according to the standard selection process. If you are planning to re-sit the final Year 13 examinations, or have already done so, the University will consider your application, but we may require further information in order to make an informed judgment on your application.

Re-applications

If you applied in the previous year and your application was not successful you may apply again. Your application will be considered against the standard course entry criteria for that year of entry.  In your new application you should demonstrate how your application has improved.  We may draw upon all information from your previous applications or any previous registrations at the University as a student when assessing your suitability for your chosen course. If you are applying for a place for the same year of entry through UCAS Extra, you should provide additional evidence of your suitability for the course. If you are applying through clearing you are required to meet the clearing requirements. In both UCAS Extra and clearing the places will be subject to availability.

Teaching and learning

At Manchester we aim to provide a unique experience. Studying Computer Science with us will give you the chance to follow your academic curiosity and explore a fascinating subject.

A significant amount of your work will be project-based team work, tackling real problems. You will see how computer science is directly applicable to solving problems, across a broad range of areas.

The emphasis throughout is on independent learning, supported by regular meetings in small groups with personal tutors. You receive practical help and support from experienced staff and postgraduates, with leading experts guiding your learning and stimulating your interest. This approach is supported by conventional lectures and comprehensive on-line learning resources. We also provide excellent facilities, including specialist laboratories to support areas such as engineering and robotics.

Explore our teaching methods further on our  website .

Coursework and assessment

Unseen examinations account for about 60% of the assessment . These assess your abilities in the selection and application of knowledge, problem solving, and the design and evaluation of software or electronics. Other assessment is mainly through laboratory-based coursework that provides you with the opportunity to demonstrate your understanding of computer science of electronic principles by tackling specific problems on a more realistic scale, both individually and in groups.

The remaining assessment is through presentations and essays where, in particular, you demonstrate the transferable skills you have acquired. In the third and final year, the non-examination assessment is mainly made up of the practical project.

Disability support

Practical support and advice for current students and applicants is available from the Disability Advisory and Support Service. Email: dass@manchester.ac.uk

Course unit choices

The following table provides an indication of the typical choice of course units available to students studying Computer Science (Human Computer Interaction) wIE MEng (Hons).
For a detailed explanation of course units available to current students please refer to the options page of the School's intranet for current students.

Study year 1 course units

Students take a set of course units from the following list. Some units are compulsory and some are optional. Other external course units may be available. For full details of the see the options page of the School's intranet for current students.

Course unit codeTitle
COMP10120First Year Team Project
COMP15111Fundamentals of Computer Architecture
COMP16121Object Oriented Programming with Java 1
COMP16212Object Oriented Programming with Java 2
COMP18112Fundamentals of Distributed Systems
BIOL10832Excitable Cells
PSYC10100Research Methods
PSYC10431Introduction to Cognition
PSYC11222Brain and Behaviour
PSYC11322Sensation & Perception

Study year 2 course units

Students take a set of course units from the following list. Some units are compulsory and some are optional. Other external course units may be available. For full details of the see the options page of the School's intranet for current students.

Course unit codeTitle
COMP23111Fundamentals of Databases
COMP23311Software Engineering 1
COMP23412Software Engineering 2
COMP25111Operating Systems
COMP28112Distributed Computing
BIOL22332Motor Systems for Human Computer Interaction
BIOL22341Sensory Systems for Human Computer Interaction
PSYC21112Perception & Action
PSYC21122Cognitive Neuroscience
PSYC21181Cognition
SOST20022Essentials of Survey Design & Analysis
COMP25212System Architecture
COMP28411Computer Networks
COMP28512Mobile Systems
BIOL21321Membrane Excitability
BIOL21451How to Make a Brain

Study year 3 course units

Students take a set of course units from the following list. Some units are compulsory and some are optional. Other external course units may be available. For full details of the see the options page of the School's intranet for current students.

Course unit codeTitle
COMP300303rd Year Project (Joint Hons 30 Credits)
COMP33511User Experience
MCEL30031Enterprise Management for Computer Scientists
MCEL30032Managing Finance in Enterprises for Computer Scientists
SOST30022Advanced Social Network Analysis
COMP31111Verified Development
COMP33711Agile Software Engineering
COMP33812Software Evolution
COMP34412Natural Language Systems
COMP36512Compilers
COMP38120Documents, Services and Data on the Web
BIOL21451How to Make a Brain
BIOL31681Clocks, Sleep & the Rhythms of Life
BIOL31692Learning, Memory & Cognition
PSYC31122Emotion
PSYC31142The Psychology of Time
PSYC31242Understanding Dementia: Brain & Behaviour
SOAN30811Anthropology of Vision, Memory and the Senses
SOST30031Modelling Social Inequality

Study year 4 course units

Students take a set of course units from the following list. Some units are compulsory and some are optional. Other external course units may be available. For full details of the see the options page of the School's intranet for current students.

Course unit codeTitle
COMP40901UG MEng Industrial Project
MCEL40021Entrepreneurial Commercialisation of Knowledge
MCEL40042Business Feasibility Study
COMP60411Modelling data on the web
COMP60711Data Engineering
COMP61011Foundations of Machine Learning
COMP61021Modelling and visualization of high-dimensional data
COMP61232Mobile and Energy Efficient Systems
COMP61242Mobile Communications
COMP61332Text Mining
COMP62342Ontology Engineering for the Semantic Web
COMP62421Querying Data on the Web
COMP62532Component-based Software Development
COMP60532Principles of Digital Biology
COMP60532Principles of Digital Biology
BIOL60771Advanced Biotechnology
BIOL61820Bioinformatics for Systems Biology
PSYC60132Cognitive and Social Neuroscience
SOST70011Introduction to Statistical Modelling
COMP60542Introduction to Health Informatics
BIOL60140Advanced Methods for Biological Sequence Analysis
PSYC60142Clinical and Behavioural Neuroscience
SOST70292Multilevel Modelling
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