• Hands-on Classes

    Intimate classes focused on design-thinking.






  • Supportive Lab Environments

    Labs led by faculty to engage with real-world problems.






  • Top of the Line Facilities

    Our updated user studies labs are available to all students.

Our Graduate Programs

In 2006 the Department of Information Systems at UMBC launched Master’s and Doctoral Human-Centered Computing (HCC) graduate programs. Since their creation, these programs have matured with a strong international reputation.

MS in HCC: icon created by Yamini Ahluwalia from Noun Project


MS in HCC


Our HCC Master's has two tracks: a Practitioner Track for those who wish to become UX, IA, or usability professionals and a Research Track for those who are interested in pursuing a Master's Thesis and possibly apply to a PhD program.

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PhD in HCC: icon created by Chameleon Design from Noun Project


PhD in HCC


Our HCC PhD program is oriented towards the production of knowledge on significant challenges in the design and use of technology by people. This is a research-heavy program for those interested in pursuing positions in industry labs or academia.

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The Faculty

HCC @ UMBC boasts an internationally recognized faculty whose research address the design and impact of technology on people and society. We are particularly known for our innovative research groups in accessibility, CSCW and social computing, human information access, and health informatics.

Stacy Branham

Lecturer

CSCW, Affective Computing

Amy Hurst

Assistant Professor

Assistive Tech, Makerspaces

Andrea Kleinsmith

Assistant Professor

Affective Computing

Ravi Kuber

Associate Professor

Tactile Interface Design, BCI

Anita Komlodi

Associate Professor

Information Organization, Search

Wayne Lutters

Associate Professor

CSCW, eScience

Helena Mentis

Assistant Professor

CSCW, Health Informatics

Our Students

In our 10 years, we have graduated 11 PhDs who have gone on to positions in industry, government, and academia and we have graduated 76 master’s students who have gone on to UX positions in industry or some of the top HCI PhD programs in the nation.

We have an interdisciplinary, diverse student body with different backgrounds, graduate school experiences, and goals. Below is a sampling of our current students and alumni.

  • PhD Alumni Michele Williams

    Michele Williams
    PhD alumni (2015)

    What was you background before entering the PhD program?
    Masters in Software Engineering, Auburn University
    BS in Computer Science, Bowie State University

    Tell us a little about your research.
    I want to create new technologies that aid and empower people with disabilities through universal design. For my dissertation, I worked on a Toyota-funded project informing the design of an indoor navigation device for people with vision impairments. More specifically I ran user research studies with blind participants to gather their impressions and preferences for the device’s design.

    What did you like best about the HCC program at UMBC?
    It is a nurturing but challenging environment that equips you to become a successful independent researcher.

  • PhD Alumni Alyson Young

    Alyson Young
    PhD alumni (2015)

    What was your background before entering the PhD program?
    MA in Media Studies, the University of Western Ontario
    Honours BA in Comm. Studies, Wilfrid Laurier University

    Tell us a little about your research.
    I am at the intersection of CSCW, S&TS, and Infrastructure Studies. I examine the sociotechnical implications of radically multidisciplinary science, including complexities around data sharing and reuse. I also examine the infrastructures that have emerged to support these efforts, and the ways they enable and constrain scientific practice.

    What is next for you?
    In the Fall, I start as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Human-Centered Computing at IUPUI.

    What do you like best about the HCC program at UMBC?
    It is ideal for those interested in not only designing and developing new computational artifacts, but also interested in how humans adopt and organize their lives around computing technology.

  • Master's Alumni Chris Kidd

    Chris Kidd
    Master's Alumni (2012)

    What was your background before entering the HCC program?
    BA in Communications, Journalism focus, Salisbury University

    What was your favorite class and why?
    HCC "fundamental" courses with Dr. Kuber - going through the process of redesigning a website from the initial research to the early wireframing stage. Also working with Dr. Hurst in the PAD on projects that I had never expected such as 3D printing and interviews with the Maryland School for the Blind.

    What are you doing now?
    I am the UX Director at Mindgrub - a technology innovation agency in downtown Baltimore. I manage a team to research the information architecture and design functionality for mobile applications, websites, games, and more.

    What did you like best about the HCC program at UMBC?
    The program itself provided a strong background for my current career and the faculty acted as mentors, helping me figure out what I wanted to do and what sort of industry I wanted to enter while providing tons of opportunities for me.

  • Master's Alumni Jasmine Tobias

    Jasmine Tobias
    Master's Alumni (2014)

    What was your background before entering the HCC Program?
    I came in with 15 years of Web industry experience, starting with interactive design to leading creative and client services and then, managing digital strategy.

    What are you doing now?
    I've continued to work as Sr. UX and Web Management Consultant for SAi's Digital practice where, for the past few years, I've been fully dedicated to working with the Internet Strategy team at Johns Hopkins Medicine.

    What did you like best about the HCC program at UMBC?
    The opportunity to do independent or collaborative research in a very supportive community. I especially appreciated the opportunity to collaborate with one of my professors and publish an article during my very first semester there… and get to travel to Scotland to present the paper! Not being a PhD candidate but still having this opportunity was incredible.

  • PhD Student Patrick Carrington

    Patrick Carrington
    PhD Student, 5th year

    What was your background before entering the PhD program?
    B.S. in Information Systems from UMBC
    M.S. in Human-Centered Computing from UMBC

    Tell us a little about your research.
    I study accessibility challenges, wearable technology, and build assistive technology prototypes. “Chairable Computing” describes the application of mobile and wearable computing for people who use wheelchairs - devices that fit both the frame of the wheelchair and the user's lifestyle.

    What do you like best about the HCC program at UMBC?
    Early in the program I was still undecided as to where my interests were. The faculty were all very supportive of my trying different projects or research areas to figure out what I was really passionate about. All of the faculty I have had the privilege of working with have been responsive and willing to schedule time to meet and talk about research or give realistic advice on navigating graduate school. This openness has been invaluable to me as a student and as a mentor my aim has been to pass along that openness and support to others.

  • PhD Student Erin Buehler

    Erin Buehler
    PhD Student, 5th year

    What was your background before entering the PhD program?
    BS in Computer Science, Eastern Washington University
    MS in Human-Centered Computing, UMBC

    Tell us a little about your research.
    My research examines how students with different abilities learn and utilize emergent technologies. In particular, I am studying how students with and without disabilities work together while exploring digital fabrication tools.

    What do you like best about the HCC program at UMBC?
    Our faculty represent a very diverse research landscape, offering students lots of opportunities to gain exposure to new subject areas. It's an intimate program, but maintains a strong research presence. Our faculty are able to offer a lot of individualized attention for graduate students when they are first entering the program. As one progresses, those same faculty members are comfortable relinquishing control which promotes students in their independent development as researchers.

  • PhD Student Will Easley

    Will Easley
    PhD Student, 1st year

    What was your background before entering the PhD program?
    B.S. in Information Systems from UMBC
    M.S. in Human-Centered Computing from UMBC

    Tell us a little about your research.
    My primary research looks at ways to better integrate and teach 3D printing technology in various education environments. I am currently working with 3rd and 4th grade students in Baltimore City. In addition to this, I am interested to learn about potentially positive outcomes associated with introducing this technology to diverse populations.

    What do you like best about the HCC program at UMBC?
    Our department has a strong sense of community. Faculty and students make efforts to connect with each other on a regular basis. While we all are competitive and strive to do high-quality, impactful research, we also support each other so that everyone can be successful.

  • Master's Student Chelsea Hunt

    Chelsea Hunt
    Master's Student 4th Semester

    What was your background before entering the HCC Program?
    Prior to my studies at UMBC, I worked in Digital Marketing and managed digital communication for a network of more than 100 domestic and international businesses.

    What was your favorite class and why?
    Developing Interfaces for Rehabilitation, where I designed a mobile app for children with learning disabilities at the Kennedy Krieger Institute, a special education school system affiliated with Johns Hopkins University. The app helps young students understand their emotions and suggests coping strategies during heightened states of distress. The Kennedy Krieger Institute is interested in working together to develop and integrate the app into its curriculum.

    What do you like best about the HCC program at UMBC?
    As leading researchers in the field, the professors are perpetually inspiring and fully dedicated to supporting students. I’ve truly appreciated their mentorship and the many opportunities I’ve had to learn from their experiences.

  • Master's Student Abdullah Ali

    Abdullah Ali
    Master's Student 4th Semester

    What was your background before entering the HCC Program?
    BS, Information Systems, web development certificate, UMBC

    What was your favorite class and why?
    HCC613, UI Prototyping, with Dr. Hurst. It is pure design, allowing us to focus on the ideas and narrative without being held down by the technicalities of developing an actual piece of code. Dr. Hurst creates an amazing class atmosphere - there are classes and then there are “Amy classes”.

    What did you like best about the HCC program at UMBC?
    Anyone from any background can feel welcomed. Everyone is willing to lend a hand and help out - during the weekly HCC Fika meetings where faculty and students chat over coffee and snacks, one-on-one mentorship meetings with faculty, or peer events by the Human-Centered Information System (HCIS) graduate student organization.

    What is next for you?
    I've been accepted to the University of Washington for my PhD!

  • Master's Student Kirk Crawford

    Kirk Crawford
    Master's Student 4th Semester

    What was your background before entering the HCC Program?
    B.S. in Information Systems from UMBC

    What was your favorite class and why?
    My favorite class has been Human-Centered Design (HCC 729). This course has been an excellent resource, allowing me to apply the human-centered principles and theories I have learned in previous courses to real-world challenges. This course has made me more confident and better prepared to tackle the complex challenges that often arise when working with large user groups.

    What did you like best about the HCC program at UMBC?
    I have found that the HCC program provides a unique opportunity for students to confidently explore the field with a multi-disciplined toolbox. The program provides a solid research and design foundation, which has been both useful and advantageous for both my personal and professional work.

Contact Us

General questions about Master's program or PhD programs: HCC graduate program advisor (GPD) komlodi@umbc.edu.

Applying to PhD program: Contact a specific faculty member to inquire on their current research opportunities.