Carleton University

Location:   Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Department:   Psychology

Quick links:

Directory of Graduate Programs


Title of program:

Human Computer Interaction (MA or PhD Psychology-HCI)

Year human factors/ergonomics
program was established:


Accredited by HFES?


Department sponsoring program:


Contact person for more information, including applications:

Gitte Lindgaard,
1125 Colonel By Drive,
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, K1S-5B6
613/520-2600 x 2255

Catalog (free):

John Shepherd,Dean Graduate Studies
Carleton University
1125 Colonel By Drive
Ottawa, Ontario K1S 5B6, Canada

Academic calendar:


Goals, objectives, and emphasis of the programs:

The program is based firmly on psychology emphasizing contributions psychological theory, methods, and techniques can make to HCI theory and practice. The goals and objectives at the BA (Hons) level are to introduce students to HCI theory and practice. This degree includes three Co-op work terms in different companies/ organizations. At the MA level the goal is to train highly qualified personnel, graduates who are capable of working effectively on any aspect of HCI in multidisciplinary teams. At the PhD level, the aim is for candidates to make a unique, theory-driven contribution to HCI with a solid foundation in psychology.

Number of degrees granted during last 3 years:

21 MA, 5 PhD

Can students attend part-time?


Are required courses offered through distance learning?


Are required courses offered during summer?


Does the university have an HFES student chapter?



Application deadlines:

January 15 (fall), November 1 (spring)

Application Fees:



Minimum requirements

  • GPA: 4.0, or 10.7 (on a 1–12 scale)
  • GRE: not required
  • Research: medium

Importance of other criteria as admission factors:

  • Previous research activity:medium
  • Relevant work experience: medium
  • Extracurricular activities: low
  • Letters of recommendation: high
  • Personal interview: not required

Tuition and fees

  • Resident: $2,057.36/summer;
  • Nonresident: $4,477.36/summer;


Number of students applying to the human factors/ergonomics program last year:


Number of students accepted into the program last year:


Number of students entering the program last year:


Anticipated number of openings per year for the next two years:

6 MA, 6 PhD


Percentage of students in program receiving financial assistance:


Amount received per year:


Types of assistance available:


When should students apply for financial assistance?

Only applicants for fall admission over 80% GPA are eligible. No need to apply.


Graduate degree offered:

MA and PhD

Number of units required:

MA: 5 credits
PhD: 10 credits

Exams required:

MA: oral defense of prospectus, oral defense of thesis, dissertation
PhD: oral defense of prospectus, comprehensive exam, oral defense of thesis, dissertation

Research required:

MA & PhD: Thesis

Typical number of years required to obtain degree:

MA: 2
PhD: 4–5

Is there a non-thesis option?



Required Courses (units):

MA: BA Honours (or the equivalent) in psychology with at least high honours standing (B+ in psychology and B overall) and must include Design and Analysis in Psychological Research (1), Introduction to Human-Computer Interaction (Honours Seminar, 1), and a thesis with a topic in Human-Computer Interaction (1), Advanced Analysis of Variance (0.5), or Advanced Regression (0.5)

PhD: Master's degree in Psychology (or equivalent) with at least an A-average GPA (80%). The master's program usually consists of 5.0 credits, of which at least two must be at the graduate level and a thesis (equivalent to 2.0 credits) which must be defended at an oral examination. "Advanced Analysis of Variance" [0.5 credit] and "Advanced Regression" [0.5 credit] courses are required of all graduate students.

Note: These are the minimum requirements for applicants however competition is high and final acceptance decisions are made on a comparison basis. We only select the top candidates for admission and therefore meeting the minimum requirements does not automatically guarantee acceptance into the program.


MA: Fundamentals of Computing for Psychologists (0.5), Computers and Cognition (0.5), Psychological Aspects of Computer Use (0.5), Social Aspects of Computer Use (0.5)

Number of courses outside department that are required:


Number of courses outside department that are recommended:

Psychological Aspects of Product Design Methodology (1)

Average or typical class size in a required course:

5 - 35

Faculty-to-student ratio:



Research and support facilities available to students in the program:

We run much of our research in groups including faculty, PhD graduates employed as full-time researchers, post doctoral fellows, graduate students, and at times, undergraduate HCI students. We offer excellent laboratory facilities complete with technical assistance. A new building currently being erected will give us roughly 8 times the space we currently have as well as up-to-date equipment. Payment for experimental participants usually come from faculty's grants.

Teaching opportunities available to students in the program:
PhD students may be given an opportunity to teach a course at the undergraduate level as a sessional lecturer, but this is not a requirement.

Current research activities and projects being carried out by program faculty and/or students:
Advanced and innovative interactive technologies: information visualization, and advanced interaction approaches such as multi-modal, multi-sensory interfaces; affective user interface design-we explore the relationship between aesthetics, emotion, trust, risk and cognition/human performance; decision making, creative thinking and problem solving in a wide range of applications including medical diagnostic and prognostic decision support system; socio-technical systems: modeling how people interact with each other and with technology in a complex contexts/socio-technical systems; orientation and navigation in real and virtual worlds; task and work environment design taking human cognitive capabilities into consideration; practical and theoretical aspects of language technologies in interactive systems; agile processes for software development; software component structure; we explore novel structures in software visualization; semiotics and literary analysis to study communication patterns in software.


Current number of active students in program, by gender:

4 men, 14 women

Current number of first-year students in program:


Based on current graduate students in the MS in Human Systems Engineering program, the mean score on admission tests and undergraduate GPA by degree being sought are:

  • GRE: not required
  • GPA: 11.4 (out of 12)

Of the number of those graduating in the past year, what percentage gained employment in:

  • Academia:0
  • Industry: 100%
  • Government: 0


Gitte Lindgaard, PhD 1991, Monash U.; HCI, experimental psychology

Avi Parush, PhD 1984, McGill U.; human factors and ergonomics, HCI, cognitive psychology, experimental psychology

Brian Tansley, PhD 1977, U. Rochester; visual and auditory information processing

[Updated March 2011]