The Graduate School

Human Technology Interaction (Graduate Certificate)

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The study of HTI seeks to bridge the gap between knowledge about the physical, cognitive, and social characteristics of people, on the one hand, and theory and practice of systems design, on the other. The premise of this multidisciplinary field is that the development of new systems should be user-centered. The ultimate goal is to ensure that technological innovations enhance the safety, comfort, productivity, and pleasure of the end users, regardless of whether the system involves a complex medical process, multimedia instruction, information visualization and decision aids, game environments, or everyday consumer products.

The HTI certificate reflects the content of the profession usually known as Human Factors Engineering (HFE) or ergonomics, although the terms Usability Engineering and User Experience (UX) are often used by designers of consumer products and information technology. The study of HFE has been recognized as a specialty since the 1950s, with the formation of the Human Factors Society in the U.S., and the Ergonomics Association in Europe. Early collaborations brought together engineers and experimental psychologists who worked to reduce aviation accidents and to increase the efficiency of human-machine systems in both the military and industry.

Today the study of HTI has expanded beyond its application to the complex, military systems that characterized its early years. Current approaches to understanding and improving the interaction of people and technology are represented in the work of faculty at the Vis Center, as well as in the labs of affiliated faculty in education, business, psychology, and engineering.

The demand for qualified usability specialists has recently accelerated with the growth of information technologies,  sophisticated consumer products, and smart buildings. Human-computer interaction is now a focus of much HTI research.

Admission Requirements

All participants must be either graduate students or post-baccalaureate students at UK. In addition to meeting the graduate school’s requirements for admission as a post-baccalaureate student, applicants who wish to pursue the HTI certificate should:

1) Hold a bachelors degree in a human science field (social, behavioral, or biological) OR in one of the design professions (any engineering discipline, instructional design, architecture, graphic design, industrial design, or interior design) OR be currently enrolled in a graduate program in one of these fields.

2) Students should have completed a graduate-level course in research methodology (including a quantitative analysis component) that is appropriate for the field of their major.