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July 23: Carnegie Mellon, University of Madeira Offer Dual Degree Master's Program in Human-Computer Interaction

Contact: 

Byron Spice                          
412-268-9068
bspice@cs.cmu.edu

Chriss Swaney
412-268-5776
swaney@andrew.cmu.edu

Carnegie Mellon, University of Madeira Offer Dual Degree
Master's Program in Human-Computer Interaction

PITTSBURGH-Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Madeira in Portugal will launch a joint program this fall for a dual master's degree in human-computer interaction that will involve course work on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean.   

The 16-month program is sponsored by the regional government of Madeira. It will include a semester of core courses at Carnegie Mellon's Human-Computer Interaction Institute (HCII) in the fall, followed by 12 months of further course work and a capstone project course at the University of Madeira. The capstone project involves an interdisciplinary team of students working under the guidance of an industrial or organizational sponsor to produce a prototype product or service and is a key component in the Master of Human-Computer Interaction (MHCI) program.   

Students will receive two MHCI degrees under the dual program — one from Carnegie Mellon and one from the University of Madeira. The program is directed at Carnegie Mellon by Associate Professor of Design Shelley Evenson and at the University of Madeira by Nuno Jardim Nunes, head of the Mathematics and Engineering Sciences Department.

The joint MHCI program is part of a long-term educational and research collaboration between Carnegie Mellon and Portugal's Ministry of Science, Technology and Higher Education announced last year. The Carnegie Mellon-Portugal Program is run by the Information and Communications Technologies Institute (ICTI), an international "virtual" institution with poles in Portugal and at Carnegie Mellon. Both the program and the ICTI are funded by the Portuguese government through the Portugal Foundation for Science and Technology. Industrial affiliates are an important part of all of the educational activities, which will be launched this fall.

"We are pleased to be a partner in an expansive research and education effort in Portugal that includes industry and academe," said Carnegie Mellon Provost and Senior Vice President Mark Kamlet, who was in Madeira July 9 to sign the five-year agreement with representatives of the regional government establishing the joint MHCI program.

"Guidance from both our faculty and industrial sponsors has been a keystone for our human-computer interaction students," Kamlet said. "Expanding this model to a global scale will strengthen our educational program while making new tools available to address the issues of international business."

Carnegie Mellon's HCII is an interdisciplinary program that explores technology's impact on people and how technology can be designed to be usable, efficient and enjoyable. Part of the School of Computer Science, the HCII includes researchers with expertise in computer science, engineering, design and behavioral science. Fittingly, the first three students admitted to the new joint MHCI program this fall are a computer scientist, a design major and a psychologist. The program can accommodate up to 15 students per year.

The MHCI with the University of Madeira promises to enrich the entire enterprise, said HCII Director Daniel P. Siewiorek. "Just as different disciplines bring different views to product design, so do different cultures," he explained, noting that University of Madeira faculty will be visiting Pittsburgh in September to interact with HCII faculty.

"This will also be our first opportunity to engage European companies with our HCII style of engineering and design," Siewiorek said.

"The MHCI will contribute significantly to the goals of the Carnegie Mellon-Portugal Program - strengthening international collaborations with Portuguese universities, strengthening their connections with companies and educating specialized cadres in high-technology areas," said José Moura, professor of electrical and computer engineering at Carnegie Mellon and director of the ICTI@CMU pole of ICTI and the Carnegie Mellon-Portugal Program.

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