Here are some of the most frequently asked questions we get. Check them out and feel free to ask more by contacting the program office at mhcid@ics.uci.edu

Admissions Questions

The Master of Human-Computer Interaction and Design program does qualify as a STEM degree. However, since we are considered “low-residency” we are unable to issue international applicants I-20’s due to the program being mainly taught online.

The application deadline for Fall 2024 admission is June 1, 2024. We encourage you to not wait until the last minute to apply. We only admit for fall admission.

Please upload your work portfolio directly on your application under the “Master of Human Computer Interaction and Design Program” section after the “Academic Program” section.  A strong portfolio should include 3-4 individual pieces that you feel best showcase your work. Your portfolio should be formatted as either a custom website or a PDF.  More information can be found at: https://mhcid.ics.uci.edu/admissions/admissions-overview/applicant-portfolio/.

Application fee waivers are managed by our central admissions office, Graduate Division. The MHCID program may not qualify for a fee waiver as it is not a state-supported program. For more information on application fee waivers please visit the following site.

It is required that all admitted students make the necessary four payments (Fall, Winter, Spring, and Summer quarter). Which would be the total program fee divided by 4, not including student service fees.

Please refer to https://www.reg.uci.edu/fees/2023-2024/humancomp.pdf

The executive committee for the program reviews every applicant in detail both for general admissions to the program and for individual fellowships. We will attempt to notify fellowship winners at the same time as admissions, but there can sometimes be a delay in this process.

We find that a portfolio of your work is a better indicator of your promise in the program than a GRE score. So, for those of you who have been working, please put together a portfolio. More information can be found here.  However, if you have a valid GRE score, you are more than welcome to submit it in addition to the portfolio, or in place of a portfolio (in the case that you do not have one.)

To view English language proficiency standards please view the following link. Any further questions should be forwarded to the Graduate Division at gradapplicant@uci.edu regarding English language proficiency.


You are required to have three letters of recommendation submitted on your behalf. The letters should be submitted by your employer, client, peer or a former instructor. The letter writer should be main a discipline related to your proposed field of study who is in a position to analyze your abilities and academic promise.

Please view the following link on how to submit letters of recommendation.

Yes, you can apply to more than one program.  A separate application, application fee, and uploaded documents are required for each application.

You know the sales pitch: you can be a superstar UXer in a brief period of time with our bootcamp! If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Bootcamps are great for figuring out if you have any interest or aptitude for UX. They don’t reach the threshold you need to be considered an expert. A Master’s degree is just what it says, a degree that indicates you have developed Mastery of a domain. At UCI, we take this very seriously. In our Master’s program, you won’t just create portfolio pieces. You will learn the fundamentals that underlie the theories, the tools, and the processes for conducting research, designing interactive systems, and working with developers. Once you are truly a master of these topics, building a strong design or research portfolio is easy.

The listed fees include all costs for the program, except air, ground, or rail transportation required to attend the in person sessions (three total: September, March, September), and books. MHCID is a one-year program. Fees are subject to change each year. UC Irvine bills for fees each quarter.

Students visit campus three times, once in September, once in March, and once again the following September for graduation.

The first course of the program, IN4MAX 280, has two components, online and in-person. The in-person portion is held at UCI in early September. The schedule and dates are set in advance to accommodate for travel. Students also attend an online portion of the class over multiple days.

Two additional in person visits are required, one in late March for the Spring Intensive and Capstone Kickoff, and one in the following September for Commencement.

Our best advice is to not to plan anything other than attending and participating in the 280 course this week.  Work and other appointments will most likely not be possible. 

General Program Information Questions

Yes! We expect that people are working. However, it will be intense. You should think about this program as picking up another part-time job and anticipate spending around 20 hours per week on the program during each quarter. That’s in addition to the residency portions of the classes.

Yes! Our Program Manager works alongside student affairs, our industry advisory board, the program faculty, and our career support services team to support career development.

Like all Master’s degrees at the University of California, the MHCID program is accredited by the WSCUC accrediting agency. Additionally, formal oversight of the program rests with the University of California Academic Senate.

The MHCID Program Learning Outcomes are:

  1. Understand theories of human behavior and cognition and the ways in which they relate to use and engagement with computational systems.
  2. Develop user facing software, including high and low fidelity prototypes and understanding the place for HCI in the software development life cycle.
  3. Use appropriate quantitative and qualitative methods to gather data about users and potential interactions and to evaluate prototype designs and completed systems.
  4. Understand and apply a variety of ideation and design processes.
  5. Communicate effectively with clients, software developers and within teams.
  6. Function as an effective team member and team leader on mixed user experience design and evaluation teams.

Graduate Student Health Insurance Program (GSHIP) is not offered through this program and is not required. If you wish to purchase health insurance independently and would like referrals, please visit the UCI Student Health Center’s concierge service at https://shc.uci.edu/insurance/uc-ship-benefits-and-information/gship

It is recommended that students begin reading the list as soon as they receive it in the summer in order to prepare for the intensive course, IN4MATX 280. There will be no time to complete the readings during class, so we encourage all students to get started quickly.