PhD Human-Centered Computing – Program of Study

The HCC program of study comprises of coursework, research, a series of examinations (or defenses), and teaching and service requirements.

Coursework:

The coursework consists of three parts: the core classes, a specialization, and a minor.

Core Classes:

The three core classes form the foundation of the knowledge necessary for the HCC program. Students must have at least one A and at most two B's in the core courses.

Classes CS 6451 Introduction to Human-Centered Computing
CS 6452 Prototyping Interactive Systems
CS 7455 Issues in Human-Centered Computing
Seminars CS 8001 Human-Centered Computing Concepts
CS 8002 Advanced Seminar in HCC

Specialization:

The specialization courses provide HCC students with depth of knowledge in their chosen fields as well as breadth of knowledge in another area of computing. Students must take three elective courses: two from the area of HCC specialization -- such as Artificial Intelligence, Cognitive Science, Human-Computer Interaction, Learning Sciences and Technologies, Social Computing -- and one from another area, for a total of at least nine semester hours.

The list below is not exhaustive. Courses listed in minor fields of study may also be acceptable unless used to satisfy the minor requirement. Many other courses in CoC and the other five colleges are also acceptable. Students should choose electives in consultation with their advisors and with the approval of the HCC program director. If the number of courses being offered in some area is smaller than needed, then other options may be possible.

Artificial IntelligenceCS 6601 Artificial Intelligence
CS 7461 Machine Learning
CS 7495 Computer Vision
CS 7610 Modeling and Design
CS 7637 Knowledge-Based AI
CS 7620 Case-based Reasoning
CS 7650 Natural Language
CS 8803 Computational Creativity
CS 8803 Expressive AI
CS 8803 Game AI
CS 8803 Human Robot Interaction
Cognitive ScienceCS 6795 Introduction to Cognitive Science
CS 7695 Philosophy of Cognition
CS 7697 Cognitive Models of Science and Technology
CS 7790 Cognitive Modeling
Human-Computer InteractionCS 6455 User Interface Design and Evaluation
CS 6456 User Interface Software
CS 6750 Human-Computer Interaction
CS 7450 Information Visualization
CS 7470 Mobile and Ubiquitous Computing
CS 8803 Computers, Communications & International Development 
Learning Science & TechnologyCS 6460 Educational Technology: Conceptual Foundations 
Social ComputingCS 6465 Computational Journalism
CS 6470 Design of Online Communities
CS 6474 Social Computing
CS 7460 Collaborative Computing
CS 8803 Computational Social Science 

Minor:

The Ph.D. minor consists of nine semester hours of classes from outside HCC. Thus, a Ph.D. minor within CoC (but outside HCC) is also possible: examples include minor in Data Analytics, Information Security, Software Engineering, etc. The nine hours must form one coherent area of study. If a course has a CS section and a non-CS section, then students should register for the CS section and not count it towards a minor. A minor may also include courses from outside Georgia Tech, for example, courses at Emory University or Georgia State University.

The following list is illustrative, and not exhaustive. Other examples include Augmented Reality, Computational Creativity, Game Design, Interactive Narrative, etc. (though again the minor needs to be outside HCC). Also, courses in various units frequently change. Students should choose the minor in consultation with their advisors and with the approval of the HCC program, director. 

History, Technology & Society ExampleHTS 6001 Proseminar in Social Theory
HTS 6002 Proseminar in History of Technology
HTS 7001 Foundations of Socio-Historical Analysis
Industrial Design ExampleID 6101 Human-Centered Design
ID 6200 Graduate Studio I
ID 6201 Graduate Studio II 
Industrial and Systems Engineering Example 1ISyE 6205 Cognitive Engineering
ISyE 6215 Models in Human-Machine Systems
ISyE 6234 Measurement and Evaluation of Human- Integrated Systems 
Industrial and Systems Engineering Example 2ISyE 6223 Understanding and Supporting Human Decision Making
ISyE 6215 Models in Human-Machine Systems
ISyE 6234 Measurement and Evaluation of Human-Integrated Systems 
Literature, Media & Communication Example 1LMC 6316 Historical Approaches to Digital Media
LMC 8000 Proseminar in Media Theory
LMC 8001 Digital Media Studies 
Literature, Media & Communication Example 2LMC 6318 Experimental Media
LMC 6321 The Architecture of Responsive Spaces
LMC 6650 Project Studio: Augmented Reality 
Literature, Media & Communication Example 3LMC 6215 Issues in Media Studies: Game Design as a Cultural Practice
LMC 6317 Interactive Fiction
LMC 6650 Project Studio: Game Design 
Psychology Example 1PSYC 6011 Cognitive Psychology
PSYC 6012 Social Psychology
PSYC 6014 Sensation and Perception 
Psychology Example 2PSYC 6018 Principles of Research Design
PSYC 6019 Statistical Analysis of Psychological Data I
PSYC 7101 Engineering Psychology I: Methods 
Public Policy ExamplePUBP 6014 Organization Theory
PUBP 6421 Development of Large-scale Socio-technical Systems
PUBP 8803 Special Topics: The Internet and Public Policy 

Research

Although research is the most important part of the HCC Ph.D., we will not say much about it here because research varies quite a lot from student to student and advisor to advisor. In general, we encourage all HCC Ph.D. students to get involved in research right from the start, i.e., from their first term as a Ph.D. student. We expect each student’s research to result in publications through out the duration of the Ph.D. We expect that the dissertation will be of a high quality so that its results can be published in top peer-reviewed journals and conferences.

Georgia Tech requires all Ph.D. students, including part-time students, to register for at least 3 credits each term. If a student is not on official leave of absence and does not register for two consecutive terms, then the student may need to apply again for admission to the HCC Ph.D. program.

Examinations and Defenses

Qualifying Examination:

The purpose of the qualifying examination is for the student to demonstrate competency in

1)     Basic computing concepts and methods

2)     Written research communication

3)     Oral research communication

4)     Core HCC knowledge

5)     Core knowledge in student’s HCC specialization.

6)     Design and evaluation of human-centered systems

7)     Synthesis of ideas from different fields, such as from computing and cognitive, educational, and social sciences.

Core HCC knowledge will be defined by a reading list developed by the HCC faculty. Core knowledge in each HCC specialization will be defined by the HCC faculty in that area. Typical areas would include artificial intelligence, cognitive science, learning science & technology, human computer interaction, and social computing. 

The HCC qualifying examination is administered in the spring term of each academic year. We expect all students to take the qualifying examination in the second year of their Ph.D. program. A student may retake a failed examination once. All students must pass the qualifying examination within three years of entering the program.

The qualifying examination consists of three parts: research portfolio, written examination, and oral examination. The research portfolio demonstrates the skills enumerated above, and includes at least one publication quality paper. The qualifying examination is administered by a faculty committee selected by the advisor in consultation with the student. The committee consists of:

  1. The student's thesis advisor (as a non-voting participant).
  2. Three additional HCC faculty members.

If a student has co-advisors, then too the committee shall consist of the same number of additional members.

Thesis Proposal Defense and Dissertation Defense

Georgia Tech requires that "Doctoral students must spend at least two full-time semesters in residence at the Georgia Institute of Technology and ordinarily must complete research for the dissertation while in residence" (Georgia Tech 2009-10 General Catalog).

Georgia Tech rules pertaining to thesis proposal and dissertation defenses are available at: http://www.gradadmiss.gatech.edu/thesis/policies/advisory_committee.pdf.

All students should choose their thesis advisors by the beginning of their second year in the program.

All students need to present and defend a written Ph.D. proposal to a thesis proposal committee of at least four members as follows:

  1. The student’s advisor.
  2. At least two additional HCC faculty members
  3. At least one other faculty from another academic unit in Georgia Tech (outside HCC, typically the minor field) or a committee member external to Georgia Tech.

If a student has co-advisors, then too the committee shall consist of the same number of additional members. All committee members must have a Ph.D. degree. Committee members external to Georgia Tech need not be affiliated with a university.

We expect all students to defend their thesis proposal by the end of the fourth year of their Ph.D. program. After the proposal is accepted, the student is expected to initiate a meeting with the thesis committee at least once a year to review research progress.

When completed, the dissertation must be publicly defended before a dissertation committee of at least five members as follows:

  1. The student’s advisor.
  2. At least two additional HCC faculty members
  3. At least one other faculty from another academic unit in Georgia Tech (outside HCC, typically the minor field).
  4. At least one committee member external to Georgia Tech.

If a student has co-advisors, then too the committee shall consist of the same number of additional members. Typically the members of the thesis proposal defense committee would also be members of the dissertation committee. We expect most students to have the complete committee at the time of the proposal.

Teaching and Service Requirements

The School of Interactive Computing requires all Ph.D. students to be Teaching Assistants twice in their stay as a Ph.D. student. Each HCC Ph.D. student should consult with his/her thesis advisor to make a teaching plan.

The HCC Ph.D. program expects all HCC Ph.D. students to be active participants in the program including performing community service. Community service may take the form of organizing seminars, helping with the Ph.D. student recruiting, helping with the HCC program website.