While studies in Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) or programs with a focus on user experience are common in the United States and Europe, we look into the top 8 universities in Asia in 2020 to briefly examine whether such trends exist in Asia’s formal education. The top 8 universities are selected from the World University Rankings 2020, published by Times Higher Education.
We go through the programs, courses offered and research focuses of these universities one by one:
1. Tsinghua University, China
Tsinghua University offers postgraduate studies in HCI under the Institute of Human-computer Interaction (HCI) and Media Integration. This institute is one of the 6 institutes under Tsinghua University’s Department of Computer Science and Technology. The research areas include text-independent speaker recognition and identification, content-based audio indexing, multilingual text-to-speech, speech system and speech encoding, multi-modality fusion, context-aware computing, direct interaction on display surface, the semantic model of interaction interface, and smart space.
This top university in Beijing also offers psychology programs focusing on artificial intelligence and user experience.
In 2017, Alibaba Group announced the creation of an HCI-focused research lab, DAMO Academy in collaboration with Tsinghua University to cover research areas in data intelligence, the Internet of Things, fintech, quantum computing, and human-machine interaction.
2. Peking University, China
Peking University was established in 1898 during the Qing Dynasty. It is the first modern national university in China.
While not as aggressive as Tsinghua University, there are HCI and UX led initiatives being carried out in School of Electronic and Computer Engineering and Department of Information Management under Social Sciences.
3. National University of Singapore, Singapore
The National University of Singapore offers a Ph.D. program in Human-Computer Interaction under NUS-HCI Lab. Based at the university itself, its mission is to create a world-class HCI research laboratory in Asia. Its research interests include interfaces and interaction techniques to facilitate creative expressions and encourage cooperative social interactions (creative social interaction).
On top of this, under the Singapore government’s National Infocomm Competency Framework (NICF) initiatives, the university also offers short courses in Digital User Experience Design and Mobile User Experience Design under Institute of System Science (ISS) for working adults in IT industry.
4. The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR
‘HCI, Graphics and Computer Vision’ is one of the fields of study that can be chosen for Ph.D. candidates in Computer Science department under HKU’s Faculty of Engineering.
Not related to HCI nor UX but HKU actually offers BASc (FinTech) to nurture financial technologists and entrepreneurs with essential knowledge in both finance and technology so that they can take the lead in FinTech innovation.
5. The University of Tokyo, Japan
The University of Tokyo has various labs and special interest groups dedicated to HCI such as Naemura Laboratory, Cyber Interface Lab, Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, Interactive Visual Intelligence Lab, among others.
6. The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Hong Kong SAR
HCI is one of the main research areas under The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST)’s Department of Computer Science and Engineering. Other research areas include artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, vision and graphics, etc. An HCI lab called HKUST HCI Initiative was created to focus on data-driven approaches to empowering the seamless integration of the digital realm and the physical world. Ph.D. in HCI is offered under this too.
7. Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
HCI is one of the research focus under Nanyang Technological University (NTU)’s School of Computer Science and Engineering.
8. Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR
The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) has the Human Information Interaction Lab under the Department of Information Engineering with research and publications on human-computer interaction (HCI), social media analytics, learning sciences, learning technologies, etc.
9. Seoul National University, South Korea
Seoul National University (SNU) houses the hci+d lab (Human-Computer Interaction and Design Lab), Seoul National University User Experience Lab and Human-Computer Interaction Laboratory (SNU HCI Lab) that carry out researches and projects on HCI. SNU HCI Lab even offers their own usability testing room for use by fellow researchers in Samsung SNU R&D Center.
Under its Graduate School of Convergence Science and Technology (GSCST) where Ph.D. is offered, human-centered computing and user experience are main research areas.
While programs in HCI or UX may not be too sought-after yet in Asia as compared to the United States, HCI or UX related initiatives and researches are steadily on the rise, with collaboration and sponsors from local government or even companies.