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Human Centered Design and Engineering

Department Overview

423 Sieg

In the Department of Human Centered Design and Engineering (HCDE), students are designing the future by building innovative technologies and systems. Putting people first, HCDE students and faculty research, design, and engineer interactions between humans and technology. HCDE students and faculty focus on understanding human needs and interests as they design and build engineering solutions to the world’s problems.

HCDE faculty are award-winning and interdisciplinary, with graduate degrees in fields such as computer science, information studies, industrial engineering, design, education, English, linguistics, public policy, and technology and society studies.

HCDE prepares students for leadership roles in user interface design, user experience research and design, human-computer interaction, information and communication systems, computer-supported cooperative work, and related specializations, all from a human-centered perspective. In classes, directed research groups, and capstone projects, students develop portfolio quality products. HCDE graduates obtain jobs, primarily in the high-tech industry (e.g., Microsoft, Intel, Amazon, Facebook, T-Mobile, Google, Boeing), researching and designing user interfaces, websites, and other form factors to improve the user experience.

HCDE emphasizes student-centered, hands-on learning. Beyond taking traditional classroom courses, students join research groups and work side-by-side with top-ranked professors and graduate students to enhance the knowledge base of this dynamic field. Our educational mission is supported by up-to-date facilities.

HCDE prepares students to assume positions of intellectual leadership in industry, government, non-profit organizations, and academia nationally and globally. Whatever their professional direction, HCDE students learn the research skills appropriate to their interests, the most effective design strategies, and the most current technologies and practices.. They also learn enduring theory and principles so they can dynamically respond to the evolving field of human centered design and engineering.

Undergraduate Program

Adviser
428 Sieg, Box 352315
(206) 543-2567
www.hcde.washington.edu

The Department of Human Centered Design and Engineering (HCDE) offers the following programs of study:

  • Bachelor of Science in Human Centered Design and Engineering degree
  • A minor in technical Japanese

Bachelor of Science in Human Centered Design and Engineering

Suggested First-Year College Courses: See regular admission requirements

Department Admission Requirements

Admission is competitive. Completion of minimum requirements does not guarantee admission. All applicants have the right to petition and appeal the department's admission decision.

Direct Freshman Admission

The department enrolls up to 30% of its incoming class directly from high school, before completion of University-level prerequisites. Students accepted to the UW are automatically considered for admission to HCDE if they indicate Human Centered Design and Engineering as their preferred major on the freshman application. Competitive applicants have taken or are taking calculus and at least two years of laboratory science (physics and chemistry are preferred) in high school. Admission is for autumn quarter only.

Regular Admission

  1. Course requirements:
    1. Minimum 5 credits of mathematics: MATH 120 or MATH 124
    2. Minimum 5 credits of statistics: STAT 220, STAT 221/SOC 221/CS&SS 221, STAT 311, STAT 390, QMETH 201, Q SCI 190, or Q SCI 381
    3. Minimum 10 credits of science: BIOL 118, BIOL 180, BIO A 201, CHEM 142, CHEM 152, PHYS 114, PHYS 115, PHYS 121, PHYS 122, or PSYCH 202
    4. Minimum 5 credits of first-year composition
    5. CSE 140 or CSE 142
    6. All courses must be completed before July 1 or February 1 application deadlines
  2. Application deadline: July 1 for autumn quarter and February 1 for spring quarter
  3. Grade requirement: Minimum 2.00 cumulative GPA

Graduation Requirements

180 credits as follows:

General Education Requirements (88 credits)

  1. Written and Oral Communication (8 credits): 5 credits English composition from the University list; HCDE 231. University required additional 5 writing credits are built into the major core requirements
  2. Visual, Literary, & Performing Arts (VLPA), and Individuals & Societies (I&S) (30 credits): Minimum 10 credits required in both areas
  3. Natural World (50 credits):
    1. Mathematics (minimum 15 credits; see list of qualifying courses on HCDE website)
    2. Science (minimum 15 credits; see list of qualifying courses on HCDE website)

Major Requirements (83-87 credits)

  1. HCDE Core (46 credits): HCDE 300, HCDE 301, HCDE 308, HCDE 310, HCDE 313, HCDE 318, HCDE 321, HCDE 322, HCDE 492, HCDE 493, HCDE 495 (3), HCDE 496 (2)
  2. Engineering Fundamentals(12 credits): See department for approved list.
  3. HCDE Electives (25-29 credits)
    1. Standard Option: See department for approved list of HCDE electives
    2. HCI Option: To satisfy the requirements for the HCI option, students must take at least one course in HCI foundations, and three additional courses from at least two of the four HCI course areas – user interface, software, and technology; design; usability and user research; and social and ethical dimensions. See department website for approved area courses. Students then take additional approved HCDE elective courses to reach the overall electives requirements (25-29 credits)

Free Electives (as needed)

Continuation Policy

All students must make satisfactory academic progress in the major. Failure to do so results in probation, which can lead to dismissal from the major. For the complete continuation policy, contact the departmental adviser or refer to the department website.

Minor

Minor Requirements: Technical Japanese: Minimum 25 credits to include HCDE 461, HCDE 462, HCDE 463, plus 10 credits from the approved list of elective courses. For more information, contact the departmental adviser.

Student Outcomes and Opportunities

  • Expected Outcomes: HCDE BS graduates contribute to society by applying design and engineering processes to solve problems through a deep understanding of people and their contexts. In particular, they are leaders in:
    • Investigating people and systems, using quantitative and qualitative methods, to identify opportunities for new systems and strengths and weaknesses of existing systems.
    • Designing, building, and evaluating systems according to a variety of perspectives, with an emphasis on understanding the relationships between social and technical elements of systems.
    • Bringing ideas to actualization through expertise in design strategy and processes, effective communication and collaboration skills, and ethical perspectives.
    • Identifying and learning new skills, perspectives, and tools that help them and others accomplish their goals.

    The Department of Human Centered Design and Engineering prepares students to assume positions in industry, government, and non-profit organizations and to apply to graduate programs.

  • Instructional and Research Facilities: Department facilities include the HCDE Design Laboratory and Laboratory for Usability Testing and Evaluation (LUTE).
  • Honors Options Available: With College Honors (Completion of Honors Core Curriculum and Departmental Honors). With Honors (Completion of Departmental Honors requirements in the major). See adviser for requirements.
  • Research, Internships, and Service Learning: HCDE undergraduates are required to complete at least one 3-credit internship. The supervised internship must be approved by the faculty internship adviser. As an internship substitution, students may elect to take part in a six-month co-op, sponsored by the Engineering Co-op program. Additionally, undergraduates work in research groups with HCDE faculty and graduate students.
  • Department Scholarships: HCDE selects one recipient of a College of Engineering Scholarship annually. The criteria for this scholarship are the applicant's academic history and likelihood for success in the technical communication field.
  • Student Organizations/Associations: Students in the HCDE degree program participate in student activities such as the HCDE Student Association, the Minority Science and Engineering Program (MSEP), and Women in Science and Engineering (WISE).

Of Special Note: The HCDE department is an inclusive, hitersiciplinary academic community. Students generally call their professors by their first name and have the opportunity to work individually on projects and research supervised by HCDE faculty. Undergraduate students are encouraged to work in research groups and to attend conferences and professional meetings.

Graduate Programs

Graduate Program Coordinator
1428 Sieg Hall, Box 352315
(206) 543-1798
hcde@uw.edu

Master of Science in Human Centered Design and Engineering

The Department of Human Centered Design and Engineering (HCDE) offers a Master of Science in Human Centered Design and Engineering (MS HCDE) — an engineering degree. An evening program is offered through UW Educational Outreach, serving full time and part time studentsHCDE offers a Master of Science in Human Centered Design and Engineering (MSHCDE). (An evening program is offered through UW Educational Outreach.) A total of 48 credits is required for the MSHCDE degree, which includes 25 credits of required HCDE graduate courses and 23 credits of approved electives. MSHCDE students may elect to pursue a master's thesis or project report with the approval of their Supervisory Committee.

Upon completion of the HCDE MS degree, students assume leadership roles in human-centered design and engineering in academia, industry, government, and non-profits. HCDE MS graduates are able to:

  • Evaluate and understand human needs as a basis for designing and engineering new technologies.
  • Master conceptual frameworks that motivate interdisciplinary research and design in HCDE.
  • Select and critically evaluate user research methods for a variety of stakeholders and product contexts.
  • Create visual, interactive, experience, and systems designs and prototypes.
  • Translate organizational requirements into interface and product solutions, while accounting for all stakeholder perspectives and working ethically and collaboratively.
  • Communicate effectively in oral, written, and visual forms, while scaling communications to audience needs and sociotechnical contexts.

Admission Requirements

In making recommendations for admission, the faculty consider the following from an applicant's record:

  1. Undergraduate GPA
  2. Undergraduate degree program and work experience
  3. Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) score (if applicable)
  4. Letters of recommendation
  5. Statement of goals and career objectives. A limited number of prerequisite undergraduate courses may be required.

Degree Requirements

48 credits, to include:

  1. Core courses (22 credits): HCDE 501, HCDE 503, HCDE 517, HCDE 518, HCDE 521 (1 credit required, max. 2), HCDE 592, HCDE 593
  2. Specialized content areas (minimum 12 credits): minimum 4 credits in each of the three areas: research, design, and engineering. Research courses: HCDE 502, HCDE 516, HCDE 519; design courses: HCDE 508, HCDE 511, HCDE 520, HCDE 536; engineering courses: HCDE 530, HCDE 532, HCDE 537, HCDE 539. Students are encouraged to gain depth in any or all of the three areas by taking additional courses beyond the minimum.
  3. Additional coursework to complete at least 48 HCDE credits. May include credits from electives, directed research groups, and optional internships. Students select electives based on specific academic, research, and professional goals.
  4. Students may also pursue a formal transcripted option in User-Centered Design (UCD).

Certificate in User-Centered Design (UCD)

An evening, graduate-level, one-year, four-course program for students who wish to explore a wide range of UCD issues. Involves sophisticated methods for planning and developing intuitive, user-friendly product designs. Students study the latest user research and design theories and practices for placing user needs at the forefront of each stage of the design process.

Focuses on usability studies, user-centered design theory and practice, visual communication and information visualization, and web design.

12 of the 13 credits earned for the UCD certificate may later count toward the MS in Human Centered Design and Engineering if students apply for Graduate Non-Matriculated Status prior to taking coursework.

Certificate Requirements

  1. HCDE 517 (autumn)
  2. HCDE 518 (winter)
  3. HCDE 521 (winter only)
  4. One of the following electives: HCDE 508, HCDE 511, HCDE 536, HCDE 537 (optional prerequisite for HCDE 537 is HCDE 532)

Inter-Engineering Master's in Technical Japanese

The inter-engineering master's in technical Japanese is a two-year degree program that combines the study of engineering and technical Japanese. Students take classes in an engineering specialty and in advanced Japanese. After their first year, they spend summer quarter and optionally the following autumn quarter in Japan doing a required internship in a Japanese company or research lab. Students graduate with an inter-engineering MSE or MS degree.

Admission Requirements

Program no longer accepts applications: 2014 - 2015 is its last year.

Degree Requirements

Minimum 54 credits, to include:

  1. Engineering Fields: Students must select an engineering field (usually the same as the undergraduate area of concentration) from among the following:
    1. Aeronautics and Astronautics
    2. Bioengineering
    3. Chemical Engineering
    4. Civil and Environmental Engineering
    5. Computer Science and Engineering
    6. Electrical Engineering
    7. Mechanical Engineering
  2. Credit Requirements:
    1. Distribution: 24 credits in one engineering specialty, 27 credits of coursework in technical Japanese, and 3 credits of summer internship in Japan. Note: 3 credits of internship may be substituted for 3 credits of coursework.
    2. Technical Japanese coursework:
      1. Oral communication in technical and business settings: HCDE 471, HCDE 472, HCDE 473
      2. Reading techniques in technical Japanese: HCDE 461, HCDE 462, HCDE 463
      3. Advanced Japanese for technical and business professionals: HCDE 561, HCDE 562, HCDE 563

Doctor of Philosophy

The Department of Human Centered Design and Engineering (HCDE) offers a PhD in Human Centered Design and Engineering (PhD HCDE)—an engineering degree. The program provides unparalleled depth and experience for students interested in studying the conception, design, implementation, use, evaluation, and effects of technologies.

HCDE is an interdisciplinary engineering department at the University of Washington in Seattle, an internationally ranked, R1 research institution. HCDE's interdisciplinary faculty have graduate degrees from fields such as computer science, industrial engineering, information studies, design, education, English, linguistics, public policy, and technology and society studies. The faculty's research and teaching focus on six areas of study: influencing awareness, thinking, and behavior; design for emergent collaborations and organizations; low resource and underserved populations; material and embodied technologies, and ubiquitous computing; data visualization and big data; and learning in professional and technical environments.

The HCDE doctoral program prepares students for careers as scholars and researchers through relevant coursework, mentorship from faculty, and collaboration with peers. Early in the program, students may explore different topics and research areas through directed research groups and other independent projects.

Goals of the HCDE PhD program are as follows:

  • To prepare graduates for a career as researchers, teachers, and intellectual leaders in the discipline of HCDE
  • To enable graduates to develop theoretical frameworks, apply investigative methods, and translate theory and research findings into technical or strategic innovations in the field of HCDE
  • To foster the development and dissemination of new knowledge in HCDE
  • To foster the development of an international, multi-cultural perspective and a diverse, inclusive student body and workforce in HCDE

Admission Requirements

Completion of either an undergraduate degree or a master's degree in HCDE or a relevant field (up to 30 credits of master's work may be applied toward the 105-credit requirement). Applicants often come from a wide range of backgrounds.

Applicants must submit the following:

  1. UW HCDE PhD admission forms
  2. Official transcripts of all academic study
  3. Evidence of a minimum 3.00 GPA
  4. Three letters of recommendation
  5. A curriculum vitae
  6. A personal statement of objectives and research area of interest.

International students must also submit a TOEFL iBT test score of at least 106 (including a speaking sub-score of 26), obtained within the last two years.

Degree Requirements

105 credits, to include:

  1. 34 core credits (HCDE 541, HCDE 542, HCDE 543, HCDE 544, HCDE 545, HCDE 546, HCDE 547, HCDE 548); 12 credits of directed research (HCDE 596); HCDE 521, HCDE 523; 30 credits of approved electives to include HCDE 518 and one additional graded, graduate-level course in each of four thematic areas; minimum 27 dissertation credits.
  2. Preliminary examination
  3. Select committee chair within two quarters of passing preliminary examination
  4. Successfully complete all course distribution and credit-hour requirements
  5. Successfully complete the requirements for directed research.
  6. Pass a general examination to attain formal candidacy for the PhD program (candidate's certificate).
  7. Successfully defend a dissertation proposal before a supervisory committee.
  8. Successfully defend the dissertation itself before a reading committee (final examination).

Students are encouraged but not required to teach

Early in the program, students often explore different topics and research areas through directed research groups and other independent projects. No later than the end of the quarter following passing the preliminary exam (usually the end of the fourth quarter in the program), students choose a dissertation adviser and begin to focus on a research area for the dissertation. Students are often supported by a research assistantship by that adviser.

Students who enter the PhD program with a previous graduate degree relevant to HCDE can petition to have up to 30 credits transferred toward this program. Check with the doctoral adviser for details.

Research Facilities

The Department of Human Design and Engineering has well-equipped laboratories that effectively support its courses and research projects. Also, HCDE graduate students can utilize significant College of Engineering and University-level research facilities.

Financial Aid

A limited number of teaching and research assistantships and scholarships are available for the financial support of graduate students in HCDE. More information and application forms can be obtained by contacting the department.