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Bachelor of Science in Human Centered Design & Engineering

HCDE Capstone Event

HCDE students are designing the future by building innovative technologies and systems, and designing and engineering interactions between humans and technology. Students in the HCDE Bachelor of Science program build a strong foundation in designing user experiences and interfaces, creating information visualizations, conducting user research, designing for the web, and building web technologies. Students graduate from the program with engineering degrees.

Students study and work with HCDE's award winning interdisciplinary faculty who have graduate degrees in fields such as computer science, industrial engineering, information studies, education, English, linguistics, public policy, technology and society studies, and urban planning. Students in the BS in HCDE program have the opportunity to solve real-world problems in collaborative teams through faculty led Directed Research Groups, many of which focus on the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) multifaceted grand challenges: sustainability, education, enriching life, technology and growth, and resilience. Click on the thumbnails below to see examples of student projects, classes, and research!

HCDE Undergraduate Capstone Project: Memortainment HCDE Undergraduate Capstone Project: Design Considerations for Emergency Response Technologies HCDE undergraduate Capstone Project: Camerateers HCDE undergraduate Capstone project: Carpooling: A Team Sport


As part of the major, HCDE undergraduate students complete 52 credits of complete core coursework in design and research. Students also complete 19–23 credits of elective courses. The elective coursework allows students the flexibility to:

  • Create a specialization targeted to their professional and academic goals
  • Build on their foundation in HCDE
  • Increase their knowledge about the field of HCDE

Learn more about the flexibility of the HCDE major!

Some students choose to pursue a specialization in human-computer interaction (HCI) in order to design, evaluate, and implement interactive computing systems for human use, and to study major phenomena surrounding them. For this specialization, HCDE has created a Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) degree option.

A degree option is an area of study officially recognized by the University of Washington. Upon completion of their degree, students with this option will see "Bachelor of Science in Human Centered Design & Engineering," as well as the designation "Human-Computer Interaction" on their UW transcript.

Who Are Our Students?

HCDE students are interested in researching, designing, and engineering interactions between humans and technology from a human perspective. Our undergraduate students have a variety of academic interests spanning engineering and other technical fields, the social sciences, humanities, and design. Many of our undergraduate students study full-time and many pursue concurrent internships during their studies. Our student cohort is diverse; about one-third of our students are from a minority background, and about one-third are international. Slightly more than half of our students are female. More information on our student demographics is available on the Missions, Facts, and Statistics page.


Graduates of the BS in HCDE program receive engineering degrees and find jobs with high-tech companies as multimedia and web developers, interface designers, user experience researchers and designers, usability engineers, interaction designers, and information architects. Students and alumni from HCDE have excellent career resources. They often take advantage of HCDE's Corporate Affiliate Program, working with area companies on research partnerships, adding industry projects to their portfolios, and finding internships and jobs upon graduation. HCDE's full-time advising staff, located in Sieg Hall, work closely with companies and students to provide a multitude of career services.

Located at the University of Washington in beautiful Seattle, students have access to Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft, Google, Expedia, Boeing, Intel, IBM, and other prominent corporations that have offices in the Pacific Northwest. In addition, Seattle has a strong start-up and entrepreneurial community, with more than 500 start-ups calling the city home, making Seattle the perfect location from which to launch an exciting career, whether in established corporations or in the fast-paced start-up community.

Contact HCDE Undergraduate Advising

Contact an advisor
Alex Llapitan
Academic Counselor
(206) 543-2567

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Upcoming Deadlines

BS Application
Summer Deadline CLOSED
Next Deadline Sunday, Feb 1, 2015
Admissions FAQs
Program Overview

I Chose Human Centered Design & Engineering

"When I began my studies at the University of Washington, I felt like the ultimate misfit engineer. I had the technical understanding needed for engineering work, but I also had the inherent passion for designing technology that was ultimately user focused and meant for humans. It was in HCDE that I finally found my calling! This program offers something that no other engineering program at UW can: the chance to design technology that is 100% user centered design. Every day the students in this department are making breakthroughs in user centered technology and learning lessons that will last them a lifetime. The lessons students learn in the HCDE department truly help them to realize their full potential in the real world."

Caryn Carlson Rothe

Caryn Carlson Rothe, BS 2012

Let us know why you chose HCDE.