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» Master of Science in Human Centered Design & Engineering

Master of Science in Human Centered Design & Engineering

HCDE MS Info Sessions
Monday, November 3  facebook
Monday, December 1  facebook

All Info Sessions are held from 5:30-6:30 p.m. in Sieg Hall, room 420, on the UW Seattle Campus.
The best way to learn more about the MS in HCDE is to attend an info session (no RSVP necessary) and/or review the Frequently Asked Questions. 


The University of Washington's Quad is one of the iconic features of the Seattle campus.

The Master's degree in HCDE prepares its graduates for professional and leadership roles in user experience research and design, interface design, interaction design and prototyping, product design, human-computer interaction, human centered engineering, and program management. HCDE MS core and elective courses are offered in the evening to accommodate a diverse cohort of full time and part time students. Students develop portfolio quality products throughout their studies. The HCDE MS is an engineering degree. Students in the HCDE MS program have the opportunity to solve real-world problems side-by-side with our award-winning interdisciplinary faculty in collaborative teams and also work with industry partners. HCDE faculty have graduate degrees from fields such as computer science, industrial engineering, information studies, education, English, linguistics, public policy, technology and society studies, and urban planning. Students and faculty in HCDE also collaborate with other campus units through UW events, the design-use-build (dub) consortium, the Change consortium, etc. Some courses are also taught by our partners in the local high tech industry.


HCDE MS Courses focus on research, design, and engineering. Students take 48 credits of required core courses and elective courses and participate in faculty led Directed Research Groups, Capstone Projects, and optional internships.

Program Objectives

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.

Who Are Our Students?

Students who are interested in researching, designing, and engineering interactions between humans and technology from a human perspective come to HCDE. HCDE students have a variety of academic and professional backgrounds, with an approximate breakdown of one-third from technical and engineering backgrounds, one-third from social sciences backgrounds, and one-third from design backgrounds. About half of our students are working professionals; because of their jobs, they often study as part-time students. The other half of our students study full-time. Many students pursue concurrent internships during their studies.

Our MS student cohort is richly diverse; about 25% of our students are international or under-represented minorities. Our cohort is gender balanced: 50% female; 50% male.


Graduates of the program receive engineering degrees and find jobs as UX researchers, designers, and architects; usability evaluators; information architects; interaction and product designers; program managers; web and information developers; and more. Students and alumni from HCDE have excellent career resources through the department such as our internship and jobs database, career fairs, on-campus information sessions from HCDE Corporate partners, and portfolio, resume, and interview coaching sessions. Students often take advantage of HCDE's Corporate Affiliates Program to work with area companies and identify projects for their capstone work that will give them real world experience and add depth to their portfolios. HCDE's full-time advising staff, located in Sieg Hall, works closely with 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, 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 Advising

Speak to an Advisor

Watch the HCDE MS Video

Upcoming Deadlines

HCDE MS Application
Deadline Thursday, Jan 15, 2015
Admissions FAQs
Program Overview

Information Sessions

November 3, 2014  Find the event on facebook
December 1, 2014  Find the event on facebook

All MS Info Sessions are held from 5:30–6:30 p.m. in 420 Sieg Hall.

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I Chose Human Centered Design & Engineering

"The HCDE program did more for me than teach design principles or best practices; it opened my eyes and changed my perspective on design and communication as a whole. The user-centered approach has been an invaluable asset in my creative and professional endeavors. Through the program, I also fostered several very important professional relationships that have advanced my career and kept me abreast of advances in this dynamic and constantly changing field."

Brian Knudson

Brian Knudson, MS 2010

Let us know why you chose HCDE.