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HCI Degree Option

The Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) degree option is part of the Bachelor of Science in Human Centered Design & Engineering degree program.

All students interested in pursuing HCDE's HCI degree option should contact the academic adviser.

What is Human-Computer Interaction?

HCI is a new and developing field. According to the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), Human-Computer Interaction is a discipline concerned with the design, evaluation, and implementation of interactive computing systems for human use and with the study of major phenomena surrounding them. HCI is necessarily a multidisciplinary field, incorporating facets of information science, computer science, design, and technical communication among other fields. The University of Washington is becoming a global leader in this exciting new area.

The UW has exceptional faculty collaborating on world-class research in HCI and that collaboration extends directly to students in the classroom. Students who complete coursework in this area will obtain first-class academic preparation in a variety of different forms and get official recognition for this work.

Students interested in HCI can complete the official HCI option with coursework from four participating departments: Human Centered Design & Engineering, Computer Science & Engineering, the School of Art + Art History + Design, and The Information School. Students choose from these departments based on the following requirements.

Requirements for the HCI Degree Option

To meet the requirements for the HCI option, students must take a minimum of 25 credits (including HCDE 419) from the approved list of courses:

  1. HCDE 419
  2. Take three courses from at least three of the four HCI Course Areas, listed below.
    1. User Interface, Software, and Technology
    2. Design
    3. Usability and User Research
    4. Social and Ethical Dimensions

Students take additional approved HCDE elective courses to reach 25 credits minimum for the option requirements.

HCI Course Areas

User Interface, Software, and Technology

  • CSE 441 Advanced HCI: Advanced User Interface Design, Prototyping, and Evaluation
  • HCDE 438 Web Technologies
  • HCDE 439 Physical Computing
  • INFO 365 Mobile App Design
  • INFO 463 Input and Interaction


  • CSE 440 Introduction to HCI: User Interface Design, Prototyping and Evaluation
  • DESIGN 383 Foundations of Interaction Design
  • DESIGN 483 Advanced Interaction Design
  • HCDE 418 Advanced Projects in Human Centered Design and Engineering
  • HCDE 451 User Experience Prototyping Techniques

Usability and User Research

  • HCDE 412 Qualitative Research Methods in HCDE
  • HCDE 417 Usability Research Techniques

Social and Ethical Dimensions

  • INFO 442 Cooperative Software Development
  • INFO 464 Value-Sensitive Design

The following courses may be approved within any of the course areas on an individual and per-course basis, depending on the topic matter and its suitability to a course area within the HCI option.

  • INFO 498 Special Topics in Informatics
  • HCDE 498 Special Topics