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Master's Degree Courses

The following courses apply to the Master of Science (MS) degree and the Graduate Certificate in User Centered Design (UCD) program. Please view the UW Time Schedule to see current course offerings.
C = Core, S = Strategy, D = Design, E = Engineering

HCDE 501 Theoretical Foundations of Human Centered Design & Engineering (4) (C)
Examination of the theories that inform work in human centered design and engineering, focusing particularly on communication and interaction design theories. Topics include the complexities of communication as it is configured in different theoretical frameworks, the implications of these different configurations, and why these differences matter to people engaged in professional practice or research. Prerequisite: admission to an engineering master's program or permission of instructor.

HCDE 502 Empirical Traditions in Human Centered Design & Engineering (4)
Introduction to empirical traditions that inform research and practice in field of human centered design and engineering. Topics include epistemological assumptions underlying empirical research, empirical methods, and survey of results of empirical research on effects of text and visual media on comprehension, recall, and performance. Prerequisite: graduate standing or permission of instructor. 

HCDE 503 Navigating Design in Organizational Contexts (4) (S)
Examines how to manage the incubation and development of an idea, communicate it effectively to stakeholders, and deliver a quality product. Students learn to manage a design project from start to finish, collaborating across disciplines, working with partners and end-users, and communicating strategies for project management in organizations.

HCDE 505 Computer-Assisted Communication (4) Suspended
Explores computer-assisted communication from three perspectives: (1) cultural roles of communication technologies; (2) relationships between communication and information including information technologies in the workplace, academe, and other settings; and (3) application to design including models for audience analysis, task analysis, and cognitive systems engineering. Prerequisite: graduate standing or permission of instructor.

HCDE 508 Visual Communication (4) (D)
Reviews principles of visual communication and design used in HCDE so that students gain a systematic and critical understanding so they can create visual communication components of print and interactive media. Students develop this understanding through hands-on exercises, design critiques, discussions, lectures, and readings in a studio environment.

HCDE 510 Information Design (4) Suspended
Examination of the design principles and procedures underlying the creation of both print and electronic information presentations. Topics include: print vs. electronic media, designing for the page and screen, information topologies, and hypermedia. Seminar includes a design project. Prerequisite: HCDE 501 or permission of instructor.

HCDE 511 Information Visualization (4) (D, E)
Covers the design and presentation of digital information. Uses graphics, animation, sound, and other modalities in presenting information to users. Studies understanding vision and perception. Includes methods of presenting complex information to enhance comprehension and analysis; and incorporation of visualization techniques into human-computer interfaces.

HCDE 512 International User Experiences and Communication (4) (S)
Covers theory, research, and approaches for creating digital media for international audiences. Topics include cultural schemata and contrastive rhetoric, content and text types and corresponding translation and localization strategies, market relevance and adaptation, international user research and usability, international policies and geopolitics, and cross-cultural business management and team work.

HCDE 515 Accessibility and Inclusive Design (4) (D)
An introduction to designing, prototyping, and evaluating inclusive user interfaces that meet the needs of a diverse range of users - such as older adults, users with visual, cognitive or motor disabilities, and users who are deaf or hard of hearing. Building on basic concepts in human-centered design, students will learn about design exclusion and barriers to use, and methods by which these can be overcome. Prerequisite: HCDE 518.

HCDE 516 Experimental Research Methods (4) (C)
Introduction to experimental research methods in human centered design and engineering. Examines the relationship between theory and research, hypothesis testing, experimental designs, modes of observation, sampling, validity, and data analysis and interpretation. Prerequisite: introductory statistics course.

HCDE 517 Usability Studies (4) (C)
Discusses the human-computer interface (HCI) as the communicative aspect of a computer system. Analyzes usability issues in HCI design, explores design-phase methods of predictability, and introduces evaluative methods of usability testing. Prerequisite: substantial experience with computers and graduate standing, or permission of instructor.

HCDE 518 User-Centered Design (4) (C)
Explores the user-centered design paradigm from a broad perspective, emphasizing how user research and prototype assessment can be integrated into different phases of the design process. Students learn to think like a user-centered designer and carry out activities that are key to user-centered design. Offered: jointly with IND E 545.

HCDE 519 Qualitative Research Methods (4) (C)
Provides hands-on experience with qualitative research methods, such as interviewing and participant observation, as used in human-centered design and engineering. Students learn to develop appropriate research questions, collect observational data, develop interview protocols, conduct interviews, analyze data, and communicate findings.

HCDE 520 Design and Management of Complex Systems (4) (S)
Design and implementation of enhancements to complex work systems. Human-centered approaches to the design and management of technological systems embedded within complex social and organizational systems. Designing to support decision-making and situational awareness, including sense making and adaptation in ambiguous situations. Focus on meeting diverse stakeholder needs in the context of emerging design methodologies.

HCDE 521
Winter Seminar: UX Speaker Series 
Presentations on current issues in human centered design & engineering. Credit/no credit only. Prerequisite: HCDE graduate student status or permission of instructor. Winter series is the UX Speaker Series

HCDE 523 DUB Seminar: Issues in HCDE Scholarship and Professional Activity Suspended
Exploration of advanced issues in human centered design & engineering research and practice. Credit/no credit only. Not all sessions are recorded, must attend 3 sessions in-person to receive credit.

HCDE 524 Programming Concepts in HCDE (2)
Workshop in foundations of computing. Introduces students to core concepts in programming using interactive graphics applications. For students with NO prior experience programming in a high-level language like Java, Python, or C++. Prerequisite: graduate standing or permission of instructor.

HCDE 526 Video Prototyping (2)
Explores video as a design tool. Students learn about narrative and storytelling in the context of User Centered Design. Enhances technical abilities in the creation of visual artifacts while communicating design vision. Imparts practical knowledge necessary to create a video prototype. Exposes students to the history of video prototypes, as well as contemporary practices. Prerequisite: Graduate standing or permission of instructor.

HCDE 529 Service Design (4) (D, S)
Explores the theory and practice of service design. Academic and industry readings prepare students to mobilize and critique core concepts, methods, and practices within service design. Prerequisite: HCDE 518.

HCDE 530 Computational Concepts in HCDE (4) (E)
Introduces basic computational concepts and programming skills needed to work with interactive systems in HCDE. Draws on topics such as log analysis, visualization, prototyping, and data mining. Students analyze data to inform user research and design.

HCDE 532 Web Design Studio (2)
Overviews basic principles and practices of professional web site design and programming. Students gain hands-on experience with designing and building a successful website using industry standard techniques. Course is strongly encouraged for those registering for HCDE 535 and/or HCDE 537 without previous programming experience.

HCDE 533 Digital Fabrication (4) (E)
Introduces designing for and fabricating with tools such as 3D printers, laser cutters, computer controlled mills, and more. Students produce digital plans and physical prototypes in a variety of materials, and gain hands-on experience in a studio-based environment. Prerequisite: HCDE 518.

HCDE 534 Designing a Human-Centered Venture (4) (S)
Explores the planning of a new venture related to human-centered design. Examines relevant topics, such as team formation, user and market research, value creation, and the iterative demand planning for a new venture.

HCDE 536 Interaction Design & Prototyping (4) (D)
Investigates advanced topics in the theory and practice of interaction design, using a project-oriented approach. Develops expertise in design, development, and critique of solutions in online and mobile platforms. Examines issues such as interaction theory, requirements and specifications, design language, prototyping, and presentation of projects. Prerequisite: HCDE 518.

HCDE 537 User-Centered Web Design (4) (D)
Theory and practice of the user-centered web development process. Principles and processes for documenting and implementing various development stages, including requirements analysis, user needs analysis, information architecture, prototyping, mockups, and production. Prerequisite: HCDE 518.

HCDE 538 Designing for Behavior Change (4) (D)
Students are introduced to existing behavior change theories, frameworks, and research to gain an understanding of why and how behavior changes. Utilizing these insights, students practice theory-driven design to nudge positive behavior change. They analyze current behavior change applications and utilize existing resources to guide their design process. Prerequisite: HCDE 518; HCDE 501; and HCDE 536 (or equivalent graduate level interaction design coursework)

HCDE 539 Physical Computing and Prototyping (4) (E)
Reviews fundamentals of designing and prototyping human-centered interactive systems and environments that include software and hardware components. Students build projects using electronic devices and fabrication tools. Hands-on experience in a project-based, studio environment. Familiarity with basic software engineering and a programming language such as Java is strongly recommended.

HCDE 592 MS Capstone Planning (4) (C)
Define capstone topics, form project teams, and develop initial concepts, deliverables, and schedules for the HCDE capstone project, undertaken in HCDE 593 the following quarter. For students planning to register for HCDE 593 (MS Capstone Project) the following quarter. Prerequisites: HCDE 501; HCDE 517; HCDE 518; and either HCDE 516 OR HCDE 519

HCDE 593 MS Capstone (4) (C)
Capstone design experience. Integration of knowledge and skills acquired during program into one project. Prerequisite: HCDE 592.

HCDE 596 Directed Research in Human Centered Design & Engineering (max. 4 credits of 596 + 599 toward degree)*
Current Directed Research Groups
Students, working in teams under the supervision of individual faculty members, review relevant literature, pose research questions, design and conduct studies, and present the results in papers prepared either for submission to a professional journal or for presentation at a professional conference. Credit/No Credit only. Prerequisite: permission of instructor.
Research group descriptions

HCDE 598 Special Topics (1–5, max. 15)
Prerequisite: permission of instructor.

HCDE 599 Special Projects (max. 4 credits of 596+599 toward degree)*
Written report required. Credit/No Credit only. Prerequisite: permission of graduate advisor or committee chair.

HCDE 601 Internship (2–10, max. 5)*
Written report required. Credit/No Credit only. Prerequisite: permission of graduate advisor.

*see Variable Credit Registration policy