Skip to main content

Current Students


The department of Human Centered Design & Engineering is committed to helping students successfully complete their graduate studies at the University of Washington.

Satisfactory progress for graduate students relates primarily to remaining in good academic standing and successful continuation of coursework until degree completion.

HCDE adheres to the following academic policies:


Add Codes

HCDE master’s students are encouraged to register early, as soon as Period I opens to secure a full schedule. If a desired class is full, sign up for NotifyUW to receive a text message or email when space becomes available. There are no waitlists, no add codes, only NotifyUW. Do not contact the instructor for an add code. Enrollments are managed through the HCDE Academic Advising office. An email will be sent out to the HCDE-MS listserv if additional seats will be added to a course.

On occasion a course for graduating students will be restricted, requiring an add code to register. If you are in your final 1-3 quarters in the program and need a course to graduate, contact your advisor.

Non-HCDE students: All MS courses will be open to Non-HCDE graduate students beginning in Period III on a space available basis. No overloads. The MS HCDE program is a self-sustaining, fee-based program. Students enrolled in HCDE MS classes pay tuition to the Professional and Continuing Education Office (PCE) rather than Student Fiscal Services. Anyone enrolled in MS HCDE courses (no matter what program they are in) must pay tuition to PCE. Graduate students looking to register for HCDE MS courses cannot use tuition waivers to cover the costs. Non-HCDE students cannot enroll in the state-based sections of MS courses.


Important messages from the University are sent to your UW email address: UWNetID or UWNetID (where UWNetID is your actual UW NetID). You can keep your UW email address after you graduate or no longer attend UW. Graduates or students On-Leave not registered for two consecutive quarters will be automatically removed from the HCDE student mailing list. If you receive a message that you think is potentially malicious, DO NOT click on any links in the message nor respond to the message. Learn more about protecting your email from the UW IT Connect Guide

Continuation of Coursework & On-Leave Status

Graduate students are required to maintain active graduate status during their program of study. Failure to maintain this status requires reinstatement to the University of Washington. Students who desire to take a quarter or quarters off without going through the reinstatement process must apply for on-leave status for each quarter they do not register (exceptions for Summer quarter). International students intending to apply for on-leave must also apply for an Alternative Vacation Quarter. For complete details regarding the on-leave policy, refer to Graduate School Memorandum 9.

HCDE students may take no more than four consecutive quarters of leave during their graduate program. To be approved for on-leave status, HCDE graduate students must get approval from the HCDE's Master's Program Advisor. To access the on-line petition, please visit the Graduate School's page on the on-leave process. If a student does not register for On-Leave status by the 5th day of the quarter they risk losing access to UW IT services including Productivity Platforms such as, G Suite or Outlook 365. Any student not enrolled by the third week and not on-leave (excluding summer term) is withdrawn from the program.

All work for the MS degree must be completed within 6 years, including any time spent with on-leave status or any credits transferred from other institutions.

Course Drop Policy

For details on specific dates related to these policies, please visit the Academic Calendar.

Courses may be dropped without restriction from the first day of Registration Period I through the 7th calendar day of the quarter (Period III). No record of the dropped course(s) will be recorded on the transcript; however, a quarter withdrawal statement will appear.

Between the 8th calendar day and 14th, courses may be dropped without restriction (Exceptions for international students studying on F-1 visas). No record of the dropped course(s) will appear on the transcript. There is a $20 Change of Registration Fee charged for all registration changes made on a single day during this period. A tuition forfeiture my be charged.

Tuition forfeiture will be charged if students drop credits after the 7th day of the quarter. When students swap courses and maintain the same number of credits, no tuition forfeiture is assessed. However, when students drop credits without replacing the same total, they are charged tuition forfeiture on the credits lost. 

After the 14th calendar day, students may drop one course, but no later than the end date of the late course drop period in week 7. This is called an “annual drop.” Each academic year (September through August) students may use one annual drop. A “W” grade and the week designation (W3 through W7) will follow the course title on academic transcripts. There is a $20 Change of Registration Fee charged for all registration changes made on a single day during this period. A tuition forfeiture may be charged.


In accordance with Graduate School Memorandum No. 19, an Incomplete may be given only when the student has been in attendance and has done satisfactory work to within two weeks of the end of the quarter and has furnished proof satisfactory to the instructor that the work cannot be completed because of illness or other circumstances beyond the student’s control. To obtain credit for the course, a student must successfully complete the work and the instructor must submit a grade. In no case may an Incomplete be converted into a passing grade after a lapse of two years or more. An incomplete received by the graduate student does not automatically convert to a grade of 0.0 but the “I” will remain as a permanent part of the student’s record.

With the approval of the Master's Program Advisor, students may choose the Satisfactory/Not Satisfactory (S/NS) grade designation for up to 6 elective credits (not prerequisite courses). Core and specialized content areas must be fulfilled with graded credit, only elective courses can count toward the MS degree with a Satisfactory "S" grade designation. Courses listed in the Time Schedule as credit/non-credit do not count toward the 6 allowable S/NS credits. To earn a Satisfactory grade, students must earn a 2.7 or higher. 

A minimum of 2.7 is required in each course that is counted toward the MS graduate degree. A minimum cumulative grade-point average of 3.0 is required for graduation.

Graduate Program Advising

Every academic unit at the university assigns a designated Graduate Program Coordinator (GPC) and Graduate Program Advisor (GPA) to advise current graduate students, oversee admissions and graduation (master’s requests). For the HCDE master’s program, Tyler Fox, Lecturer and Program Director serves as the GPC and Kathleen Rascon, Master's Program Advisor serves as the GPA. For questions about the HCDE curriculum, co-curricular offerings, UW Graduate School policies and UW campus resources, contact your GPA.

Group Codes

To ensure graduating students register for the courses they need, advising staff will manage group codes to enforce priority registration. Second or third year HCDE MS students will have priority registration in Period I. First year students will register for HCDE classes during Period II for their first autumn, winter, and spring term. Thereafter, they will be moved into 'Continuing Student' group codes to register in Period I. Check the Notes section in the Time Schedule for details about group code restrictions. 

Group Code Type

HCDFY - HCDE First Year 

HCDCS - HCDE Continuing Student

Former Quarter Drop (formerly known as a Hardship Withdrawal Petition)

If you were unable to complete a credit course in a previous quarter because of extenuating circumstances beyond your control, you can submit a petition for a Former Quarter Drop (formerly known as a Hardship Withdrawal Petition).  If the petition is approved, you’ll get a grade of RD (Registrar Drop) on your UW transcript for that course — or HW (Hardship Withdrawal) for courses taken Winter Quarter 2020 or earlier. To apply for Former Quarter Drop, fill out a petition here (UW NetID required). Make sure to choose “Continuum College” as your campus. Learn more about UW’s Former Quarter Drop process.   

Laptop Policy

All students enrolled in Human Centered Design & Engineering (HCDE) courses are required to have a laptop they can use in classes and for their studies. For more information about minimum laptop specifications, visit the Laptop Policy for HCDE students.

Low Scholarship

In accordance with Graduate School Memorandum No. 16, students whose cumulative or quarterly GPA falls below a 3.0 will be notified by the Master's Program Advisor of being put on one of the following Low Scholarship statuses:

Warn: A warning letter will be issued to students whose cumulative or quarterly GPA has dropped below 3.0 for one quarter.
Probation: A state of Probation is triggered if a student has a cumulative or quarterly GPA less than 3.0 for two consecutive quarters.
Final Probation: A state of Final Probation is triggered if a student has a cumulative or quarterly GPA less than 3.0 for three consecutive quarters.
Drop: A Drop recommendation is triggered if a student has a cumulative or quarterly GPA less than 3.0 for four consecutive quarters. A Drop recommendation means immediate drop from the University of Washington.

Students will be provided with an explanation of performance expectations and a timetable for correction of deficiencies.

An action of "Warn" will not appear on the student's permanent record/transcript. Only actions of  "Probation," "Final Probation," and "Drop" will appear on the student's permanent record and only actions of "Drop" will appear on the student's transcript.

Questions regarding satisfactory progress should be addressed to the Master's Program Advisor. 

Students have the right to Appeal, in accordance with the Graduate School Memorandum No. 33, Academic Grievance Procedure.


A matriculated student previously registered in the Graduate School who has failed to maintain graduate student status (on-leave status or registration) but who wishes to resume studies in their previous graduate program must submit a reinstatement request to the Graduate School. Students approved to reinstatement must pay a $250 Reinstatement Fee to process their reinstatement and return to active student status. For complete details regarding the on-leave, continuous enrollment and reinstatement policies, refer to Graduate School Memorandum 9.

If one-year has lapsed since enrolling in the MS HCDE program, contact the Master's Program Advisor prior to submitting a reinstatement request.

TA/RA Positions

Teaching assistants, research assistants and graduate staff assistants are hired directly by departments. If you are interested in a TA/RA/GSA position, contact the department in which you are interested directly for more information. Keep in mind that you can look for positions outside of your home department. Though most departments hire through their own student populations, other departments—particularly those that don’t have graduate students or administrative units that hire graduate staff assistants—will recruit widely for positions from relevant degree programs across campus. Every department runs its own hiring process and can let you know what it requires to be considered for such positions. Check the UW Employment site for TA/RA/GSA positions (category: Academic Student Employee).

If a graduate student is hired as a teaching or research assistant, they are required to register for a full-time academic workload, a minimum of 10 credits. Students who are unable to maintain a full-time workload may complete a Graduate School Petition for Reduced Enrollment.

Master’s students enrolled in fee-based programs are not eligible for tuition waivers. The hiring department covers the costs of tuition and provides a monthly stipend as outlined in the offer letter.

The HCDE department first assigns all RA and TA roles with current PhD students. If TA positions remain unfilled, they are open to HCDE MS students. Very few positions are available each year.

The Graduate Funding Information Service is another resource and runs a blog for both UW and outside funding.

Tuition Reimbursement Documentation

Unofficial transcripts accessible through MyUW are updated at the end of each academic term with official grades. For more information about grade deadlines, please visit the UW Academic Calendar. If the grade submission deadline is after the deadline to submit documentation for tuition reimbursement to your employer, please email and cc your instructor. Your instructors must be included on the email to verify that you are on track to pass the course. The HCDE Coordinator will provide a letter from the department to submit to your employer. Please give our HCDE Coordinator 2-3 days for processing.