New HCDE Master’s curriculum

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The Department of Human Centered Design & Engineering (HCDE) is pleased to announce updates to the HCDE Master’s degree curriculum, effective Autumn Quarter 2014. 

The HCDE MS Task Force collaborated extensively with the goal of making the program more competitive, distinctive, and flexible for students. The committee listened and considered the feedback of students, alumni, faculty, Professional Graduate Programs Advisory Board members, Corporate Affiliates Program members, and industry representatives, weighing heavily the types of jobs that HCDE MS graduates obtain. The HCDE MS prepares students for professional and leadership roles in user interface design, interaction design and prototyping, information architecture, human-computer interaction, human centered engineering, program management, and user experience architecture, research, analysis, and design.

Revisions to the HCDE MS curriculum include adding new courses, changing previously required courses into electives, and offering elective courses within the specialized content areas of Research, Design, and Engineering. Students are encouraged to gain depth in any of the three areas by taking several of their elective courses within a content area. See the updated Master’s Program Objectives.

The Department has added numerous courses within the last few years to enhance the study of design and engineering, adding to the already rich set of courses that focus on user research methods. In addition, the department has added new courses on business strategies and ventures, and a required capstone project course. Some of the new courses include:


In Visual Communication (HCDE 508), students study principles of visual design so as to gain a systematic and critical understanding and be able to create visual communication components of print and interactive media. 

In Information Visualization (HCDE 511), students use graphics, animation, sound, visualization software, and hypermedia to design and present complex information so as to enhance comprehension and analysis.

In Interaction Design & Prototyping (HCDE 536), students gain expertise in design, development, and critique of solutions in online and mobile platforms, examining topics such as interaction theory, requirements and specifications, design language, and prototyping.


In Computational Concepts in HCDE (HCDE 530), students explore basic computational concepts and programming skills needed to work with interactive systems in HCDE, drawing on topics such as log analysis, visualization, prototyping, and data mining. 

In Web Design Studio (HCDE 532), students learn principles and practices of professional web site design and programming, gaining hands-on experience with designing and building a successful website using industry standard techniques.

In Physical Computing and Prototyping (HCDE 539), students use electronic devices and fabrication tools to design and prototype interactive systems, including software and hardware components. 


In HCDE in Organizational Contexts (HCDE 503), students learn how to incubate and develop an idea, manage a design project from start to finish, collaborate across disciplines, effectively translate stakeholder needs, work with partners and end-users, and communicate strategies for project management in organizations.

In Designing a Human-Centered Venture (HCDE 534) students explore how to plan a new venture, examining topics such as team formation, user and market research, value creation, and iterative demand planning.

Please note that students already enrolled in the HCDE MS program may continue under their current curriculum or adopt the new curriculum.