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Future Students

PhD Program

The PhD in Human Centered Design & Engineering at the University of Washington provides unparalleled depth and experience for students interested in studying the conception, design, implementation, evaluation, and effects of technologies.

The University is located on a beautiful campus in the heart of the city of Seattle. HCDE is housed in the College of Engineering, and benefits from the research tradition of a leading R1 research institution.

The HCDE doctoral program prepares students for careers as scholars and researchers through relevant coursework, mentorship from faculty, and collaboration with peers. Early in the program, students may explore different topics and research areas through Directed Research Groups and other independent projects. PhD students choose their dissertation adviser within their first year and begin to focus on a research area for their dissertation.


screenshot from info session video

HCDE PhD Information Sessions

Hosted by HCDE PhD Program Director Sean Munson and Academic Services Director Kathleen Rascon, this information session is for prospective PhD students looking to apply the Department. 



Students in the HCDE PhD program complete a minimum of 90 credits of coursework and research as they progress toward degree completion. The first two years are primarily focused on academic course work as the foundation for ensuing research. The remainder of the program is focused on extensive research and program milestones. 


Applicants to the HCDE PhD program are required to apply to both the HCDE department and the UW Graduate School. The application deadline for the 2025-2026 academic year is December 2nd, 2024. 

Costs & Financing

Students are obligated to pay the associated tuition for courses they are enrolled in, but the department strives to fund all of its PhD students through Teaching Assistantships (TAs) and Research Assistantships (RAs). 

Faculty & Research

HCDE's award-winning, interdisciplinary faculty focus on six areas of research and teaching: influencing awareness, thinking, and behavior; design for emergent collaborations and organizations; low resource and underserved populations; material and embodied technologies, and ubiquitous computing; data visualization and big data; and learning in professional and technical environments.