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Future Students

Applying to the Program

Applicants to the HCDE PhD program will be evaluated on the relevance of coursework already taken; grade history, and other indicators of earlier academic success and promise of future success, and on statement of objectives and research interest, letters of recommendation, and other qualitative data. Admission is highly competitive, with approximately 20% of applicants admitted each year.

Application Materials

Applying for admission to a graduate degree program begins with the online application system managed by the University of Washington Graduate School. All materials will be submitted electronically through this system in the PDF format. Once an applicant submits an application, the application and all supporting materials are routed to the department for review.

Additional Materials to be Uploaded to the UW Graduate School Application:

Research Summary & Potential Faculty matches

Review the availability of HCDE faculty for the upcoming year here »

Briefly describe your intended area(s) of research and study. While your plan may not be completely formed at this time, be as specific as you can. Some points you might cover are domains or topics in which you want to work (e.g., healthcare, community activism, data science, critical race theory, misinformation, robotics) or what research contributions you want to make and how (e.g., analyzing sociotechnical systems, building systems, advancing methods). You will have an opportunity to provide a more extensive account of your educational goals in your Statement of Purpose.

A key component of the doctoral experience is your relationship with your advisor, and we begin identifying potential advising matches as part of the admission process. Please list the names of 2-4 HCDE faculty whose research aligns most closely with your interests and include a few sentences about each that relates your research interest to their work. Two or more of these faculty must be an Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, or Professor in HCDE (i.e., not listed as an adjunct or affiliate faculty member). You may include teaching professors or adjunct faculty in other units, as we often co-advise across units, but admission requires support from HCDE faculty.

We use this to identify potential reviewers of your application and ensure we admit applicants to work with faculty who have the capacity to advise incoming students. (Word limit: 350)

Statement of Purpose

Please prepare a statement concerning your academic goals and career objectives. We will use this statement to identify your intellectual interests, your preparedness to do graduate level research, and to assess your communication ability. The statement should include: (a) why you are applying for a doctoral degree, (b) your area(s) of interest in the field of human centered design & engineering, (c) research questions you might be interested in pursuing, and (d) experience and skills you bring to the program. (Word limit: 1000) 

Statement on approach to equity, diversity, and inclusion

Please explain what makes your work, background, personal experiences, and/or academic interests unique to human-centered design and engineering. Alternatively, explain how your work, background, personal experiences, and/or academic interests will contribute to conditions that foster equity and inclusion in human-centered design and engineering. This statement could include a discussion of social, cultural, economic, and educational opportunities you have had or not had. It might also discuss how your doctoral education or proposed research might serve educationally underrepresented and/or minoritized persons or groups. This statement should complement, but not duplicate, the required personal statement. (Word limit: 500)

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