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Current Students

PhD Degree Courses

PhD students may take up to two MS-level courses. To do so, you must contact Kathleen Rascon, the Director of Academic Services, with your request. Please view the UW Time Schedule for current course listings.

HCDE 541 Introduction to PhD studies in HCDE (4)
Introduces the skills needed as a doctoral student in the field of human-centered design and engineering, including communicating about research, preparing for PhD milestones, identifying mentors, and establishing work practices. Credit/no-credit only

HCDE 542 Theoretical Foundations in Human Centered Design & Engineering (4)
Examination of theories that inform work in human centered design and engineering, focusing particularly on communication and interaction design theories. Topics include complexities of communication as it is configured in different theoretical frameworks, implications of these different configurations, and why these differences matter to people engaged in professional practice/research.

HCDE 543 Empirical Traditions in Human Centered Design & Engineering (4)
Introduces empirical traditions that inform research and practice in the field of human centered design and engineering. Topics include epistemological assumptions underlying research approaches and a survey of empirical methods.

HCDE 544 Experimental and Quasi-Experimental Research Methods (4)
Introduces experimental, quasi-experimental, and related 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. Students undertake an intensive research project. Prerequisite: introductory statistics course.

HCDE 545 Qualitative Research Methods (4)
Provides hands-on experience with qualitative research methods with particular emphasis on how ethnographic fieldwork methods (e.g., interviewing and participant observation) are used in human centered design and engineering. Students undertake an intensive research project at a field site, collecting and analyzing data.

HCDE 546 Design Thinking (4)
Examines how design in enacted within disciplines, exploring commonalities and differences in design practices. Surveys empirical studies of design practices and approaches.

HCDE 547 Academic Research Seminar (1, max. 10)
Discussion seminar of a variety of academic research topics for doctoral students. Credit/no-credit only. 

HCDE 548 Advanced Topics in Human Centered Design & Engineering (4, max. 20)
In-depth examination of a specialized topic in an emerging area of human centered design and engineering. 

HCDE 596 Directed Research in Human Centered Design & Engineering (1–5, max. 18; 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. Prerequisite: permission of instructor. Credit/no-credit only. 
Current Directed Research group descriptions

HCDE 598 Special Topics (1–5, max. 6)
Prerequisite: permission of instructor.

HCDE 599 Special Projects (1–5, max. 5)*
Written report required. Prerequisite: permission of graduate adviser or committee chair.

HCDE 600 Independent Study or Research (1-10)*
Typically used while preparing for and/or completing generals. These credits do not apply for your degree requirements.

HCDE 601 Internship (2–10, max. 10)*
Written report required. Prerequisite: permission of graduate Advisor.

HCDE 800 Doctoral Dissertation (1–10, max. 30)*

*see Variable Credit Registration policy

Additional Doctoral Electives
For more information about these electives, please contact the Director of Academic Services.

HCDE 510 Information Design (4)
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. Not currently offered.

HCDE 511 Information Visualization (4)
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 515 Accessibility and Inclusive Design (4)
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 518 User-Centered Design (4)
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.

HCDE 520 Design and Management of Complex Systems (4)
Focuses on how to design and implement improvements to complex work systems. Emphasis on Agile development, including sprints using scrum teams to achieve rapid iteration design with system users, developers and owners. Investigates decision support systems, including sense making and adaptation in ambiguous situations. 

HCDE 521 Seminar: Current Issues in Human Centered Design & Engineering (1, max. 2)
Presentations on current issues in human centered design & engineering. Credit/no credit only. Prerequisite: HCDE graduate student status or permission of instructor. Fall series consists of  HCDE faculty presentations. Winter series is the UX Speaker Series.

HCDE 523 Design Use Build (DUB) Seminar (1, max. 3)
Exploration of advanced issues in human centered design and engineering research and practice. See for location and speaker information. Credit/no credit only. Prerequisite: HCDE PhD student status or permission of instructor.

HCDE 533 Digital Fabrication (4)
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)
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 and Prototyping(4)
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 538 Designing for Behavior Change (4)
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 501; HCDE 518; and HCDE 536 (or equivalent graduate level interaction design coursework). Can be applied to the theory category.

HCDE 539 Physical Computing and Prototyping (4)
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. Provides hands on experience in a project-based, studio environment.