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Future Students

Admissions FAQs

Application International Students Program Format Tuition & Fees Once Admitted


Where can I find the online application for the certificate program?
The application will be available on the Graduate Certificate in User Centered Design webpage approximately two months before the deadline.

How do I submit an application?
The application is submitted online through the UW Graduate School.

Is a bachelor's degree required to apply?
Yes, having a bachelor's degree is required to apply for or enroll in the program. All applicants must submit unofficial or official college/university transcripts verifying their bachelor's degree.

Is the program application competitive?
Yes, due to high demand, we are only able to accept about 30% of all applicants.

When will I be notified of my admissions decision?
Decisions will be sent to all applicants no later than August 1.

Will I have an advantage if I apply long before the deadline?
No, this program does not have rolling admission. All applications are reviewed together after the deadline, submitting early will not result in an earlier decision.

If I am not accepted into the program, could I receive feedback about why?
Unfortunately, with such a highly competitive program, the department is unable to provide any personalized feedback to applicants due to the volume of requests.

Is a GRE score required?
No, GRE scores are not required. Any submitted GRE scores will not be reviewed.

Could I submit a portfolio?
No, due to the volume of applications, we ask that you not submit a portfolio as it will not be reviewed. Please only submit the required application materials.

Could I submit a letter of recommendation?
No, due to the volume of applications, please do not submit any letters of recommendation as they will not be reviewed. Please only submit the required application materials.

Could I sit in on a class before deciding whether to apply?
Due to limited capacity, we are unable to offer the opportunity to sit in on any classes as a guest. Classes are only open to registered students.

Admission for International Students

I am an international student. Does the certificate support student visas?
This certificate does not qualify for an I-20 visa. For information on eligible programs, see PCE's International Student Eligibility.

What are the English language proficiency requirements for this program?
Successful candidates must have the following minimum score on one of the tests below. Please note that, given the competitive nature of our program, and the importance of being able to communicate fluently in English in our courses, we strictly enforce these standards during the admissions review process.

  • 106 on TOEFLiBT (including 26 Speaking sub-score)
  • 623 on TOEFLPBT
  • 263 on TOEFLCBT
  • 7.5 on IELTS (including 8 Speaking sub-score)*

*Applicants using IELTS test scores must submit official scores electronically via the IELTS system (E-TRF), using the University of Washington’s organization ID 365. An offer of admission cannot be extended prior to the receipt of official scores.

Applicants who are providing a TOEFL score to demonstrate English language proficiency should include a copy of their unofficial scores in the application.

For the Autumn 2022 application cycle, the HCDE department is also temporarily accepting the Duolingo English Test to assist international students with remote testing options. A minimum score of 125 is required.

Program Format

Is the program available online or through distance learning?
No, the program is available only in-person in Seattle, WA.

How long does the program take to complete?
The Graduate Certificate in User Centered Design program is designed to be taken in sequence and students typically cannot take a quarter "off" since most classes will not be offered again until the following year. Please do not apply if you are not prepared to complete the program in one academic year.

What are the scheduling options?
There are two scheduling options:

  • The Certificate may be completed in autumn and winter quarters by taking a higher course load
  • The Certificate may be completed with a traditional course load that includes autumn, winter, and spring

Please see more detail about the available courses.

When are classes held?
Classes are held in the evenings (typically 6 - 9:50 p.m.) on the University of Washington campus in Seattle, WA. Classes are offered monday through thursday. 

Tuition & Fees

What is the total tuition rate?
All students (Washington state residents, domestic, or international) are charged exactly the same tuition rate. A full outline can be found on the Tuition and Fees page.

Do you offer scholarships or tuition support?
No, unfortunately the program does not have the resources to offer any scholarships or tuition support to students. Tuition payment is due at the time of registration for each particular quarter (i.e. tuition only needs to be paid for the classes immediately upcoming).

Is this program eligible for federal financial aid? Could I take out a federal student loan?
No, certificate programs are not eligible for federal student loans. All tuition costs are the responsibility of the student.

I work for the University of Washington or the State of Washington. Is this program eligible for Tuition Exemption?
No, this program does not participate in the university's Tuition Exemption program.

Once Admitted

Is there a new student orientation before classes begin?
Yes! New UCD Certificate students will be expected to attend the HCDE User Centered Design New Student Orientation before classes begin. Details will be provided in the offer letter. 

What kind of grades do I need to achieve in these graduate classes?
Any student admitted into the Certificate program who does not achieve a minimum final grade of 2.7 in any class will be withdrawn from the program at the end of that quarter and unable to complete the Certificate. The program is unable to offer the opportunity to "retake" a class.

Could credits from the Graduate Certificate in User Centered Design count toward the MS in Human Centered Design & Engineering?
Yes, if later accepted into the MS in Human Centered Design & Engineering, 12 of the 13 credits earned in the UCD Certificate may be counted toward the MS degree. (Note: This option is only available to students who apply for Graduate Non-Matriculated status once accepted into the Certificate program.)

Do I need to apply for Graduate Non-Matriculated status before being accepted into the Certificate program?
No, only students who are accepted into the program will need to complete this step. No action is needed at the time of application. Instructions will be included along with the acceptance email.

Would completing the Graduate Certificate in User Centered Design give me an advantage in later applying for the MS in Human Centered Design & Engineering?
Not necessarily, since the MS is a highly competitive program that can only accept 30% of its applicants. However, first completing the UCD Certificate lets you get to know the program and faculty and better assess whether applying for the 48 credit MS would be a good fit.


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