University of Washington



Title of program

Human Centered Design & Engineering

Year human factors/ergonomics program was established


Accredited by HFES?


Contact person for more information, including applications

Gian Bruno, Human Centered Design & Engineering, UW, 423 Sieg Hall, MS 352315, Seattle, WA 98195; 206/543-1798;

Catalog (free)

Gian Bruno, Human Centered Design & Engineering, UW, 423 Sieg Hall, MS 352315, Seattle, WA 98195

Web site

Academic calendar


Human factors/ergonomics graduate degrees offered

MS and PhD

Goals, objectives, and emphasis of the program

HCDE focuses on usability research, user-experience designing, and human-computer interaction.

Can students attend part-time?


Are required courses offered through distance learning?


Are required courses offered at night?


Are required courses offered during summer?


Does the university have an HFES student chapter?




Application deadlines

January 15 (MS), December 15 (PhD)

Application fee




Minimum requirements

GPA: 3.0

GRE: Not used for MS, no lower than 600 for PhD applicants 

Importance of other criteria as admission factors

Research: medium

Work experience: medium

Extracurricular activities: low

Letters: high

Interview: low

Tuition and fees

MS: $675/credit

PhD: $4,300/quarter



Number of students applying to the human factors/
ergonomics program last year

250 (MS); 65 (PhD) 

Number of students accepted into the program last year

81 (MS); 18 (PhD) 

Number of students entering the program last year

70 (MS); 11 (PhD) 

Anticipated number of openings per year

70 (MS); 10 (PhD)



Percentage of students in program receiving financial assistance

10% (MS); 100% (PhD)

Types of assistance available

Full tuition waiver 

When should students apply for financial assistance?

With application



Graduate degrees offered

MS and PhD

Number of units required

MS: 48 

PhD: 105 beyond master's

Exams required

MS: none

PhD: preliminary exam, general exam, dissertation defense

Typical number of years required to obtain degree

MS: 2 

PhD: 5

Is there a non-thesis option?




Required courses (units)

Theoretical Foundations of Human Centered Design & Engineering (4); Empirical Traditions in Human Centered Design & Engineering (4); Computer-Assisted Communication (4); Information Design (4); Experimental Research Methods (4); Seminar: Current Issues in Human Centered Design & Engineering (1); 523 Seminar: Issues in HCDE Scholarship and Professional Activity (1)

Electives (units)


Number of courses outside department that are required


Average or typical class size in a required course




Research and support facilities available to students in the program: 

There are 12 labs run by faculty that students can research with, as well as directed research groups, and we currently have research assistant positions.

Teaching opportunities available to students in the program:
Most teaching opportunities are teaching undergraduate courses (two specific courses). There are also occasional undergraduate HCDE major courses that PhD students teach.

Current research activities and projects being carried out by program faculty and/or students:

Cognitive Informatics and Decision Making in Health Care; Designing Interfaces that Make us Think; Game Design and Usability Research Reading Group; Design for Digital Inclusion; Makerbot (LearnMakeCupcake); Investigating the Role of Online Calendar Use in the Cultivation and Maintenance of Relationships; Science Fiction Prototyping; Mobile User Experience; Assessing The User Experience Remotely/ Open WebLabUX; Qualitative Analysis of Data on How Students Understand Design; Communicative Practices in Virtual Workspaces (CPVW)


Current number of active students in program, by gender

men: 60 (MS), 20 (PhD)


women: 65 (MS); 15 (PhD)

Current number of first-year students in program

70 (MS); 11 (PhD)



Ceclia Aragon, PhD 2004, UC Berkeley; human-computer interaction in scientific collaborations, computer-supported cooperative work; eScience

Cindy Atman, PhD, Carnegie Mellon U.; engineering education; engineering design learning; students as emerging engineering professionals

Dave Farkas, PhD, U. of Minnesota; information design with a special focus on innovative documents for 21st century literacies; software user assistance; problems in slideware design

Mark Haselkorn, PhD, U. of Louisiana; strategic management of information and communication systems; risk and resilience; safety and security systems

Julie Kientz, PhD 2008, Georgia Tech; human-computer interaction; human-centered computing; supporting record-keeping and reflection

Beth Kolko, PhD 1994, UT Austin; design for digital inclusion; computer-mediated communication; educational/ business/social gaming

Charlotte Lee, PhD UCLA; computer supported cooperative work (CSCW); human-computer interaction (HCI); science and technology studies (STS)

Sean Munson, PhD 2012, U. of Michigan; human-computer interaction; social software for health and civic behavior

Judy Ramey, PhD 1983, UT Austin; user research and usability research methods (experience sampling, eye-tracking, etc.); current focus on the mobile user experience

Jan Spyridakis, PhD, U. of Washington; effect of design on comprehension, perceptions, and behavior in online environments; internet-based experimental methods; international communication

Kate Starbird, PhD 2012, U. of Colorado, Boulder; human-computer interaction; social media during crisis

Michio Tsutsui, PhD 1984, UI Urbana-Champaign; technology-enhanced language learning; second language acquisition; Japanese linguistics

Jennifer Turns, PhD 1998, Georgia Tech; user-centered design; design processes and strategies; human-computer interaction

Mark Zachry, PhD 1998, Iowa State; human-computer interaction; workplace studies; communication design in organizations

[Updated May 2012]