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HCD Certificate

Human-Centered Design at Virginia Tech


An introduction to human-centered approaches to design benefits your graduate research and broadens your career prospects. Whether studying to be a computer scientist, interaction designer, learning scientist, or humanist, your work ultimately impacts real people. Taking users seriously improves how projects are conceived and executed. The ability to collaborate across disciplines is a high-demand skill set in the private and public sectors and higher education careers, because institutions recognize that creative solutions to the most important societal challenges requires integrating aesthetics, analysis, and technological development.

In the Certificate Option, students learn the core ideas of HCD, explore how it applies in their own professional domains, and discover how their own research connects with projects in other disciplines. The Certificate is offered through the Graduate School.

Admission Requirements

Any student who has gained admission to a graduate program at Virginia Tech is eligible to take part in the Human-Centered Design (HCD) Certificate.

Course Requirements

The graduate certificate requires completion of 12 credit hours, with 6 credits prescribed, and 6 credits selected from two of three areas. Take both courses from the ‘Required’ section below, then choose at least 1 more course from any two of the areas 1, 2, and 3 for a total of 12 credits. Please note the elective courses should be in different relevant areas. This list is subject to change based on available offerings.

(*) Required

  • GRAD 5134: Human Centered Design
  • CS 5724: Models, Theories, and Frameworks of HCI


(1) Design Studies

  • ART 5524: Topics in Human Centered Design (studio)
  • ENGE 5024: Design in Engineering Education and Practice
  • STS 6614: Adv. TS: (Cultures of Design; Origins of Innovation)


(2) Understanding People

  • CS/ISE 5714: Usability Engineering
  • CS 5734: Computer-Supported Collaborative Work
  • EDIT 5234: Intro to the Learning Sciences
  • ENGE 5404: Assessment Techniques in Engineering Education
  • ISE 5604: Human Information Processing I
  • ISE 6984: Cognitive Task and Work Analysis
  • PSYCH 5354: Information Processing
  • STS 6244: TS: History, Culture, and Politics of the Internet


(3) Design Realization

  • ART 5714: TS: Creative Code for Art & Design; TS: Interaction Design
  • CS 5754:  Virtual Environments
  • CS 5764: Information Visualization
  • CS 5774: User Interface Software
  • CS 6724: Advanced Topics In Human­ Computer Interaction
  • ECE 5564: Wearable + Ubiquitous Computing
  • EDIT 5614: Digitally Mediated Learning
  • EDIT 5624: Interactive Learning Media, Arts, and Design
  • EDIT 5634: Interactive Learning Media Development
  • ENGL 5074: Introduction to Digital Humanities
  • ENGL 6344: Rhetoric in Digital Environments
  • ISE 6604: Human Factors in Visual Display Systems
  • ISE 6614: Human Computer Systems
  • ME 5644: Rapid Prototyping