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Certificate Program

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 program.

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. (The elective courses should be in different areas.) This list is subject to change based on available offerings.


(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 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