The MS in Human-Centered Design and Engineering (HCDE) is a graduate degree designed for students who want to pursue leadership roles in user experience research and design and/or explore, extend, and integrate theoretical and practical issues in design using a human centered approach.

The program is 31 semester hours. It addresses the strong need in industry for highly qualified individuals who can research, identify, document and translate user requirements and needs, generate creative ideas, implement and evaluate the products or services in a scientific way.

The MS in HCDE is an interdisciplinary program offered by the Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering in the College of Engineering and Computer Science with the participation of the Department of Behavioral Sciences in the College of Arts, Science and Letters at the University of Michigan-Dearborn.

Human centered design related jobs are on the rise and appear under various titles, such as user experience designer, user interface designer, interaction designer, usability analyst, and product designer.

As in the cases of existing MS degree programs in the College of Engineering and Computer Science, the course offerings for the MS (HCDE) program are mainly in late afternoon and evening hours to enable students to earn the degree through part-time study. The program may be completed entirely on campus, entirely online, or through a combination of on-campus and online courses.

Program Goals

  • Provide knowledge to research, explore, extend, and integrate theoretical and practical issues in design using a human centered approach.
  • Provide students with the ability to function in multidisciplinary teams and develop innovative solutions to real life design problems. 
  • Prepare students for the carrier opportunities in human centered/experience design.

Admission Requirements

The students entering the program should have an accredited undergraduate degree in cognitive science, computer science, art, design, engineering, business, or related areas. The undergraduate cumulative GPA is a large factor in master’s admission consideration and typically GPA 3.0 (on a scale of 4.0) is expected. Two letters of recommendation, with at least one from a person familiar with the candidate’s academic performance, are also required.  Although not required but an applicant is encouraged to provide a link to their design portfolio.

Program Curriculum Requirements

Core Courses (16 credits)

HCDE 510: Foundation of HCDE (3)

This course introduces human-centered design principles and process. Students learn to apply the process and principles to generate innovative design solutions. Topics include empathy, defining design problem, ideation, emotional design, product prototyping and testing. A semester long team based project allows students to apply classroom learnings to real life design problem.

HCDE 501: Human Factors and Ergonomics (3)

This course is designed to provide an understanding of ergonomics as a science and process, with an emphasis on people at work. Discussion of ergonomic methods for measurement, assessment, and evaluation, with major topics including manual materials handling, cumulative trauma disorders, environmental stresses, and safety issues. 

HCDE 520: Research Methods in HCDE (3)

This course surveys qualitative and quantitative research methods in human-centered design and engineering. Different data collection and measurement techniques are covered for different types of data, including subjective, behavioral, and physiological data. Human subject involved experiment design and introduction to basic statistics are also be covered in this course. Other topics include cognitive task analysis, physiological computing in emotional design and sentiment analysis in user needs elicitation process. Students learn to formulate research questions and hypotheses, design and conduct a research study, and present research results through various case studies. 

IMSE 577: Human-Computer Interaction for UI/UX Design (3)

This course introduces current theory and design techniques concerning how user interfaces (UI) and user experience (UX) should be designed and assessed to be easy to learn and use. Course includes flowing general modules: Introduction of HCI & UX; Interface/Interaction design strategy; Advanced Issues in HCI; and Evaluation methods.

HCDE 590: Capstone Project I (2)

Students form project teams, develop capstone topics, initial concepts, deliverables, schedules and necessary pilot study for the HCDE capstone project.

HCDE 591: Capstone Project II (2)

Students, working in teams under the supervision of individual faculty members, integrate and apply knowledge acquired in various courses of the HCDE program to a design problem of their choosing.

Concentration Requirements (9 credits)

A minimum of 9 credit hours from the two concentration areas (A) and (B) listed below. All three courses must be taken from one concentration.

A. User Experience Design

Focuses on how to balance user’s needs with business objectives and technology constraints.

HCDE 530: Information Visualization (3)

MKT 515: Marketing Management (3)

MKT 620: Understanding Customers (3)

PSYC 561: Learning and Memory (3)

PSYC 575: Biological Foundation of Health Psychology (3)

PSYC 563: Sensation and Perception (3)

ANTH 570: Doing Anthropology (3)

B. Design and Manufacturing

Focuses on how to design and build human-centered products with consideration of materials and manufacturing constrains.

IMSE 548: Research Methods in Human Factors and Ergonomics (3)

IMSE 545: Vehicle Ergonomics (3)

IMSE 593: Vehicle Packaging (3)

IMSE 561: TQM Six Sigma (3)

EMGT 580: Management of Product and Process (3)

AENG 589: Automotive Assembly Systems (3)

IMSE 586: Big Data Analytics and Visualization (3)

AENG 588: Design and Manufacturing for Environment (3)

ME 581: Materials for Manufacturing (3)                       

ME 588: Production of Mechanical Products (3)

ME 595: Digital Manufacturing (3)

Electives (6 credits)

The remaining 6 credit hours may be selected with the approval of the graduate advisor.

M.S. Thesis Option

With the approval of their graduate advisor, students may substitute a master's thesis (i.e., IMSE 699) for no more than seven credit hours of graduate course work. IMSE 699, Master’s thesis will replace three credits of program electives, Capstone Project I and Capstone Project II requirements in the program.

Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering

Heinz Prechter Engineering Complex (HPEC)
Back to top of page