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Frequently Asked Questions

and not-so-frequently asked questions

Admission Requirements

What are the Graduate School requirements for admission?

Admission to the University of Washington is necessarily a selective process. Prospective students will ordinarily meet the following minimum requirements:

  • Hold a baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university in the U.S. or its equivalent from a foreign institution.
  • Have earned at least a 3.0 or B grade-point-average in the most recent 2 years of study.
  • Be proficient in English: Applicants whose native language is not English must demonstrate English language proficiency. Proficiency standards are outlined in Memo 8: Graduate School English Language Proficiency Requirements.


Admission Decisions

How does the Master of Human-Computer Interaction and Design admissions committee make admissions decisions?

The MHCI+D admissions committee reviews all applications with TOEFL scores above the stated minimums. At least two faculty read each application in full and evaluate the fit of the applicant to the program both quantitatively and qualitatively. The evaluation is based on the letters of recommendation, GPA from previous academic work, resume and work history, personal statement, GRE scores and portfolio, if submitted.

Because we consider these items as a whole, there are no minimums or target ranges. Each student is rated individually on the strength of the combination of all of these factors. We then rank them and select the top candidates for admission offers.

In addition to strong individuals, the admissions committee seeks a balanced cohort with backgrounds and interests spread across the areas of interaction design, product management, user interface software and technology, and user research.

What is the acceptance rate for this program?

For the class of 2015, we accepted 33% of the applications we received. For more information, see the Graduate School Admission Statistics for Interdisciplinary Graduate Programs/Design Use Build, here

Are there statistics available regarding employment upon graduating from the program?

We are pleased to share our students’ interview and job successes. Students have been interviewed and/or hired by Artefact, Deloitte Digital, Expedia, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Microsoft Research, YouTube among others.


International Students

Please review the FAQ site from the Graduate School, here: http://www.grad.washington.edu/admissions/faq/international.shtml

Where can I find VISA information?

Visit International Student Services: http://iss.washington.edu/travel/visas

Is the Master of Human-Computer Interaction and Design program a full-time graduate program?

Yes, it provides at least ten credits each quarter.

How can I improve my English language skills?

The International English Language Programs offers a number of Academic English Programs for incoming students to strengthen their English language skills and become familiar with US educational methods prior to starting their graduate program.

Is this a STEM course?

Yes, the MHCI+D graduate program is a STEM program.Contact International Student Services for current information about STEM-related training and VISA regulations.


Application Materials

Where do I apply

Search for Design Use Build (MHCID) on the Graduate School page of Programs and Degrees Offered

What materials are required for a complete application?

A complete list of materials can be found here

How do I report GRE scores to the UW?

The GRE report code is 4854 (there is no department code). Once your scores are reported to the UW and your application has been submitted, the scores will match up with your application after your application has been submitted. If your application is in progress and has not been submitted, your scores will not show as received.

Are GRE subject tests required for admission?

No, only the General Test is necessary should you choose to submit GRE’s for the MHCI+D program admission process.

I already have a master’s degree and/or a lot of work experience. Do I still need to submit GRE scores?

See Admissions/Overview for more information about GRE scores

What is the accepted GRE score?

The MHCI+D program does not enforce a minimum GRE score. The reported score is considered as part of the entire application package.

What is the acceptable GPA?

The Graduate School requires an undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0. Beyond that, the MHCI+D program does not enforce a specific minimum GPA score. The reported score is considered as part of the entire application package.

How do I calculate my GPA?

Please see the section GPA Calculating Assistance on Graduate School FAQ

How do I convert my GPA between quarter and semester systems on a 0.0-4.0 scale?

If the last 90 quarter or 60 semester credits span two or more institutions on different academic calendars use the following formulas to convert grades to a single system. Multiply by 1.5 when converting from semesters to quarters and divide by 1.5 when doing the reverse. For example a 4-credit class under a semester system is equivalent to a 6-credit class under a quarter system (4 x 1.5 = 6) and vice versa (6 ÷ 1.5 = 4).

I just submitted my application and I know my test scores were reported to the UW several weeks ago. Why aren’t my test scores showing up?

After your application is submitted, it normally takes a couple days for your test scores to show as received. You are able to check the status of your application by logging on to the MyGrad website.

Do I need to submit official transcripts during the application process?

No, applicants do not need to submit official transcripts during the application process. Instead, applicants should upload readable scans (PDFs) of their transcripts into the MyGrad application. However, applicants offered admission to the program and who accept the offer, will be required to submit official transcripts from one degree granting schools.

I’ve attended many different colleges. Which ones do I need to list in MyGrad?

Please list all colleges, universities and institutions where you have earned collegiate level credit in your MyGrad application.

Which transcripts do I need to submit with my application?

Please provide readable scans (PDF’s) of transcripts from all colleges, universities and institutions where you have earned collegiate level credit.

I took classes as a non-matriculated student OR I started a different graduate program, but didn’t graduate. Do I need to list the school and provide a transcript?

In order to get a complete picture of your academic history, the Graduate School requires that you list and provide scanned (PDF’s) transcripts from all colleges, universities and institutions where you have earned collegiate level credit.

What makes a strong personal statement?

The personal statement, OR STATEMENT OF PURPOSE, is your opportunity to present your goals and experience as they relate to human-computer interaction and design. We’re interested in how you see the field from your own personal perspective. Please see Admissions/Overview for detailed questions required in the Statement of Purpose

How do I know my recommenders have submitted their letters of recommendation?

You will be able to see when the letters have been submitted online by logging into your application status page.

I don’t have a bachelor’s degree OR my bachelor’s degree is from a school that is unaccredited OR my 3-year bachelor’s degree is from a school outside the United States. Am I still eligible to apply to the program?

The UW Graduate School requires that all graduate level applicants have a bachelor’s degree (or equivalent) from an accredited institution. If you don’t have a degree that fulfills these criteria, we generally don’t advise that you apply for the MHCI+D program. You may wish to speak to a program representative prior to beginning the application process to evaluate whether you have an exceptional case.

How many items are you expecting for a portfolio?

See Admissions/Overview for information about the portfolio.

Can the portfolio include non-tech work, for example hand drawings, graphic design, etc?

You can use hand drawings or sketches if they demonstrate the problem or the solution, with sketching as the tool.


Acceptance Process

Will I be notified once my application is complete?

You can keep current on your status on the application status page.

When will I get an offer if one is forthcoming?

Offers of admission will be made by early March. You are encouraged to monitor your status in MyGrad.

How much time will I have to decide if I want to accept an offer of admission?

Offers of admission will contain a date around April 15. We ask that you reply within our requested deadline so that you can begin to receive orientation materials prior to the start of Fall quarter and out of respect for those on the waitlist.

We encourage you to attend the Visitors day, set up separate visit to campus, or schedule a Skype interview to discuss any questions or information gaps that might help you decide on your offer.


Cost, Tuition and Fees

What will the tuition be for this 11-month program?

See Admission/Costs & Financial Aid for this information.

How does this tuition compare to other UW programs?

See Admission/HCI-Related Degree Programs for this information.

Is there a difference between resident and non-resident tuition?

See Admission/Costs & Financial Aid for this information.

What other fees are required besides tuition?

See Admission/Costs & Financial Aid for this information.

I am a Washington state resident. Am I eligible for tuition waiver or reduction?

See Admission/Costs & Financial Aid for this information.

I am a Washington state employee. Am I eligible for tuition exemption?

See Admission/Costs & Financial Aid for this information.

I cannot afford the application fee. How do I apply for a fee waiver?

The application fee is charged by the UW Graduate School, not the MHCI+D program. The MHCI+D program does not have the ability to waive the application fee. However, you can request an application fee waiver when you submit your MyGrad application.

What are my financial aid options?

See Admission/Costs & Financial Aid for this information.

Is Work Study available to MHCI+D students?

See Admission/Costs & Financial Aid for this information.

What type of health insurance is available for students?

International students see ISHIP insurance for this information

American citizens and permanent residents see here

Are there financial aid opportunities specific to MHCI+D? I understand this is an intensive program, which may provide less time for paid research, work study, or other means of paying off the tuition.

At this time there are no specific scholarships or fellowships available. There are part-time Graduate Staff Assistant positions hired for the program with preference given to incoming students. These positions will be filled by early summer. In addition, there is a need across campus for Teaching Assistants and Research Assistants and MHCI+D students are welcome to apply for these part-time positions.


Curriculum Details

I’ve noticed that many UX-related jobs prefer some knowledge of programming. for those of us from a non-CS background, is there any time dedicated to teaching these skills?

The Master of Human-Computer Interaction and Design program does not teach specific programming skills in its core. You can build specific technical skills through elective courses. You can also choose to build these skills before you start the program by taking programming courses at UW in the Summer Quarter, or elsewhere. These are usually 100 or 200-level courses, which are not accepted as graduate credit. You will not be expected to program the solutions that your team creates, although if your team includes someone with programming skills you certainly could. What is emphasized is the design thinking and solution identification based on user research, along with the skills to prototype and test solutions in a time and cost-effective manner.

Do the skills taught in this program apply to tangible interactions outside of the scope of computer/mobile devices?

MHCI+D approaches HCI as the broad space of how people interact with technology. The program will teach design thinking and a design process that is applicable to any problem identification and solution creation situation. The projects undertaken within the program will generally have a technology component in a context which could be computer, mobile, wearable or other.

Is the program relevant for students coming from a background like psychology?

Yes, human behavior is one of the key components in the program, along with design thinking and solution development. Someone with a psychology background combined with interest and experience with technology would be well-suited for the program.

How would you describe the difference in curriculum between this program and the MS in HCDE program?

See Admission/HCI-Related Degree Programs for this comparison.

Is it possible to undertake the MHCI+D Program as a prospective PhD Candidate? (Say, with HCDE?)

MHCI+D is a professional masters degree. It does not require a traditional masters’ thesis or master’s research project. As part of the dub community (design-use-build), students are exposed to the research projects and perspectives of UW faculty and PhD students. Go to the HCDE website for information about the PhD in HCDE from UW.

Will we be able to see what kinds of projects the students work on for their capstone projects?

Example Capstone projects from previous cohorts include services, systems, and technology applications to support stress free travel, exploring new products in retail, empowering the hearing disabled to live more independently at home, and fostering interest in computational thinking through play in elementary school age girls.


Industry Partners

Can you list the industry partners associated with the program?

For more information on industry sponsors, see student capstone projects here

What will the roles of industry partners be within the program?

Industry partners are participating on several levels in the Master of Human-Computer Interaction and Design program. Some are sponsoring capstone projects and meeting with students throughout the spring and summer quarter. Others are providing industry experts for lectures and studio work. Still others are serving as program advisors, ensuring that curriculum evolves effectively to develop strong participants in HCI+D careers.


Student Culture

How would you describe the culture among the students? For instance, social events, housing arrangements, etc.

Students came together for the first time in mid-September. They have gotten to know each other personally and as fellow professionals by working together inside and outside of class. They also have helped each other find housing or share housing. There are also reports of happy hours, meals together, outings on campus and exploring the beauty and richness of Seattle.

How do I know if I am a fit for this program?

Are you curious and thoughtful about technology and people? Genuinely collaborative? Self-driven? Creative? Able to dedicate one full year? Do you want to work in intensive, immersive contact with cohort?


General

How do I arrange a visit to discuss the Program and visit the UW Campus?

See Admissions/How To Learn More for this information.

Am I able to get an internship during the program?

Due to the intensive, full-time structure of the curriculum and frequent team work outside of class, we do not support internships during the program and we encourage current students to postpone employment until they complete their degree requirements. Industry perspective is included through sponsorships for class and Capstone projects.