What will I learn?

An introduction to human-centered design benefits your graduate research and broadens your career prospects. Whether studying to be a designer, engineer, scientist or artist, your work ultimately impacts real people. Taking users seriously improves how projects are conceived and executed.

Design matters. The act of creating something new shows up in many human endeavors. It can be a solution to a mundane problem like holding sheets of paper together or something as complex as the formulation of new institutions. Human Centered Design (HCD) is an approach to design charged with understanding the needs, wants, and limitations of end-users. This is accomplished through methodologies and practices where these considerations are integrated at every stage of the design process.

In the Certificate program, 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. In particular, it leverages inter-disciplinarity to see how to learn from the world around. 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.

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.) NOTE: this list of classes has changed from previous years; students who have competed or were completing the certificate based on previous posted course requirements may use those courses for the certificate.

Which department am I in?

College of Engineering

Study options

Full Time (12 credit hours)

Tuition fees
US$14,207.50 per year
USD $14,207.50 for 9 or more credit hours (Fall and Spring Semesters).

*Price shown is for indicative purposes, please check with institution

Application deadline

Expected September 2022

Start date

18 January 2022


Virginia Tech

925 Prices Fork Road,



24061, United States

Entry requirements

For international students

Admission to the Graduate School is contingent upon receipt of a four year (or 3 year degree recognized by the Bologna process) bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college or university and the presentation of evidence of potential to pursue graduate work.

English language Scores:

A minimum TOEFL score of 550 on the paper-based test (PBT) or 90 on the internet-based test (iBT) is required for consideration of the application. On the iBT, sub-scores of at least 20 on each subtest (Listening, Speaking, Reading, and Writing) are required for admission. A minimum IELTS score of 6.5 is required for admission.

Application Deadlines: Fall: April 1; Spring: September 1.

*There may be different IELTS requirements depending on your chosen course.


About Virginia Tech

The AdvantageVT program offers the ideal gateway for students who want to combine English language studies with course credits.

  • Ranked in the top 5% universities globally
  • Excellent pathway programs for international students
  • Over 110 undergraduate and 170 postgraduate programs
  • Education driven by innovative technology and research