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Bachelor of Science

Human-Centered Design and Development » About the program

The Human-Centered Design and Development major will help students understand how people use technology, and how to identify, design, build, and evaluate technologies to enhance people’s lives. Students will learn the methods for understanding users, techniques, and tools for designing effective technologies, and the modern platforms that are used to create effective technology solutions. The major connects students with potential users and customers to understand their needs and unique contexts, and then design, build, and evaluate impactful products and services.

» Characteristics of successful Human-Centered Design and Development students Passionate about useful and usable technology • Hard-working • Persistent • Strong communicators

» Entrance to major requirements

Students typically choose their major by the end of their second year. To enter this major, students must: »» meet a minimum cumulative GPA, »» fall within a specific credit window, and »» complete required courses. IST academic advisers collaborate with enrolled students to help them understand and meet the entrance to major requirements and stay on track for graduation. For more information about entrance to major requirements and to review a recommended academic plan, visit

Designing useful technology Designing great web and mobile applications takes more than just a knowledge of coding. It requires broad expertise in the tools, methods, and concepts used to create useful software that meets people’s needs. HCDD students gain these skills by exploring three critical knowledge areas:

» Application Development

Learn to design and build useful, usable technologies to meet the needs of a rapidly evolving world. Understand and use tools to create user-friendly software and other interactive systems. Build web- and mobile-based applications to harness the power of digital infrastructure.

» User Experience Design

Understand how people live, work, and play, and identify opportunities to enhance experiences through technology. Invent entirely new experiences not yet envisioned. Learn and practice design thinking to shape the future of interactive technology.

» User and Technology Research

Use quantitative and qualitative methods to identify how technology can better support human activity. Study the effects of existing technologies on people’s lives, and how these technologies can be better matched to their goals and priorities.



College of Information Sciences and Technology Office of Undergraduate Academic Services Current Students: Prospective Students: Toll-free: 866-225-8707

Students pursuing a degree in Human-Centered Design and Development will take courses that build core competencies in three knowledge areas: application development, user experience design, and user and technology research. Most HCDD courses involve active learning where students apply new knowledge and skills to real-world technology problems and scenarios. Many courses are project based, challenging students to work in teams to design, build, and evaluate new technology solutions.

Our graduates are in high demand.


Their unique skills add value to every field as the need for professionals who can bring IT knowledge to businesses and organizations grows.

Students in the Human-Centered Design and Development degree program will develop the foundation for their careers by taking a variety of required courses, such as:

»» HCDD 264 – Design Practice in Human-Centered Design and Development

Learn concepts, methods, techniques, and tools for designing effective technology-enabled experiences, while practicing iterative design with prospective users.

»» HCDD 340 – Human-Centered Design for Mobile Computing

Examine the technical aspects of mobile computing, including wearables, smart home devices, and virtual and augmented reality. Explore emerging ideas and concepts in the field, and study its impact across various domains.

Graduates from the College of IST have technical expertise and business savvy, giving them the versatility employers want.

And through the college’s required internship program, IST students gain valuable real-world experience that helps them earn an average starting salary of $68,000.

»» IST 361 – Application Development Design Studio II

Pursue meaningful and diverse careers.

»» HCDD 364W – Methods for Studying Users

With two annual career fairs and more than 300 companies actively recruiting College of IST students, graduates are prepared for careers like:

Engage with the concepts, processes, tools, and materials used to envision and develop software applications. Collaborate, experiment, and refine designs with feedback sessions throughout the development lifecycle.

Engage with the concepts, methods, and techniques for studying users and evaluating technology in the context of its use. Learn to select and use data gathering and analysis methods to guide user research design.

»» IST 412 – The Engineering of Complex Software Systems

Gain insight into the full software development cycle, including design, implementation, testing and quality assurance, deployment, maintenance, and project estimation and management. Apply these concepts to developing a complex software project.

»» Application Developer »» Information Architect »» Instructional Designer »» Mobile Application Developer »» Product Designer »» Program Manager »» Systems Analyst »» Usability Engineer »» User Experience Designer »» User Interface Developer »» UX/UI Researcher »» Web Application Developer

“You need to keep the user in mind when you’re designing and developing software, so you can be sure it is designed to meet their needs. We study these concepts to make technology more efficient.” » Lauren Doutt, Class of 2019

Learn more at

Penn State is an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer, and is committed to providing employment opportunities to all qualified applicants without regard to race, color, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability or protected veteran status. U.Ed. IST 19-48.

Profile for College of Information Sciences and Technology

Bachelor of Science Human-Centered Design and Development  

The Human-Centered Design and Development major will help students understand how people use technology, and how to identify, design, build,...

Bachelor of Science Human-Centered Design and Development  

The Human-Centered Design and Development major will help students understand how people use technology, and how to identify, design, build,...

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