The Designing for People Research Cluster is concluding in April 2024. Please note that we are no longer accepting new students, and the information provided here is for archival purposes.

General Q & A

What is so important about designing for people?

Interactive technologies pervade our world today. Many of these technologies can be challenging to use. Designing useful and usable interactive technologies takes considerable skill.

What is “DFPGrads”?

DFPGrads is a student-led group that meets regularly to share information and build connections. The group puts on events that cater to the needs and interests of DFP students. They are currently looking for members! Contact Laura Cang to join: cang@cs.ubc.ca 

View DFPGrads Events

Potential Students Q & A

What graduate programs at UBC participate in the DFP CREATE?

DFP welcomes participation from new academic units across campus. Students who don't see their academic unit listed here should speak to their supervisor about becoming engaged in DFP.

What’s the value to me of the interdisciplinary DFP CREATE program, relative to a regular grad program?

Participating in the DFP CREATE provides added enrichment over and above the home departments’ graduate programs. DFP CREATE will broaden students’ knowledge of other disciplines and their networking across campus. They will deeply connect with receptors of interactive technology designs, such as industry, government and not-for-profit entities.

Do I need to have a DFP faculty supervisor?

Yes. Your home graduate supervisor must be a DFP faculty member. If your home graduate supervisor is not part of DFP, then you may ask them to consider joining DFP; we are always looking for new members!

For help with this, please contact dfp-admin@dfp.ubc.ca
You can check here to see if there's a DFP faculty member from your home unit. 

What do I get by the end?

On completion of the DFP CREATE program requirements, students will receive a certification. You'll be able to list this certification on your curriculum vitae as evidence of your unique qualifications. Further, as a program alumni both at UBC and after you leave, we hope you'll continue to engage, benefit and give back to the program as a mentor, life-long learner and perhaps a partner.

How long will it take?

Students can complete the program within 12 months (e.g. by the end of their first year in a graduate program). Others will enter later, and/or spread it out but we encourage completion within 24 months. 

What kind of funding might be available?

Graduate funding models are specific to each participating unit and also to individual faculty supervisors. For information about funding opportunities, see the graduate application information for the home department to which you plan to apply. The How to Apply page provides information about funding available through DFP CREATE. 

What are the prerequisites?

Prerequisites are entirely determined by entrance requirements of the participating academic units. Please see the Participating Academic Units page.

Project Partners Q & A

What makes a great DFP Project?

The DFP Project course’s purpose is to give an interdisciplinary team of 3-5 students a chance to work on challenging human-facing problems where interactive technology may be able to help; and to give you a chance to access faculty-supervised design insight. This might range from figuring out how to approach user experience in a brand-new technology niche, to a non-profit organization launching a citizen-scientist initiative based on location-aware smartphone services. See our past projects for some sense of the range, but don’t be limited by it – remember we come from all across campus so the possibilities are endless.


Our Project follows a “Design Thinking” process over a 4-month period: Empathize, Define, Ideate, Prototype, Test. Thus, a project needs to have appropriate focus (as described above); scope (5 stages in 4 months) and elements (involve all 5 design-thinking stages, although relative emphasis can vary). In addition, your organization needs to be comfortable with our IP and disclosure policy (see below).


Most importantly, we are interested in project diversity! We welcome projects and partnership from every sector, from high-tech companies with their own user experience staff to non-profits, museums, community organizations and other groups who realize they have a need but may have no idea how to go about achieving it.

What’s involved in partnering on a DFP Course Project?

If you think you have a suitable problem for DFP students, contact us to discuss how it might be structured as a DFP project. With our guidance, you’ll then submit a project proposal for consideration in the November selection process.

The DFP Project takes place January-April, during which your organization liaison meets regularly with your student team and instructors. Finally, we want you there at the Design Showcase (end of April / early May) to see how it all turns out.

If you’re interested, you should contact us between August and September. For more information, including details on the Project’s practices for handling intellectual property, disclosure, fees and other costs, please request our DFP Project Partner Prospectus.

If I’m interested, what should I do next?

First, request a copy of our prospectus to make sure you’re okay with the terms and timeline. Next, discuss your project idea with a DFP faculty who’s closest to your area, or the DFP CREATE staff, and develop a project proposal to submit by October (prior to the January you’d like to participate).


NSERC logo

We acknowledge the support of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC).
Cette recherche a été financée par le Conseil de recherches en sciences naturelles et en génie du Canada (CRSNG).