Program Requirements

DFP CREATE (Collaborative Research and Training Experience): Program Requirements

The DFP CREATE consists of two DFP Core courses, Professional Skills Development modules, and DFP Electives. Students must also be working towards a Graduate Thesis or Major Project on a DFP Topic.
DFP students have many paths through the program, and can complete these program components with some flexibility. See a high-level overview of the sequence here and examples of common pathways here.  

Each year (due April 15) CREATE students are asked to fill out the DFP Requirements Checklist form. This form, filled out annually and submitted to, tracks their progress through the CREATE. When a student is ready to graduate from the CREATE, they complete the last section of the form.

DFP Core Courses [6 credits]

The DFP Core is made up of two courses (Core I: Fundamentals and Core II: Project), detailed below. Both are based on a "Design Thinking" approach: Fundamentals teaches you this process in the context of a first, smaller team project, while during Project you will apply it in a larger-scale team project. 

A prerequisite of Core II (Project) is completion of Core I (Fundamentals) or equivalent experience. To assess whether you have this experience, please review the DFP Fundamentals Skills Inventory Form.

Core I: Fundamentals in Designing Interactive Computational Technology for People

[3 credits] offered as CPSC 544 in W1 (Sept-Dec)

This course builds common ground among students from a range of backgrounds, providing a shared vocabulary and methods for the human-centered design of interactive technologies. Students will learn methods to help them understand, develop and critique design choices. These methods include: interviews, questionnaires, interviewing, field studies, qualitative data analysis, requirements, personas, sketching, conceptual design, prototyping, discount usability testing, prototyping, experimental design, statistical analysis.

Course Website

Core II: DFP Project

[3 credits] offered as CPSC 554K in W2 (Jan-April)

In this course interdisciplinary student teams collaborate closely with project partners drawn from industry, organizations, and non-profits such as schools, museums and neighborhood collectives. Students will learn to understand and frame a real design situation, develop a design concept, evaluate their design, and communicate it to others for feedback. Students integrate end users and research activities into their design process synthesizing appropriate techniques within the context of iterative and reflective practice. In May, at the DFP Design Showcase, student teams will present their projects to partners and industry affiliates, as well as the larger UBC DFP community.

DFP Project is limited to accepted CREATE students, and is thus not available by direct registration. [The course website, which is private, will be made available to registered students.]

View Previous Syllabus

View Previous Projects

Professional Skills Development Components [no assigned credits]

The DFP CREATE fosters the further development of DFP students’ professional skills through modules custom-designed to fit their future needs in this area.

DFP@UBC Seminars

The DFP@UBC Seminar is a bi-weekly event where international and local HCI researchers give talks in their area of expertise. The talk series exposes DFP students to a broad range of methods, applications and challenges. DFP students are expected to attend the seminars regularly for at least two terms, and encouraged to continue for their full time at UBC.

Research Ethics

Upholding high standards of research ethics, both in the research itself and anticipation of its impacts, can be complex and difficult. The DFP CREATE offers an ethics lecture, to provide students with information and tools about integrity and ethical conduct when conducting research and working with human subjects in the context of designing interactive systems in human-centered ways. This component is developed in collaboration with UBC’s Office of Research Ethics, which oversees the Behavioural and Clinical Research Ethics Boards (BREB and CREB). The Ethics lecture is usually offered in one of the DFP Project course’s lecture slots.

Portfolio Workshop

DFP students need to represent themselves professionally online. A two-part workshop series, developed and delivered by the DFP CREATE in collaboration with a set of mentors from industry and academia, will cover examples, approaches, process, development tools, analytics, and feedback sessions on professional web portfolios. These workshops will be offered towards the end of the DFP Project course, enabling students to showcase their project as part of their portfolio. 

UBC "Graduate Pathways to Success" Program / MITACS

UBC’s Pathways program offers workshops to help grad students in their ongoing careers, with a particular focus on professional effectiveness, constructive leadership, self-management and career building. DFP students are expected to attend 20 hours of workshops, covering three of the five offered competence themes. Additionally, MITACS professional development workshops can be taken as alternatives to the Pathways program.

Electives [5 credits]

Students are required to take elective courses totaling 5 credits from the set of approved 1-3 credit courses in advanced research methods, prototyping or advanced topics courses across participating academic units. It is the responsibility of the student to decide on electives in consultation with their DFP supervisor and to consult the UBC course calendar for scheduling. 

Research Methods
  • EPSE 592 (3cr) Experimental Designs and Analysis in Educational Research
  • EPSE 595 (3cr) Qualitative Research Methods
  • BMEG 591T (2cr) Statistical Analysis in Biomedical Engineering
  • LAIS 609C (3cr) Advanced Seminar in Library, Archival, and Information Studies Topics
  • FNIS 501A (3cr) Indigenous Theory and Methods Seminar
  • CPSC 543 (3cr) Physical User Interface Design and Evaluation
Advanced Topics
  • CPSC 547 (3cr) Information Visualization
  • CPSC 554C/532C (3cr) Topics in Human Computer Interaction - HUMAN-CENTERED AI
  • CPSC 554M (3cr) Topics in Human Computer Interaction - PERSONALIZATION
  • CPSC 554X (3cr) Topics in Human Computer Interaction - MACHINE LEARNING & SIGNALS
  • CPSC 554Y (3cr) Virtual and Augmented Reality Interactions
  • APSC 541 (3cr) Technology Entrepreneurship
  • LIBR 514F (3cr) Information Visualization and Visual Analytics
  • LIBR 541 (3cr) New Media for Children and Young Adults
  • LIBR 553 (3cr) Understanding Users in Diverse Environments
  • LIBR 557 (3cr) Information Retrieval Systems
  • LIBR 561 (3cr) Information Policy
  • NURS 586 (3cr) Specialized Domains of Nursing Practice - HEALTH INFORMATICS
  • CPEN 541 (3cr) Human Interface Technologies
  • CPEN 642 (3cr) Cybersecurity Research Seminar: Usable Privacy and Security (this Seminar topic only; offered in alternate years)
  • CPEN 541 (3cr) Human Interface Technologies
  • FNEL 380 001 (3cr) Technologies for Endangered Language Documentation and Revitalization (email to enroll as a grad student)

Working Towards a Graduate Thesis or Major Project on DFP Topic

While in the CREATE, students need to make continued good progress towards their DFP-related graduate thesis or major project, as described in their application. Typically, you will finish the CREATE before your home program degree requirements.


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).