Program Requirements

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.

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

The DFP CREATE consists of two DFP Core courses, Professional Skills Development modules, Pathways/MITACS workshops, 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.  

CREATE students are asked to fill out the DFP Requirements Checklist form annually to help track 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.]

*This course is not offered for Cohort 7 Academic Year 2023/24

View Previous Syllabus

View Previous Projects

Professional Skills Development Components - DFP Workshops [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 monthly 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.

View Seminars

Research Ethics Workshop

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.

Upcoming Ethics Workshops:

  • Sep 20 2023

Previous Research Ethics Workshops:

  • Sep 21 2022 
  • Sep 21, 2021 - during CPSC 544
  • Mar 04, 2020 - during CPSC 554K
  • Apr 03, 2019 during CPSC 554K

Thank you to Jean Ruiz (Senior Advisor and Solutions Liaison, Office of Research Ethics) and Heather O'Brien (iSchool Faculty, CPSC 544 Instructor) for giving this workshop.

NDA, IP, and License Workshop

In this workshop, CREATE students learn about Intellectual property, licenses, and non-disclosure agreements. These tools are often required when collaborating with external industry and community partners, and are an important aspect of research. DFP partners with UBC's University-Industry Liaison Office (UILO) to offer this workshop to all DFP students. This workshop is typically held during CPSC 544 or CPSC 554K class time.

Upcoming NDA, IP, and License Workshop:

  • Nov 29 2023

Previous NDA, IP, and License Workshops:

  • Nov 30, 2022 - during CPSC 544
  • Dec 01, 2021 - during CPSC 544
  • Nov 26, 2019 - during CPSC 544
  • Feb 27, 2019 - during CPSC 554K

Thank you to Meir Deutsch (Technology Transfer Manager, UBC UILO) for giving this workshop.

Project Video Workshops

The purpose of our two part Project Video Workshop is to provide CREATE students with the skills needed for producing their own high quality project videos. Student project videos are shared with the wider DFP community at our annual Design Showcase. 

Upcoming Workshops: March 8, 2023

Video Workshop Part I: Narrative - This workshop will focus on the narrative-building aspects of creating a video. Topics covered include: storyboarding, scripts, voiceovers, video action, story, technical issues, examples, and drafting scripts.

Previous Video Workshop Part I:

  • Jan 20, 2021 - during CPSC 554K
  • Mar 30, 2020
  • Apr 12, 2019

Thank you to DFP Faculty Tamara Munzner (Computer Science, UBC) for giving this workshop.

Video Workshop Part II: Technical - This workshop covers the technical aspects of creating a project video. Topics include production (shooting techniques) and post-production (video editing).

Previous Video Workshop Part II:

  • Feb 03, 2021 during CPSC 554K
  • Apr 14, 2020
  • Apr 05, 2019

Thank you to David Marino (DFP Alumni ) and Steve Kasica (DFP Trainee) for giving this workshop.

E-Portfolio Workshop

DFP students need to represent themselves professionally online. The e-Portfolio Workshop, developed and delivered by the DFP CREATE in collaboration with a set of mentors from industry and academia, covers examples, approaches, process, development tools, analytics, and feedback sessions on professional web portfolios. This workshop is usually offered towards the end of the DFP Project course, enabling students to showcase their project as part of their portfolio. 

Previous e-Portfolio Workshops:

  • Jan 16, 2023
  • Aug 2021
  • Feb 17, 2021
  • Aug 6-7, 2019

CREATE students are only required to take either the e-Portfolio Workshop or the Literature Review Workshops (Part I and Part II). CREATE students are of course welcome to take both if they wish. 

Thank you to Laura Ballay (CREATE Program Manager, DFP) and Amanda Klassen (Product Strategist, Invoke) for giving this workshop. Our most recent workshop was led by Olivier St-Cyr (Associate Professor iSchool, UBC and Department of Mechanical & industrial Engineering at the University of Toronto), April Piluso (Ux Researcher, Spatial Research and Design) and Hannah Elbaggari (CREATE Cohort 4 and MSc in Computer Science). 

Literature Review Workshops

Writing a strong and compelling literature review is a critical skill for all academic researchers. Thanks to our former DFP Research Facilitator, Jocelyn McKay, who taught students how to both search for literature and write a quality literature review in a two-part workshop series.

A special thanks to Katherine Miller and Aubrey Geyer for facilitating these workshops in 2022/2023.

Literature Review Workshop Part I: An Introduction - This workshop will give students an introduction to different types of literature reviews (conceptual, scoping, systematic, etc), and will show students how to write their own review.

Upcoming Lit Review Workshops:

  • Sep 13 2023

Previous Lit Review Workshop Part I:

  • Sep 14, 2022
  • Jan 26, 2022
  • Feb 18, 2021
  • Mar 28, 2019

Literature Review Workshop Part II: Advanced Search - This workshop will teach students how to prepare their search strategy, how to conduct advanced literature searches, and how to choose and use a citation management system.

Previous Lit Review Workshop Part II

  • Sep 14, 2021
  • Mar 03, 2021
  • Apr 11, 2019

CREATE students are only required to take either the e-Portfolio Workshop or  the Literature Review Workshops (Part I and Part II). CREATE students are of course welcome to take both if they wish. 

UBC "Graduate Pathways to Success" Program / MITACS [16 - 20 hours]

UBC’s Pathways program offers workshops to help grad students in their ongoing careers. These workshops focus on graduate school success, self management, professional effectiveness, constructive leadership, and career building.

UBC's Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (GPS) also offers professional development workshops called MITACS Training. These workshops build competencies in leadership & management, communication & relationship building, personal & professional management, and entrepreneurialism. 

Here are the steps to access and register for GPS workshops:

  1. Access the Events and Workshops Calendar by clicking the button below
  2. Set the provider to "Graduate Pathways to Success."
  3. Select three themes from the following options: "Academic," "Career," "Health and Well-being," "Leadership," "Research," "Working with others," and "Writing and Communication."
  4. Register for the workshops that interest you and align with your goals.

DFP students can explore the resources above and select workshops that best support their learning and professional development needs. Students are expected to attend a minimum of 16 hours (with 20 hours recommended) of these workshops (UBC Pathways and/or MITACS).

View Pathways Workshops

View MITACS Workshops

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. 

If any students are facing serious challenges in meeting elective requirements, please contact

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
  • SPPH 519 (3cr) Qualitative Methods in Health Research Design
  • 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 540 (3cr) Entrepreneurial Thinking for Applied Scientists
  • 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)
  • FNEL 380 001 (3cr) Technologies for Endangered Language Documentation and Revitalization (email to enroll as a grad student)
  • RHSC 517 (3cr) Current Topics in Rehabilitation

Working Towards a Graduate Thesis or Major Project on DFP Topic

While in the CREATE, students need to make continued progress towards their DFP-related graduate thesis or major project, as described in their application. 

Already a DFP CREATE student? 

Please download your specific DFP Requirements Checklist below and send the completed form to

Cohort 7


If you are taking CPSC 554K (Project) in January 2024, then you are in Cohort 7. Please click to download your checklist.

Cohort 6

If you are taking CPSC 554K (Project) in January 2023, then you are in Cohort 6. Please click to download your checklist.

Cohort 5

If you took CPSC 554K (Project) in January 2022, then you are in Cohort 5. Please click the button below to download your checklist.

Cohort 5 Checklist.pdf

Cohort 4

If you took CPSC 554K (Project) in January 2021, then you are in Cohort 4. Please click the button below to download your checklist.

Cohort 4 Checklist.pdf

Cohort 3

If you took CPSC 554K (Project) in January 2020, then you are in Cohort 3. Please click the button below to download your checklist.

Cohort 3 Checklist.pdf

Cohort 2

If you took CPSC 554K (Project) in January 2019, then you are in Cohort 2. Please click the button below to download your checklist.

Cohort 2 Checklist.pdf

Cohort 1

If you took CPSC 554K (Project) in January 2018, then you are in Cohort 1. Please click the button below to download your checklist.

Cohort 1 Checklist.pdf


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).