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User Experience


Certificate Program in User Experience

Appealing to a wide audience that includes designers, engineers, information architects, writers, sociologists, and entrepreneurs, this certificate provides a thorough education on how to develop compelling user experiences (UX). Students learn the latest strategies, techniques, and underlying technologies used by leading agencies to develop and deploy world-class user experiences. Areas covered include user research, developing user personas and scenarios, information architecture, responsive design, mobile first, system and user interface design, prototype creation, and usability testing, analytics and analysis. An emphasis will be on learning through making, and evaluation will be based on the application of research with aesthetics being a component but not an end artifact in isolation. Portfolios will display process, prototypes, application scenarios and result observations.


4 Required Courses

DESMA X 481.99AF – User Experience I: Survey

This course provides an introduction to the concepts, practices, and processes of user experience. Topics include observational research and insight generation, developing user personas and scenarios, information architecture, user interface design, prototyping, and usability testing and analysis. Students complete hands-on assignments and leave the class with an understanding of user experience best practices and opportunities in the field and are prepared to take on more advanced studies.

DESMA X 479.8K – User Experience II: Iteration

Students with knowledge of the fundamentals of UX move on to iteration: rounds of work and experimentation to hone problem solving skills. Instruction covers MVP builds, pattern libraries, design at scale, voice and gesture, and end-to-end projects. The spectrum of interface design standards is addressed, including e-commerce websites, service design, and physically based environments. Projects incorporate a variety of screen resolutions and device types. The course prepares students to recognize user experience design problems and iterate solution proposals.

Prerequisite: X 481.99AF User Experience I

DESMA X 489.5F – User Experience III: Applied

In this course, students apply what they have learned to real world case studies and UX design challenges. Topics include research and observational techniques, the art of information gathering, prototyping, scope definition, journey mapping, and empathy maps. Students complete team projects and 360 reviews and practice remote working techniques, collaboration, and balancing multiple projects. Projects will be presented in common outputs such as web and mobile, similar to what would be produced in a professional design firm. The goal is for students to perform as they would in a real-world work environment.

Prerequisite: X 481.99AF User Experience I and X 479.8K User Experience II, or equivalent experience.

DESMA X 499C – User Experience IV: Capstone

This course serves as a thesis project, in which students build out their own viable user experience project for review and portfolio. Students complete a self-directed project and go through the professional steps of discovery, design, prototyping, testing, revising, iterating, and presenting for real world application. The project moves through the steps a professional incubator would take, such as involving stakeholders and experiencing working with investors and VCs.

Prerequisite: X 481.99AF User Experience I, X 479.8K User Experience II, and x489.56 User Experience III or equivalent experience.

2 Electives (8 units) of your choice in areas including UX Research, Content Strategy, User Interface Design, UX Software, etc.


What are the application requirements?

This certificate is open enrollment, meaning there is no formal application necessary and anyone can join. You do not have to show transcripts or a portfolio. After paying the $250 candidacy fee, your application will be reviewed and approved within a few days.

How does payment work?

You pay per class as you enroll each quarter. The average price of one 11-week course is $760. The entire cost of the program is estimated to be $6,500. That includes all course fees, materials and the certificate candidacy fee.

Is financial aid available?

This program is not eligible for Federal Financial Aid. Please visit the UCLA Extension Financial Aid website for more information: https://www.uclaextension.edu/financial-aid-scholarships-discounts/financial-aid

How long does it take to complete the program?

It takes one year to complete the six course. User Experience I – IV must be taken during four sequential quarters. You can complete two electives during those four quarters as well. So students will either be taking one or two courses per quarter.

Is this a full time or part time program?

Due to the prerequisites for each course, this program can only be completed on a part-time basis.

When does each quarter begin and end?

Please see our Academic Calendar here: https://www.uclaextension.edu/calendar

Do I need to be in the certificate to begin taking classes?

No. Students are welcomed to take any of our user experience courses a la carte. The price and instruction is the same whether you are a certificate student or not. Some students may want to take a course first to make sure the program is a good fit before they decide to commit to the whole certificate. As long as you receive a grade of C or better, you can apply any completed courses to your certificate progress retroactively if you decide to join.

Can I complete this program online/remotely?

Yes. All courses are currently being offered either via Remote Instruction (live weekly Zoom lectures) or Online (asynchronous courses with prerecorded or slide lectures). We plan to continue to offer all required courses online even once in-person courses resume.

What is the philosophy of the program?

This program emphasizes strategic thinking – why you made the choices you did to solve the design problem at hand. It focuses on core UX principles like research, experimentation and iteration. No coding is required, as projects deal with UX rather than UI challenges. A design background can be helpful but is not required.

Will this program help me develop a portfolio?

Yes. Students should have two to three projects that they can develop further into professional portfolio pieces by the program’s end. Additionally, User Experience IV emphasizes cases studies that can be built out for further inclusion in a portfolio.

What career or job search assistance is available?

All of our instructors are working UX professionals with insight into the industry. Additionally, classes feature industry guest speakers who may critique work or speak to their specialty. The UCLA Extension Career Center offers job searching resources and workshops, and UCLA Extension Certificate students have access to Handshake, the UCLA Job and Internship board. However, this program does not match students with internships or industry jobs.

How do Internships work?

Students are responsible for securing their own internship placement. Once done, the department facilitates a contract between the student and employer, and awards 4 units of credit toward certificate progress (pending the supervisor’s review). Students work at least 10 hours per week for a minimum of 120 hours during the course of the quarter. Internships may be paid or unpaid. Currently only remote internships are being approved – check with the departments for updates on this policy. Students must have completed at least 50% of their certificate coursework to be eligible for an internship.

For more information

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For any questions regarding the User Experience Certificate, please email us at ux@uclaextension.edu or call us at 310-206-1422

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