User experience design is the process of making information systems more people-friendly.  The University of Wisconsin–Madison User Experience Design Capstone Certificate, or “Mad UX,” teaches what is needed to know to develop as a UX professional.  Mad UX combines expertise from two highly ranked UW–Madison academic departments: the Department of Computer Sciences and its HCI Lab and the UW–Madison iSchool.

The Mad UX certificate will accommodate both existing computing professionals whose expanding job responsibilities require a deeper understanding of user experience design, and people new to the technology workforce seeking introductory skills in user experience design.

The courses are completely online and taught by experienced and engaged instructors from UW–Madison’s computer sciences and iSchool programs, combining knowledge and networks from both the computing and information fields.  Students are part of a cohort of learners who complete project-based activities and learn to work effectively as part of a virtual team. Students must successfully complete each course in succession to earn your certificate. The certificate takes one calendar year (fall, spring, summer) to complete the 10 credits.

Further detail, including tuition and costs, is available on the program's website


All applicants must:

  • Have completed a bachelor’s degree (any subject area is relevant)
  • Have a minimum undergraduate grade point average (GPA) of 3.00 on a 4.00 scale in the last 60 credits of that degree; Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores are not required
  • Not be enrolled in another University of Wisconsin undergraduate or graduate program while completing our UX certificate program
  • Non-native English speakers submit a Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) score of 92 (Internet version) or better
  • No prior computer programming experience required, however general experience with web, mobile, and other interactive technologies is useful and prior experience with Web content management systems or HTML/CSS is helpful.

Applications are accepted for only the fall term, with a deadline of May 1. (Applications received after these dates may be considered if space allows.) Adult Career and Special Student Services (ACSSS) is the admitting office for all University Special students. However, the department offering the capstone certificate program makes the final admission decision upon review of all applicant materials. The contact for capstone certificate questions via email:

Application steps

A complete application includes the following:

  1. An online application for admission as a University Special student, selecting UNCS Capstone Certificate and the program: User Experience Design. This application is received and processed by ACSSS with the final admissions decision held for approval from the specific capstone certificate coordinator.  
  • In the application's academic plan statement field, provide your statement of interest, answering the question: Why are you interested in Mad UX and what do you aim to get out of the program?

2. Have your official transcripts of previous college work sent to:

UX Certificate Program
4217 HC White Hall
600 North Park Street
Madison, WI 53706
c/o Certificate Coordinator Ms. Jenny Greiber

Further detail is provided at the UX Certificate Program Admissions page.


Admitted students receive a formal letter of admission to UW–Madison from Adult Career and Special Student Services along with general enrollment information. Additional detail is provided on the ACSSS enrollment page

The UX certificate program coordinator will send an email to admitted students with specific information pertaining to enrollment in and completion of the capstone program. 

User Experience Design Core
L I S/​COMP SCI  611 User Experience Design 13
L I S/​COMP SCI  612 User Experience Design 23
L I S/​COMP SCI  613 User Experience Design 33
User Experience Design Capstone
L I S/​COMP SCI  614 User Experience Design Capstone1
Total Credits10

Students earning the MadUX certificate, will:

  • learn theories, techniques and tools of digital design
  • practice assessing user satisfaction with digital media
  • practice different prototyping techniques
  • collect and analyze data about users, user needs and use environments
  • work to improve the usability, accessibility, and pleasure with which people interact with digital spaces over periods of time.