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 you what you need 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 Information School.

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 Information School 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.

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 a cohort starting each fall term.  The certificate accepts applications on a rolling admissions process beginning each January until the next fall's cohort is full.  This means that applications are considered as the completed application and supporting documents are received. Applicants can be admitted into the program until 2 weeks prior to the start of the fall term as long as all required application documents have been submitted prior to the term start date and space is still available in the cohort.

The contact for capstone certificate questions via email is the certificate coordinator, Jenny Greiber,

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 and admissions committee.  
  2. In the application's academic plan statement field, provide your statement of interest, answering the questions: Why are you interested in the UW–Madison UX program?  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 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

Minimum Requirements for Capstone Certificate Completion

  • Students must earn a minimum grade of C in each course used to meet Capstone Certificate requirements.
  • Courses in which a student elects the pass/fail or audit option will not count toward completion of Capstone Certificate requirements.
  • All of the Capstone Certificate credits must be earned "in residence" (which includes on campus and distance-delivered courses) at UW-Madison.
  • All of the Capstone Certificate credits must be earned while enrolled in the Capstone Certificate program.

Individual Capstone Certificate programs may have additional requirements for completion, which will be listed above as/if applicable.

  1. Students have knowledge of, and ability to apply, data collection and analysis methodologies for user experience research.
  2. Students have knowledge of, and ability to apply, design principles and user behavior theories to digital environments.
  3. Students can create, critique and revise design prototypes based on testing data and feedback.
  4. Students can effectively plan, manage and communicate a user experience design project.