User Experience and Web Design

Enhanced Curriculum for User Experience and Web Design

As Web, mobile and software applications become ever more dynamic and interactive, users want these products to be intuitive and easy to use, while businesses demand positive customer analytics to justify the design investment. Designers have to learn to study customer behavior and communicate designs with team members on the same project. Those who have worked in the industry for a number of years also have to keep pace with emerging trends in Web and personal communication, interactive gaming, and many technological advances that result in newer human-computer interface (HCI) such as Internet of Things (IoT) or virtual reality. 

The Internet is still the major channel for business communication and product presentation. Web designers must learn to put together compelling designs with the best information architecture, interaction design, visual design, and user experience. Designers often have to write their own front-end code and use design software to create dynamic effects or to increase productivity.

Our User Experience and Web Design certificate program is designed to meet these needs and trends in the industry and job market.

Professional-Level Program Delivers Solid Expertise

The professional User Experience and Web Design program at UCSC Extension equips you to meet the demand of a changing industry. Our newly revised certificate program organizes courses in several tracks of study, including visual design, user experience design, design implementation, and site management. Each track offers a strong foundation in the skills you need to pursue industry jobs. The final course, “Capstone Design Project,” provides an opportunity to apply newly acquired theory, tools, and techniques to create a professional-quality website for a real client. Our other courses expose you to each step in the user-centered design process.

Flexible Requirements Accommodate Entry-level and Experienced Designers

Our certificate program includes foundation skills and advanced design courses. We recommend that those new to the design field start by taking the prerequisites to each course. Established designers who want to expand and update their knowledge can select a mix of foundation and advanced courses based on their level of experience and career goals. Either approach leads to a UC certificate.

Get Hands-on Experience Working in Our State-of-the-Art Tools

We provide a state of-the-art Macintosh lab for those courses that require professional software tools to do design. The lab features multi-core iMac, the latest version of Mac OS X, and the latest software, including Adobe Creative Cloud. The lab provides you with the opportunity to practice new skills on top-quality machines loaded with the most current software. We emphasize hands-on and interactive learning. As a UCSC Extension student, you are also welcome to practice in our lab outside of class.

Benefits of Studying User Experience and Web Design

The User Experience and Web Design program offers current and aspiring professionals:

  • Rich course offerings that cover important skill areas
  • A collegial environment and structured curriculum to facilitate learning
  • Convenient course schedules and Silicon Valley location 
  • A UC-accredited (non-degree) certificate
  • Frequently updated courses to reflect the latest tools, platforms and methodology


There are no formal prerequisites to enter the certificate program. However, you should be proficient in Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Photoshop as they are the foundation in handling image and high fidelity graphics. For those in need of these skills, we offer introductory courses in both products. These two recommended prerequisites do not count toward the total number of units required for the certificate and may be satisfied with equivalent experience. We also recommend “Graphic Design Fundamentals” as a prerequisite for students who do not have a background in graphic design.

Recommended Course Sequence

Depending on your previous experience in User Experience and Web Design, most courses may be taken in any order, provided the individual course prerequisites have been fulfilled. All students should complete the certificate with “Capstone Design Project”. New students should attend the Information Session to receive course sequence information.

Benefits of Declaring Candidacy

We encourage you to establish candidacy in a certificate program early in your studies. There are substantial benefits in doing so:

  • Curriculum changes subsequent to the date your application is received will not affect your course requirements.
  • Candidates will be notified of updates or special opportunities related to the program.

Engineering & Technology Program Contact

Enroll online now or contact the Engineering & Technology Department for more information:
(408) 861-3860
or e-mail

User Experience and Web Design Certificate Requirements

Total: 17 units
Required: 2 core courses and "Web Design Project"
Elective: 10.5 units (min)
GPA: 3.0 
a C or better in all courses.
Timeline: Complete minimum units/courses within 3 years.

Courses completed more than five years prior to date of certificate issuance cannot be used to fulfill requirements.

To obtain the Certificate in User Experience and Web Design, you must complete a minimum of 17 units. Certificates are granted upon successful completion of “Web Design Project.” For students new to the design field, we strongly recommended following the prerequisites in each courses.

If you have two or more years of industry experience and are proficient in some design skills, you may customize your course sequence to round out your skill set. Contact the Engineering and Technology department to inquire whether you can substitute your experience for course prerequisites.

How to Apply

Certificate applications can be submitted online. Simply click on the "Declare Candidacy" button above. Then, select the "Enroll" button next to the certificate title and follow the instructions.

Transfer a Course

What Students Say

Ann Fitzsimons, Web Design and Development, Internet Programming, UNIX Programming

Ann Fitzsimons

"Whenever I’ve needed anything to help support my career, UCSC Extension has given me the convenience and the full depth of offerings that I think I need, at the level of quality that I look for."

Read Ann's story...