General Q & A

What is so important about designing for people?

Interactive technologies pervade our world today. Many of these technologies can be challenging to use. Designing interactive technologies so that they will be useful (accomplish things that people actually do care about) and usable (they are not frustrating to use) takes considerable skill.

What is “DFPGrads”?

DFPGrads is a student-led group that meets regularly to share information and build connections. The group puts on events that cater to the needs and interests of DFP students. They are currently looking for members! Contact Laura Cang to join: cang@cs.ubc.ca 

View DFPGrads Events

Potential Students Q & A

What graduate programs at UBC participate in the DFP CREATE?

Please see the page of participating academic units.

What’s the value to me of the interdisciplinary DFP CREATE program, relative to a regular grad program?

Participating in the CREATE provides added enrichment over and above the home departments’ graduate programs. DFP CREATE will broaden students’ knowledge of other disciplines and their networking across campus. Students will deeply connect with receptors of interactive technology designs, such as industry, government and not for profit entities.

Do I need to have a DFP faculty supervisor?

Yes: see Step 1 on the How to Apply page.

What do I get by the end?

On completion of the DFP CREATE program requirements, students will receive a certification. You'll be able to list this certification on your curriculum vitae as evidence of your unique qualifications. Further, as a program alumni both at UBC and after you leave, we hope you'll continue to engage with the program and benefit and give back to it as a mentor, life-long learner and perhaps a partner.

How long will it take?

The DFP CREATE is self-paced, to some extent. Students can complete it within 12 months (e.g., by the end of their first year in a Masters or PhD program). Others will enter later, and/or spread it out, but we encourage completion within 24 months. See participating academic units for examples of some common pathways.

What kind of funding might be available?

Graduate funding models are specific to each participating unit, and also to individual faculty. Please see the Participating Academic Units and How to Apply pages for more information on DFP CREATE funding that may be available either directly to you or through your supervisor.

What are the prerequisites?

Prerequisites are entirely determined by entrance requirements of the participating academic units. Please see the Participating Academic Units page.

Project Partners Q & A

What makes a great DFP Project?

The DFP Project course’s purpose is to give a 3-5 student interdisciplinary team a chance to work on challenging human-facing problems where interactive technology may be able to help; and to give partners a chance to access some faculty-supervised design insight into a challenge that may require research beyond your day-to-day operations or know-how permit. This might range from figuring out how to approach user experience in a brand-new technology niche, to a non-profit organization launching a citizen-scientist initiative based on location-aware smartphone services, and everything in between. See our past projects for some sense of the range, but don’t be limited by it – remember we come from all over campus and are only getting started.


Our Project follows a “Design Thinking” process over a 4-month period: Empathize, Define, Ideate, Prototype, Test. Thus, a project needs to have appropriate focus (as described above); scope (5 stages in 4 months) and elements (involve all 5 design-thinking stages, although relative emphasis can vary). In addition, your organization needs to be comfortable with our IP and disclosure policy (see below).


Perhaps most importantly, we’re very interested in project diversity! We welcome projects and partnership from every sector, from high-tech companies with their own user experience staff who’d like to mentor some new folks, to non-profits, museums, community organizations and other groups who realize they have a need but no idea how to go about filling it.

What’s involved in sponsoring a DFP Course Project?

First, a prospective partner needs to have a great DFP-type problem which our students can help you with! If you think you might, talk to us to see how it might fit in. With that agreed upon, you’ll need to provide a project proposal that’s appropriately scoped, for consideration in a November selection process. The DFP Project takes place from January-April, during which a liaison from your organization needs to meet regularly with the team and instructors. Finally, we want you there at the Design Showcase (end of April / early May)to see how it all turns out.

If you’re interested, you should contact us between August and September. For more information, including details on the Project’s practices for handling intellectual property, disclosure and fees and other costs, please request our DFP Project Partner Prospectus.

What are the benefits of sponsoring a DFP Project?

coming soon.

If I’m interested, what should I do next?

First, request a copy of our prospectus to make sure you’re okay with the terms and timeline. Next, discuss your project idea with either a DFP faculty who’s closest to your area, or the DFP CREATE staff, and develop a project proposal to submit by October (prior to the January you’d like to participate). We’ll take you from there.


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).