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Information for Students

Raleigh, North Carolina
Edward P. Fitts Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISE)

Title: Human Factors and Ergonomics (MIE, MS, PhD)
Est: 1966
Accreditation: HFES, Institute for Ergonomics & Human Factors (UK)
Granted last 3 years: MIE 3, MS 10, PhD 6
Part-time: yes
Distance learning available: yes
HFES student chapter: yes
Program: Program emphasis is on cognitive engineering/HF in systems design, industrial ergonomics/biomechanics, and occupational safety and health. Students gain breadth of knowledge of physical ergonomics, understanding of approaches to usability evaluation and interface design for human-machine systems, and methods for recognition, evaluation and control of safety hazards in complex task environments. Goal is broad preparation. Courses emphasize contemporary theory, concepts and principles; observational methodologies and research techniques; and systems approach to analysis, design and modeling. Additional courses may be taken in variety of fields, including biomedical engineering, computer science, epidemiology, industrial hygiene, psychology, and public health. (Several courses through ISE program are cross-listed with Psychology.) For superior students, direct-track PhD program exists (MS degree must be completed along the way).
Contact: David Kaber, NCSU, Dept. Industrial & Systems Engineering, 400 Daniels Hall, 111 Lampe Dr., Raleigh, NC 27695-7906; 919/515-5281;,
Catalog: (online)

Deadlines: January 15 for financial awards; June 25 (U.S.) and March 1 (intl.) for fall
Fee: $75 U.S., $85 international

GPA: 3.00
GRE: 450 (=150) v, 680 (=153) q, 3.0 a
Other: TOEFL 80 (internet), 550 (paper), 213 (computer), IELTS 6.5 (overall band), 2 years calculus (including matrix/linear algebra), 1 year statistics
Recommended: undergraduate major in engineering, computer science, or related field
Research: medium
Work experience: medium
Letters: high
Interview: medium (if conducted)

Students applying last year: 16
Accepted: 8
Entered program: 4
Openings/year: 4

Resident: $3,586.50/semester
Nonresident: $9,755.50/semester

% receiving: 67
Amount: $17,625.60/$19,828.80/$22,032
Available: Fellowship, TA and RA; all tuition exempt. Also offer positions through NIOSH-sponsored North Carolina Occupational Safety and Health Education and Research Center
Apply: with application

MS: 30 units, thesis research (3-6 units), oral defense of thesis, no languages or practical experience required, approx. 2 years to complete.
Nonthesis option: no
MIE: 33 units, no exams, languages, research (project course), or practical experience required, 1 1/2 years to complete.
Nonthesis option: yes
PhD: 72 units beyond BS, qualifying exam, oral defense of dissertation proposal, dissertation research (12-18 units), oral defense of dissertation, no languages or practical experience required, 3 1/2 years beyond MS to complete.

Required courses (credit hours): HF in Systems Design (3), Occupational Biomechanics (3), ISE Seminar (1), Human Performance Modeling (3), Experimental Statistics II (3)
Electives: Occupational Safety Engineering (3), Musculoskeletal Mechanics (3), Human-Computer Interaction (3), Systems Safety Engineering (3), Environmental Stress, Physiology & Performance (3), Ergonomic Performance Assessment (3), Human Information Processing (3), Upper-Extremity Biomechanics (3), Spine Biomechanics (3), Cognitive Engineering (Seminar in Ergonomics; 3), Research Practicum in Occupational Biomechanics (3)
Required courses outside department: 3 minor courses for MS; 5 minor courses for PhD
Recommended courses outside department: 3 to 5 as part of minor
Offered: night classes; statistics in summer
Distance learning courses: Human Factors in Systems Design, Occupational Safety Engineering, Occupational Biomechanics, Systems Safety Engineering. Distance degree in ISE currently offered.
Class size: 5-25

Research facilities: Cognitive Ergonomics Lab contains major research instrumentation for study of human-computer/automation interaction in complex systems control, human factors issues in virtual environment interface design for training, and dual-task/team performance in synthetic representations of real-world systems (ATC, commercial aircraft, telerobotics). State-of-the art resources include: STISIM M400 driving simulator; X-Plane flight simulator workstation; Virtual reality locomotion interface, including 3-D stereoscopic projection system integrated with PC-controllable treadmill (instrumented); three high-performance virtual reality workstations integrated with stereoscopic display screens and active light-shutter goggles, multiple 3-D HDTVs; 10 Novint Falcon haptic devices; and three SensAble Technologies high-resolution haptic devices. Other major instrumentation includes motion and eye tracking systems, including Ascension Technologies MotionStar, Ascension Technologies 6-DOF mouse, ASL dual-eye tracker and FaceLab eye tracking system (integrated with driving simulator). Lab also has network of PCs and multiple laptop and tablet systems. Physical Ergonomics Lab has state-of-the-art equipment for lab and field biomechanical analyses, including multiple Lumbar Motion Monitors, Biometrics electro-goniometers and ThoughtTechnologies data analysis software, Biopac EMG collection/processing system, Myopac EMG collection/processing system, Kin/Com dynamometer, two 32-channel A/D data acquisition systems, two Bertec 3-D force platforms, Kistler GaitWay treadmill with integrated force platform, and Biodex Rehabilitation Treadmill (RT400). This lab also has network of PCs for data analysis and desktop computing.

Brain-Computer Interface (BCI) Lab is equipped with seven high-performance PCs for creating BCI applications using C++ Software Development Kit as well as LabVIEW-based BCI development platform. Several digital video camcorders are available to collect data during focus groups and participatory design review sessions. Major instrumentation includes EEG system: g.USBamp amplifiers ( Medical Engineering), electrode caps with 65 electrode positions, including fixation belts and sets of 16 active electrodes (Gold and Ag/AgCl).
Teaching: Teaching assistantships available at 1/2 or 1/4 time with assignment to larger undergraduate courses and/or lab sections (Ergonomics, Work Design & Analysis). Advanced students may have opportunity to guest lecture in junior/senior-level ergonomics course.
Current research activities: Design of virtual reality applications and haptic control methodologies for fine motor skill rehabilitation; service/nursing robot design and patient emotional response classification; assessment of driver performance in presence of on-road and in-vehicle distractions under normal and hazard conditions; design of cockpit displays of traffic information; developing measures and models of aviation display clutter for prediction of pilot performance; modeling pilot cognitive performance with advanced cockpit automation; design of dual-use assistive technologies for occupational and congenital disease populations; design of human-robot interaction in life science automation and cognitive workload assessment; brain-computer interfaces for communication, control and rehabilitation; haptic user interfaces for users with visual impairments; neuroergonomics; neurophysiological study of emotion.

Active: 9 men, 9 women
First-year students: 3
Mean scores: GPA 3.45, GRE 500 (=154) v, 750 (=160) q, 3.5 a

None at present.

Nancy Currie, Adjunct Assoc. Prof., PhD 1997, U of Houston; industrial engineering, human-robot interaction, systems safety engineering, biomechanics and biodynamics.
Naomi Glasscock, Adjunct Asst. Prof., PhD 2003, North Carolina State U; industrial ergonomics, occupational biomechanics, usability analysis.
David B. Kaber, PhD 1996, Texas Tech U; human-automation interaction; human-machine interface design; occupational and systems safety engineering.
Chang Soo Nam, Assoc. Prof., PhD 2003, Virginia Tech U; brain-computer interface; cognitive ergonomics; cognitive neuroscience; multi-modal virtual environments; neuroergonomics.

[Updated September 2013]