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Information for Students

UNIVERSITY OF WATERLOO
Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
Faculty of Engineering

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BACKGROUND:
Title: Human Systems Concentration in Systems Design Engineering, MASc, PhD
Est: 1985
Trimester
Granted last 3 years: MASc 13, PhD 4
Part-time: no
Distance learning available: no
HFES student chapter: yes
Program: The emphasis of the program is a human factors engineering approach to improving the performance of humans in complex systems through engineering design. Cognitive engineering and user centered approaches to requirements specification are supplemented with techniques from human-computer interaction, visualization, and cognitive ergonomics to reach design solutions. Solutions are then evaluated with human factors methods to assess viability in a systems environment. Domains of interest are usually complex systems such as aviation, air traffic control, transportation, military, power systems, education, or healthcare. Solution technologies may include the design of displays, collaborative systems, novel input devices, adaptive interfaces, and novel display environments large or small.
Contact: Catherine Burns, University of Waterloo, 200 University Ave. West, Waterloo, ON Canada N2L 3G1, 519/888-4567 ext. 33903; c4burns@uwaterloo.ca, http://www.systems.uwaterloo.ca.
Catalog: See http://www.systems.uwaterloo.ca/

APPLICATION:
Deadline: Applications accepted throughout the year for start dates of September 1, January 1, and May 1
Fee: $75 (Cdn); One application with specific departmental requirements for Systems Design

ADMISSION REQUIREMENTS:
GPA: 75% minimum average from an honors bachelor's program
GRE: n/a
Other: English language requirements
Previous research activity: high
Work experience: high
Extracurricular activities: medium
Letters of recommendation: high
Interview: medium

ADMISSIONS:
Students applying last year: 30
Accepted: 8
Entered program: 8
Openings/year: 5

TUITION AND FEES:
Per term: $2,684.64 (Cdn, domestic), ($6296.64 (Cdn, international)

FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE:
% receiving: 100
Amount: $16,500 (Cdn) MASc, $19,000 (Cdn) PhD, typical for research assistants
Available: Teaching assistantship, research assistantship
Apply: Before or concurrent with application for admission

DEGREE REQUIREMENTS:
MASc: 4 units, thesis, no comprehensive exams, languages, or practical experience required, 2 years typical
Nonthesis option: no
PhD: 3 units, dissertation with oral defense, comprehensive exams, no languages or practical experience required, 3 years typical

CURRICULUM:
Required courses: Determined by supervisor
Electives (terms): User Centered Design (1), Interface Design (1), Cognitive Ergonomics (1), Collaborative Systems Design (1), Cognitive Engineering Methods (1)
Required courses outside department: none
Recommended courses outside department: n/a
Offered: No nights or weekends, some summer courses
Class size: 5-60

RESEARCH/TEACHING OPPORTUNITIES:
Research facilities: A comprehensive R&D space shared by the 4 research lab groups with computers and equipment appropriate to the supervisor's research
Teaching: Teaching assistantships are regularly available including opportunities in undergraduate human factors courses, TA application required
Current research: Cognitive engineering, virtual reality, collaborative systems, interface design, complexity on human performance, situation awareness design

STUDENT STATISTICS:
Active: 50% men, 50% women
First-year students: 5
Mean scores: n/a
Employment, past year's graduates: 50% academia, 50% industry

FACULTY:
Catherine Burns, PhD 1998, Univ. of Toronto; HFES member; cognitive engineering, ecological interface design
Jonathan Histon, PhD, MIT; complexity, human performance, air traffic control
Carolyn MacGregor, PhD 1993, Univ. of Toronto; HFES member; virtual reality, input devices, user centered design
Stacey Scott, PhD, Univ. of Calgary; collaboration, human-computer interaction, digital table technology

[Updated May 2012]