How to Apply to Graduate Programs |
Using This Directory
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HOW TO APPLY
TO GRADUATE PROGRAMS
The Directory of Human Factors/Ergonomics Graduate Programs in the United States
and Canada was compiled by the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society. Efforts
were made to identify human factors graduate programs by placing announcements
in the HFES Bulletin and by soliciting names of programs from the HFES
membership. Programs so identified and those listed in the 2000 edition were
sent a questionnaire requesting detailed program information. All graduate
programs in the United States and Canada that returned the questionnaire are
included in this directory. No attempt was made to screen programs or to assess
The information reported in this directory is updated periodically. The date at the bottom of each program listing indicates when the information was last updated.
The purpose of this directory is to supply prospective graduate students with
information to help them make a preliminary selection of graduate programs for
further consideration. The information in this directory should be helpful for
assessing the nature, scope, and requirements of the various programs. We hope
you find this directory helpful, and we would appreciate receiving your opinion
of it and your suggestions for improvement. Departments with programs not
listed in this directory are invited to submit information for future editions.
Please send inquiries to the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, P.O. Box
1369, Santa Monica, CA 90406-1369 USA; firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Human Factors and Ergonomics Society instituted an accreditation program for
graduate programs in 1989, and at this time 12 programs have been formally
accredited (See the individual program listings).
Inclusion in this directory neither constitutes nor implies Human Factors and
Ergonomics Society approval or accreditation. Further, no attempt has been made
to independently verify the information supplied by the various programs.
SELECTING A PROGRAM
Select only programs that match your professional interests and into which you
have a reasonable chance of acceptance. Consider the admission requirements of
each program and candidly assess your probability of being accepted. It is fair
neither to yourself nor to the admissions committee to apply to a program for
which you are obviously not qualified. In some cases, however, entrance
requirements can be relaxed, or specific undergraduate course requirements can
be met by special makeup courses offered by the department. Be sure you
understand all such makeup requirements, as they can add a year or more to your
graduate career. Makeup requirements are especially important if your
undergraduate degree is from a department different from the one to which you
are applying (e.g., if you are applying to an engineering department but your
undergraduate degree is in psychology). If you have any doubt whatsoever, do
not hesitate to call the department.
If you wish to pursue particular areas of interest during your graduate
education, you should try to find programs that have research facilities,
faculty, and courses that correspond to those interests. It is unlikely that
any one program will perfectly match all of your particular interests, but some
programs may be more appropriate than others. Again, programs, facilities, and
faculties change, so be sure to confirm with the department that the program
will indeed meet your needs and expectations.
MAKING AN APPLICATION
It is usually wise to apply to more than one program; this will increase your
chances of being accepted. Be sure, however, that you have a reasonable chance
of being accepted and that they are programs you would seriously consider
attending if you were accepted.
Fill out all application materials on time. Submit the applications neatly typed
and carefully completed. Sloppy, handwritten applications tend to connote that
the applicant lacks commitment and professionalism. If a biographical statement
is required, take it seriously. Write several drafts, evaluate whether it
conveys the information and impressions you intend, and be sure it is
grammatically correct. Remember to proofread what you write.
Choose personal references carefully. They should be people who can judge your
academic and/or professional potential. This often requires more than can be
learned about you from one class. For this reason we recommend that you
cultivate associations with your instructors through seminar classes and
independent study activities. Be sure to ask the person in advance whether you
can list him or her as a reference for graduate school. This is a common
courtesy and may save you embarrassment later.
ACCEPTING AN OFFER
The first notification of acceptance you receive may be an informal phone call
from the department chair or one of the other faculty members. You can relax,
as you will be receiving an official notification in due time. You need not
accept the offer immediately; you may wish to wait to hear from other schools
before making your decision. We recommend the following procedure in the event
that you receive more than one offer.
1. Be honest with the department. Tell them you want to wait until you
hear from other schools. Find out when they need to know your decision. When
you receive a second offer, compare it with the first and decide which you
prefer. Immediately notify your second choice that you will not be accepting
As you receive other offers, evaluate each one against your prior choice and
notify the one you do not accept. Remember, the people to whom you will be
talking want you to attend their programs, but more important, they want you to
make the choice that is best for you. If you are unsure about various
trade-offs, feel free to discuss them with the departments involved.
2. If you have not heard from a particular program and another program has
made you an offer and needs a decision, do not hesitate to call the first
program and explain your predicament. At the least, they will tell you when
their evaluations will be complete. Keep the program that made you the first
offer informed of developments. Don't keep them in the dark; act
professionally. Even if you do not accept the offer, your consideration will be
appreciated and you may find that you have established an important
3. After accepting an offer, do not take your obligation lightly. Not
following through may damage your reputation with the school.
USING THIS DIRECTORY
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For each of the programs listed in this directory, information is presented in
compact form about each of the following categories: program background,
application process, admission requirements, admission data, tuition, financial
assistance, degree requirements, curriculum, research and teaching
opportunities, student statistics, and faculty. If information was not
available, "n/a" is used.
Each major category of program information will be discussed in turn. The
programs are listed in alphabetical order by name of school. The department
listed under the school name of each listing is the one in which the
administration of the program is housed. If it is a joint program, both
departments are listed in order of number of students in the program.
Title: This is the official designation of the program. Contact: Write
or call this person for more information about the program. Est: The
year in which the program was established. This may have a bearing on the
interpretation of the other information. Quarter/Semester. This is the
academic calendar under which the program operates. Any reference to units
required refers to this system. Granted last 3 years: The number of
degrees granted for the three years 1998 through 2000. Part-time: Whether
you can attend part-time. Program: A short description of the nature of
the program. Accredited by: Name of organization accrediting the program
(not the institution). HFES student chapter yes/no: Whether an official
HFES student chapter exists at this institution. Catalog: Cost, and
where to send for a catalog.
Deadlines: Application deadlines. Fee: Application fee.
GPA: Grade point average. GRE: If required, shows minimum total
score or separate scores for v (verbal) + q (quantitative) and sometimes + a
(analytical). Other: Describes other requirements and/or
recommendations. Research, Work experience, Letters, Interview: Shows
relative weight (high, medium, or low) given to each category when application
Students applying last year: This is for the 2000 academic year. Accepted:
Number of students in the 2000 academic year who accepted admission offers. Entered
program: Number of students entering program in 2000 academic year. Openings/year:
Anticipated number of openings per year for the next several years.
TUITION AND FEES:
Lists tuition and fees for residents and nonresidents (where applicable), and
indicates the academic calendar on which costs are based (semester, quarter,
% receiving: Percentage of students receiving some sort of financial
assistance. Amounts: Minimum/typical/maximum amounts per academic year. Available:
Types of assistance available -- TA means teaching assistantship, RA means
research assistantship. Exempt refers to whether tuition is exempt. Apply:
When to apply for financial assistance.
For each degree offered, a condensed description of the various requirements is
given. Typically included are number of units, exams (other than regular course
exams), languages, research, and practical experience required. Included is the
typical number of years required to obtain the degree.
Required: Titles of required courses. Electives: Titles of
popular electives offered at least once every two years. Required courses
outside department: Number of courses required to be taken outside the
major department. Recommended courses outside department: Number of
courses recommended to be taken outside the major department. Offered: Whether
the required and elective courses are offered at night, on weekends, or during
the summer. Class size: Typical class size in required courses.
Research facilities: Describes research facilities. Teaching: Describes
teaching opportunities for students while in the program. Current research:
Describes areas of current research.
Active: Number of 2000 students actively enrolled in the program. First-year
students: Number of first-year students in 2000. Mean scores: Gives
mean GRE (Graduate Record Exam) scores and undergraduate GPA (grade point
average, A = 4.0) for students currently in the program. These are
typically higher than the admission requirements, and they probably better
reflect the quality of the students accepted.
Lists the "core" faculty in the program; that is, those who required
courses and/or actively advise and direct students in the program. For each
faculty member listed, the following information is included: highest degree
obtained, when obtained, where obtained, and areas of specialization or
HFES ACCREDITATION: BACKGROUND
The HFES Accreditation Review Committee (ARC) was established as a special
committee of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society in October 1989. The
purpose of the HFES accreditation program is to ensure that accredited human
factors educational programs meet objectives appropriate to the preparation of
students for research and practice in human factors.
The ARC consists of five members, who oversee the activities of the
Accreditation Review Panel. The panel is made up of 20 persons who work in
small groups to review applications for accreditation. In the years since
start-up of the accreditation program, several programs have been reviewed and
a number of programs have been accredited (see individual listings).
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