Arizona State University

Location:   Mesa, Arizona

Department:   Human Systems Engineering


Quick links:


Directory of Graduate Programs


Title of program:

Human Systems Engineering

Year human factors/ergonomics
program was established:


Accredited by HFES?


Department sponsoring program:

The Polytechnic School of the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering

Contact person for more information, including applications:

For BS Program:
Rob Gray
Human Systems Engineering Program Chair
Arizona State University
7271 E. Sonoran Arroyo Mall, SANCA 150
Mesa, AZ 85212

For MS & PhD Graduate Programs:
Scotty D. Craig, PhD
Associate Professor of Human Systems Engineering 
Graduate Chair for Human Systems Engineering
Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering | Arizona State University

7271 E. Sonoran Arroyo Mall, SANCA 150
Mesa, AZ 85212 

Academic calendar:


Human factors/ergonomics graduate degrees offered:

  • Bachelor of Science in Human Systems Engineering; 4+1 (undergraduate that combines BS and MS degrees in HSE);
  • Masters of Science in Human Systems Engineering;
  • PhD in Human Systems Engineering

Goals, objectives, and emphasis of the programs:

  • The 4+1 Program combines the BS with the MS program goals in a 5-year program.
  • The MS in HSE program emphasizes the application of psychological science, cognitive science, and engineering principles to diverse areas, including decision making, health, human factors, human-computer interaction, learning and education, perception, social processes, team cognition, usability, and product development. Students in this program will have opportunities for practical experience in diverse laboratories as well as internships in a variety of settings.
  • The PhD in HSE program: Human systems engineering describes a growing transdisciplinary field (including the disciplines of psychology, engineering and computer science) that explores how people interact with technological and social systems in contexts that include transportation, medicine, military, computing and other complex systems. The PhD is designed to produce individuals who are well-grounded in cognitive science and skilled in its methods and applications. Employers (e.g., Department of Defense, Federal Aviation Administration, Nuclear Regulatory Commission, hospitals, industry) have an ever-increasing demand for personnel who can bridge the gap between rigorous science and solutions to real-world problems. The PhD degree will provide transdisciplinary, research-driven training in applied cognitive science and human systems engineering.

Number of degrees granted during last 3 years:

  • MS: approximately 16
  • PhD: approximately 5

Can students attend part-time?


Are required courses offered through distance learning?

Varies; in-person courses are more common, but online courses are being added over time

Are required courses offered at night?

Varies; some required courses are available at night

Are required courses offered on weekends?


Are required courses offered during summer?

Online courses are typical in the summer but tend to be upper-level undergraduate

Does the university have an HFES student chapter?

Yes; the student chapter is active. They can be reached through chapter advisor Nancy Cooke (


Application deadlines:

Up to date information can be found at

Application fees:

Varies; check the information at

Are separate applications required for university and department?

Varies; check the information at


Minimum requirements

  • All students must pass the basic criteria as defined by the University and Graduate Admissions. However, there is no set minimum for the HSE program and each student is considered on a case by case basis.
  • International applicants must also meet the English proficiency requirements, asdefined by Graduate Admissions. Please be sure to review the TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE score requirements, as your application will not be processed without valid proof of English proficiency.

Undergrad degrees, backgrounds, or course work required or recommended for admission

Graduate programs require a bachelor’s degree in engineering, psychology, cognitive science, computer science, or a closely related field.

Importance of other criteria as admission factors:

  • Previous research activity: high
  • Relevant work experience: high
  • Extracurricular activities: low
  • Letters of recommendation: high

Tuition and fees

Visit for up-to-date estimations.

  • Resident (with fees, $1,038; without fees, $795) approximately per credit hour
  • Nonresident (with fees, $1,482; without fees, $1,258) approximately per credit hour
  • International (with fees, $2,464; without fees, $1,351) approximately per credit hour


Number of students applying to the human factors/ergonomics program last year:


Number of students accepted into the program last year:


Number of students entering the program last year:


Anticipated number of openings per year for the next two years:

No limit for MS program. PhD program is partially dependent on funding and is best discussed with the program director and the anticipated initial faculty advisor.


Percentage of students in program receiving financial assistance:


Amount received per year:


Types of assistance available:

Research assistantship (tuition exempt)

Fellowships (PhD only, tuition exempt)

Teaching assistantship (PhD only, tuition exempt)

When should students apply for financial assistance?

At the same time as submitting application for admission


Graduate degree offered:

MS in Human Systems Engineering

Number of units required:

Program information can be found at

Exams required:

Thesis track requires written thesis and oral defense; applied project does not

Language requirements:

English proficiency, as defined by Graduate Admissions; see “admissions” above

Research required:

Thesis or applied project initiated by industry partner

Practical experience required:


Typical number of years required to obtain degree:


Is there a non-thesis option?

Yes, applied project

Graduate degree offered:

PhD in Human Systems Engineering

Number of units required:

Program information can be found at

Exams required:

Qualifying exam (usually a literature review), comprehensive exam (written dissertation), and oral defense of thesis/dissertation

Language requirements:

English proficiency, as defined by Graduate Admissions; see “admissions” above.

Research required:


Practical experience required:


Typical number of years required to obtain degree:

3–5 years


Required MS courses (credit hours) Note: Some of the courses are offered online:

Program information can be found at

Required PhD courses (credit hours):

Program information can be found at

Number of courses outside department that are required:

No courses outside the department are required. Because the PhD especially is multidisciplinary and tailored to student's research interests, some courses can be offered outside of our unit.

Number of courses outside department that are recommended:

Varies depending on student research interests

Average or typical class size in a required course:



Research and support facilities available to students in the program: 
The strengths of the Human Systems Engineering unit are primarily in the areas of Human Factors Engineering, Applied Cognitive Science, and User Experience (UX). Within our small faculty are some of the world's leading authorities and top researchers in the areas of team coordination, perceptual motor control, aviation psychology, embodied cognition, human-computer interaction, attention and decision making. We draw on the "real-world", industry expertise of our faculty including adjuncts from organizations such as Intel, Exponent, Mayo Clinic, and Honeywell. Our classes are project-based and focus on learning by doing.

In the HSE program we place heavy emphasis on research and scholarship. Research conducted in our department provides invaluable training for undergraduate and graduate students in our program. We provide many research opportunities, including paid research assistantships, supervised research courses, Capstone Experience courses, FURI (Fulton Undergraduate Research Initiative) grants, thesis and dissertation supervision, and required classroom projects and demonstrations.

Noteworthy major research infrastructure within the HSE program include CERTT Lab team simulators with simulations of an Unmanned Aerial System ground control station, PAL Lab driving simulators, iMotion biometric sensing suite (for 3 people), DEXTAR – a team cyber security testbed, human-robot teaming testbed, CHARTopolis – a driverless car test bed, flight simulators & local air traffic control full simulators.

Professors and students also have access to eye tracking hardware, and other simulations commonly used such as the Multi-Attribute Task Battery (MATB).

A variety of software packages are also used for cognitive study, user experience and design. ASU provides free or very-low cost software packages for student use including IBM’s SPSS statistical software, Adobe products, and Microsoft Office.

Teaching opportunities available to students in the program:
Qualified PhD students can teach an undergraduate class in their area of expertise as a teaching assistantship for a stipend and tuition remission.

Current research activities and projects being carried out by program faculty and/or students:
In general, each faculty member participates in or leads several applied projects and research grants & initiatives that vary in scope and focus. Faculty members also collaborate with each other on some efforts. The best way to find out more is simply to make contact with the person(s) you are interested in knowing more about.

Faculty labs include:

  • Applied Psychophysics and Ecological Simulations Lab (Becker)
  • Systems Psychology Lab (Gorman)
  • Virtual Environments and Cognitive Training Research Lab (Lum)
  • Human-in-Mind Engineering Research (HiMER) Lab (Jeong)
  • Automation Design Advancing People and Technology Lab (Chiou)
  • Cognitive Engineering Research on Team Tasks Lab (Cooke)
  • Cognitive-Based Applied Learning Technology Lab (Craig)
  • Perception & Action Lab (Gray)
  • Applied Attention Research Lab (Gutzwiller)
  • Sustainable Learning and Adaptive Technology for Education Lab (Roscoe)


Current number of active students in program, by gender:

31 men, 43 women (MS and PHD)

Current number of first-year students in program:

12 (MS and PHD)

Number of current HF/E postdocs:


Based on current graduate students in the MS in Human Systems Engineering program, the mean score on admission tests and undergraduate GPA by degree being sought are:

  • Mean GRE Verbal: 155.8
  • Mean GRE Quantitative: 151
  • Mean GRE Analytical: 3.9
  • Mean undergraduate GPA: 3.4

PhD in Human Systems Engineering

  • Mean GRE Verbal: 148.8
  • Mean GRE Quantitative: 154
  • Mean GRE Analytical: 3.3
  • Mean undergraduate GPA: 3.2

Of the number of those graduating in the past year, what percentage gained employment in:

  • Academia: 33%
  • Industry: 66%
  • Government: 0%

Faculty-to-student ratio:

1 to 3


Vaughn Becker, PhD 2005, Arizona State University; emotion perception, social cognition, evolutionary psychology.

Erin Chiou, PhD 2016, University of Wisconsin-Madison; human-automation interaction, trust in automation, human-agent cooperation in complex systems, resilience engineering, health systems engineering, healthcare human factors, and medical devices.

Nancy Cooke, PhD 1987, New Mexico State U.; team cognition, human-autonomy teaming; cyber security, unmanned systems.

Scotty Craig, PhD 2005, University of Memphis; Human learning and cognition, multimedia educational environments, learning technology, and human-computer interactions.

Jamie Gorman, PhD 2006, New Mexico State University; human-AI-robot teaming, dynamical systems, trust, autonomy, real-time measurement, influence, team interaction.

Rob Gray, PhD 1998, York U.; perception/action, vision and perceptual motor control in driving, flying, and sports; simulation; multisensory integration.

Robert Gutzwiller, PhD 2014, Colorado State U.; applied attention research, human-automation interaction, situation awareness, cyber defense human factors.

Heejin Jeong, PhD 2018, University of Michigan; human performance modeling, human-automation interaction, extended reality, assistive robotics, human-robot collaboration, occupational safety and health.

Heather C. Lum, PhD, 2012, University of Central Florida; human-technology interaction, human-AI-robot teaming, human-non-human teaming, engineering education, spatial cognition, psycho-physiological measurement.

Rod Roscoe, PhD 2007, University of Pittsburgh; educational technology, automated writing evaluation, writing, self-regulated learning, engineering education, user experience.

[Updated September 7, 2023]