California State University, Long Beach

Location:   Long Beach, California

Department:   Psychology

Quick links:

Directory of Graduate Programs


Title of program:

Master of Science in Psychology, Option in Human Factors

Year human factors/ergonomics
program was established:


Accredited by HFES?


Department sponsoring program:


Contact person for more information, including applications:

Diane Roe,CSULB
1250 Bellflower Blvd
Long Beach, CA 90840-0901

Academic calendar:


Human factors/ergonomics graduate degrees offered:

MS – Human Factors

Goals, objectives, and emphasis of the programs:

The CSULB MS Human Factors program is designed to prepare students to apply human factors skills to the design of jobs, information systems, consumer products, workplaces and equipment in order to improve user performance, safety and comfort. The MS-Human Factors Program is designed as a terminal MS degree, but it also provides excellent preparation for advanced graduate work. Students in the program acquire a background in experimental psychology and research methods. They are trained in the application of the material through courses in human factors, computer applications and interface design. Special topics seminars, in areas such as large-scale simulation and usability testing, complement the core program of study. Finally, students complete a thesis in their chosen area of human factors.

Number of degrees granted during last 3 years:


Can students attend part-time?


Are required courses offered through distance learning?


Are required courses offered at night?

Yes, but Limited

Are required courses offered on weekends or during summer?


Does the university have an HFES student chapter?



Application deadlines:

January 15

Application Fees:


Are separate applications required for university and department?



Minimum requirements

  • Grade point average (last 4 yrs: A = 4.0): 2.5 (course-by-course evaluation)
  • GRE combined: no minimum
  • GRE Verbal: no minimum
  • GRE Quantitative: no minimum
  • GRE Analytical: no minimum
  • Other: A completed undergraduate major in psychology that includes three specific prerequisite courses (Intermediate Statistics, Sensation and Perception, Cognition), or a major in another field with 24 units of upper division psychology that includes the same three specific prerequisite courses.

Importance of other criteria as admission factors:

  • Previous research activity: high
  • Relevant work experience: medium
  • Extracurricular activities: low
  • Letters of recommendation: high
  • Personal interview: not required

Tuition and fees

$3,859 FT;
additional $372/per unit non-resident fee


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:



Percentage of students in program receiving financial assistance:


Amount received per year:

Variable; dependent upon availability of funds

Types of assistance available:

Research assistantship (not tuition exempt)
Traineeships, pending availability of external funds (not tuition exempt)

When should students apply for financial assistance?

Financial aid: follow federal guidelines;
Assistantships based on external funding to HF faculty may be available after acceptance into program.


Graduate degree offered:

MS in Psychology, Human Factors Option

Number of units required:


Exams required:

Preliminary orals of thesis; final orals of thesis

Language requirements:


Research required:


Practical experience required:


Typical number of years required to obtain degree:


Is there a non-thesis option?



Required Courses (units):


  1. PSY 511 Statistical Design and Analysis of Experiments
  2. PSY 518 Computer Applications in Psychology
  3. PSY 527 Human Factors
  4. PSY 533 Research in Cognition and Learning
    PSY 634 Seminar in Cognition
  5. PSY 627 Human Factors Methods
  6. PSY 633 Seminar in Perception and Attention
  7. PSY 635 Seminar on Situation Awareness
  8. MAE 508 Systems Engineering and Integration
  9. CECS 448 User Interface Design
  10. PSY 698 Thesis (6 units)


One elective course chosen from the following:

  1. PSY 512 Multivariate Analysis
  2. PSY 544 Cognitive Neuroscience
  3. PSY 696 Research Methods
  4. PSY 697 Directed Research
  5. PSY 627 Human Factors Methods
  6. ENGL 419 Writing in Science and Technology

Number of courses outside department that are required:


Number of courses outside department that are recommended:

1 additional

Average or typical class size in a required course:



Research and support facilities available to students in the program:

The department is located in the Psychology Building, a four-story structure which houses faculty and graduate student offices, a newly constructed computer lab, and laboratories for faculty and student research in the major areas of Psychology. Human factors experience can be obtained in two Centers and various laboratories in the Psychology Building:

  • The Center for Human Factors in Advanced Aeronautics Technologies (CHAAT), a state-of-the-art facility for research and simulations of advanced air technologies and air traffic management issues. You must be a US citizen to participate in CHAAT.
  • The Center for Usability in Design and Assessment (CUDA), a usability testing laboratory that provides real-world hands-on experience in usability testing and interface design.
  • Perceptual, cognitive, and neuroscience research laboratories provide ample space and equipment for research in a variety of areas including auditory and visual perception, cognitive psychology, aviation psychology and human-computer interaction.

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:
Each semester the department of Psychology hires about 10–13 graduate assistants to perform various activities. The assignments are usually 10 hours per week for 17 weeks in the Fall and/or Spring semester. Most GA assignments fall into two major categories. Some assignments are to assist in the introductory research methods course. This involves preparing materials, grading papers and assisting students. Other GA assignments support introductory and intermediate statistics courses. These assignments generally involve grading papers, assisting students and helping students with various statistical software packages.

Current research activities and projects being carried out by program faculty and/or students:
Please visit the web pages of individual faculty members for current projects.


Current number of active students in program, by gender:

8 men, 16 women

Current number of first-year students in program:


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: 153
  • Mean GRE Quantitative: 151
  • Mean GRE Analytical: 4.0 (writing)
  • Mean GRE Combined: 304
  • Mean undergraduate GPA: 3.65

Number of current HF/E postdocs:


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

  • Academia:0
  • Industry: 4
  • Government:2


James Miles, PhD 2007, U. of Virginia; cognitive control processes: stimulus-response compatibility effects, eye-tracking, perception-action relations

Thomas Strybel, PhD 1987, U. of Arizona; auditory-visual space perception, multisensory interaction, workload and situation awareness metrics

Dan Chiappe, PhD 1997, U. of Toronto; attention, cognition, situation awareness

Kim-Phuong Vu, PhD 2003, Purdue U.; human-computer interaction, display-control compatibility, aviation psychology

Faculty-to-student ratio: 1 to 6

[Updated January 2015]