Central Michigan University

Location:    Mt. Pleasant, Michigan

Department:   Psychology

Quick links:

Directory of Graduate Programs


Title of program:

Applied Experimental Psychology (MS, PhD)

Year human factors/ergonomics
program was established:


Accredited by HFES?


Contact person for more information, including applications:

Applied Experimental Psychology Program
Central Michigan University, Department of Psychology
Mt. Pleasant, MI 48859


Academic calendar:


Human factors/ergonomics graduate degrees offered:

MA and PhD

Goals, objectives, and emphasis of the programs:

The objective of the PhD in Applied Experimental Psychology is to develop individuals with strong applied experimental research skills for research positions in business, industry, applied health, government agencies, or academics. The program is designed to provide advanced training in psychological processes (e.g., biological, cognitive, behavioral) and quantitative methodological procedures (e.g., statistics, experimental design, computer applications) and their utilization in applied settings. The program uses a mentor system to provide students with specialized training. Students are matched in their first year with individual faculty members whose research specialty matches their interests. The first two years of the PhD program are the same as for the terminal MS. In addition, the PhD program will provide students with advanced applied training and includes a predoctoral internship for obtaining practical experience.

Number of degrees granted during last 3 years:

MS 15, PhD 9

Can students attend part-time?

MS yes, PhD no

Are required courses offered through distance learning?


Does the university have an HFES student chapter?



Application deadlines:

Feburary 1

Application Fees:



Minimum requirements

  • GPA: 3.0
  • GRE: no minimum
  • Other: TOEFL 500, bachelor's degree, and minimum 15 hours in psychology (required) including statistics (recommended) and research methods (recommended)

Importance of other criteria as admission factors:

  • Previous research activity: high
  • Relevant work experience: low
  • Letters of recommendation: high
  • Personal interview: low

Tuition and fees

Resident: MS $476/credit hour,
PhD $548/credit hour
Nonresident: MS $766/credit hour,
PhD $850/credit hour


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

MS 18, PhD 19

Number of students accepted into the program last year:

MS 2, PhD 5

Number of students entering the program last year:

MS 2, PhD 5

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

MS 2, PhD 5


Percentage of students in program receiving financial assistance:


Amount received per year:

PhD students receive full-time funding —depending on their stipend — $12,949–13,011 + 20 credit hours of tuition waiver.

Master's students normally receive $10,631 + 20 credit hours of tuition waiver for full-time and $5,316 for half-time assistantship + 10 hours of tuition waiver.

Types of assistance available:

TA for MS and PhD are tuition exempt;
RA for MS and PhD are tuition exempt

When should students apply for financial assistance?

With application


Graduate degree offered:

MS and PhD

Number of units required:

MS: 36
PhD: 54 units beyond MS

Exams required:

MS: oral defense of thesis
PhD: oral defense of dissertations

Language requirements:


Research required:

MS: yes
PhD: MS and research experience beyond the degree is required

Practical experience required:

MS: none
PhD: practical experience required (students must complete 6 credit hours of internship)

Typical number of years required to obtain degree:

MS: 2–3
PhD: 2–3 beyond MS

Is there a non-thesis option?



Required Courses (units):

Master of Science (MS) in Experimental Psychology: PSY 511 - Statistics in Psychology 3, PSY 609 - History and Systems of Psychology 3, PSY 690 - Research Seminar: Experimental Psychology 1-3, PSY 798 - Thesis 1-6. PSY 611 - Research Design 3 or PSY 612 - Applied Multiple Regression and Correlation 3 or PSY 613 - Multivariate and Correlational Methods 3. PSY 587 - Physiological Psychology 3 or PSY 687 - Physiological Foundations 3. PSY 589 - Cognitive Psychology 3 or PSY 680 - Learning 3 or PSY 681 - Sensation and Perception 3. PSY 624 - Advanced Developmental Psychology 3 or PSY 630 - Advanced Social Psychology 3. Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Applied Experimental Psychology: PSY 789 - Seminar in Applied Experimental Psychology 1-9 (Spec), PSY 800 - Research in Applied Experimental Psychology 1-12 (Spec), PSY 898 - Doctoral Dissertation: Design 3-12 (Spec), PSY 899 - Doctoral Dissertation: Implementation 3-12 (Spec). A minimum of 15 credit hours from the combination of PSY 898 and PSY 899 is required. Select one of the following: PSY 990 - Internship A: Professional Services 3-6 (Spec) or PSY 991 - Internship B: Professional Services 3-6 (Spec)


To be chosen in consultation with an advisor

Number of courses outside department that are required:


Number of courses outside department that are recommended:


Average or typical class size in a required course:



Research and support facilities available to students in the program:

Computer-supported labs for perception and cognition research, psychophysiology lab and driving simulator, and an audiovisual research lab for multimedia research, auditory and visual signal processing, recording, and data collection are available. All labs are networked to the university computing facilities and to the Internet. Offices are provided for students in faculty laboratories.

Teaching opportunities available to students in the program:
Graduate assistantships may involve supporting faculty teaching. Senior students also have opportunities to assume sole responsibility for teaching courses.

Current research activities and projects being carried out by program faculty and/or students:
Research projects include psychophysiological measures of attention and human performance in transportation; assessment of the pedagogical efficacy of multimodal, computer-based learning programs; role of working memory in complex skill performance; cross-cultural study of risk aversiveness; age differences in prospective memory.


Current number of active students in program, by gender:

17 men, 13 women

Current number of first-year students in program:

MS 2, PhD 5

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:


  • GRE 662 v, 630 q
  • GPA 3.09


  • GRE 532 v, 652 q
  • GPA 3.5


Richard W. Backs, PhD 1984, U. of Southern California; human factors, psychophysiology, aging, attention, emotion

Terry Beehr, PhD 1974, U. of Michigan; Occupational stress, Retirement, Organizational Psychology

Nicholas D. Cassavaugh, PhD 2007, U. of Illinois; Surface Transportation (Driving), Attention, Aging

Hajime Otani, PhD 1989, U. of Georgia; Emotion and Memory, Metacognition

Kimberly E. Prewett, PhD 2008, U. of South Florida; Job stress, interpersonal conflict, prosocial/antisocial work behavior

Matthew S. Prewett, PhD 2009, U. of South Florida; Training and assessment of teamwork competencies; personality and skill configurations for team member performance; positive and negative effects from computer-supported cooperative work

[Updated September 2012]