Clemson University

Location:    Clemson, South Carolina

Department:   Psychology


Quick links:


Directory of Graduate Programs


Title of program:

Applied Psychology Human Factors (MS), Human Factors Psychology (PhD)

Year human factors/ergonomics
program was established:


Accredited by HFES?


Contact person for more information, including applications:

Chris Pagano
Psychology Department
Clemson University
Clemson, SC 29634-1355


Office of Admissions, Graduate School
Clemson University
Clemson, SC 29634
Download Catalog

Academic calendar:


Human factors/ergonomics graduate degrees offered:

MS and PhD

Goals, objectives, and emphasis of the programs:

Our program emphasizes producing graduates who can work in applied and basic research environments. Through coursework and research experience our students develop a strong background in basic human factors issues such as perception, performance, cognition, psychophysiology, experimental methods, and statistics. Our students also gain experience in applied areas such as human-computer interface design, usability testing, cognitive task analysis, and driving and aviation simulation. Students have the opportunity to gain direct experience in real-world settings through an internship program. In addition, our department offers programs in industrial-organizational psychology and occupational health psychology. Students in our human factors program can gain experience in these areas through elective courses.

Number of degrees granted during last 3 years:

MS 11, PhD 9

Can students attend part-time?


Are required courses offered through distance learning?


Are required courses offered at night?


Are required courses offered during the summer?


Does the university have an HFES student chapter?



Application deadlines:

January 15


Application Fees:

$70 domestic, $80 international



Minimum requirements

  • GPA: 3.0
  • Required: 18 hours of undergraduate psychology (may be taken concurrently)
  • Recommended: undergraduate courses in statistics, research methods, and computer science

Importance of other criteria as admission factors:

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

Tuition and fees

Resident: $1,020 in fees/semester,
tuition waived with assistantship (full load)
Nonresident: $1,020 in fees/semester,
tuition waived with assistantship (full load)



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

28 PhD; 48 MS

Number of students accepted into the program last year:

4 PhD; 0 MS

Number of students entering the program last year:

5 PhD; 3 MS

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

5 PhD; 5 MS 


Percentage of students in program receiving financial assistance:


Amount received per year:

(9 months, with 12-month RAs also available)

Types of assistance available:

Fellowships, TA, RA, all tuition exempt

When should students apply for financial assistance?

With application


Graduate degree offered:

MS and PhD

Number of units required:

MS: 45 hours
PhD (includes MS): 90 hours

Exams required:

MS: oral defense of written proposal, oral defense of written thesis

PhD: oral defense of written thesis proposal, oral defense of written thesis, oral defense of written dissertation proposal, oral defense of written dissertation, comprehensive exam

Language requirements:


Research required:

MS: thesis research, summer internship or equivalent independent research
PhD: continuous research, summer internship or equivalent independent research

Practical experience required:

MS: none
PhD: none

Typical number of years required to obtain degree:

MS: 2 years (very few students accepted into a terminal MS degree program)
PhD: 4–5 years

Is there a non-thesis option?



Required Courses (units):

MS courses only: Quantitative Methods and Research Design (6), Human Factors Psychology (3), Cognitive Psychology (3), Human Perception and Performance (3), Ergonomics (3), Applied Psychology Internship (6), Human-Machine Systems Engineering (3), Usability (3), Master's Thesis Research (6); PhD courses beyond MS: Engineering & Technology Content Courses (9), Selected Topics in Applied Psychology (15), Dissertation Research (18)


MS 9 credits; PhD 12 credits; Design of Human-Computer Systems (3), Advanced Seminar in Quantitative Methods (3), Advanced Physiological Psychology (3)

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:

Multiple computer laboratories with Internet access; no-fee student computer accounts; Human/Technology Interaction Usability Lab, Human Factors Lab, Motion Sciences Lab, Cardiovascular Psychophysiology Lab, Sleep Research Facility, Perception-Action Lab, Information Processing and Emotion Lab, Occupational Stress Simulation Lab, Oculomotor Assessment Lab, Graduate Student Research Lab, Cognition Lab, Driving Simulator Lab, Uninhabited Aerial Vehicle Lab, Virtual Reality Facility, telerobotics facilty.

Teaching opportunities available to students in the program:
Teaching experience is available for qualified students in the form of teaching assistantships, which typically involve leading discussion and lab sections of undergraduate psychology courses.

Current research activities and projects being carried out by program faculty and/or students:
The faculty is involved in a wide spectrum of funded and nonfunded research, including human-computer interaction, medical human factors, visual information-processing strategies in adults, usability, sleep and work-rest cycles, motion sickness and spatial disorientation, effects of motion on performance, face and pattern recognition, development of pattern vision in humans, visual-spatial display characteristics of spatial orientation tasks, cognitive aging, memory, human performance measurement, crew performance in process control, dynamic/real-time decision making, vision in virtual environments, transportation safety, teleoperation of robotic systems, and artificial visual displays for manual guidance.


Current number of active students in program, by gender:

9 women, 7 men 

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:

2011–2012 incoming PhD students:

  • GRE 156 v
  • 158 q, 4.1 a



Claudio Cantalupo, PhD 2000, U. of Memphis; biopsychology, evolution of laterality, communication abilities in primates

Christopher C. Pagano, PhD 1993, U. of Connecticut; teleoperation of robotic systems, haptic and visual perception, kinesthesis, motor control, visually guided reaching, cognition, human factors and ergonomics, teleoperation

Richard Pak, PhD 2005, Georgia Tech; human factors psychology, human-computer interaction, cognitive aging, spatial abilities, memory

June Pilcher, PhD 1989, U. of Chicago; biopsychology, neuroscience, sleep and sleep deprivation, fatigue, biological rhythms, work/rest cycles, human factors and ergonomics, occupational health psychology, history of psychology

Patrick Raymark, PhD 1993, Bowling Green State U.; industrial-organizational psychology, sources of performance information used by raters, effects of indirect performance information on rating behavior

Patrick Rosorpa, PhD 2007, U. of Central Florida; quantitative analysis

Robert Sinclair, PhD 1995, Wayne State U.; occupational health psychology

Richard A. Tyrrell, PhD 1993, Penn State U.; human factors psychology, visual perception and performance, transportation safety

Shubham Agrawal, PhD 2020, Purdue U; connected & automated vehicles, traveler behavior & cognition, sustainable living

Kaileigh Byrne, PhD 2017, Texas A&M; decision-making, individual differences in cognition, performance pressure

Lesley Ross, PhD 2007, U of AL at Birmingham; cognitive aging, healthy aging

Dawn Sarno, PhD 2020, U of Central FL; applied visual cognition, working memory, cybersecurity

Dustin Souders, PhD 2018, Florida State; advanced vehicle technologies & transportation, cognitive aging, cogntitive training

Faculty-to-student ratio? 1 : 2.5 


[Updated May 2022]