Colorado State University

Location:   Fort Collins, Colorado

Department:   Environmental and Radiological Health Sciences


Quick links:


Directory of Graduate Programs


Title of program:

Ergonomics Graduate Program; Occupational Ergonomics (MS, PhD)

Year human factors/ergonomics
program was established:


Accredited by HFES?


Contact person for more information, including applications:

JoiLynn Drescher
Director, Ergonomics Graduate Program,
ERHS Department,
1681 Campus Delivery,
Colorado State University,
Fort Collins, CO, 80523-1691

Academic calendar:


Human factors/ergonomics graduate degrees offered:

MA and PhD

Goals, objectives, and emphasis of the programs:

The graduate program has an interdisciplinary focus with contributing faculty from occupational and environmental health, occupational health psychology, biomedical engineering, and health and exercise science. The program is a component of the NIOSH-supported Mountain and Plains Education and Research Center (ERC), which includes programs in occupational ergonomics, occupational medicine, occupational health psychology, industrial hygiene, and health physics.

Emphasis is placed on occupational ergonomics and human factors, injury prevention applications, occupational exposure assessment, workstation design, production quality and efficiency, safety climate, and safety culture. Current focus of research is in the research in the manufacturing, construction, and agriculture industries. The goal is to provide students the capability to effectively resolve occupational human performance challenges through design with considerations to production, product or process quality, worker health and safety, and the quality of work life.

Number of degrees granted during last 3 years:

4 PhD, 7 MS

Can students attend part-time?


Are required courses offered through distance learning?


Does the university have an HFES student chapter?



Application deadlines:

May 1 (Fall)
November 1 (Spring)


Application Fees:




Minimum requirements

  • GPA: MS: 3.0; PhD: 3.5
  • GRE: Recommended: 600 v, 600 q, 5.0 w
  • Official transcripts from all undergraduate and graduate institutions; official GRE scores; resume or curriculum vitae; written statement of background, interests, motivation for graduate study, and professional goals; 3 letters of recommendation from academic sources. International Students: TOEFL minimum 550 (paper), 213 (computer); evidence of research capability (for PhD program).
  • Recommended: Applications are most commonly accepted from individuals with undergraduate or graduate degrees in the health sciences (e.g., physical or occupational therapy), engineering, behavioral, biological, physical, or safety sciences. Previous coursework in anatomy, physiology, psychology, and statistics is strongly recommended. Each candidate is evaluated on their individual merits and qualities.

Importance of other criteria as admission factors:

  • Research: Medium
  • Relevant work experience: Medium
  • Letters of recommendation: High
  • Personal interview: High

Tuition and fees

Resident: $6,700/semester
Nonresident: $10,600/semester (est.)



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:

Typical = $35,000

Types of assistance available:

Research Assistantship (not tuition exempt), Traineeship (tuition exempt)

When should students apply for financial assistance?

For priority consideration, submit application by November 1 (fall semester) or March 1 (spring semester)


Graduate degree offered:

MA and PhD

Number of units required:

MA: 43-semester units
PhD: At least 72-semester units beyond the bachelor's degree, 12-semester units of research/dissertation

Exams required:

MA: Oral exams
PhD: Qualifying and comprehensive exams and oral defense of dissertation

Language requirements:


Research required:

MA: Practicum experience, research required

Practical experience required:

MS: none
PhD: none

Typical number of years required to obtain degree:

MA: 2
PhD: 3 years minimum

Is there a non-thesis option?



Required Courses (units):

Departmental core courses (12), Principles of Ergonomics (3), Occupational and Environmental Health Interdisciplinary Symposia (1), Human Performance (3), Occupational Safety (3), Ergonomics in Product and Process Design (3), Ergonomic Practicum (3), Introductory Statistics (3), Intermediate Statistics (3)



Number of courses outside department that are required:

  • Biomechanics (3)
  • Occupational Health Psychology (3)
  • Biomechanics (3)
  • Occupational Health Psychology (3)

Number of courses outside department that are recommended:

TBD depending on student's background

Average or typical class size in a required course:



Research and support facilities available to students in the program:
State-of-the-art laboratory and computer facilities are available for research in human factors/ergonomics and injury prevention.

Teaching opportunities available to students in the program:
Graduate students are encouraged to serve as teaching assistants and/or enroll in Supervised College Teaching (3).

Current research activities and projects being carried out by program faculty and/or students:
Workplace exposure assessment and design, injury prevention, prevention of upper extremity and low back disorders, epidemiology of occupational injuries and illnesses, ergonomic design, organizational factors in ergonomics, safety climate and culture, production quality and efficiency through design.


Current number of active students in program, by gender:

5 Women, 0 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:


  • GRE 550 v, 603 q
  • 4.5 w; GPA 3.76



  • GRE 530 v; 630 q
  • 4.5 w; GPA 3.75



Raoul Riser, PhD 2000, Colorado State U.; Human Biomechanics 

John Rosecrance, PhD 1993, U. of Iowa; Occupational Ergonomics, Exposure Assessment, Musculoskeletal Disorders

Bill Brazile, PhD; Exposure Assessment, Industrial Hygiene 

Gwen Fisher, PhD; Occupational Health Psychology 

[Updated May 2022]