North Carolina State University Department of Industrial Engineering

Location:   Raleigh, North Carolina

Department:  Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISE)


Quick links:


Directory of Graduate Programs


Title of program:

Human Factors and Ergonomics

Year human factors/ergonomics
program was established:


Accredited by HFES?

Yes- HFES Institute for Ergonomics & Human Factors (UK)

Department sponsoring program

Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISE)

Contact person for more information, including applications:

Chang S. Nam
North Carolina State University Department of Industrial & Systems Engineering
400 Daniels Hall, 111 Lampe Dr
Raleigh, NC 27695-7906

Academic calendar:


Human factors/ergonomics graduate degrees offered:

MIE, MS, and PhD

Goals, objectives, and emphasis of the programs:

Program emphasis is on cognitive engineering/HF in systems design, industrial ergonomics/biomechanics, and occupational safety and health. Students gain breadth of knowledge of physical ergonomics, understanding of approaches to usability evaluation and interface design for human-machine systems, and methods for recognition, evaluation and control of safety hazards in complex task environments. Goal is broad preparation. Courses emphasize contemporary theory, concepts and principles; observational methodologies and research techniques; and systems approach to analysis, design and modeling. Additional courses may be taken in variety of fields, including biomedical engineering, computer science, epidemiology, industrial hygiene, psychology, and public health. (Several courses through ISE program are cross-listed with Psychology.) For superior students, direct-track PhD program exists (MS degree must be completed along the way).

Number of degrees granted during last 3 years:

MIE: 2
MS: 5
PhD: 4

Can students attend part-time?


Are required courses offered through distance learning?

Yes, Human Factors in Systems Design, Occupational Safety Engineering, Occupational Biomechanics, Systems Safety Engineering
Distance degree in ISE is currently offered.

Are classes offered during summer


Are classes offered at night?


Does the university have an HFES student chapter?



Application deadlines:

Financial awards: January 15
Fall: June 25 (U.S.); March 1 (International)
Spring: November 25 (U.S.); July 15 (International)


Application Fees:

$75 (U.S.)
$85 (International)


Are separate applications required for university and department?




Minimum requirements

  • Grade point average (last 4 yrs: A = 4.0): 3.0
  • GRE Verbal: 450 (=150)
  • GRE Quantitative: 680 (=153)
  • GRE Analytical: 3.0
  • Other: TOEFL 80 (internet), 550 (paper), 213 (computer), IELTS 6.5 (overall band), 2 years calculus (including matrix/linear algebra), 1 year statistics

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

  • Undergraduate major in engineering, computer science, or related field

Importance of other criteria as admission factors:

  • Previous research activity: medium
  • Relevant work experience: medium
  • Extracurricular activities: medium
  • Letters of recommendation: high
  • Personal interview: medium (if conducted)

Tuition and fees

Resident: $3,926/semester
Nonresident: $10,975.50/semester



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 (minimum – typical – maximum):

$17,625.60 – $19,828.80 – $22,032

Types of assistance available:

Teaching assistantship (tuition exempt)
Research assistantship (tuition exempt)
Fellowships (tuition exempt)
Traineeships (tuition exempt)

When should students apply for financial assistance?

At the same time as submitting application for admission


Graduate degree offered:


Number of units required:


Exams required:

Oral defense of thesis

Language requirements:


Research required:

Thesis research (3–6 units)

Practical experience required:


Typical number of years required to obtain degree:


Is there a non-thesis option?


Graduate degree offered:


Number of units required:


Exams required:


Language requirements:


Research required:

Project course (3 units)

Practical experience required:


Typical number of years required to obtain degree:


Is there a non-thesis option?


Graduate degree offered:


Number of units required:

72 beyond BS

Exams required:

Qualifying, oral defense of research proposal ("preliminary"), dissertation defense

Language requirements:


Research required:

Dissertation research (12–18 units)

Practical experience required:


Typical number of years required to obtain degree:

3.5 years beyond MS to complete

Is there a non-thesis option?



Required Courses (units):

HF in Systems Design (3), Occupational Biomechanics (3), ISE Seminar (1), Human Performance Modeling (3), Experimental Statistics II (3)


Occupational Safety Engineering (3), Musculoskeletal Mechanics (3), Human-Computer Interaction (3), Systems Safety Engineering (3), Environmental Stress, Physiology & Performance (3), Ergonomic Performance Assessment (3), Human Information Processing (3), Upper-Extremity Biomechanics (3), Spine Biomechanics (3), Cognitive Engineering (Seminar in Ergonomics); (3), Brain-computer Interfaces (3), Research Practicum in Occupational Biomechanics (3)

Number of courses outside department that are required:

3 minor courses for MS; 5 minor courses for PhD

Number of courses outside department that are recommended:

3–5 as part of minor

Average or typical class size in a required course:



Research and support facilities available to students in the program:
Cognitive Ergonomics Lab contains major research instrumentation for study of human-computer/automation interaction in complex systems control, human factors issues in virtual environment interface design for training, and dual-task/team performance in synthetic representations of real-world systems (ATC, commercial aircraft, telerobotics). State-of-the art resources include: STISIM M400 driving simulator; X-Plane flight simulator workstation; Virtual reality locomotion interface, including 3-D stereoscopic projection system integrated with PC-controllable treadmill (instrumented); high-performance virtual reality workstations integrated with stereoscopic display screens and active light-shutter goggles, multiple 3-D HDTVs; 10 Novint Falcon haptic devices; and three SensAble Technologies high-resolution haptic devices. Other major instrumentation includes motion and eye tracking systems, including Ascension Technologies MotionStar, Ascension Technologies 6-DOF mouse, ASL dual-eye tracker, and FaceLab eye tracking system (integrated with driving simulator). Lab also has network of PCs and multiple laptop and tablet systems. Physical Ergonomics Lab has state-of-the-art equipment for lab and field biomechanical analyses, including three Lumbar Motion Monitors, Biometrics electro-goniometers and ThoughtTechnologies data analysis software, Biopac EMG collection/processing system, Myopac EMG collection/processing system, Kin/Com dynamometer, two 32-channel A/D data acquisition systems, two Bertec 3-D force platforms, Kistler GaitWay treadmill with integrated force platform, and Biodex Rehabilitation Treadmill (RT400). This lab also has network of PCs for data analysis and desktop computing.

Brain-Computer Interface (BCI) Lab is equipped with several high-performance PCs for creating BCI applications using C++ Software Development Kit as well as LabVIEW-based BCI development platform. Several digital video camcorders are available to collect data during focus groups and participatory design review sessions. Major instrumentation includes EEG system: g.USBamp amplifiers ( Medical Engineering), electrode caps with 65 electrode positions, including fixation belts and sets of active electrodes (Gold and Ag/AgCl).

Teaching opportunities available to students in the program:
Teaching assistantships available at 1/2 or 1/4 time with assignment to larger undergraduate courses and/or lab sections (Ergonomics, Work Design & Analysis). Advanced students may have opportunity to guest lecture in junior/senior-level ergonomics course.

Current research activities and projects being carried out by program faculty and/or students:
Design of virtual reality applications and haptic control methodologies for fine motor skill rehabilitation; evaluation of electronic medical record interface usability; assessment of driver performance in presence of on-road and in-vehicle distractions under normal and hazard conditions; design of cockpit displays of traffic information; development of models of perceived and objective display clutter; assessment of modalities of cognitive task information presentation under high physical workload in multitasking situations; design of dual-use assistive technologies for occupational and congenital disease populations; evaluation of cognitive workload in use of powered upper-extremity prosthetics; design of human-robot interaction in life science automation and cognitive workload assessment; brain-computer interfaces for communication, control and rehabilitation; haptic user interfaces for users with visual impairments; neurophysiological study of emotion.


Current number of active students in program, by gender:

4 men, 10 women

Current number of first-year students in program:


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

  • Mean GRE Verbal: 500 (=154)
  • Mean GRE Quantitative: 750 (=160)
  • Mean GRE Analytical: 3.5
  • Mean undergraduate GPA: 3.45

Number of current HF/E postdocs:


Of the number of those graduating in the past three years, what percentage is known to have gained employment in:

  • Academia: 3
  • Industry: 2
  • Government: 0

Faculty to Student Ratio:

4 to 9


Chang S. Nam, PhD 2003, Virginia Tech U.; brain-computer interface, neuroergonomics, smart healthcare

Nancy Currie, PhD 1997, U. of Houston; industrial engineering, human-robot interaction, systems safety engineering, biomechanics and biodynamics

Manida Swangnetr, PhD 2010, NC State U.; cognitive ergonomics, occupational ergonomics, safety engineering

[Updated August 2018]