Rochester Institute of Technology



Title of program

Experimental Psychology (MS), Advanced Certificate in Engineering Psychology

Year human factors/ergonomics program was established

2006 as Applied Experimental and Engineering Psychology. The program name was changed to Experimental Psychology and the Advanced Certificate in Engineering Psychology established in 2013.

Accredited by HFES?


Contact person for more information, including applications

Esa M. Rantanen, PhD, CPE, Department of Psychology, 01-2353 Eastman Bldg., Rochester Institute of Technology, 18 Lomb Memorial Dr., Rochester, NY 14623, 585/475-4412, fax 585/475-6715,


Academic calendar


Human factors/ergonomics graduate degrees offered

MS and Advanced Certificate in Engineering Psychology

Goals, objectives, and emphasis of the program

The Master of Science (MS) program in Experimental Psychology is a broad and flexible program that provides students for a solid stepping-stone into careers or continuing education in diverse areas of psychology and human factors/ergonomics. The program has two tracks, Experimental Psychology and Engineering Psychology. Students opting for the Engineering Psychology track will also receive an Advanced Certificate in Engineering Psychology in addition to their MS degree in Experimental Psychology, provided they meet the Advanced Certificate requirements. Faculty from the Department of Psychology, the Department of Industrial & Systems Engineering and the Department of Information Technology all contribute to the teaching of specialty courses in the program. The mission of RIT is to provide technology-based educational programs and to vigorously pursue emerging careers by developing new programs in response to changing technology. This program provides a foundation for further advanced academic study in Engineering Psychology, Human Factors/Ergonomics, or Experimental Psychology. The Advanced Certificate in Engineering Psychology is a post-baccalaureate certificate that provides the students with core knowledge in the key areas of engineering psychology (3 required courses), as well as an opportunity to study particular relevant topics in greater depth through electives (2 open electives). An advanced certificate provides students a formal acknowledgment of their knowledge in engineering psychology and credentials for seeking a career in the human factors/ergonomics field. Teaching and research assistantships are available.

Number of degrees granted during last 3 years


Can students attend part-time?


Are required courses offered through distance learning?


Does the university have an HFES student chapter?




Application deadline

February 15

Application fee

$60 for applicants other than RIT alumni and current students within four quarters of completing another RIT program



Minimum requirements

GPA: 3.0 

GRE: Within 5 years 

Other: Applicants are expected to have at least 15 semester credit hours of course work in undergraduate psychology or related field (e.g., engineering, computer science, information technology), including one course in experimental psychology and another in statistics; in addition, applicants should have a minimum GPA of 3.0 for undergraduate work, a Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores (≤ 5 years), two letters of reference from professors or supervisors, a biographical statement describing the applicant's experience and goals regarding the program, and completed application for graduate admission to RIT. 

Importance of other criteria as admission factors

Research: high

Work experience: A biographical statement describing the applicant's experience and goals regarding the program is required.

Letters: high (minimum of two required)

Interview: high

Tuition and fees

Full time: $18,618/semester

Part time: $1,552/credit hour



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


Types of assistance available

Teaching and research assistantships 

When should students apply for financial assistance?

With application



Graduate degrees offered


Number of units required

The program consists of a minimum of 30 semester credits, which include experimental psychology core courses, required engineering psychology courses, two electives, and the completion of a thesis.

Research required


Is there a non-thesis option?




Required courses (units)

Required experimental core courses: Graduate Statistics (3), Graduate Research Methods (3), Graduate Seminar (0), Thesis Proposal (3), Thesis (3)

Required engineering psychology courses: Graduate Cognition (3), Graduate Engineering Psychology (3), Graduate Perception (3)

Electives (units)

Applied Psychology Methods (3), Graduate Biopsychology (3), Graduate Developmental Psychology (3), Graduate Social Psychology (3), Advanced Graduate Statistics (3), Biomechanics (3), Systems Safety Engineering (3), Foundations of Human-Computer Interaction (3), Information and Interaction Design (3), Usability Testing (3), Topics in HCI for Biomedical Informatics (3), Agent-Based and Cognitive Modeling (3), User-Centered Design Methods (3), Collaboration, Technology, and the Human Experience (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: 

Psychology lab spaces for testing individuals and groups up to 20; a variety of visual-motor testing devices, color vision tests, depth perception tests etc. IE Human Performance Lab with electromyography and electrogoniometry instruments, energy expenditure cart, and a work simulator for measurement of human strength. IT multimedia lab, sound recording studio, usability testing lab, and eye tracking lab. RIT has a strategic alliance with the Rochester General Health System that provides access to the medical community.

Teaching opportunities available to students in the program:
Mentoring (of undergraduate students) appointments available

Current research activities and projects being carried out by program faculty and/or students:

Temporal awareness, visual multiple identity tracking, human error and reliability in health care


Current number of active students in program


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

GRE 156.25 v, 154.75 q



Reynold Bailey, PhD Washington University in St. Louis: computer graphics, applied perception in graphics and visualization 

Joseph Baschnagel, Assistant Professor, PhD University at Buffalo: Attention, Smoking Behavior, Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, Psychophysiological Measurement 

Kirsten Condry, Associate Professor, PhD University of Minnesota: Child Development, Perceptual & Cognitive Development, Media Influences on Children 

Caroline DeLong, Associate Professor. PhD University of Hawaii: Human & Animal Cognition, Perception, Animal Bioacoustics 

Nicholas DiFonzo, Professor, PhD Temple University: Rumor accuracy and interpersonal forgiveness 

John Edlund, Assistant Professor, PhD, Northern Illinois University: Evolutionary, Social, & Forensic Psychology 

Anne Haake, PhD 1985, University of South Carolina; developmental biology, biomedical informatics and image retrieval, human-centered, adaptive computing cognitive models of perceptual expertise, multimodal user interfaces 

Andrew Herbert, Professor, PhD 1996, University of Western Ontario: Perception, Cognitive Neuroscience 

Matthew Marshall, PhD 2002, University of Michigan: Industrial Engineering, human factors/ergonomics, upper extremity biomechanics 

Cecilia Ovesdotter Alm, PhD 2008, University of Illinois - Urbana-Champaign, computational linguistics, linguistics, human-computer interaction involving language, knowledge inference in natural language, subjectivity and affect, (multimodal) semantics, language and cognition 

Esa Rantanen, Associate Professor, PhD Pennsylvania State University: Human Factors in Complex Systems, Human Performance Measurement & Modeling, Mental Workload, Decision Making, Human Error & Reliability 

Lindsay Schenkel, Associate Professor, PhD University of Nebraska-Lincoln: Developmental Psychopathology, Serious Mental Illness, Social Cognition 

Audrey Smerbeck, Assistant Professor, PhD University at Buffalo: Autism Spectrum Disorders, Testing & Psychometrics 

Tina Sutton, Assistant Professor, PhD University at Albany: Psychology of Language, Cognition & Emotion, Emotion Word Representation Within & Across Languages, Hemispheric Specialization 

Tywanquila Walker, Assistant Professor, PhD Cornell University: Child Development, Early Child- hood Interventions, Language Development, Family and Dyadic Interactions

[Updated October 2013]