San Jose State University



Title of program

Human Factors/Ergonomics (MS) 

Joint program

With Industrial & Systems Engineering Psychology, Industrial Design, and Kinesiology

Year human factors/ergonomics program was established


Accredited by HFES?


Contact person for more information, including applications

Anil R. Kumar, Program Director, SJSU, ISE Dept, 1 Washington Sq., San Jose, CA 95192-00085; 408/924-7850;

Web site

Academic calendar


Human factors/ergonomics graduate degrees offered


Goals, objectives, and emphasis of the program

The interdisciplinary nature of HF/E is emphasized through a broad curriculum and diverse student backgrounds. Projects provide practical experience in local (Silicon Valley) high-tech manufacturing, research, and professional workplace settings. Emphasizes statistics and experimental design and basic human factors and ergonomics to maintain diversity, enrollment in courses with non-HF/E majors. All students are required to complete the program core consisting of 17 units plus a 4 unit project or thesis. Students also complete 3 courses (9 units) of elective courses of their choosing. Emphasis areas are suggested such as Cognitive Psychology, HCI/UX/UI, Ergonomics, or Human Performance, but students may select electives from across all offerings. Students often work part time or full time in paid internship programs offered by area information technology firms or with area governmental laboratories (e.g., NASA Ames Research Center).

Number of degrees granted during last 3 years

MS 84 

Can students attend part-time?


Are required courses at night?

Late afternoon and evening

Does the university have an HFES student chapter?




Application deadline

February 1 (fall admissions only)

Application fee




Minimum requirements

GPA: 3.0 last 60 units 

GRE: Not required, but preferred 

Other: Three reference letters, personal statement, a TOEFL score of 90 or higher (for international students) is required to be considered for the program. 

Importance of other criteria as admission factors

Research: Medium 

Work experience: Medium 

Extracurricular activities: Low

Letters of recommendation: High

Interview: Not required

Tuition and fees

Check SJSU Web site for current fee structure:



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

45 per year



Percentage of students in program receiving financial assistance


Amount received per year (minimum – typical – maximum)

$7,200 – $10,000 – $14,000 (depends on source and type of work) 

Types of assistance available

TA and RA (not tuition exempt) 

When should students apply for financial assistance?

Upon notification of acceptance



Graduate degrees offered


Number of units required


Exams required

Oral defense of thesis

Language requirements


Research required


Practical experience required


Typical number of years required to obtain degree

2–2.5 years

Is there a non-thesis option?

Yes (project)



Required courses (units)

HF Engineering (3), Design of Experiments (3), Human Factors Experiments (also meets writing requirement) (3), Engineering Psychology (3), Human Motor Development (3), HF Seminar (2), Thesis or culminating project (4)

Electives (units)

Three of the following or other approved courses: Human Computer Interaction (3), Advanced Interaction Design (3), Safety Engineering (3), Ethnographic Studies (3), HF in Design (two courses; 3 each), Usability Testing (3), Seminar in Cognition (3), Seminar in Perception (3); Medical Errors Reduction and Patient Safety Engineering (3)

Number of courses outside department that are required

2: Engineering Psychology (3), Human Motor Development (3)

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: 

Numerous lab available to students with different focus:

  1. The Human Factors/Ergonomics Lab which has the capability of supporting student research in the fields of ergonomics, workplace design, usability, and interface design. The lab is equipped with a state of the art wireless EMG recording system, mobile and base mount eye trackers driven by Imotions software (includes affective modules), a driving simulator (270 degree), instruments to measure physiological and neurophysiological measures,  electrically adjustable workstation, an Oculus Rift HMD, cameras, Wi‐Fi, and related support computers and software. The lab is being retrofitted to include capacity for in‐house user centered design studies, including multiple user studies, various healthcare settings, basic physical ergonomic research tasks, and various simulation facilities.
  2. The Virtual Environments, Cognition, and Training Research (VECTR) Lab which gives students hands‐on experience with all aspects of the research process, with an emphasis on applied experimental research psychology.
  3. Memory, Learning, and Motivation (MLM) Lab which addresses research questions related to human behavior and cognition,
  4. Learning, Attention, Vision, and Application (LAVA) with focus on Human Factors, Visual Attention, Gamification, and Data Visualization.

Teaching opportunities available to students in the program:

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

  • Kumar: Human-Machine Interaction design, Trust Transfer across Mobility, Driver Situational Awareness, Remote Human Factors Validation
  • Huang : Human-automation Interaction, (semi)Autonomous Driving, Successful Aging, Multimodal Displays, Adaptive Automation
  • Schuster: Cognitive factors in cybersecurity, human performance implications of video game experience, human-robot interaction, individual and shared cognition in complex environments, training
  • Nathan-Roberts: affective design, sociotechnical systems, human factors in healthcare systems
  • Palmer: Visual Attention, Gamification, and Data Visualization
  • Andre: Display/control compatibility, medical device design and evaluation
  • Feria: Visual perception and attention


Current number of active students in program, by gender

14 men, 67 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

GPA 3.3, GRE not required



Anthony Andre, PhD 1991, U. of Illinois; engineering psychology, display/control compatibility, medical device design

Cary Feria, PhD, 2004, UC Irvine; perception 

Gaojian Huang, PhD, human-automation interaction, (semi)autonomous driving, successful aging

Anil Kumar, PhD, 2007, Western Michigan U.; product design and development (medical devices), human factors and automation (autonomous vehicles)

Sean Laraway, PhD, 2003, Western Michigan U.; cognition, experimental design 

Abbas Moallem, PhD, U. of Paris; cybersecurity, human computer interaction

Dan Nathan-Roberts, PhD, 2012, U. of Michigan; ergonomics, home healthcare systems 

Evan Palmer, PhD, 2003, U. of Michigan; visual perception and attention, gamification and motivation, human factors in healthcare

Daniel Rosenberg, MS, Tufts U.; interaction design, user experience, visual design

David Schuster, PhD, 2013, U. of Central Florida; applied experimental and human factors psychology

Emily Wughalter, PhD, 1981, U. of Georgia; human performance and motor learning

[Updated May 2022]