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

Louis E. Freund, Program Director, SJSU, ISE Dept, 1 Washington Sq., San Jose, CA 95192-00085; 408/924-3890;

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 56 

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

$55. See Web site for current application deadline and details.



Minimum requirements

GPA: 3.0 last 60 units 

GRE: Not required 

Other: Three reference letters required by department. Accepts students from a wide range of undergraduate degree backgrounds (e.g., psychology, industrial engineering, human performance, industrial design, occupational therapy, computer science, or information technology specializations). Program prerequisites: Upper-division perception, cognition, and statistics through regression, correlation, and introduction to analysis of variance are required for advancement to classified standing. See program FAQ at

Importance of other criteria as admission factors

Research: low 

Work experience: medium 

Letters: 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

30 fall, 0 spring



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

RA (not tuition exempt) 

When should students apply for financial assistance?

Upon notification of acceptance



Graduate degrees offered


Number of units required


Exams required

Thesis option for selected

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), Engineering Economics (3), Work Measurement (3), 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


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: 

Human performance labs include motor learning facility with PCs and devices to measure reaction time, CAT, and tracking. Also energy expenditure, force platform, and video/computer systems for motion study. IE labs focus on workplace design and performance measurement. Equipment includes video, heart rate, time study, and flexometer devices and PCs. Computer Engineering program has labs and software suitable for sophisticated modeling of human-system interaction. Psychology Program conducts research at the Aerospace Human Factors Research Division at NASA-Ames Research Center. Industrial Design Program has access to approximately 20 high-performance Macintosh and Silicon Graphics workstations with high-resolution color, in addition to machines available in the several general-purpose computer labs throughout the university. The usability testing lab at Interface Analysis Associates has frequently been available for student thesis research that is related to Dr. Andre's evaluation and design projects.

Teaching opportunities available to students in the program:

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

  • Freund: The human side of service engineering, co-production quality, human factors in health care delivery systems

  • Wughalter: Organizing practice and understanding contextual variables to facilitate memory and performance of motor skills, translating research for applications in the workplace

  • Still: Human-computer interaction, visual attention, intuitive design, usability testing, cyber security

  • Laraway: Learning, memory, motivation, behavior analysis, organizational behavior, online education, research methods, human factors/ergonomics

  • Feria: Visual perception and attention

  • Schuster: Cognitive factors in cybersecurity, human performance implications of video game experience, human-robot interaction, individual and shared cognition in complex environments, training

  • Andre: Display/control compatibility, simulation of visual scenes design, medical device design and evaluation

  • Nathan-Roberts: affective design, sociotechnical systems, human factors in healthcare systems


Current number of active students in program, by gender

27 men, 38 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 

Louis Freund, PhD 1969, U. of Michigan; industrial engineering, human factors in health care, methods engineering, workplace design 

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

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

Daniel Rosenberg, Interaction design, gamification, information architecture and information visualization

David Schuster, PhD, 2013, U. of Central Florida; perception

Jeremiah Still, PhD, 2009, Iowa State U.; human computer interaction 

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

[Updated January 2015]