University of Houston



Title of program

Program in Ergonomics, HF, and Safety Engineering, a National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Occupational Safety and Ergonomics Program

Year human factors/ergonomics program was established


Accredited by HFES?


Contact person for more information, including applications

Lawrence Schulze, IE Department, University of Houston, E206-D3, Engineering Building 2, Houston , TX 77204-4008; 713/743-4196, fax 713/743-4190; ljhs@uh.edu

Catalog (free)

Mary Patronella, U. of Houston, IE Dept., E206-D3, Engineering Building 2, Houston, TX 77204-4812; 713/743-4188, fax 713/743-4190;

Academic calendar


Human factors/ergonomics graduate degrees offered

MIE, MSIE, and PhD

Goals, objectives, and emphasis of the program

Basic and applied research studies are conducted in the IE labs and in local industry. Industrial ergonomics focuses on workplace, work area, and workstation design; tools; work methods; and materials handling. HF focuses on the interface between human operators and machines. Safety Engineering focuses on system- and equipment-related issues with access to the largest chapter of ASSE and the largest concentration of process facilities in the United States. Additional interfaces provided by the Southwest Center for Occupational and Environmental Health in the Texas Medical Center and NASA-Johnson Space Center.
Accredited by ABET. ASSE Student Section: yes.

Number of degrees granted during last 3 years

MSIE (thesis) 7, MIE (nonthesis) 5, PhD 4

Can students attend part-time?


Are required courses offered through distance learning?


Are required courses offered at night?


Are required courses offered during summer?


Does the university have an HFES student chapter?




Application deadlines

U.S./permanent residents: July 1 (fall), October 1 (spring), April 1 (summer)

International: May 1 (fall), September 1 (spring), February 1 (summer)

Application fees

$25 for U.S. citizens or permanent residents with U.S. transcripts; $75 for international students or those with foreign marksheets/transcripts



Minimum requirements

GPA: 3.0 for last 60 semester or 90 quarter hours for unconditional admission; transfer students: 3.0 GPA on all completed graduate work

GRE: 1100 v + q rec. for MS and 1200 for PhD 

Other: TOEFL 550; degree in engineering (those with degrees in closely related fields may be accepted subject to additional requirements or leveling courses)

Importance of other criteria as admission factors

Research: high

Work experience: high

Letters: medium

Interview: high

Tuition and fees

Resident: $160/credit hour

Nonresident: $370/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

MA TA $700–$750/mo., MA RA $800–$850/mo., PhD TA $750–$800/mo., PhD RA $850–$1,100/mo.

Types of assistance available

Fellowship, scholarship (tuition exempt); TA, RA $998 tuition waiver provided equivalent to 9 hrs./semester

When should students apply for financial assistance?

After acceptance



Graduate degrees offered

MIE (nonthesis), MSIE (thesis), and PhD

Number of units required

MIE (nonthesis): 36

MSIE (thesis): 30 hours classes, 6 hours research

PhD: 54 hours beyond MA (including 30 hours research and dissertation)

Exams required


Language requirements




Research required

MIE (nonthesis): no

MSIE (thesis): yes

PhD: yes

Practical experience required


Typical number of years required to obtain degree

MIE (nonthesis): 1.5–2

MSIE (thesis): 1.5–2 

PhD: 3–4

Is there a non-thesis option?




Required courses (units)

MIE: HF in Systems Design (3), Industrial Ergonomics (3), Occupational Biomechanics (3), Advanced Engineering Statistics (3), Optimization Methods (3), Occupational Safety Engineering (3)

MSIE: same as MIE plus Graduate Seminar. PhD: same as MSIE + Digital Simulation (3) and Expert Systems (3)

NIOSH Trainees: same as MIE and MSIE plus System Safety Engineering, Safety Engineering Management, Industrial Ecology, Legal Aspects of Engineering, Fundamentals of Industrial Hygiene, and Occupational Health Field Trips

Electives (units)

Reliability and Quality Control, Special Topics in Applied Ergonomics, Special Topics in HF Engineering, Special Topics in Applied Safety and Management, Epidemiology, Issues in Occupational Health, Ethics in Research, Engineering Administration, Management and Organization of Projects, Scheduling and Planning, Industrial Ecology

Number of courses outside department that are required

MIE: 9 hours

MSIE: 6 hours

PhD: 9 hours

NIOSH Trainees: MSIE 9 hours, PhD 12 hours

Average or typical class size in a required course




Research and support facilities available to students in the program: 

1,000 sq ft computer laboratory with 20 computer workstations; 200 sq ft Human-Computer Interaction Laboratory; 1,000 sq ft library of hard-copy and relational database research and product information; 2,000 sq ft Lab for Industrial Engineering Activities houses a simulated manufacturing/material handling environment; 1,000 sq ft HF Lab houses the latest in computer and design workstation hardware and software where human-machine interfaces can be developed and evaluated. The 3,000 sq ft Industrial Ergonomics and Analysis Lab houses equipment for analysis of worker activities and assessment of work capacities, including static and dynamic strength and hand-eye coordination.

Teaching opportunities available to students in the program:
MA students can assist with lectures, exams, and assignments and teach labs; PhD students may teach an entire class.

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

Maximum acceptable operational volitional rotations applied to operation of manually operated valves; gate valve operation torque requirements; reduction of accidents and injuries in high-hazard occupations through bilingual communication; determination of average weights of backpacks of children pre-K through 12th grade; development of predictive models of accidents, injuries, and incidents through the use of trailing and leading indicators; development of an anthropometric database for Latin American populations; development of an anthropometric database for Latin American school children; determination of ethnic differences in Web page scanning strategies; evaluation of differences between Web-based and traditional contact methods of instruction; evaluation of arm support devices for adults and children with limited control of arm movements.


Current number of active students in program, by gender

3 men, 5 women

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

MIE: GRE 550 v, 650 q, 690 a, GPA 3.5


MSIE: GRE 570 v, 690 q, 700 a, GPA 3.5


PhD: GRE 600 v, 700 q, 720 a, GPA 3.7



Chris Chung, PhD, 1997, U. Pittsburgh; simulation 

Charles Donaghey, PhD 1967, U. Pittsburgh; facility layout, applied statistics, reliability 

Lawrence J. H. Schulze, PhD 1989, Texas A&M U.; industrial ergonomics, accommodation, analysis and design of operator-machine systems

[Updated Winter 2007]