University of Idaho



Title of program

Experimental psychology with an emphasis in human factors

Primary department sponsoring program

Psychology & Communication Studies

Year human factors/ergonomics program was established

Master's program was established in 1984; PhD was added in 2014.

Accredited by HFES?

Master's program is accredited by HFES.

Contact person for more information, including applications

Benjamin Barton
University of Idaho
Department of Psychology & Communication Studies 

Web site

Academic calendar


Human factors/ergonomics graduate degrees offered


Goals, objectives, and emphasis of the program

The program stresses both theoretical research and practical application to human factors problems. We provide students with a strong background in human factors psychology to prepare them for positions in industry and academia. Current areas of faculty interest include pedestrian safety, human-computer interaction, virtual environments and simulation, navigation, interconnectedness of thought and action, neuro-ergonomics, and visual display design.

Number of degrees granted during last 3 years

21 MS, 0 PhD (new program)

Can students attend part-time?


Are required courses offered through distance learning?

Students can complete a master's degree via distance. All courses are available online; each course is typically offered once a year.

Are required courses offered at night?


Are required courses offered during summer?


Does the university have an HFES student chapter?




Application deadlines

February 15 for master's program; January 15 for PhD

Are separate applications required for university and department?


Application fees

Online (domestic): $60; online (international): $75; paper application: $85



Minimum requirements

Grade point average (last 4 yrs: A = 4.0): 3.0

GRE combined: 300
GRE Verbal: 150
GRE Quantitative: 150

Other: intro to statistics (recommended), research methods (recommended) 

Importance of other criteria as admission factors

Previous research activity: high

Relevant work experience: low

Extracurricular activities: low

Letters of recommendation: high

Personal interview: N/A

Tuition and fees

$3,941 per semester (Idaho residents); $10,706 per semester (non-Idaho residents)



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

5 MS, 2  PhD



Percentage of students in program receiving financial assistance

100% (of on-campus students)

Amount received per year

Master's students – $5,000 (minimum); $10,000 (typical) 

PhD students – $13,000 over the academic year, all tuition waived

Types of assistance available

Teaching assistantship (partial tuition exempt)

Research assistantship (tuition not exempt)

When should students apply for financial assistance?

All on-campus applicants are considered for assistantships.



Graduate degrees offered

MS and PhD

Number of units required

MS: 30 credits

PhD: 78 credits

Exams required

MS: none

PhD: oral defense of thesis; preliminary exam; and oral defense of dissertation

Language requirements


Research required

MS: thesis (optional)

PhD: thesis and dissertation

Practical experience required


Typical number of years required to obtain degree

MS: 2–3

Is there a non-thesis option?




Required courses (units)

Introduction to Human Factors Engineering (3), Engineering Psychology (3), Research Methods (3), Advanced Research Methods (3), Human-Computer Interaction (3), Ergonomics and Biomechanics (3), Advanced Human Factors (3), Cognitive Psychology (3), Sensation and Perception (3)

All of these courses are available online.

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: 

Our laboratories span basic research in perception, cognition, and motor control to highly applied problems in transportation and human-computer interaction. The research tools available to students (3 eye-tracking systems, 3 motion tracking systems, 2 head-mounted VE systems, a flight simulator, a high-fidelity driving simulator, and sensors for physiological measurement) are world-class.

Teaching opportunities available to students in the program:
Teaching opportunities available to students in the program: Students serve as teaching assistants for a variety of classes (e.g., intro to psychology; research methods). Following the completion of their MS, students have the opportunity to teach classes in the department.

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

Virtual environments and simulation, aviation psychology, pedestrian safety, navigation, visual display design, human-computer interaction, neuro-ergonomics, decision making


Current number of active students in program, by gender

9 men, 6 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: 153
Mean GRE Quantitative: 150
Mean GRE Analytical: 4.0
Mean GRE Combined: 303

Mean undergraduate GPA:

Number of current HF/E postdocs


Of the number of those graduating in the past
year, what percentage gained employment in

Academia: 0%

Industry: 100%

Government: 0%

Faculty-to-student ratio

1 to 4



Brian P. Dyre, PhD 1993, University of Illinois; visual psychophysics, mathematical modeling of visual processes

Steffen Werner, PhD 1994, University of Göttingen; spatial cognition, visual cognition, neuro-ergonomics

Benjamin Barton, PhD 2005, University of Alabama at Birmingham; risk factors for unintentional injuries, injury prevention

Russell Jackson, PhD 2007, University of Texas; human evolution, navigation, visual perception

Rajal Cohen, PhD 2008, Pennsylvania State University; cognitive and neural factors, posture and mobility, executive function in motor planning

[Updated October 2014]