University of Kentucky



Title of program

Experimental Psychology (MS, PhD) with specialized courses and research opportunities in applied cognitive and engineering psychology

Year human factors/ergonomics program was established


Accredited by HFES?


Contact person for more information, including applications

Melody Carswell, University of Kentucky, Dept. of Psychology, 125 Kastle Hall, Lexington, KY 40506-0044;

Catalog (free)

University of Kentucky Graduate School, 351 Patterson Office Tower, Lexington, KY 40506-0027

Academic calendar


Human factors/ergonomics graduate degrees offered

MS and PhD

Goals, objectives, and emphasis of the program

The HF curriculum is part of an integrative experimental psychology program. Although students are expected to develop a broad understanding of a variety of experimental approaches, the HF curriculum allows students to gain depth in several aspects of applied cognitive psychology relevant to product, system, and information design. Faculty interests focus on memory and comprehension of textual, graphical, geographical, and televised information. Opportunities exist for research involving special user populations, including children and older adults.

Number of degrees granted during last 3 years

MS 1, PhD 3

Can students attend part-time?


Are required courses offered at night?


Does the university have an HFES student chapter?




Application deadline

February 1

Are separate applications required for university and department?


Application fees

$30 domestic, $35 international



Minimum requirements

GPA: 3.0 

GRE: 1500 v + q + a 

Other: Undergraduate degree in psychology or undergraduate coursework including cognitive processes, learning, and sensation/perception required. Course in statistics required. 

Importance of other criteria as admission factors

Research: high

Work experience: medium

Letters: high

Interview: high

Tuition and fees

Resident: $2,037.25/semester

Nonresident: $5,647.25/semester



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 (minimum – typical – maximum)

$9,000 – $9,275 – $10,000

Types of assistance available

Fellowships, TA tuition exempt; RA tuition exemption varies

When should students apply for financial assistance?

With application



Graduate degrees offered

PhD: (MA/MS completed as part of requirements for PhD)

Number of units required

Number of units required is determined by student's advisory committee.

Exams required

Oral defense of MA/MS thesis, written and oral qualifying examination prior to beginning PhD thesis, and oral defense of PhD thesis required

Language requirements


Research required

Continuous research activity expected

Practical experience required

Highly recommended but not required

Typical number of years required to obtain degree

6, including practical experience

Is there a non-thesis option?




Required courses (units)

Foundations of Inferential Statistics (3), Design and Analysis of Experiments (3), choice of three proseminars from the following list (3 each): Cognitive Processes, Sensation and Perception, Learning Development, Behavioral Neuroscience

Electives (units)

Applied Cognitive Psychology: Human Factors (3), Text Comprehension (3), Ergonomics and Work Hardening (3), Human Error (3), Multimedia Research and Design (3)

Number of courses outside department that are required

Determined by student's advisory committee

Number of courses outside department that are recommended

Typically 2

Average or typical class size in a required course




Research and support facilities available to students in the program: 

Kastle Hall includes research and office space for students in all graduate psychology programs. Facilities include several research suites with rooms for individual and group testing, videotaping and editing facilities, and a dedicated graduate student computer lab.

Teaching opportunities available to students in the program:
Teaching assistantships are readily available and frequently involve responsibility for introductory and advanced laboratories. Many students take special courses on college teaching. Advanced students with strong teaching records may be awarded independent teaching assignments.

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

Current topics include visualization support for decision making, participatory design with older users, visual search and error monitoring, mental workload assessments during television viewing, individual differences in graph comprehension strategies, design of text signals for enhanced comprehension and recall, and relationships between interface preference and human-system performance.


Current number of active students in program, by gender

1 man, 2 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




Melody Carswell, PhD 1988, U. Illinois Urbana-Champaign; visual display design, graph comprehension and communication, interface preference

Jonathan M. Golding, PhD 1986, U. Denver; question answering, memory, reading 

Elizabeth P. Lorch, PhD 1981, U. Massachusetts; television viewing, attention, reading 

Robert F. Lorch, PhD 1980, U. Massachusetts; reading, memory, statistics