University of South Dakota



Title of program

Human Factors

Year human factors/ergonomics program was established


Accredited by HFES?


Contact person for more information, including applications

Michael Granaas, University of South Dakota,
414 E. Clark St., Vermillion, SD 57069-2390;

Web site URL

Catalog (free)

Graduate School, University of South Dakota, Vermillion, SD 57069-2390

Academic calendar


Human factors/ergonomics graduate degrees offered


Goals, objectives, and emphasis of the program

The Ph.D. program is designed to provide a strong theoretical base that can be readily applied to various working environments and to prepare students for careers in business, industry, and government. Apprenticeship-style training combines classroom instruction in core areas of human factors with individualized development of competency in research and problem-solving. 
The MA program combines classroom training with a required internship preparing students to work in industry or the military as UX specialists. 

Number of degrees granted during last 3 years

MA 7, PhD 5

Can students attend part-time?

No, for first year

Are required courses offered through distance learning?


Does the university have an HFES student chapter?




Application deadline

Priority Deadline: December 31; Final Deadline: On a space available basis, four weeks before semester begins.

Application fees




Minimum requirements 

GPA: 3.00

GRE: Waived for Fall 2023 admissions 

Recommended: Introductory Psychology, Experimental Psychology, Statistics, Calculus, Computer Programming

Importance of other criteria as admission factors

Research: medium
Work experience: not required, high if it exists
Letters: high
Interview: medium

Tuition and Fees

Resident & WRGP: $3,559.05, 

MN Resident: $4,896.45

Non-Resident: $6,384.15

Assistantship includes reduced tuition, see:



Number of students applying to the human factors/ergonomics program last year

PhD: 5, MA: 3

Number of students accepted into the program last year

PhD: 4, MA: 3

Number of students entering the program last year

PhD: 3, MA: 0

Anticipated number of openings per year for the next two years




Percentage of students in program receiving financial assistance

PhD 100%, MA uncommon

Amount received per year


Types of assistance available

Teaching Assistanship (tuition reduced), research assistanship (tuition reduced)

When should students apply for financial assistance?

All admitted Ph.D. track students are considered for assistantships at time of admission. 



Graduate degrees offered

PhD and MA

Number of units required

PhD: 84 units 

MA: 36 units 

Exams required

MA: Oral defense thesis 

PhD: 12 hours written exam, oral defense dissertation

Language requirements


Research required

Ph.D. track requires MA thesis and Ph.D. dissertation

Practical experience required

MA track requires 1-semester internship/practicum

Typical number of years required to obtain degree

PhD: 5

MA: 2

Is there a non-thesis option?

Yes.  Terminal MA track



Required Courses (PhD)

Research Methods and Statistics I and II 6cr, Sensation and Perception 3cr, Learning, Memory, and Cognition 3cr, Human Performance 3cr, Human Engineering 3r, Seminar in Human Factors Psychology 1cr (3cr required), Experimental Methods and Instrumentation 3cr, Multivariate Statistics 3cr, Masters Thesis 6cr, Masters Thesis 6cr, Dissertation 15cr minimum

Required Courses (MA Track, all 3cr unless stated otherwise)

Human Factors in Computer Systems, Seminar in Human Factors Psychology 1cr (3cr required), Usability Testing, Research Methods and Statistics I, Research Methods and Statistics II, Human Factors Practicum (6cr required), Human Engineering OR Human Factors Psychology, Learning, Memory, and Cognition OR Sensation and Perception 

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


Faculty to Student Ratio




Research and support facilities available to students in the program: 

Facilities are being renovated, available January of 2024.  Six dedicated laboratory spaces and one maker space supporting multiple research areas and projects.

Teaching opportunities available to students in the program:
Opportunities are available both as lab and lecture instructors.

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

Information maintenance across time and in the face of interfering tasks, processes involved in creating stable working memory representations, virtual environments for education, expert performance and deliberate practice, training activities for older adults, neuro-correlates of mental workload, acoustic warning signals.


Current number of active students in program, by gender

3 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


GPA: 3.52 (PhD) and 3.78 MA

Of the number of those graduating in the past year, what percentage gained employment in... Industry: 100%


Jan Berkhout, HFES Emeritus Member. Specializations: vision, safety, psychomotor performance
Michael Granaas, HFES Member. Specializations: Virtual Environments, Quantitative Methods. 
Doug Peterson, HFES Member. Specializations: Usability and User Experience, Aviation Psychology, Neuro-Ergonomics
Timothy Ricker, HFES Member. Specializations: Working Memory, Attention & Multitasking, Vision
JongSung Yoon, Specializations: Development and Neural Mechanism of Expertise, Cognitive Aging, Human Factors and Older Adults

[Updated June 2022]