University of Texas at Austin



Title of program

MSIS (Master's of Science in Information Studies) and PhD

Year human factors/ergonomics program was established


Accredited by HFES?


Contact person for more information, including applications

Andrew Dillon, Dean, School of Information, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX 78701; 512/471-3821;

Catalog (free)

School of Information, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX 78701. See also

Academic calendar


Human factors/ergonomics graduate degrees offered

MSIS and PhD

Goals, objectives, and emphasis of the program

The program leads to an MSIS (Master's of Science in Information Studies) or a PhD. A master's student with an interest in cognitive human factors can take a series of courses in usability, information architecture, digital media design, research methods, and human information processing. Master's students may also focus on other areas of information studies from a human perspective. Doctoral students pursue dissertation research in any area of human information processing. The school has 23 faculty, approx. 300 master's candidates and approx. 30 doctoral students.

Number of degrees granted during last 3 years

MSIS 294, PhD 11 (AY 2006–2009)

Can students attend part-time?


Are required courses offered through distance learning?


Are required courses offered during summer?


Does the university have an HFES student chapter?

Not currently but would start if it was HFES approved



Application deadlines

MSIS: January 15 (fall), September 1 (spring); PhD: December 15



Minimum requirements

The school employs a holistic approach to admissions, with no one variable making or breaking an applicant's chances of admission. GRE, GPA, and previous education are all considered, as are letters of reference and a student statement of interest. Median GRE score (Q+A) for successful applicants is 1240. 

Other: Doctoral students are not required to hold a master's degree, though most do before admission.

Importance of other criteria as admission factors

Research experience: low importance as methods courses are required

Research interest: high importance for doctoral students

Work experience: low

Letters: high

Interview: medium

Personal statement: high

Tuition and fees

Resident: $4,561

Nonresident: $7,812



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

355 MSIS, 32 PhD

Number of students accepted into the program last year

209 MSIS, 8 PhD

Anticipated number of openings per year

Not fixed



Percentage of students in program receiving financial assistance


Amount received per year


Types of assistance available

Tuition waiver, fellowship, TA, RA

When should students apply for financial assistance?

With application and annually/every semester thereafter



Graduate degrees offered

MSIS and PhD

Number of units required

MSIS: 40 and master's thesis or master's report or capstone project

PhD: 90

Exams required

MSIS: no

PhD: qualifying exam and qualifying paper/dissertation

Language requirements


Practical experience required


Typical number of years required to obtain degree

MSIS: 2–3

PhD: 4–5

Is there a non-thesis option?




Required courses (units)

MSIS: 12 credit core sequence required: Understanding Users, Organizing Information, Research Methods and Statistics, Management of Information, plus Capstone Experience. Thesis or project based for 3-6 credits. 

PhD: Two-course sequence in Doctoral Research and Theory and four courses (University wide) in quantitative and qualitative research methods.

Number of courses outside department that are required

0, though 9 hours possible in MSIS. 9 hours are required for PhD.

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: 

The iSchool has an Information eXperience Lab, with one-way mirror and hardware and software to facilitate local and remote usability testing and research on human-computer interaction and other human acquisition and sharing of information resources. Other labs and research spaces are available in the School's facilities. A digital media lab is available for development projects; 40 seat computer classroom and lab; connections with local industries (e.g., sponsorship of research by IBM, Vignette, AT&T, etc.) provide opportunities for research in applied settings.

Teaching opportunities available to students in the program:
Most students in the program periodically serve as teaching assistants or assistant instructors for undergraduate or graduate courses. Doctoral students are invited to take a course in Supervised Teaching in Information Studies.


Current number of active students in program, by gender

MSIS: 56 men, 193 women 

PhD: 12 men, 19 women 

Current number of first-year students in program

MSIS: 113 

PhD: 5 

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

MSIS: GRE 1238 

PhD: GRE 1255



Andrew Dillon, Dean, PhD 1991, Loughborough University of Technology, UK; human factors psychology

Diane Bailey, Assistant Professor, PhD 1994, UC Berkeley; industrial engineering 

Randolph Bias, Associate Professor, PhD 1978, UT - Austin; cognitive psychology 

Luis Francisco-Revilla, Assistant Professor, PhD 2004, Texas A&M University; computer science 

Gary Geisler, Assistant Professor, PhD 2003, University of North Carolina; information science

Unmil Karadkar, Lecturer, doctoral candidate, Texas A&M University; computer science 

Yan Zhang, Assistant Professor, PhD 2009, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; information science