University of Toronto



Title of program

Human Factors Engineering Concentration in Industrial Engineering

Year human factors/ergonomics program was established


Accredited by HFES?


Contact person for more information, including applications

Graduate Studies Office, University of Toronto, Dept. of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, Toronto, ON Canada M5S 3G8; 416/978-2922;



Academic calendar


Human factors/ergonomics graduate degrees offered

MEng - domestic students only, MASc, and PhD

Goals, objectives, and emphasis of the program

The MASc and PhD programs are research oriented, emphasizing both theoretical and practical issues. Teaching covers a broad range of human factors issues and topics, whereas research typically focuses on cognitive and perceptual issues. Current research topics include user interface design, healthcare ergonomics, social computing, mobile computing, cognitive engineering, ecological interface design, supervisory control, human-automation interaction, teleoperation and control, augmented reality and virtual environments, 3D graphic and video displays, 6-degree-of-freedom control, human adaptation to technology, in-vehicle system design, crash risk assessment, driver distraction mitigation, mine traffic operations, unmanned vehicle displays, air traffic control displays, eHealth innovations, HF issues in health care and other biomedical applications, especially surgery and anaesthesiology. Fundamental research is emphasized, but applied research is also carried out, with extensive support from industry and government, both national and international.

Number of degrees granted during last 3 years

MASc 16, PhD 9 

Can students attend part-time?

Yes (MEng and PhD)

Are required courses offered through distance learning?


Does the university have an HFES student chapter?




Application deadlines

Applications are accepted for September and January entry. Deadline varies between programs and international/domestic status. Please consult:

Application fee

$110 (Cdn); Application link:



Minimum requirements

GPA: Course-by-course review; for MASc and MEng, the final year of undergraduate study must be at least mid-B (74-76%); for PhD, each of last 2 years must be B+ (77-79%) or above. 

GRE: Not required, but useful if available. 

Other: TOEFL 580 (or 94 on internet-based test), and TWE 4.0 (or 22 on writing/speaking), MELAB 85, IELTS (academic) 7.0, other tests - see School of Graduate Studies Web site. Industrial engineering or other engineering degree; computer science, psychology, with basic algebra, calculus, probability, and statistics; any other undergraduate degree with basic algebra, calculus, probability, and statistics.

Importance of other criteria as admission factors

Research: high 

Work experience: medium 

Letters: high 

Interview: varies

Tuition and fees

Canadian citizens and permanent residents:
$8,400/year (Cdn) for research students; $12,359/year (Cdn) for MEng students 

Visa students: $18,800/year (Cdn) for research students. NOTE: Fees change yearly.



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

100% (MASc & PhD)

Amount received per year

Minimum $15,500 (Cdn) plus tuition and fees (MASc & PhD only)

Types of assistance available

Fellowship, TA, RA

When should students apply for financial assistance?

Consideration for Fellowship and RA is automatic; no separate application is necessary. TA not guaranteed – applications accepted from registered graduate students.



Graduate degrees offered

MEng, MASc, and PhD

Number of units required

MEng: 10 one-term courses or 7 courses + 1 project

MASc: 4 one-term courses

PhD: 5 one-term courses

Exams required

MEng: no 

MASc: oral defense of thesis 

PhD: oral qualifying exam, annual progress meetings, oral defense of thesis

Language requirements


Research required

MEng: no 

MASc: yes 

PhD: yes

Practical experience required


Typical number of years required to obtain degree

MEng: 1–6 

MASc: 2 

PhD: 4

Is there a non-thesis option?




Required courses (terms)


Electives (terms)

Design of Workplaces (1), Experimental Methods in HF Research (1), Analytical Methods in HF Research (1), Statistical Models in Empirical Research (1), Human-Automation Interaction (1), Engineering Psychology and Human Performance (1), Analysis and Design of Cognitive Work (1), Human Computer Interface Design for Complex Systems (1), Human Factors Integration, Human Factors in Transportation (1)

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: 

The department operates four HF research labs. The Cognitive Engineering Lab (CEL) has several high-resolution graphics workstations and rapid prototyping software, which are used to conduct research in cognitive engineering. The Interactive Media Lab has desktop and laptop computers, physiological measurement systems, software for usability analysis of interfaces, and low fidelity eye-tracking and gait analysis systems. The Ergonomics in Teleoperation and Control (ETC) Lab comprises several PCs, (stereoscopic) video systems, a low fidelity automobile driving simulator, visual occlusion equipment, 6-degree-of-freedom input devices, and a motion tracking system. Other facilities include equipment for the measurement of environmental factors such as light, sound, and vibration. The Human Factors and Applied Statistics (HFASt) Lab has a driving simulator, eye-tracker, several high-resolution graphics workstations, and statistical software, which are utilized to apply advanced statistical analysis techniques in human factors research. All labs are fully networked, with high-bandwidth connections to the university backbone. The department provides a staff of highly qualified computing personnel. University-wide computing services and networking facilities are excellent. The university library system is the largest library system in Canada and is ranked third amongst peer institutions in North America only behind Harvard, and Yale.

Teaching opportunities available to students in the program:
Several teaching assistantships are available within the department, on a per-course basis, in support of courses run by the department at the undergraduate level. These generally involve approximately 45-55 hours/semester of running labs or tutorials, or supervising design projects. Remuneration is on an hourly basis.

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

CEL research centers on theory, design and evaluation of supervisory control interfaces from an ecological perspective. Emphasis is placed on design for human-automation interaction. Recent application domains include nuclear power, infrastructure systems, mining, and energy management. The Interactive Media Lab research concerns improvement of user interfaces for information systems, mobile computing and collaboration, with particular emphasis on healthcare applications. Other areas of recent interest include social computing and social commerce. ETC lab research focuses on navigation, visualization and manipulation of 3D data, especially as related to telerobotics, multiaxis control, air traffic control, stereoscopic displays, and augmented reality. Medically related applications, especially surgery and anaesthesiology, are also important focus areas. HFASt conducts research on understanding and improving human behavior and performance in multi-task and complex situations, using a wide range of analytical and statistical techniques. Application areas include surface transportation, unmanned vehicles, healthcare, and mine operations.


Current number of active students in program


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

MASc and PhD: GRE n/r, GPA A-



Mark Chignell, PhD 1981, U. Canterbury; human factors in information technology, user interfaces, mobile computing, information visualization, social computing, healthcare applications

Birsen Donmez, PhD 2007, U. Iowa; human adaptation to technology, statistical modeling of vehicular crash data, distraction mitigation, feedback design, human-automation collaboration

Greg Jamieson, PhD 2002, U. Toronto; human-automation interaction, work analysis and interface design for complex systems, process control applications

Paul Milgram, PhD 1980, U. Toronto; teleoperation and control, 3D displays and navigation, augmented reality, medical HF applications

[Updated Fall 2013]