University of Utah



Title of program

Ergonomics and Safety

Year human factors/ergonomics program was established


Accredited by HFES?


Contact person for more information, including applications

Donald S. Bloswick, Dept. of Mechanical Engineering, University of Utah, Mechanical Engineering, 50 South Central Campus Dr., Rm. 2202, Salt Lake City, UT 84112-9208;

Catalog ($7.99)

University Bookstore, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT 84112, http://www.bookstore.

Academic calendar


Human factors/ergonomics graduate degrees offered

MS, ME, MPH, MSPH, and PhD

Goals, objectives, and emphasis of the program

Each student's program is structured to take advantage of his or her past education and experience. Students in the engineering programs are required to have an engineering undergraduate degree or demonstrate competency in the basic engineering sciences. At the master's level, the program is designed to produce graduates with basic analytical and management skills in ergonomics, safety, and industrial hygiene. Close cooperation with Industrial Hygiene, Occupational Medicine, and Occupational Health Nursing in the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine facilitates the interdisciplinary emphasis of the program. Many students also take advantage of physiology and biomechanics courses in the Departments of Bioengineering and Exercise Science. PhD students are focused in the engineering sciences with emphasis in occupational biomechanics.

Number of degrees granted during last 3 years

MS 12, ME 4, MPH 0, MSPH 0, PhD 2

Can students attend part-time?


Are required courses offered at night?

Yes, approximately 30%

Are required courses offered through distance learning?


Does the university have an HFES student chapter?




Application deadlines


Application fees




Minimum requirements

GPA: 3.0 

GRE: 700 q for engineering students, required for MSPH and MPH students 

Other: Incoming students in engineering are required to have competency in the basic engineering sciences. This competency may be demonstrated through (1) graduation from an engineering curriculum, (2) completion of the Fundamentals of Engineering Exam, (3) record of appropriate coursework, or (4) successful completion of appropriate coursework while in residence. Incoming students in the MPH or MSPH programs are expected to have a basic science background. 

Importance of other criteria as admission factors

Research: high

Work experience: medium

Letters: medium

Interview: medium for engineering programs, high for MPH/MSPH programs

Tuition and fees

Resident: $2,332/semester

Nonresident: $7,383/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




Percentage of students in program receiving financial assistance

75% (at present, all full-time U.S. citizens are fully supported)

Amounts received per year

$13,334 – $20,772

Types of assistance available

Fellowship, TA, RA, scholarship, all tuition exempt

When should students apply for financial assistance?

With application



Graduate degrees offered


Number of units required

MS: 37

ME: 30

MPH: 38

MSPH: 48

PhD: 47

Exams required

MS: oral thesis defense, comprehensive exam

ME: comprehensive exam

MPH: comprehensive exam

MSPH: comprehensive exam

PhD: qualifying exam, oral proposal defense, oral dissertation defense

Language requirements


Research required

MS: thesis research

ME: applied project research

MPH: thesis project

MSPH: thesis research

PhD: dissertation research

Practical experience required


Typical number of years required to obtain degree

MS: 2

ME: 2

MPH: 2


PhD: 4

Is there a non-thesis option?




Required courses (units)

Ergonomics (3), Introduction to Industrial Safety (3), Reliability (3) or Quality Assurance (3), Human Factors Engineering (3), Occupational Health and Safety Solutions (3), Work Physiology and Occupational Heat Stress (2), Systems Safety (3), OHS Industrial Hygiene (2), Introductions to Biostatistics (3) or Experimental Design and Analysis (3), Noise and Other Physical Agents (2) or Industrial Ventilation (2), Occupational Safety and Health Field Trips (1), Design Implications for Human-Machine Systems (3, PhD), Advanced Ergonomics and Occupational Biomechanics (4, PhD), Systems Safety (3, PhD), Computer Applications and Research Methods in Health and Safety (3), Musculoskeletal Functional Anatomy for Engineers (3, PhD), Biomechanics (3, PhD), Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (2, PhD), Epidemiology I (3, PhD), Quantitative Methods I, Inferential Statistics (3, PhD), Quantitative Methods II, ANOVA and Multiple Regression (3, PhD), Statistics elective (3, PhD)

Number of courses outside department that are required

MS 4, PhD 9

Number of courses outside department that are recommended

MS 4, PhD 9

Average or typical class size in a required course




Research and support facilities available to students in the program: 

The Ergonomics and Safety Laboratory is housed in a 1500-square-foot facility equipped with a force plate with computer-based data acquisition system, a computer-based position detection system, load cells, video equipment, and still camera equipment. Additional PC-compatible and Macintosh computers, printers, and plotters are dedicated to ergonomics and safety students and lab use.

Teaching opportunities available to students in the program:
Students serve as instructors, guest lecturers, lab instructors, TAs, and graders, and perform field evaluations of patients with occupational traumas. Advanced students participate in and provide consultative services to local industry.

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

Task predictors for work-related musculoskeletal disorders, effect of load and body dynamics on joint moments during lifting, effect of wrist flexion on vibrotactile sensitivity, effect of keyboard tray design on body posture and performance.


Current number of active students in program, by gender

5 men, 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




Stacy Bamberg, ScD, Harvard/MIT; bio-instrumentation, gait analysis, motion tracking, rehabilitation engineering, medical therapeutics 

Don Bloswick, PhD 1986, U. Michigan; occupational biomechanics, ergonomics, slip/fall safety

Charles Elliott, PhD 1993, U. Utah; reliability, quality assurance 

David Hoeppner, PhD 1966, U. Wisconsin; reliability, quality assurance 

Gary Sandquist, PhD 1964, U. Utah; quantitative risk assessment 

Richard Sesek, PhD 1999, U. Utah; industrial safety, industrial ergonomics 

Robert Tuckett, PhD 1972, U. Utah; cumulative trauma disorders

[Updated Winter 2007]