Title of program

Applied Psychology Human Factors (MS), Human Factors Psychology (PhD) 

Year human factors/ergonomics program was established


Accredited by HFES?


Contact person for more information, including applications

Leo Gugerty, Human Factors Area Coordinator, Psychology Department, Clemson University, Clemson, SC 29634-1355; 864/656-4467 

Catalog (free)

Office of Admissions, Graduate School, Clemson University, Clemson, SC 29634

Web site

Academic calendar


Human factors/ergonomics graduate degrees offered

MS and PhD

Goals, objectives, and emphasis of the program

Our program emphasizes producing graduates who can work in applied and basic research environments. Through coursework and research experience our students develop a strong background in basic human factors issues such as perception, performance, cognition, psychophysiology, experimental methods, and statistics. Our students also gain experience in applied areas such as human-computer interface design, usability testing, cognitive task analysis, and driving and aviation simulation. Students have the opportunity to gain direct experience in real-world settings through an internship program. In addition, our department offers programs in industrial-organizational psychology and occupational health psychology. Students in our human factors program can gain experience in these areas through elective courses.

Number of degrees granted during last 3 years

MS 11, PhD 9

Can students attend part-time?


Are required courses offered through distance learning?


Are required courses offered at night? 


Are required courses offered during summer?


Does the university have an HFES student chapter?




Application deadline

January 15

Application fees

$70 domestic, $80 international



Minimum requirements

GPA: 3.0 

GRE: 1000 v + q

Required: 18 hours of undergraduate psychology (may be taken concurrently)

Recommended: undergraduate courses in statistics, research methods, and computer science

Importance of other criteria as admission factors

Research: high 

Work experience: low 

Letters: high 

Interview: n/a

Tuition and fees

Resident: $1,020 in fees/semester, tuition waived with assistantship (full load) 

Nonresident: $1,020 in fees/semester, tuition waived with assistantship (full load)



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

28 PhD; 48 MS

Number of students accepted into the program last year

4 PhD; 0 MS

Number of students entering the program last year

4 PhD; 0 MS

Anticipated number of openings per year for the next two years

About 4 PhD



Percentage of students in program receiving financial assistance


Amounts received per year

$12,000/$16,000 (9 months, with 12-month RAs also available) 

Types of assistance available

Fellowships, TA, RA, all tuition exempt

When should students apply for financial assistance?

With application



Graduate degrees offered

MS and PhD

Number of units required

MS: 45 hours 

PhD (includes MS): 90 hours 

Exams required

MS: oral defense of written proposal, oral defense of written thesis

PhD: oral defense of written thesis proposal, oral defense of written thesis, oral defense of written dissertation proposal, oral defense of written dissertation, comprehensive exam

Language requirements


Research required

MS: thesis research, summer internship or equivalent independent research

PhD: continuous research, summer internship or equivalent independent research

Practical experience required

MS: none

PhD: none

Typical number of years required to obtain degree

MS: 2 years (very few students accepted into a terminal MS degree program)

PhD: 4–5 years

Is there a non-thesis option?




Required courses (units)

MS courses only: Quantitative Methods and Research Design (6), Human Factors Psychology (3), Cognitive Psychology (3), Human Perception and Performance (3), Ergonomics (3), Applied Psychology Internship (6), Human-Machine Systems Engineering (3), Usability (3), Master's Thesis Research (6); PhD courses beyond MS: Engineering & Technology Content Courses (9), Selected Topics in Applied Psychology (15), Dissertation Research (18)

Electives (units)

MS 9 credits; PhD 12 credits; Design of Human-Computer Systems (3), Advanced Seminar in Quantitative Methods (3), Advanced Physiological Psychology (3) 

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: 

Multiple computer laboratories with Internet access; no-fee student computer accounts; Human/Technology Interaction Usability Lab, Human Factors Lab, Motion Sciences Lab, Cardiovascular Psychophysiology Lab, Sleep Research Facility, Perception-Action Lab, Information Processing and Emotion Lab, Occupational Stress Simulation Lab, Oculomotor Assessment Lab, Graduate Student Research Lab, Cognition Lab, Driving Simulator Lab, Uninhabited Aerial Vehicle Lab, Virtual Reality Facility, telerobotics facilty.

Teaching opportunities available to students in the program:
Teaching experience is available for qualified students in the form of teaching assistantships, which typically involve leading discussion and lab sections of undergraduate psychology courses. 

Current research activities and projects being carried out by program faculty and/or students:
The faculty is involved in a wide spectrum of funded and nonfunded research, including human-computer interaction, medical human factors, visual information-processing strategies in adults, usability, sleep and work-rest cycles, motion sickness and spatial disorientation, effects of motion on performance, face and pattern recognition, development of pattern vision in humans, visual-spatial display characteristics of spatial orientation tasks, cognitive aging, memory, human performance measurement, crew performance in process control, dynamic/real-time decision making, vision in virtual environments, transportation safety, teleoperation of robotic systems, and artificial visual displays for manual guidance.



Current number of active students in program, by gender

10 men, 7 women

Current number of first-year students
in program


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

2011–2012 incoming PhD students: GRE 156 v, 158 q, 4.1 a



Thomas R. Alley, 1981, U. of Connecticut; eyewitness testimony; psychological aspects of physical appearance, perception and cognition

Claudio Cantalupo, PhD 2000, U. of Memphis; biopsychology, evolution of laterality, communication abilities in primates

Leo Gugerty, PhD 1989, U. of Michigan; human factors psychology, cognitive psychology, navigation, situation awareness, usability testing

James A. McCubbin, PhD 1980, U. of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; psychophysiology, health psychology, behavioral medicine, psychoneuroendocrinology of stress, occupational health psychology

DeWayne Moore, PhD 1979, Michigan State U.; quantitative psychology, experimental design

Eric R. Muth, PhD 1997, Penn State U; psychophysiology, health psychology, effects of stress on the gastro-intestinal system, aviation human factors, motion sickness, effects of motion on performance, spatial disorientation

Christopher C. Pagano, PhD 1993, U. of Connecticut; teleoperation of robotic systems, haptic and visual perception, kinesthesis, motor control, visually guided reaching, cognition, human factors and ergonomics, teleoperation

Richard Pak, PhD 2005, Georgia Tech; human factors psychology, human-computer interaction, cognitive aging, spatial abilities, memory 

June Pilcher, PhD 1989, U. of Chicago; biopsychology, neuroscience, sleep and sleep deprivation, fatigue, biological rhythms, work/rest cycles, human factors and ergonomics, occupational health psychology, history of psychology

Patrick Raymark, PhD 1993, Bowling Green State U.; industrial-organizational psychology, sources of performance information used by raters, effects of indirect performance information on rating behavior 

Patrick Rosorpa, PhD 2007, U. of Central Florida; quantitative analysis 

Robert Sinclair, PhD 1995, Wayne State U.; occupational health psychology

Benjamin R. Stephens, PhD 1985, U. of Texas at Austin; perceptual development, vision 

Fred S. Switzer III, PhD 1988, U. of Illinois, decision making and motivation, personnel selection, human factors in process control, driving behavior, research methods

Richard A. Tyrrell, PhD 1993, Penn State U.; human factors psychology, visual perception and performance, transportation safety 

Laura A. Whitlock, PhD 2015 (anticipated), North Carolina State U.; human-computer interaction, cognitive aging, decision support, mobile health technology, internet health behavior

[Updated April 2015]