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Information for Students

Mesa, Arizona
Human Systems Engineering


Title of program
  • Human Factors and Ergonomics
Year human factors/ergonomics program was established
Department sponsoring program
The Polytechnic School of the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering
Contact person for more information, including applications
Nancy J. Cooke, Human Systems Engineering Program Chair
Arizona State University
7271 E. Sonoran Arroyo Mall, SANCA 150, Mesa, AZ 85212
Web site
Academic calendar
Human factors/ergonomics graduate degrees offered
MS in Human Systems Engineering (formerly MS in Applied Psychology)

PhD in Simulation, Modeling and Applied Cognitive Science

Goals, objectives, and emphasis of the program
The MS in applied psychology in the Polytechnic School is a two-year program that provides students with opportunities for practical experience in applied cognitive science and human factors by working in diverse laboratories as well as internships in a variety of settings.
Number of degrees granted during last 3 years
MS: 16

PhD: 5

Can students attend part-time?
Distance learning courses


Application deadlines
MS: September 15 for January admission and April 1 for fall admission

PhD: December 31 for fall admission

Application fees
$70 (Domestic)

$90 (International)

Are separate applications required for university and department?


Minimum requirements
There is no set minimum; each student is considered on a case by case basis.
Undergrad degrees, backgrounds, or course work required or recommended for admission
MS: undergraduate degree in psychology recommended

PhD: MS in Psychology or Computer Science or related field required and background in cognitive science, experimental psychology and computer science recommended

Importance of other criteria as admission factors
Previous research activity: High

Relevant work experience: High

Extracurricular activities: Low

Letters of recommendation: High

Tuition and fees
Resident: $1,008 (including student fees)/$758 (excluding student fees)

Nonresident: $1,356 (including student fees)/$1,129 (excluding student fees)

International: $1,431 (including student fees)/$1,204 (excluding student fees)


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
Amounts received per year
$16,340 per year plus tuition remission
Types of assistance available
Teaching assistantship (PhD only, tuition exempt)

Research assistantship (tuition exempt)

Fellowships (PhD only, tuition exempt)

When should students apply for financial assistance?
At the same time as submitting application for admission


Graduate degree offered
MS in Human Systems Engineering
Number of units required
Exams required
Thesis track requires written thesis and oral defense; applied project does not
Language requirements
Research required
Thesis or applied project
Practical experience required
Typical number of years required to obtain degree
Is there a non-thesis option?
Yes, applied project

Graduate degree offered
PhD in Simulation Modeling and Applied Cognitive Science
Number of units required
54 beyond the 30 MS credits
Exams required
Qualifying exam, comprehensive exam and oral defense of thesis
Language requirements
Research required
Practical experience required
Typical number of years required to obtain degree
3 after MS


Required MS courses (credit hours) Note: Some of the courses are offered online.
PSY530 – Intermediate Statistics (3)

PSY 531 – Multiple Regression in Psychological Research (3)

PSY 560 – Advances in Theoretical Psychology (6)

PSY 561 – Methods in Applied Psychology (3) OR SMC520 – Methods and Tools in Applied Cognitive Science (3)

PSY 562 Advanced Human Factors (3)

An additional 12 credits total of applied project or thesis (6) and research and electives (6)

Required PhD courses (credit hours)
SMC 540 – Foundations of Applied Cognitive Science (3, req)
SMC 541 – Foundations of Simulation and Modeling (3, req)
foundations electives (6)

SMC 520 – Methods and Tools in Applied Cognitive Science (3, req)
SMC 521 – Methods and Tools in Simulation and Modeling (3, req)
foundations electives (6)

APPLICATIONS (12, electives)

SMC 792 – research (6) or electives as selected by the PhD committee
SMC 799 – Dissertation (12, req)

Number of courses outside department that are required
No courses outside the department are required for the MS degree. Because the PhD degree is multidisciplinary and tailored to each student's research interests, there can be some courses offered outside of our unit.
Number of courses outside department that are recommended
Varies depending on student research interests
Are required courses offered at night?
Some early evening
Are required courses offered on weekends?
Are required courses offered in summer?
Are required courses offered through distance learning?
Varies; online courses are typical in the summer but tend to be upper-level undergraduate
Average or typical class size in a required course


Research and support facilities available to students in the program:
As it is currently constituted, the strengths of the Human Systems Engineering unit are primarily in the areas of Human Factors and Applied Cognitive Science. Within our small faculty are some of the world's leading authorities and top researchers in the areas of team coordination, perceptual motor control, aviation psychology, embodied cognition, human-computer interaction, and decision making. We also draw on the "real-world", industry expertise of our adjunct faculty from organizations such as Go Daddy, Intel, Exponent, Mayo Clinic, and Honeywell. Most of our classes are project-based and focus on learning by doing.

In the HSE program we place heavy emphasis on research/scholarship. The research conducted in our department provides invaluable training for undergraduate and graduate students in our program through several means including paid research assistantships, supervised research courses (PSY 399 and 499), PSY 477: Capstone Experience, FURI (Fulton Undergraduate Research Initiative) grants, M.S. in Applied Psychology thesis or applied projects, and Ph.D. in SMACS dissertation research, and numerous classroom projects and demonstrations. Noteworthy facilities include CERTT Lab team simulators including a simulation of an Unmanned Aerial System ground control station, PAL Lab driving simulators, and MPI lab VR/AR training systems for robotic assisted surgery.

Teaching opportunities available to students in the program:
Qualified PhD students can teach an undergraduate class in their area of expertise as a teaching assistantship for a stipend and tuition remission.
Current research activities and projects being carried out by program faculty and/or students:
Vaughn Becker studies how perception, memory and cognition changes when people are experiencing strong emotional and motivational states. Russ Branaghan applies human factors and cognitive science to the design of products that are easy to learn, efficient to use and satisfying to the user. Nancy Cooke investigates team cognition in collaborative environments. Scotty Craig evaluates intelligent tutoring systems and examines effectiveness of virtual humans for learning. Rob Gray investigates perceptual-motor control in driving, aviation, and in sports. Rod Roscoe examines methods for supporting self-regulated and self-directed learning in authentic settings. Bing Wu studies how information from different senses is integrated to produce perceptions and to guide actions.


Current number of active students in program, by gender
Men: 18

Women: 13

Current number of first-year students in program
Number of current HF/E postdocs
Based on current graduate students in the MS in Human Systems Engineering program, the mean score on admission tests and undergraduate GPA by degree being sought are
Mean GRE Verbal: 155.8

Mean GRE Quantitative: 151

Mean GRE Analytical: 3.9

Mean undergraduate GPA: 3.4

PhD in Simulation, Modeling and Applied Cognitive Science
Mean GRE Verbal: 148.8

Mean GRE Quantitative: 154

Mean GRE Analytical: 3.3

Mean undergraduate GPA: 3.2

Of the number of those graduating in the past year, what percentage gained employment in

Industry: 100%


Faculty-to-student ratio
1 to 4


Vaughn Becker, PhD 2005, Arizona State University; emotion perception, social cognition, evolutionary psychology
Russell Branaghan, PhD 1994, New Mexico State University; healthcare human factors, human-computer interaction, mental models
Nancy Cooke, PhD 1987, New Mexico State University; team cognition, human systems integration, unmanned aerial systems
Scotty Craig, PhD 2005, University of Memphis; learning technology, virtual humans, emotions and learning
Rob Gray, PhD 1998, York University; sports performance, driving safety, aviation human factors
Rod Roscoe, PhD 2007, University of Pittsburgh; educational technology, self-regulated learning, peer learning
Hyunjin Song, PhD 2009, University of Michigan; affect and cognition, embodied cognition, social cognition
Bing Wu, PhD 2004, University of Louisville; multimodal HCI, VR/AR applications

[Updated July 2015]

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