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Information for Students

Ann Arbor, Michigan
Department of Industrial and Operations Engineering


Title of program
  • Concentration within the Department of Industrial and Operations Engineering
Year human factors/ergonomics program was established
Joint program information
Student-initiated dual-Masters and joint-PhD programs are available with several departments, including Psychology, Biomedical Engineering, Environmental Health Sciences, and Business. The key term here is "student-initiated."
University of Michigan graduate programs do not seek accreditation.
Department sponsoring program
Department of Industrial and Operations Engineering
Contact person for more information, including applications
Matt Irelan, Graduate Program Coordinator
University of Michigan - IOE
1750 IOE Building
1205 Beal Ave
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
Web site
Academic calendar
The University of Michigan operates on the semester system: Fall (Sept-Dec) and Winter (Jan-April). A very limited number of classes are offered during the summer. Most students use the summer (May-August) for directed research.
Human factors/ergonomics graduate degrees offered


Goals, objectives, and emphasis of the program
The University of Michigan's Department of Industrial and Operations Engineering (IOE) has offered graduate education in ergonomics, human factors, and safety engineering for more than 50 years. Faculty and students in the Department's Center for Ergonomics are committed to making workplaces and organizations safe, efficient, productive and enjoyable. Our main goals are to gain and share a better understanding of how tools, technologies and work practices affect health and performance and how they can be improved through human-centered design. Our research also advances basic knowledge about people's psychological and physical abilities and limitations. Being part of the University of Michigan with over 250 degree programs provides an excellent opportunity to develop a systems-oriented and multi-disciplinary approach to engineering and design, combining cognitive, physical and organizational ergonomics and working with experts in a wide range of related disciplines.
Number of degrees granted during last 3 years
MS/MSE: 22

PhD: 8

Can students attend part-time?

PhD: No

Distance learning courses


Application deadlines
Masters: October 1st for Winter and January 15th for Fall

PhD: December 15th

Application fees
$75 (U.S.)

$90 (International)

Are separate applications required for university and department?


Minimum requirements
Grade point average (A = 4.0): 3.25 / 3.5

GRE Combined: 315 / 320

GRE Verbal: 155 (69%) / 157 (77%)

GRE Quantitative: 160 (84%) / 163 (88%)

GRE Analytical: N/A

Undergrad degrees, backgrounds, or course work required or recommended for admission
Admission to the master's degree program requires a Bachelor's degree in either mathematics, science or another undergraduate program from a recognized institution.
  • The following undergraduate courses are recommended:
    • Calculus - 2 years (4 semesters or 6 quarters)
    • Science - 2 years (Chemistry, Physics or Biology)
    • * Probability - 1 course (Calculus based)
    • * Statistics - 1 course (Calculus based)
    • * Linear Algebra - 1 course (frequently included in Calculus sequence)
    • * Computer Programming - Demonstrated ability (e.g. completed coursework) to write computer programs
  • * Note: Many undergraduate programs in engineering and science do not require courses on these topics. Students who are deficient in these pre-requisites, if admitted, will be required to elect courses in these areas and earn a grade of B or better. This requirement must be fulfilled as soon as possible after entering the program.
Admission to the PhD program does not require a Master's degree. Qualified students who hold a bachelor's degree in engineering, science, or mathematics may apply directly to the PhD program.
Tuition and fees
In-state Masters and PhD: $24,152

Out-of-state Masters and Pre-Candidate PhD: $44,946 (for the academic year - 2 semesters)

Out-of-state PhD Candidates: $16,272 (for the academic year - 2 semesters)


Number of students applying to the human factors/ergonomics program last year
Masters: 23; PhD: 27
Number of students accepted into the program last year
Masters: 10; PhD: 9
Number of students entering the program last year
Masters: 5; PhD: 5
Anticipated number of openings per year for the next two years


Percentage of students in program receiving financial assistance
100% of PhD students; 10% of Masters students
Amounts received per year
PhD students: Full tuition coverage, stipend, and healthcare

Masters students: minimum is $10,000 for in-state students to a maximum of $52,946 for 2 terms with a teaching assistant position.

Types of assistance available
Teaching assistantship (tuition exempt) - PhD: Yes, Masters: Infrequently

Research assistantship (tuition exempt) - PhD: Yes, Masters: Infrequently

Fellowships (tuition exempt) - PhD: Yes; Masters: No

Traineeships (tuition exempt) - Yes, must be U.S. citizen or P.R. and meet other requirements

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


Graduate degree offered
Number of units required
30 semester credits
Exams required
Language requirements
Research required
No formal thesis requirement. Students have the option of performing up to six semester hours of directed research.
Practical experience required
Typical number of years required to obtain degree
Is there a non-thesis option?

Graduate degree offered
Number of units required
Varies, typically 60–80 semester credits
Exams required
Qualifying Exam (year 1), Preliminary Exam (year 2), Oral defense of dissertation
Language requirements
Research required
Practical experience required
Typical number of years required to obtain degree


Required courses (credit hours)
No required courses (course selection depends on student specialization).
Number of courses outside department that are required
All graduate students (Masters and PhD) must take at least two courses outside the Industrial and Operations Engineering Department.
Number of courses outside department that are recommended
Varies by student specialization.
Are required courses offered at night?
Are required courses offered on weekends?
Are required courses offered in summer?
Are required courses offered through distance learning?
Average or typical class size in a required course


Research and support facilities available to students in the program:
The Center for Ergonomics facilities include laboratories for biomechanics, work physiology, cumulative trauma disorders, work measurement, posture and job analysis, vibration research, and tool studies. Also available are a number of medium-fidelity simulations (including a flight simulator, UAV, driving) that employ tactile and multimodal interfaces, as well as eyetracking equipment. The Center's engineers frequently design and build additional systems as appropriate and necessary to support new research directions.
Teaching opportunities available to students in the program:
A small number of Graduate Student Instructor (GSI) positions in Human Factors/Ergonomics are available each semester. These positions typically involve running laboratory sessions, running problem sessions, holding office hours, and grading.
Current research activities and projects being carried out by program faculty and/or students:
In the area of cognitive ergonomics, our research focuses primarily on developing computational models of cognition and performance, empirical/simulation studies on multimodal and tactile information processing/displays, task and interruption management, decision aiding and human error, and the role of culture in human performance. In the area of physical ergonomics, our research focuses on: biomechanical modeling of the musculoskeletal system, epidemiology of work-related injuries, workplace design to prevent prevention of overuse and traumatic injuries, and accommodation of disabilities/universal design.


Current number of active students in program, by gender
men: 10

women: 8

Current number of first-year students in program
Number of current HF/E postdocs
Of the number of those graduating in the past year, students gained employment in
Academia: 30%

Industry: 30%

Government: 40%


Thomas J. Armstrong – Measurement and design of manual work; biomechanical models, analysis and design of tools for control of work-related musculoskeletal disorders of the hand and wrist
Don B. Chaffin – Biomechanical considerations in manual materials handling; modeling of human motions; Digital human modeling in computer aided design
Clive D'Souza – Inclusive design; digital human modeling of special populations
Paul Green – Modeling and evaluation of driver interfaces for workload and distraction; human-computer interaction
W. Monroe Keyserling – Assessment and control of work-related musculoskeletal disorder risk factors; accident epidemiology
Yili Liu – Computational and integrative models of human cognitive performance; theoretical and practical issues of human cognition
Bernard Martin – Motor coordination and muscle loading; vibration effects on muscle fatigue; quantification of visual fatigue
Matthew Reed – Modeling of human motions; vehicle interior design models based on occupant posture requirements
Nadine Sarter – Multimodal interfaces supporting human-computer interaction; human error and error management; decision support systems in complex event-driven domains

[Updated July 2015]

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