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Top 15 Master’s in Human Factors and Ergonomics 2021

Human Factors and Ergonomics is an exciting field focused on the relationship between people and technology. Professionals in the field design objects, facilities, and different environments to help optimize human performance. Human factors and ergonomics master’s programs may be found in engineering or psychology departments and may be primary degrees or areas of concentration. Primary job responsibilities may include:

  • observing work activities and conducting tests
  • evaluating work systems
  • recommending modifications or adjustments to improve employee safety
  • designing human work systems to optimize quality and safety

Methodology

We created this ranking using information gathered from the National Center for Education Statistics College Navigator tool. We searched for colleges offering a master’s in Industrial Organizational Psychology.  We narrowed our focus to programs accredited by the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society. The schools offering accredited human factors programs were then ranked based on student to teacher ratio and average graduate tuition.

Ranking the Top 15 Master’s in Human Factors

Student-to-Faculty Ratio

  • 15:1 or less= 5 Points
  • 16:1 to 20:1= 3 Points
  • Greater than 20:1= 1 Point

Average Graduate Tuition

  • Less than $10,000 per year= 5 Points
  • $10,000 to $15,000 per year= 4 Points
  • $15,001 to $20,000 per year= 3 Points
  • $20,001 to $25,000 per year= 2 Points
  • Greater than $25,001 per year= 1 Point

15. San Jose State University – San Jose, California

Human Factors/Ergonomics MS Program

San Jose State University Human Factors/Ergonomics MS Program
School Profile
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 25:1
Average Graduate Tuition Rate: $7,176/year in-state and $16,680/year out-of-state
Points: 6
San Jose State University features a top master’s in human factors and ergonomics that incorporates:

  • theory
  • practical application
  • research

The program is fully accredited by the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society. While many schools house their human factors and ergonomics programs in their psychology department, San Jose’s program is housed in their engineering department. The interdisciplinary nature of the program brings in staff from areas like:

  • psychology
  • kinesiology
  • engineering

New students are admitted for the fall semester. Most students can earn their degree in under two-and-a-half years.

14. California State University – Long Beach, California

MS in Psychology, Option in Human Factors

California State University Long Beach MS in Psychology, Option in Human Factors
School Profile
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 24:1
Average Graduate Tuition Rate: $7,176/year in-state and $16,680/year out-of-state
Points: 6
California State University Long Beach offers a high value master’s in psychology with a concentration in human factors. Students will gain the skills needed to design jobs, consumer products, and equipment that improves performance and safety for the user. Course offerings include:

  • Human Factors’ Methods
  • Systems Engineering and Integration
  • Computer Applications in Psychology

The human factors program is housed in the Psychology Building. Students can gain practical experience in the usability testing laboratory or in the Center for Human Factors in Advanced Aeronautics Technologies. All students complete a thesis to complete their degree.

13. Texas Tech University – Lubbock, Texas

Master’s in Human Factors Psychology

Texas Tech University Master's in Human Factors Psychology
School Profile
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 21:1
Average Graduate Tuition Rate: $6,788/year in-state and $14,968/year out-of-state
Points: 6
The human factors psychology master’s degree program from Texas Tech University is offered as a terminal master’s degree or in an accelerated 4+1 bachelors/master’s degree program. The program follows an apprenticeship model that encourages students to be involved in research throughout their time at Texas Tech. Course offerings include:

  • Human Factors Psychology
  • Cognition and Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Group Processes and Intergroup Relations

Students can choose to complete a thesis or non-thesis option depending on their professional goals.

12. Georgia Institute of Technology – Atlanta, Georgia

Master’s in Engineering Psychology

Georgia Tech Master's in Engineering Psychology
School Profile
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 19:1
Average Graduate Tuition Rate: $14,064/year in-state and $29,140/year out-of-state
Points: 7
The Georgia Tech School of Psychology offers a top master’s in engineering psychology fully accredited by the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society. Students will study content areas like human factors in cognitive aging and educational technology. Courses are taught from an applied psychology perspective. Engineering psychology courses include:

  • Sensation and Perception
  • Cognitive Psychology
  • Engineering Psychology

All students are required to complete a thesis, gaining valuable research experience.

11. George Mason University – Fairfax, Virginia

Human Factors and Applied Cognition Master’s Program

George Mason University Human Factors and Applied Cognition Master's Program
School Profile
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 17:1
Average Graduate Tuition Rate: $12,594/year in-state and $33,906/year out-of-state
Points: 7
The HFES accredited human factors and applied cognition master’s degree from George Mason University is a comprehensive program for students planning to work in the academic, public, or private sectors. Course offerings include:

  • Cognitive Engineering: Cognitive Science Applied to Human Factors
  • Human-System Interaction
  • Eye Tracking: Theory and Practice

Students have access to the Human Factors and Applied Cognition Department. This 6,000 square foot laboratory space is home to advanced simulators, neuroergonomic recording systems, and cutting edge software used for data collection and analysis.

10. The Ohio State University – Columbus, Ohio

Master of Science in Industrial and Systems Engineering-Human Systems Integration

Ohio State University Master of Science in Industrial and Systems Engineering-Human Systems Integration
School Profile
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 19:1
Average Graduate Tuition Rate: $11,560/year in-state and $36,276/year out-of-state
Points: 7
The Department of Integrated Systems Engineering at The Ohio State University College of Engineering features a high value master’s in human systems integration. Students work closely with faculty while engaging in research across a variety of areas including:

  • biomechanical, physical ergonomics and safety
  • cognitive systems engineering and resilience
  • spine research

State of the art research facilities like the Center for Occupational Health in Automotive Manufacturing and the Engineering Laboratory for Human Factors, Ergonomics, and Safety provide students with high quality research opportunities. Applicants should have an undergraduate degree in a related area like engineering or computer science. New students are admitted during the autumn, spring, and summer.

9. Clemson University – Clemson, South Carolina

Master’s in Applied Psychology-Human Factors

Clemson University Master's in Applied Psychology-Human Factors
School Profile
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 16:1
Average Graduate Tuition Rate: $10,600/year in-state and $22,050/year out-of-state
Points: 7
The affordable human factors psychology master’s degree program at Clemson University prepares students for success in the workforce or further continuation of their academic career. Coursework covers areas like:

  • ergonomics for applied psychology
  • human perception and performance
  • usability evaluation

Capstone options include a thesis project, formal internship, or research hours. Students can complete their degree in about two years of full-time study.

8. Old Dominion University – Norfolk, Virginia

Psychology M.S. with a Concentration in Human Factors

Old Dominion University Psychology M.S. with a Concentration in Applied Cognitive Psychology-Human Factors
School Profile
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 17:1
Average Graduate Tuition Rate: $10,207/year in-state and $29,851/year out-of-state
Points: 7
Old Dominion University features a budget friendly master’s in human factors that follows a mentor-model. Students are admitted to the program and matched to a faculty member who serves as their mentor throughout the program. Human factors course options include:

  • Human Factors Psychology
  • Ergonomics
  • Human-Computer Interface Design

All students complete research and thesis courses. Applicants should have a strong undergraduate foundation in psychology and competitive GRE scores to be considered for admission.

7. Auburn University – Auburn, Alabama

MEM Master of Engineering Management

Auburn University MISE Master of Industrial and Systems Engineering
School Profile
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 20:1
Average Graduate Tuition Rate: $10,080/year in-state and $30,240/year out-of-state
Points: 7
The Samuel Ginn College of Engineering at Auburn University offers a coursework only master’s in engineering management with a focus on occupational safety and ergonomics. The program is great option for students with a bachelor’s in an engineering related discipline or relevant work experience. Student take courses in areas like:

  • Human Factors Engineering
  • Occupational Safety Engineering
  • Ergonomics

This 30 credit hour program has no thesis requirement. Students can earn their degree, expanding their career potential, in just two years.

6. University of Houston-Clear Lake – Houston, Texas

Psychology M.S. with a Concentration in Applied Cognitive Psychology-Human Factors

University of Houston-Clear Lake
School Profile
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 17:1
Average Graduate Tuition Rate: $7,920/year in-state and $17,568/year out-of-state
Points: 8
The low-priced human factors psychology master’s degree program at the University of Houston Clear Lake is an interdisciplinary program combining areas the areas of:

  • psychology
  • engineering
  • computing

Students will learn to apply these principles of areas like product development and industrial safety. Hands-on learning opportunities are available through coursework, laboratory research, and industry collaborations. Courses include:

  • User-Centered Design
  • Human Factors Engineering
  • Human Factors, Methods, and Analysis

Master’s students can choose to complete either a graduate internship or thesis research. Students from all backgrounds are encouraged to apply.

5. University of Idaho – Moscow, Idaho

Master’s in Experimental Psychology-Human Factors

University of Idaho
School Profile
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 16:1
Average Graduate Tuition Rate: $7,754/year in-state and $26,990/year out-of-state
Points: 8
The University of Idaho offers a low-cost master’s in human factors emphasizing research. Students complete coursework and research to understand and improve how people interact with technology and products. Courses are offered on-campus and online and include:

  • Human Factors in Engineering Design
  • Ergonomics and Biomechanics
  • Human-Computer Interaction

Students are able to conduct research at state-of-the-art on-campus laboratory facilities. Graduates are successful in areas like:

  • product development
  • public safety
  • web usability.

4. Wright State University – Dayton, Ohio

Master of Science in Human Factors and Industrial/Organizational Psychology

Wright State University Master of Science in Human Factors and Industrial/Organizational Psychology
School Profile
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 13:1
Average Graduate Tuition Rate: $14,298/year in-state and $24,286/year out-of-state
Points: 9
The College of Science and Mathematics at Wright State University features a budget friendly master’s in human factors and industrial/organizational psychology. Students can choose a thesis-based or non thesis-based program option, depending on their  educational and professional goals. Course offerings include:

  • Cognitive Systems Engineering
  • Engineering Psychology
  • Reasoning and Problem Solving

Students in the non-thesis program option can choose to complete a concentration in human performance and effectiveness. Applicants should have a bachelor’s degree in psychology or significant coursework in that area. Admission to the program is competitive.

3. Virginia Tech – Blacksburg, Virginia

Master’s in Human Factors Engineering and Ergonomics (HFEE)

VT Master's in Human Factors Engineering and Ergonomics (HFEE)
School Profile
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 14:1
Average Graduate Tuition Rate: $13,701/year in-state and $27,614/year out-of-state
Points: 9
Virginia Tech offers a high quality human factors engineering and ergonomics master’s degree accredited by the Board Certification in Professional Ergonomics and the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society. Students can choose from a variety of specialization areas including:

  • Cognitive Ergonomics
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Macroergonomics

Coursework is supplemented with research opportunities in a variety of human factors and ergonomic application areas. All students are required to complete a thesis.

2. University at Buffalo – Buffalo, New York

Master of Science in Human Factors and Ergonomics Engineering

UB Master of Science in Human Factors and Ergonomics Engineering
School Profile
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 14:1
Average Graduate Tuition Rate: $11,310/year in-state and $23,100/year out-of-state
Points: 9
The Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering at the University at Buffalo offers a graduate program in human factors and ergonomics engineering. Students can engage in research opportunities in human-automation interaction and cognitive engineering. Content courses include:

  • Human Information Processing
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Human Factors in Safety

Students can choose to complete a formal thesis or complete research activities during research assistantship work and take a comprehensive exam. The University of Buffalo also offers a unique two-year interdisciplinary training curriculum in occupational safety and health for human factors engineering/ergonomics students. This opportunity is funded by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health.

1. North Carolina State University – Raleigh, North Carolina

Human Factors and Applied Cognition Master’s Program

NC State University Human Factors and Applied Cognition Master's Program
School Profile
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 14:1
Average Graduate Tuition Rate: $9,095/year in-state and $26,421/year out-of-state
Points: 10
Our top master’s in human factors is at North Carolina State University. They offer an affordable human factors and applied cognition master’s program that has adopted a scientist-practitioner model. Coursework focuses on a variety of areas including:

  • human perception and performance
  • safety and engineering principles
  • information processing

Students develop apprentice relationships with staff which enhances research training. State-of-the-art research facilities like the Applied Cognitive Psychology Laboratory and the Cognitive Ergonomics Laboratory allow students to use custom built equipment to research areas like risk perception and communication.
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