Our program is accredited by the Board of Certification in Professional Ergonomics (BCPE) and the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society (HFES).

Human Factors Engineering and Ergonomics (HFEE) is concerned with ways of designing jobs, machines, operations, and work environments so they are compatible with human capacities and limitations. The HFEE practitioner, operating within an industrial or governmental organization, is called upon both to apply existing human performance knowledge to the design or modification of equipment and also to generate new experimental data required for equipment design.

Foundation coursework includes a detailed study of existing research, design, and evaluation methods that are appropriate to human factors engineering and ergonomics. Additionally, content courses include sensory ergonomics dealing with sensory capabilities and limitations of humans, physical ergonomics dealing with biomechanics and work physiology, cognitive ergonomics dealing with human information processing, and macroergonomics dealing with group processes. This course work is supplemented by research opportunities in a variety of human factors engineering and ergonomic application areas including auditory communication, computer displays, industrial safety, training, and transportation systems. Emphasis is placed upon specific content area courses, elective courses in the student’s area of interest, and laboratory research under the direct guidance of an HFEE faculty member.

Every student should be able to demonstrate basic computer proficiency. Students who have previously taken courses equivalent to those indicated may be exempt from such requirements as determined on a course-by-course basis. Students must petition substitution of these equivalent courses in their plan of study. This petition must be approved by the Virginia Tech instructor for the course(s) in question and the ISE Graduate Program Director.

Master’s level students with thesis are required to complete four required core courses, a minimum of four elective courses, and six hours of thesis work. A listing of pre-approved tracks with suggested programs of study are provided in tables below. These tracks are designed to allow the student to specialize in a particular area within HFEE, but also allow some flexibility in course selection. Deviations from the suggested tracks are possible with approval of the HFEE faculty.

Number Title Credits
ISE 5604 Human Information Processing 3
ISE 5605 Human Factors System Design I 3
ISE 5614 Human Physical Capabilities 3
ISE 5615 Human Factors Research Design I 4
ISE 5994 Research  and Thesis 6
Electives (See Pre-Approved Tracks) 12
  Total Hours 31

A minimum of four courses can be chosen from any one of these pre-approved tracks and used as electives. At least two of the electives must be ISE courses, and at least one of these ISE courses must be an HFEE course (denoted with * below). No more than two electives courses outside of ISE may be used toward meeting degree requirements.

Cognitive Ergonomics Human-Computer Interaction
*ISE 5634 Training Systems *ISE 5634 Training Systems
*ISE 5694 Macroergonomics *ISE 5714 Usability Engineering
*ISE/CS 5714 Usability Engineering *ISE 6604 Visual Displays
*ISE 5794 Independent Study/Special Topics *ISE 6614 Human Computer Systems
STAT 4504 Applied Multivariate Statistics CS 4624 Multimedia, Hypertext, and Information Access
PSYC 5344 Cognitive Psychology CS 5734 Computer-Supported Cooperative Work
  CS 5724 Models and Theories of Human Computer Interaction
Macroergonomics Methods
*ISE 5694 Macroergonomics *ISE 5616 Human Factors Research Design II
*ISE 5606 Human Factors Systems Design II ISE 5424 Simulation
*ISE 5634 Training Systems EDRE 6614 Qualitative Methods in Educational Research
CS 5734 Computer-Supported Cooperative Work PSYC 5134 Advanced Psychometric Theory
PSYC 5125 Organizational Psychology SOC 6204 Survey Research Methods
STAT 4505 Applied Multivariate Statistics STAT 4504 Applied Multivariate Statistics
ENGR 5104 Applied Systems Engineering STAT 5644 Nonparametrics
Occupational Biomechanics Sensory and Perception
*ISE 4624 Work Physiology *ISE 5644 Human Audition
ISE 5104 Operations Research or
ISE 5405 Optimization
*ISE 6604 Human Factors in Visual Display
ISE 5424 Simulation *ISE 5606 Human Factors Systems Design II
ESM 4204 Musculoskeletal Biomechanics and Biologic Control PSYC 5144 Sensory Processes
ESM 5034 Introduction to Biomedical Engineering PSYC 4074 Sensation and Perception
HNFE 4844 Exercise & Neuromuscular Performance CS 5754 Virtual Environments
HNFE 5814 Skeletal-Muscular Function in Exercise  
Safety Telecommunications
*ISE 4644 Occupational Safety & Hazard Control *ISE 5714 Usability Engineering
*ISE 4984 Principals of Industrial Hygiene *ISE 5606 Human Factors Research Design II
*ISE 5644 Human Audition and Auditory Display Design EDCI 5604 Distance Learning
*ISE 5674 System Safety or
ISE 5684 Industrial Health and Safety
CS 5516 Computer and Network Architecture
  CS 5734 Computer-Supported Cooperative Work
ACIS 5514 Management of Information Systems
ACIS 5594 Web-based Applications and Electronic Communications
Transportation Work-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders
*ISE 5606 Human Factors Systems Design II *ISE 4624 Work Physiology
*ISE 6604 Human Factors in Visual Displays *ISE 5694 Macroergonomics
*ISE 5644 Human Audition and Auditory Display Design *ISE 4644 Occupational Safety
*ISE 5674 System Safety STAT 4504 Applied Multivariate Statistics or
5644 Nonparametrics
*ISE 5714 Usability Engineering HNFE 4984 Exercise & Neuromuscular Performance
*ISE 6614 Human Computer Systems HNFE 5724 Epidemiology
ISE/CEE 5944 Human Factors in Transportation EMS 5984 Physiology

*Denotes an HFEE course

(Note: As of fall 2018 the M.S. non-thesis degree will no longer be available. The coursework only non-thesis M.S. degree will be offered as a Master of Engineering (M.Eng.) degree.)

A coursework-only Master’s level curriculum is available, and will typically be selected by students pursuing an application-oriented degree and without an interest in continuing for a doctoral degree. Non-thesis M.S. students are required to complete at least 31 credit hours of course work, as described in the table below. Deviations from the suggested courses are possible with approval of the HFEE faculty

Number Title Credits
All of the following 4 courses or their equivalent are required 13
ISE 5604 Human Information Processing 3
ISE 5605 Human Factors System Design I 3
ISE 5614 Human Physical Capabilities 3
ISE 5615 Human Factors Research Design I 4
Elective Courses ≥ 18
At least 4 Additional Graduate Level ISE-HFEE courses ≥ 12
At least 1 non-HFEE ISE Graduate Level course ≥ 3
At least 1 non-ISE Graduate Level course ≥ 3
Total Hours ≥ 31