Overview of the Program
Founded in 1984 in the Department of Psychology and College of Engineering, the University of Idaho Human Factors program focuses on improving the quality of human interactions with technology and the built environment. Our two-year Masters program affords students the opportunity to develop broad competency in human factors psychology and user experience engineering. The program provides professional training in the theoretical and methodological foundations relevant to human factors practitioners and researchers.
Graduates of our program have found rewarding employment in diverse fields, including software and web usability, product development, consulting, public safety, health-care, nuclear power, surface transportation, aviation systems, and research. They work for corporations such as Hewlett Packard, UserCentric, Battelle, Bruce Power (Canada), and at research institutes such as the Idaho National Laboratory and the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute. A number of our M.S. graduates have been accepted into Ph.D. programs in Human Factors, Experimental Psychology, and Neuroscience.
Graduate funding and research support is available through the program for on-campus students.
A minimum of thirty credit hours is required for our Master's degree in human factors psychology. Core courses include Sensation & Perception, Cognitive Psychology, Engineering Psychology, Research Methods and Design, Human-Computer Interaction, Ergonomics & Biomechanics, Advanced Human Factors, and Neuro-Ergonomics. Students may choose to focus additional coursework in areas such as neuroscience, safety, virtual environments and 3D modeling, statistical analysis, engineering management, information design, sports psychology, business, and philosophy or take credits for thesis or non-thesis research.
In addition to coursework, the M.S. degree requires students either complete a research-based thesis or a non-thesis comprehensive exam to finish their course of study.
Students are encouraged to apply the knowledge gained through coursework through active participation in research in a variety of specialty areas. These include human-computer interaction, advanced displays for aviation and process control, simulation and virtual environments, driving and surface transportation, computer security, alarm technology, physiological indicators of stress and workload, sound perception, cyclist and pedestrian safety, and the emerging fields of augmented cognition and neuroergonomics.
Students in our program often complete professional internships with various companies and organizations, including Intel, Motorola, HP, Daimler-Chrysler, UserCentric, the Idaho National Lab, and the University of Idaho's media development team.
Opportunities for Professional Service
Graduate students participate in the University of Idaho Chapter of the national Human Factors and Ergonomics Society. They present their research at the annual meeting of the Society in front of an international audience and gain professional experience through career centers and mentor programs at the meeting. The University of Idaho student chapter has been recognized with the highest level of achievement (gold) award for the past two consecutive years.