Ph.D. in Human Factors

The Ph.D. in Human Factors is an 84 credit, five-year program for students entering with a BS degree or 48 credits (3 years) for students entering with a MS degree.  The program focuses on core educational elements of the discipline including sensation, perception, cognition and statistics, with specializations offered in three key research areas: aviation/aerospace human factors, medical human factors and technology-enhanced learning and testing.  After completing 36 hours of coursework, students will be required to pass a qualifying examination to be admitted to doctoral candidacy.  Each student will work with a research advisor, who will serve as his/her dissertation chair and mentor. 


The objective of this Ph.D. program is to provide highly-qualified students an opportunity to complete a rigorous program in Human Factors, equipping students with advanced knowledge, skills and techniques in research that are relevant to Human Factors. The emphasis in the curriculum is highly quantitative in nature, providing these students with a robust skill set for research development and data analysis. 

The program is open to students who have earned a bachelor or master’s degree in Human Factors, Psychology or other closely-related fields. These students will have an exemplary academic record, demonstrated independent research skills and who wish to pursue research positions in academics, government or industry when they graduate. 

Consistent with the University mission and niche, the areas of research focus for the Ph.D. program are aviation human factors, safety and interactive design. Human Factors and Systems Department provides a comprehensive graduate level curriculum, as well as the research infrastructure and resources to support for federal, state and industrial projects and contracts. Students will have a rich pool of the courses to choose from, providing flexibility for students to individualize their course of studies to match their research focus.

Graduates of the Ph.D. in Human Factors are expected to have the in-depth understanding of the fundamental principles for Human Factors-related fields, develop a comprehensive knowledge structure and critical thinking and problem-solving skills for large complex systems design and evaluations. Students with this degree are expected to be proficient in communication skills, formulate and conduct experiments and models using advanced tools and technology, developing innovative and original basic and applied research skills. Graduated students are expected to pursue careers in academia, government and industrial research organization, taking a leadership responsibility and making significant contributions for pushing the boundaries of the theory and application of Human Factors.

Application Process

Applicants to the Ph.D. program in Human Factors must have an overall satisfactory academic record with a minimum cumulative grade point average (CGPA) of 3.2 on a 4.0 scale for their last 60 credit hours of the bachelor degree and have taken the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) within 5 years of application. Applicants must have a minimum score of 300. Applicants must also submit a complete application package before the deadline specified in the University catalog. The application should include a statement of purposes (two to five pages), official copies of transcripts and three letters of recommendations.

International applicants whose primary language is not English must take the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or IELTS (International English Language Test System) and meet the minimum requirements as required by the University.

Degree Requirements

The degree program in Human Factors will be conferred in recognition of academic accomplishment and demonstrated ability to conduct innovative scientific research independently in the specified Ph.D. level. A minimum of 84 credit hours of coursework beyond the bachelor’s degree, or 48 credit hours coursework beyond a Master’s degree is required for the Ph.D. in Human Factors. All courses must be graduate level and must be approved by the student’s advisor prior to registering for the course. A Ph.D. student must maintain a minimum of a 3.0 GPA for each semester enrolled in the program and a 3.0 CGPA throughout the Ph.D. studies.

Each Ph.D. student must pass the qualifying exam within one year after he/she has completed the required Master level course work or three years after entry, in order to achieve Ph.D. candidacy. The Graduate Program Committee will invite eligible students to sit for the qualifying exam.  Only students who are in good standing, and who have been identified through their individual work with a faculty member as qualified to enter into Ph.D. candidacy, will be allowed to take the qualifying examination. A student must pass the qualifying exam in not more than two attempts and must do so prior to presenting the dissertation proposal. A student who fails to pass the qualifying exam will be dismissed from the Ph.D. program at the end of the semester.

A minimum of 30 credit hours of dissertation research must be completed. Ph.D. students may register for no more than 9 credit hours of dissertation research each semester after they pass the qualifying exam. A dissertation proposal must be developed and the student must defend his/her dissertation proposal within one year after completing the qualifying examination. Prior to the defense of the dissertation proposal, a dissertation committee will be formed, as required by the university. The Award of the Ph.D. is based on the submission of a satisfactory dissertation, approved by the dissertation committee.

Specific information about the program, including admission and course requirements, can be found in the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Ph.D. Programs Catalog and at the program Web site.

Core Requirements

Quantitative Core Courses
HFS 510Research Design and Analysis I3
HFS 610Research Design and Analysis II3
HFS 675Multivariate Statistics: Factor Analysis and Data Reduction3
HFS 705Small N Designs and Non-Parametric Analysis3
Human Factors Core Courses
HFS 515Ergonomics3
HFS 600Human Factors in Systems3
HFS 615Sensation and Perception3
HFS 620Memory and Cognition3
Total Credits24

Human Factors Specified and Open Electives

Human Factors Specified and Open Electives27
Systems Concepts, Theory, and Tools
Research Design and Analysis I
Team Performance
Modeling Humans in Complex Systems
Human and Social/Organizational Factors in Emerging Technologies
Aerospace Physiology
Drugs in Aviation and Society
Graduate Seminar
Human Factors in Systems
Research Design and Analysis II
Human Factors Methods
Sensation and Perception
Memory and Cognition
Applied Testing and Selection
Applied Cognitive Science
Human-Computer Interaction
Managing Human Errors in Complex Systems
Aviation/Aerospace Psychology
Human Factors of Aviation/Aerospace Applications
Multivariate Statistics: Factor Analysis and Data Reduction
Graduate Student Capstone
Graduate Internship in Human Factors and Systems
Special Topics in Human Factors and Systems
Total Credits27


HFS 80030
Human Factors Seminar3
Total Credits33
Total Degree Credits84

Other graduate courses may  be available, but must be approved by the Graduate Program Coordinator.