Human Factors, MS



This program addresses the growing need for engineering professionals trained in advanced human factors who can utilize human factors theories, procedures, and empirically derived knowledge into understandable and actionable information for use in the design and evaluation of a wide variety of products and systems. The key sectors demanding human factors professionals include transportation, healthcare, robotics, manufacturing, computer, consumer products, social, and organizational and military issues. The core courses of the proposed Master of Science in Human Factors program are built on the foundations of human factors and ergonomics, probabilities and statistics, etc. Topics from these foundation areas are integrated to create human factors for engineering applications. Students can select their elective or breadth courses from a wide range of fields. The program seeks to prepare students for a comprehensive set of human-factors-related professional positions.

General Degree Requirements

To be eligible for admission to any of the MS degree programs, a prospective student must hold a Bachelor of Science degree in engineering, science, mathematics, or an equivalent field. Students in all master’s degree programs must complete a minimum of 32 semester hours of approved coursework (exclusive of any preparatory courses) with a minimum grade-point average (GPA) of 3.000. Students can complete a master's degree by pursuing any of one of the three tracks: coursework option, project option, and thesis option. Specific degree requirements for each of these tracks can be found under the Program Requirements tab. Students may pursue any program either on a full-time or part-time basis; however, certain restrictions may apply.

Academic and Research Advisers

All nonthesis students are advised by the faculty adviser designated for their respective concentration or program. Students willing to pursue the thesis option must first find a research adviser within their first year of study. The research adviser will guide the students' thesis work, and thesis reader(s) may be assigned at the discretion of their research adviser. The research adviser must be a full-time or jointly appointed faculty. If the research adviser is outside the MIE department, before the thesis option can be approved, a faculty member with 51 percent or more appointments in the MIE department must be chosen as co-adviser, and a petition must be filed and approved by the co-adviser and the MIE Graduate Affairs Committee. Thesis option students are advised by the faculty adviser of their concentration before they select their research adviser(s). The research adviser and co-adviser must serve as thesis readers.

Plan of Study and Course Selection

It is recommended that all new students attend orientation sessions held by the MIE department and the Graduate School of Engineering to acquaint themselves with the coursework requirements and research activities of the department as well as with the general policies, procedures, and expectations.

In order to receive proper guidance with their coursework needs, all MS students are strongly encouraged to complete and submit a fully signed Plan of Study (PS) to the department before enrolling in second-semester courses. This form not only helps the students manage their coursework but it also helps the department to plan for requested course offerings. The PS form may be modified at any time as the students progress in their degree programs. 

Students may also petition to waive a core course by demonstrating evidence of their having passed a similar approved IE or OR graduate course. In such situations, the students must first obtain approval from their academic adviser for the course(s) they are planning to substitute.

Students pursuing study or research under the guidance of a faculty member can choose project option by taking Master’s Project (IE 7945) . An MS project must be petitioned to the MIE Graduate Affairs Committee and approved by both the faculty member (instructor for Master's Project) and the student's academic adviser. The petition must clearly state the reason for taking the project course; a brief description of the goals; as well as the expected outcomes, deliverables, and grading scheme. 

Students pursuing coursework option may petition the MIE Graduate Affairs Committee to substitute up to a 4-semester-hour Independent Study (IE 7978) . An independent study must be approved by the academic adviser. The petition must clearly state the instructor; the reason for taking the course; a brief description of the goals; as well as the expected outcomes, deliverables, and grading scheme. Students in other options (i.e., thesis or project) are not eligible to take independent study. When taking thesis or project options, the independent study course cannot be taken. 

Options for MS Students (coursework only, project, or thesis)

Students accepted into any of the MS programs in the MIE department can choose one of the three options: coursework only, project, or thesis. Please see the Program Requirements tab on the top menu of this page for more information. MS students who want to pursue project or thesis options must find, within the first year of their study, a faculty member or a research adviser who will be willing to direct and supervise a mutually agreed research project or MS thesis. Moreover, students who receive financial support from the university in the form of a research, teaching, or tuition assistantship must complete 8 semester hours of thesis. Students are strongly encouraged to complete their 8 semester hours of Thesis (IE 7990) over two consecutive semesters. 

Students who complete the thesis option must make a presentation of their thesis before approval by the department. The MS thesis presentation shall be publicly advertised at least one week in advance and all faculty members and students may attend and participate. If deemed appropriate by the research adviser, other faculty members may be invited to serve as thesis readers to provide technical opinions and judge the quality of the thesis and presentation. 

Change of Program/Concentration

Students enrolled in any of the MIE department programs or concentrations may change their current program or concentration no sooner than the beginning of their second full-time semester of study. In order for the program or concentration change request to be considered by the MIE Graduate Affairs Committee, the student must not be in the first semester of their current program, must have a 3.300 GPA, and have completed at least 8 semester hours of required coursework in their sought program at Northeastern.

Complete all courses and requirements listed below unless otherwise indicated. 

Core Requirements

IE 6500Human Performance in Sociotechnical Systems4
IE 7280Statistical Methods in Engineering4
IE 7315Human Factors Engineering4
EMGT 5300Engineering/Organizational Psychology4


Complete one of the following options:

Coursework Option

Complete 16 semester hours from the course list below.16

Project Option

IE 7945Master’s Project4
Complete 12 semester hours from the course list below.12

Thesis Option

IE 7990Thesis8
Complete 8 semester hours from the course list below.8

Course List

College of Engineering
IE 5137Computational Modeling in Industrial Engineering4
IE 5390Structured Data Analytics for Industrial Engineering4
IE 5630Biosensor and Human Behavior Measurement4
IE 5640Data Mining for Engineering Applications4
IE 6600Computation and Visualization for Analytics4
CIVE 7388Special Topics in Civil Engineering (Urban Informatics and Processing)4
College of Social Sciences and Humanities
ECON 7200Topics in Applied Economics4
ECON 7251International Finance4
ECON 7271Industrial Organization4
College of Science
PSYC 5180Quantitative Methods 13
PSYC 5181Quantitative Methods 23
PSYC 7300Advanced Quantitative Analysis3
PSYC 7301Research Methodologies Psychology3
Bouvé College of Health Sciences
PT 5600Ergonomics and the Work Environment3
EXSC 5210Physical Activity and Exercise: Prescription, Measurement, and Testing3
EXSC 5220Advanced Exercise Physiology3
Khoury College of Computer Sciences
CS 5340Computer/Human Interaction4
CS 6350Empirical Research Methods4
College of Arts, Media and Design
ARTG 5150Information Visualization Principles and Practices3
ARTG 5310Visual Cognition4
ARTG 5330Visualization Technologies 1: Fundamentals4
ARTG 5600Experience Design Studio 1: Principles4
ARTG 5610Design Systems4
ARTG 5640Prototyping for Experience Design4
Design Research Methods
ARTG 6310Design for Behavior and Experience4
ARTG 6320Design of Information-Rich Environments4
GSND 6240Exploratory Concept Design4
GSND 6250Spatial and Temporal Design4
GSND 6330Player Experience4
GSND 6340Biometrics for Design4

Program Credit/GPA Requirements

32 total semester hours required
Minimum 3.000 GPA required