TTU Home Department of Psychology Home

Experimental Psychology: Human Factors Psychology

Human Factors

Human Factors is that field which is involved in conducting research regarding human psychological, social, physical, and biological characteristics, maintaining the information obtained from that research, and working to apply that information with respect to the design, operation, or use of products or systems for optimizing human performance, health, safety, and/or habitability (Stramler, 1993).

Human Factors is concerned with the application of what we know about people, their abilities, characteristics, and limitations to the design of equipment they use, environments in which they function, and jobs they perform (Human Factors & Ergonomics Society).

Human Factors is a body of knowledge about human abilities, human limitations, and other human characteristics that are relevant to design. Human factors engineering is the application of human factors information to the design of tools, machines, systems, tasks, jobs, and environments for safe, comfortable, and effective human use (Chapanis, 1991).

Chapanis, A. (1991). To communicate the human factors message, you have to know what the message is and how to communicate it. Bulletin of the Human Factors Society, 34, 1-4.

Stramler, J. H. (1993). The dictionary for human factors/ergnomics. Boca Raton: CRC Press.

Objectives of Our Human Factors Program

The Human Factors Psychology Program at Texas Tech University is fully accredited by the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society.

The objective of the program is to prepare students for employment in academia, government and industry settings. We believe that this requires a solid research background. Research is the foundation of human factors. Thus, we emphasize research training. Students who enroll in our program are expected to engage in research continuously, publish articles, and attend and present research at conferences. Preparation includes methodological, statistical, and technical skills, knowledge of the basic and applied literature, and assimilation into the professional community. As a consequence of this training 100% of our graduates have secured employment, with typical graduates receiving multiple job offers. Our students have won a variety of awards, and our faculty serve on editorial boards, and national panels and committees.

The HF Program is committed to the integration of basic and applied research. Thus, students are trained in the fundamental processes of human behavior, quantitative methods, and multidisciplinary topics. Students take courses in psychology, experimental methods and statistics, human factors, and industrial engineering (ergonomics). They gain experience applying fundamental methods and knowledge in experimental psychology to applied problems. Hands-on research experience is considered of fundamental importance and students are engaged in research continuously during their enrollment. Research opportunities are diverse and can include collaborations with faculty in other departments as well as in other specializations within experimental psychology.

Faculty and students interact with colleagues in departments such as Civil Engineering, Computer Science, Education, Health/Physical Education/Recreation, Industrial Engineering, and the Health Sciences Center.

Job Market

The employment prospects for individuals trained in human factors psychology are outstanding. There is a shortage of human factors professionals and employers compete fiercely to fill their vacancies. There are numerous job opportunities. Salaries and benefits are high. Recent graduates have reported starting annual salaries between 80K and 100K.

Our program prepares students for employment in academia, government and industry settings. Our terminal MA program prepares students for professional employment, as in industry, or for continuation of education in a doctoral program.

Our graduates are in research positions at government and academic institutions (i.e., Lockheed-Martin/NASA-Johnson, Auburn University, Wichita State University, University of South Dakota, the Federal Aviation Administration, the US Air Force, the US Army, the US Navy, and NIOSH). We also have alumni employed in industry (i.e., General Electric, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Lear Corporation, Lucent Technologies, Space Center, NOVA Research Co., Oakhill Technology, Perceptive Sciences, Roche Diagnostics, SA Technologies, SBC Technology, State Farm, Honeywell, Medtronics, Human Interfaces, BCI, and Siemens).

Student Awards and Honors

The TTU Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Student Chapter has been recognized with a Gold Level Status designation by the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society (HFES) for multiple years in a row. Each year, HFES performs an assessment of student chapters across the nation driven by a diverse set of criteria developed to recognize outstanding efforts, activities, and contributions. Following the assessment, chapters are awarded a Gold, Silver, or Bronze Status designation.

Many of our students have been recognized with the Student Member with Honors award from the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society (HFES). This award is given to individual students who have demonstrated outstanding achievement and have made an outstanding contribution to the discipline and/or HFES during their academic career.