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The most exciting breakthroughs of the 21st century will not occur because of technology but because of an expanding concept of what it means to be human. — John Naisbitt

Applied Cognitive Science and Human Factors—MS, PhD

Fast Facts

  • According to a 2013 salary survey conducted by the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, mean total annual salary is approximately $105K for a master's level professionals and $136K for persons holding a doctorate. Doctoral-level consultants are reported as earning an average of $209K annually.
  • Expertise in Michigan Tech's Department of Cognitive and Learning Sciences is in the areas of usability, decision making, perception, attention, and computational modeling.
  • Current research projects include topics in usability and user-experience (UX), human-computer interaction, data visualization, human performance assessment, decision support systems, transportation systems, risk analysis and risk communication, sonification, physiological measurement, intelligent-tutoring systems, and STEM education.

Learn more about the Applied Cognitive Science and Human Factors programs.

Graduate Programs in Applied Cognitive Science and Human Factors

Michigan Technological University’s PhD program in Applied Cognitive Science and Human Factors provides a strong scientific basis in human subjects research and the core areas of cognitive science necessary to skillfully undertake research on the interface of human behavior and technological systems. Human Factors is a multi-disciplinary science focusing on the needs of the human in the design of products, work processes, and technology systems in an effort to optimize human well-being and overall system performance.

The graduate program is offered by the Department of Cognitive and Learning Sciences. The program integrates the knowledge of human experts (cognitive scientists) and built systems experts (computer scientists and engineers) in an effort to optimize human performance, health, safety, well-being, and/or sustainability.

The research-intensive curriculum provides a wide breadth of training for scientist-practitioners, including a core in psychology, research methods and quantitative modeling. Students select an area of specialization in which to focus their elective course work and their research. The doctoral program requires a minimum of 72 credit hours. The MS degree requires a minimum of 32 credits.

Learn more about the Applied Cognitive Science and Human Factors programs.

Master's Degree: Thesis Option

This option requires a research thesis prepared under the supervision of the advisor.  The thesis describes a research investigation and its results. The scope of the research topic for the thesis should be defined in such a way that a full-time student could complete the requirements for a master’s degree in twelve months or three semesters following the completion of course work by regularly scheduling graduate research credits. 

The minimum requirements are as follows:

Course work (minimum)20 credits
Thesis research6–10 credits
Total (minimum)30 credits
Distribution of course work credit 
5000–6000 series (minimum)12 credits
3000–4000 level (maximum)12 credits

 

Programs may have stricter requirements and may require more than the minimum numbers of credits listed here.

Master's Degree: Report Option

This option requires a report describing the results of an independent study project. The scope of the research topic should be defined in such a way that a full-time student could complete the requirements for a master’s degree in twelve months or three semesters following the completion of course work by regularly scheduling graduate research credits. 

Of the minimum total of 30 credits, at least 24 must be earned in course work other than the project:

Course work24 credits
Report2–6 credits
Total (minimum)30 credits
Distribution of course work credit 
5000–6000 series (minimum)12 credits
3000–4000 level (maximum)12 credits

 

Programs may have stricter requirements and may require more than the minimum numbers of credits listed here.

PhD Requirements

To complete a doctoral degree, students must complete the following milestones:

  • Complete all course work and research credits (see credit requirements below)
  • Pass Qualifying Examination
  • Pass Research Proposal Examination
  • Prepare and Submit Approved Dissertation
  • Pass Final Oral Defense

The minimum credit requirements are as follows:

Total Credit Requirements 
MS–PhD (minimum)30 credits
BS–PhD (minimum)60 credits

 

Individual programs may have higher standards and students are expected to know their program's requirements. See the Doctor of Philosophy Requirements website for more information about PhD milestones and related timelines.