Human Factors and Cognitive Questions:

What is Human Factors?

Human Factors is an integrative approach that focuses on the interaction between human and the environment, like systems, products, people, and procedures. Human Factors is a science that adds the human into the equation to make life easier, safer and more enjoyable by utilizing research, theory and thought applied toward factoring in the HUMAN and applying the knowledge of human behavior, capabilities, and limitations.

What is Applied Experimental and Human Factors Psychology?

The track seeks to develop the capacity to design, conduct, and apply human factors research in a variety of professional settings. It is patterned on the scientist-practitioner model of the American Psychological Association (APA) and adheres to guidelines established by the committee for Education and Training of APA’s Division 21 (Applied Experimental and Engineering Psychology). Students must also select a concentration area, which may be in human-computer interaction, human-machine-environment interface, human performance, human factors in simulation and training, or other areas of interest with the adviser’s authorization. A dissertation representing a significant research contribution to the field is required.

What is the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society?

The Society was founded in 1957 as the Human Factors Society of America. The Society’s mission is to promote the discovery and exchange of knowledge concerning the characteristics of human beings that are applicable to the design of systems and devices of all kinds. The Society furthers serious consideration of knowledge about the assignment of appropriate functions for humans and machines, whether people serve as operators, maintainers, or users in the system. And, it advocates systematic use of such knowledge to achieve compatibility in the design of interactive systems of people, machines, and environments to ensure their effectiveness, safety, and ease of performance. The Society encourages education and training for those entering the human factors and ergonomics profession and for those who conceive, design, develop, manufacture, test, manage, and participate in systems. For more information on the society go to

Does UCF have a student chapter of the HFES?

Yes. The members of the UCF Student Chapter of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society (HFES) are mostly graduate students in the Applied Experimental and Human Factors Psychology and Industrial Engineering programs. The Student Chapter gives members the opportunity to further their professional goals by encouraging members to attend conferences and sponsoring colloquia where members have the opportunity to meet the foremost researchers in the field.

Why should you choose Human Factors as a career?

Human Factors is all around you. How effective would a computer be if you couldn’t use it, a car if you couldn’t steer it, or a cell phone if you couldn’t call anybody? THEY WOULDN’T! As technology continues to advance without consideration for the user, there has become an increasing need for Human Factors psychologists. This highly dynamic and exciting field represents one of the fastest growing and highest earning fields of psychology. Human Factors utilizes human characteristics, operations, limitations and abilities to make your life easier, safer and more enjoyable by applying research and theory to areas such as: aerospace technology, automobile design, medical applications, consumer products, virtual environments, human-computer interaction and many related areas that involve interaction with the human being. This is why it has become extremely important that individuals like yourself further explore your interest in the area of Human Factors so that you can contribute to the advancement of technology, the advancement of human kind, and make great money while your at it!

What kinds of jobs are available for professionals in this field?

Our graduates commonly obtain human factors positions in industry (e.g., IBM, Boeing, Microsoft), take on teaching positions at leading universities, engage in private consulting, or become involved with various government agencies (e.g., National Transportation Safety Board, Naval Air Warfare Center).

What are the main areas of Human Factors research at UCF?

Students and faculty have very diverse research interests such as aviation and aerospace, human-computer interaction, product design, aging, automation, cognition, driving, HCI, simulator sickness, stress, team performance, vision, and VR/VE.

What type of internships will be available?

A variety of research, consulting, and internship arrangements are included in the track. The University of Central Florida has associations with a variety of businesses in the area, including NAWCTSD, FAA, NASA and Lockheed Martin.Students receive training in the content and techniques of human factors psychology—including statistical and quantitative procedures, experimental design, survey methods, computer techniques, and other research methodologies—that prepares them to engage in research activities in diverse areas. We have been able to place all of our human factors graduate students who desired them into internships.

Is this program only for students with Bachelor degrees in Psychology?

No. Many students come to the AEHF program from diverse backgrounds such as computer science, aerospace studies, engineering, and business.

Are students required to have a Master’s degree to be accepted?

No. The AEHF program is offered to those with a baccalaureate or master’s degree in psychology or an allied area.

Can I be accepted for the spring or summer terms?

No. The AEHF program only accepts students for the fall semester.

Where will I work?

Many of our graduate students have the opportunity to work both off-campus for a variety of different employers such as Army Research Institute (ARI), Naval Air Warfare Center Training Systems Division (NAWCTSD), Team Performance Lab (TPL), Institute for Simulation and Training (IST), In-Touch Computing, CHI Systems, and Siemens-Westinghouse. Internships have been conducted at NASA-Ames, NAWCTSD, IBM, Microsoft, and Johnson Engineering.

How do I choose an adviser?

Following acceptance to the AEHF program, an advisor will be assigned to you based on your initial research interests. However once you have met with the AEHF faculty, you are free to change advisors to one who you feel is better suited to your interests.

What are comprehensive/qualifying exams?

Comprehensive exams, better know as “comps”, are designed to test your critical thinking skills rather than your declarative knowledge. Comps have been described as both “a nifty little exam you get to take after you finish your coursework” and “a rite of passage”. The sarcasm runs deep here, but you should always keep comps in mind during your coursework. Keeping detailed class notes and reading notes will go a long way when it comes time for you to study for comps! These exams are comprised of three days of essay questions covering the following topic areas: Research Methods, Sensation & Perception, Human Performance, Research Critique, Design/Ergonomics, Human-Computer Interaction, Organizational Psychology & Team Performance, Cognition & Learning, and Physiological Psychology.

In addition, you will also be required to answer questions in a specialty area of your choice. This specialty area will need to be approved by a committee of three faculty members who will be responsible for writing and grading these questions. The general section questions will be written and graded by at least two professors.

How many years will it take for me to graduate?

The amount of time that it will take for you to graduate is dependent on you. Students who are able to transfer courses in from other universities will reduce this time. Generally, students who do not transfer any courses into the program complete the program in 4 – 5 years. The maximum amount of time allotted to complete the program is 7 years.