RIT Offers New Master’s Degree in Psychology




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Rochester Institute of Technology is offering a new master’s degree in applied experimental and engineering psychology, drawing on the strengths of the university to explore the ways people use technology.

The collaborative program based in the College of Liberal Arts brings together the department of psychology with the departments of industrial and systems engineering in the Kate Gleason College of Engineering and the department of information technology in the B. Thomas Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences.

“Our program fits into the mission of RIT,” says Kathleen Chen, chair of the department of psychology. “It emphasizes technology and human interaction.”

Engineering psychology, also known as human factors, is an applied experimental psychology, a branch of study that emphasizes experiments and research methods involving perception and cognition. Human error and how to prevent it through easy-to-use product design is one aspect that commonly concerns engineering psychologists.

Graduates in this field work in teams of engineers to solve design problems in industry, the government or in consulting organizations. Graduates may also pursue their doctorate in engineering psychology, human factors or experimental psychology.

Tapping RIT’s strengths gives the program a unique perspective for assessing such problems. According to Chen, the program requires students to complete specialized courses in systems safety, ergonomics and human-computer interaction, for instance.

“RIT has built-in lab space for these specialized courses,” she says.

Experimental psychology and statistics are prerequisites of the program. Prospective students with or without psychology baccalaureates are encouraged to apply to the program, which will consider students on a case-by-case basis. Rolling admissions gives students the flexibility to begin their graduate work during any quarter of the academic year. Students can attend full or part-time, and a co-op experience is optional.

The program officially began this year with three students. It can accommodate 15 students per year.

For more information, contact Kathleen Chen at 585-475-6204.

Internationally recognized as a leader in computing, imaging, technology, fine and applied arts, and education of the deaf, Rochester Institute of Technology enrolls 15,500 students in more than 340 undergraduate and graduate programs. Its cooperative education program is one of the oldest and largest in the nation.

For the past decade, U.S. News and World Report has ranked RIT as one of the nation’s leading comprehensive universities. RIT is also included in The Fiske Guide to Colleges, as well as Barron’s Best Buys in Education.