Engineering Psychology Advanced certificate

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Explore the interactions between humans and machines and the science behind our behavior as you prepare for a career in ergonomics, cognition, perception, design, and more.

The advanced certificate in engineering psychology focuses on exploring and understanding the relationship between humans and machines. It’s the science of human behavior and our interactions with the technologies that go into the design and operation of machines, equipment, and more. Students expand their knowledge of engineering psychology by exploring course work in cognition, perception, ergonomics, industrial design, and more.

The advanced certificate in engineering psychology provides students with core knowledge in the key areas of engineering psychology, as well as an opportunity to study particular topics in greater depth through electives. The advanced certificate provides students with formal recognition of their knowledge in engineering psychology and establishes a credential for seeking a career in the human factors/ergonomics field.

Plan of study

The certificate consists of five courses. Students must earn at least a B in each course. Students enrolled in the MS degree in experimental psychology can be awarded the advanced certificate by taking the required courses as part of their master's program.


Engineering psychology, advanced certificate, typical course sequence

Course Sem. Cr. Hrs.
Graduate Cognition
This course will survey theoretical and empirical approaches to understanding the nature of the mental processes involved in attention, object recognition, learning and memory, reasoning, problem solving, decision-making, and language. The course presents a balance between historically significant findings and current state of-the-art research. Readings that have structured the nature and direction of scientific debate in these fields will be discussed. The course also includes discussions of methodology and practical applications. Students will have opportunities to develop their research skills and critical thinking by designing research studies in cognitive psychology.
Graduate Engineering Psychology
In this course the students will learn to recognize the integrated (systems) nature of Engineering Psychology, the centrality of human beings in systems design, and to use the topics covered and the available knowledge base to adapt the environment to people. This course will cover several fundamental models of human information processing in the context of human-system interactions. The models may include but are not limited to Signal Detection Theory, Information Theory, theories of attention, both normative and naturalistic decision-making models, Control Theory, and the Lens Model of Brunswick, as well as models of the human as a physical engine, that is, anthropometry, biomechanics, and work physiology. Most topics include readings in addition to the course text as well as a lab exercise with a detailed lab report.
Graduate Perception
The course is designed to provide students with a deeper understanding of topics in perception. This course will be organized such that students will work in groups on various projects as well as covering topics through readings and classroom discussion. The topics may include, but are not limited to: spatial frequency perception; aftereffects, visual illusions and their relationship to cortical function and pattern perception; color perception; depth and motion perception; higher order perception such as face and object recognition; and music and speech perception. The goal is to cover current research and theories in perception, looking at current developments and their antecedents. The course will be divided into various modules. Students will be assigned readings relevant to each section of the course, and will be expected to master the major concepts. Group discussion of the readings will complement lectures where the instructor will present relevant background material. There will also be laboratory time for the students, where they will examine empirical findings in perception, and develop their research skills in the field.
PSYC Elective or Institute Elective*
Total Semester Credit Hours


The following electives may be chosen. With approval of the advanced certificate coordinator, other relevant graduate courses may also be chosen as electives.

Foundations of Human-Computer Interaction
Human-computer interaction (HCI) is a field of study concerned with the design, evaluation and implementation of interactive computing systems for human use and with the study of major phenomena surrounding them. This course surveys the scope of issues and foundations of the HCI field: cognitive psychology, human factors, interaction styles, user analysis, task analysis, interaction design methods and techniques, and evaluation. This course will focus on the users and their tasks.
Information and Interaction Design
Designing meaningful relationships among people and the products they use is both an art and a science. This course will focus on the unique design practice of: representing and organizing information in such a way as to facilitate perception and understanding (information architecture); and, specifying the appropriate mechanisms for accessing and manipulating task information (interaction design). This course will also explore the various design patterns (design solutions to particular problems) that are appropriate for the HCI professional. Students will need prior knowledge of an interface prototyping tool.
Usability Testing
This project-based course will focus on the formal evaluation of products. Topics include usability test goal setting, recruitment of appropriate users, design of test tasks, design of the test environment, test plan development and implementation, analysis and interpretation of the results, and documentation and presentation of results and recommendations.
Current Topics in Human-Computer Interaction
Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) is an evolving field. This course is designed to study the current themes and advanced issues of HCI. Topics will vary depending upon current research and developments in the field.
Topics in Human-Computer Interaction for Biomedical Informatics
This course will provide a theoretical and case-based study of several areas of HCI, all considered within the application domain of biomedical informatics. Course topics include a scientific approach to UI design (usability engineering), domain-specific user analysis and user profiles, social and cultural influences, general and domain-specific design issues, information visualization, data integration, mobile devices, security, privacy, and ethics.
Agent-based and Cognitive Modeling
This course is intended as an introduction to the emerging areas of agent-based modeling and cognitive modeling. Both modeling approaches are at the intersection of research (theory development and confirmation) and computational simulation. This course will be an introduction to these topics, focusing on the research aspects of agent-based modeling and the development and testing of cognitive models. The role of visualization in modeling development and analysis is presented. Students will analyze the social science literature for current models and theories and will develop computational models incorporating these theories.
Designing User Experiences for Internet-enabled Devices
Wearable computers and Internet of Things devices involve both hardware and software. In order to design user experiences for these systems, professionals must understand how they are built. Students will learn how to rapidly prototype and evaluate wearable and IoT devices combining hardware and software. Experience in programming is helpful but not a prerequisite.
Human Computer Interaction with Mobile Devices
Mobile phones are now a major computing platform, and wearable and Internet of Things devices are emerging as major technologies. Each device offers different interaction opportunities and challenges. Students will learn about the research in interaction with these devices and how to design effective interactions for mobile, wearable, and ubiquitous devices.
User-Centered Design Methods
This course will focus on the major user centered design methodologies used in the development of applications and environments. Topics include: evolution of software design methods, emergence of user-centered design, and key concepts, attributes and process of the major design methodologies. Software design projects will be required.
Collaboration, Technology, and the Human Experience
Students will examine the role of technology and group collaboration in organizations. An overview of relevant theory, current and emergent technologies, and trends in collaborative science will provide the context for strategic implementation and development of collaborative environments. Group projects using collaborative technologies will be required.
Students collect data in the lab and conduct the data analysis using MATLAB software. Topics include skeletal anatomy and mechanics, muscle anatomy and mechanics, theory and application of electromyography, motion and force measuring equipment and techniques, human locomotion, balance and falls, inverse dynamics modeling of the human body, and current topics in musculoskeletal biomechanics research
Advanced Topics Human Factors
Advanced topics are selected based on current ergonomic and human factors issues and interests of students. Course is taught using a seminar format. Students are required to select, read, and discuss scientific literature relevant to the fields of human factors and ergonomics.
Systems Safety Engineering
Acquaints students with practical aspects of safety engineering. Students acquire a working knowledge of legal and technical aspects of safety. Focuses on a systems approach to safety engineering. Topics include Workers Compensation, OSHA, Consumer Product Safety Commission, NIOSH Guidelines and various hazard analysis and utilization techniques. Students also are exposed to various theories of accident causation, research methodology and ways of evaluating safety programs and related research.
Graduate Social Psychology
This course explores topics related to understanding individuals in a social context. Topics may include, but are not limited to: Social Perception and Social Cognition; Attitudes; Social Identity; Prejudice and Discrimination; Interpersonal Attraction; Close Relationships; Social Influence; Prosocial Behavior; Aggression; Group Behavior; Artifacts and Methodological Issues in Social Psychology. Course format is seminar focused on reading assigned texts each week, writing reaction papers, and participating in discussion. Students will also conduct a study on the topic of their choice and present their findings both in an oral and written format.

Admission Requirements

To be considered for admission to the advanced certificate in engineering psychology, candidates must fulfill the following requirements:

  • Complete a graduate application.
  • Hold a baccalaureate degree (or equivalent) from an accredited university or college.
  • Submit official transcripts (in English) of all previously completed undergraduate and graduate course work.
  • Have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 (or equivalent).
  • Have a minimum of 15 semester hours of course work in undergraduate psychology or a related field (e.g., engineering, computer science, information technology), including one course in experimental psychology and one course in statistics.
  • Submit a personal statement describing the applicant’s experience and goals regarding the certificate.
  • International applicants whose native language is not English must submit scores from the TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE. A minimum TOEFL score of 79 (internet-based) is required. A minimum IELTS score of 6.5 is required. The English language test score requirement is waived for native speakers of English or for those submitting transcripts from degrees earned at American institutions.
  • Scores from the GRE are not required. However, they may be beneficial for some students.

Learn about admissions and financial aid 

Additional Info

Prerequisite courses

Students may meet the prerequisite requirements either by taking the designated prerequisite courses at RIT, by having sufficient background from their undergraduate education, or if prerequisite requirements are explicitly waived by the course instructor.

Gainful employment

Information regarding costs and the U.S. Department of Labor’s Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) code and occupational profiles for this program can be viewed at