Human Factors & Engineering Psychology

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Use your understanding of human cognition and behaviour to design, improve and adapt products, processes, and systems in terms of efficiency, usability, or safety.

In our daily life, we interact with all kinds of products, processes and systems. Think of your smartphone, computers, cars, or even robots, but also less tangible concepts, such as work processes or newsgathering. How do you make sure these interactions are successful? For example, what does it take for people to trust autonomous cars? And how do humans interact with chatbots sufficiently? The specialisation in Human Factors & Engineering Psychology will provide you with an in-depth understanding of human cognition and behaviour, in order to design, improve and adapt products, processes and systems to complement human behaviour and capabilities.

“This specialisation is not just about advanced digital technologies or products. Human factors apply to any system that humans interact with. Even the language we use in the messages we convey is a system in this sense.”
Simone Borsci, Assistant Professor of Human Factors and Cognitive Ergonomics

What to expect?

New technologies can be perfectly engineered, but if you don’t take human factors into account, the product in itself becomes useless, or even worse: unsafe. After all, products, systems, or processes are designed to serve human beings and not vice versa. So, what does it take to make these interactions effective, efficient, safe, and user-friendly? To answer this question, cognitive psychology is the central starting point. Within this specialisation, you will delve deeper into how the human mind – with its strengths and weaknesses – works, and learn to predict human behaviour in human-technical systems.

Examples of courses you will follow during this specialisation
  • How can you design interactive products that suit the human user’s mind in the best way? The course Human Computer Interaction will familiarise you with the field of usability research and user experience (UX) design.
  • During the course Advanced Research Methods for Human Factors and Engineering, you will be introduced to research methods and tools that can help to evaluate and design systems, from eye-tracking methods to EEG measurements, and from statistics to coding in R. In addition, you will learn to critically reflect on research in this applied field.
  • What cognitive processes are involved in using road traffic systems, such as (self-driving) cars or navigation systems? The course Traffic Psychology will give you in-depth insights into human cognition in the specific field of road transport.

From healthcare to the automotive industry and from robotics/AI to the gaming industry, there’s a wide variety of topics you could explore within this specialisation. You could research the usability and safety of in-vehicle information systems or focus on Virtual Reality-based training simulators that help surgeons enhance surgical operations. Moreover, you could focus on physical, organisational and cognitive aspects that reflect different spectrums of the human experience, such as memory, attention, motor learning and performance, workload, and alertness. But also: how does today’s digitally advanced society impact our brain, habits and ways of thinking? Do we still trust technology with the current massive distribution of artificial intelligence? If these questions intrigue you, this specialisation will suit you perfectly.

What will you learn?

As a graduate of this Master's and this specialisation, you have acquired specific, scientific knowledge, skills and values, which you can put to good use in your future job.

  • Knowledge

    After completing this Master’s specialisation, you:

    • have solid knowledge in Human Factors and Engineering methods that are available for design, usability and user experience research;
    • have a broad overview of cognitive, physiological and environmental aspects involved in Human Factors and Engineering;
    • have a fundamental understanding of system thinking and interaction with advanced systems.
  • Skills

    After successfully finishing this Master’s specialisation, you:

    • are able to apply cognitive theories and principles to the design of socio-technical systems, products and services;
    • can apply advanced methodologies relevant for research problems in the field of Human Factors and Engineering;
    • are able to set up research, conduct studies and analyse quantitative and qualitative data in the domain of Human Factors and Engineering.
  • Values

    After completing this Master’s specialisation, you:

    • are aware of social, environmental, sustainability and safety aspects involved in the design of socio-technical systems, products and services;
    • have a critical mindset towards the integration of technology in society to identify gaps and propose solutions;
    • believe that sociotechnical systems and products must always serve people, not vice versa.

Other master's and specialisations

Is this specialisation not exactly what you are looking for? Maybe one of the other specialisations suits you better. Or find out more about these other master’s:

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