Ph.D. in Human Systems Engineering

Why Human Systems Engineering?

The program name change from Simulation, Modeling, and Applied Cognitive Science to Human Systems Engineering is effective Fall 2017.

Human systems engineering describes a growing transdisciplinary field (including the disciplines of psychology, engineering and computer science) that explores how people interact with technological and social systems in contexts that include transportation, medicine, military, computing and other complex systems. Cognitive science provides the foundation necessary for integrating human capabilities and limitations into complex sociotechnical systems (i.e., the practice of cognitive engineering), and the application of cognitive science relies heavily on a variety of methods including experimentation, simulation, modeling, and user and task analysis.

Examples of possible research topics include:

  • Development of intelligent agents
  • Driver distraction
  • Dynamical systems models of team interaction
  • Business decision-making
  • Cyber security analysis
  • Cognitive modeling
  • Modeling sociocultural systems
  • Health care human factors
  • Nuclear control room human system integration
  • Pilot training research
  • Tests of future airspace control concepts

This PhD is designed to produce individuals who are well-grounded in cognitive science and skilled in its methods and applications. Employers (e.g., Department of Defense, Federal Aviation Administration, Nuclear Regulatory Commission, hospitals, industry) have an ever-increasing demand for personnel who can bridge the gap between rigorous science and solutions to real-world problems. The PhD degree will provide transdisciplinary, research-driven training in applied cognitive science and human systems engineering.

HSE MS and PhD programs are accredited by the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society.

Admissions Requirements

Admissions Requirements

Applicants must meet the following admissions requirements:

  • A bachelor’s degree in engineering, psychology, cognitive science, computer science or a closely related field.
  • Admission to the graduate degree program presupposes an adequate technical preparation in statistics and cognitive science.
  • Minimum of 3.00 cumulative GPA (scale is 4.00=A) in their first bachelor’s degree program, or in the last 60 hours of a student’s first bachelor’s degree program.
  • Minimum of 3.00 cumulative GPA (scale is 4.00=A) in a minimum of nine semester hours of graduate work from a U.S institution; or a cumulative GPA of 3.00 (scale is 4.00=A) from an applicable conferred master’s degree program in a regionally accredited college or university, if applicable.
  • An online Graduate Admission application.
  • Official transcripts from undergraduate and graduate programs. Applicants may upload legible unofficial transcripts as part of the online application; if admitted official transcripts are then required.
  • The GRE requirement is waived for applicants to the Human Systems Engineering, PhD program for Fall 2024. Terms beyond that are subject to change.
  • Three (3) letters of recommendation
  • Submit a current resume or CV and statement of research interests as part of the online admissions application
    International applicants must also meet the English proficiency requirements, as defined by Graduate Admissions. Please be sure to review the TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE score requirements, as your application will not be processed without valid proof of English proficiency.

Applications are accepted for the fall semester only. Application deadline for fall semester is December 31 of the preceding calendar year.

Degree Requirements

Degree Requirements

The Ph.D. in Human Systems Engineering requires the following: 84 credit hours, a written comprehensive exam, an oral comprehensive exam, a prospectus and a dissertation. Students with a completed graduate degree in a related field may receive up to 30 credits of blanket coursework to apply towards the doctoral degree requirements. See the HSE Graduate Student Handbook linked on the left hand side for more information.


STEM designation makes students within the program at ASU eligible for STEM specific Scholarships, OPT extension for International Students, and expanded GI benefits for Student Veterans.