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.

Admission Requirements

Applicants must meet the following admission 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.
  • Transcript from undergraduate and graduate programs
  • The GRE requirement is waived for applicants to the Human Systems Engineering, PhD program for Fall 2021. 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

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.

HSE Graduate Student Handbook 2019-2020


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.