M.S. in Human Systems Engineering

Human Systems Engineering

Application Deadlines

December 1 Spring semester (January)

March 1 Summer session 1 (June) and Summer session 2 (July)

May 1 Fall semester (August)

These are the priority application deadlines for admission and merit-based scholarship consideration. Late applicants will be considered for university admission and financial aid, but programs with higher admission standards will give priority consideration to applications submitted by these dates. Please view important dates on the academic calendar.

WUE-Eligible Program

Undergraduate students from western states who enroll in this program are eligible for a discounted tuition rate. 
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Program Contact

Program Chair: Chad Kennedy

Sutton 240
[email protected]

Applied Project/Thesis

The M.S. in Human Systems Engineering requires a minimum of 30 credit hours. This coursework culminates in either an original and independent research-based Thesis Project or a client-sponsored Applied Project.

Applied Project vs. Thesis

A thesis involves empirical data collection to answer an applied or theoretical question. A thesis may eventually be published in an academic journal. An applied project may or may not involve data collection. Instead it may involve prototyping, design, or a thorough literature review to address a specific client-centered problem.

An applied project may also be published, but is more to lead to a patent or portfolio item. The specific track chosen does not appear on the diploma, and those who pursue the applied project do not necessarily rule out advancing toward a PhD program. Similarly, those pursuing a thesis are not ruling out working in industry. The decision is really a matter of preference for experimental human factors or applied human factors work, though keep in mind that the applied project’s research question is initiated by industry.

Requirements for Applied Project option

The Applied Project involves the application of psychological principles to problems and questions determined by a client sponsor. For example, students might work with a startup company to provide website or product usability evaluations, consult with a community organization to develop improved methods for real-world practices, or perhaps develop a new piece of software. Students selecting the applied project option will, under the guidance of an advisor and industry client who initiates the project, allocate the 12 credit hours to a combination of research and applied project credit. They will prepare a report and present a poster on the project at Innovation Showcase.

  • PSY 530 Intermediate Statistics (3)
  • HSE 598 Data Analytics (3)
  • HSE 520 Methods and Tools in Applied Cognitive Science (3)
  • HSE 542 Foundations of Human Systems Engineering (3)
  •  Electives (12)
  •  HSE 593 Applied Project (6)

Requirements for Thesis option

Work on the Thesis will continue for at least a calendar year, under faculty supervision. The first three credits will be devoted to developing an idea and preparing a proposal for approval by a faculty committee. The next three credits will allow for preparing the details of research design and data collection for the thesis (materials, computer programs, experimental text beds, questionnaires, etc.). The final six credits will be devoted to collecting and analyzing data and writing and revising the thesis under the direction of the advisor. The thesis is orally defended in front of a committee and submitted to the Graduate Education office.

  • PSY 530 Intermediate Statistics (3)
  • HSE 598 Data Analytics (3)
  • HSE 520 Methods and Tools in Applied Cognitive Science (3)
  • HSE 542 Foundations of Human Systems Engineering (3)
  • HSE 592 Research (3)
  • Elective (9)
  • HSE 599 Thesis (6)


When working on an applied project or thesis, staying on schedule and keeping in touch with the graduate committee is essential. The thesis defense must take place by the Graduate College defense deadlines and meet the published date for the semester in which the student wants to graduate. Graduate College – Thesis Defense

The following milestones and timeline will help you track your progress through the degree program. The milestones assume that you will complete the degree over a period of about four semesters, though you may make faster or slower progress depending on your work.

Applied Project/Thesis Writing Guidelines

It is expected that graduate students write at a graduate level, observing appropriate and correct academic writing styles in all courses, including the applied project and thesis courses.

ASU offers writing help through the Graduate Writing Centers for on-campus and online students. Visit the ASU Graduate Writing Center site for more information.

Applied project and thesis papers for the HSE M.S. program are written using the American Psychological Association (APA) guidelines. More information about this style of writing is available at Purdue’s Online Writing Lab (OWL).