Human Factors in Medical Devices and Systems

The rate of preventable deaths due to medical error is huge. A widely cited report published in 2016 suggests at least 250,000 patients die each year due to medical error, making it the third leading cause of death in the USA. A large percentage of these deaths are related to poor user interface design.

Recognizing the medical error "epidemic," the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) now requires the manufacturers to Class II and III devices to apply HFE through the device development process and validate that representative users can operate them safely. This requirement has increased the demand for professionals in the field of human factors engineering who have special knowledge about the design and evaluation of medical technology.

The Human Factors Engineering Program at Tufts University can help prepare you to enter this exciting field.

The Graduate Certificate consists of four courses, many available as evening classes. Students interested in earning a master's degree can often apply these certificate courses toward a master's degree in human factors engineering.

Program of Study

The certificate requires four courses:

  • Two foundation courses:
  • Two more courses from approved list, including:
    • ENP-0105 Assistive Technology (3 SHUs)
    • ENP-0161 Human Factors in Product Design (3 SHUs)
    • ENP-0165 Industrial Design (3 SHUs)
    • ENP-0166 Computer Interface Design (3 SHUs)
    • ENP-0163 Analytical Methods (3 SHUs)
    • CS-0171 Human-Computer Interaction (3 SHUs)
    • ME-0140 Inventive Design (3 SHUs) (formerly numbered ME-0102)
    • BME-0100 Design of Medical Instrumentation (3 SHUs)
    • BME-0193-01 Medical Devices: Innovating in a Regulated Environment (3 SHUs)

Course numbers/titles are subject to change.

This certificate is offered in collaboration with the Tufts Department of Psychology, the School of Engineering, and the Department of Occupational Therapy at Tufts.


Please see the Graduate Programs website for information about current tuition rates.

Certificate Faculty Advisor:

Professor of the Practice James Intriligator