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Department of Mechanical Engineering

Bachelor of Science in Human Factors Engineering (B.S.)

This program of study leads to a degree in Human Factors Engineering (or Engineering Psychology). This degree is intended for students who wish to be recognized as human factors professionals. Students typically enter this program after successful completion of the first year program common to all engineering students, though many declare HFE as a major during their first year of studies at Tufts. This program is not accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET, since neither ABET or any other accreditation body certifies undergraduate programs in Human Factors Engineering or Engineering Psychology.

Program Educational Objectives

Human Factors Engineering is an interdisciplinary field of study that is concerned with the interaction between humans and their environment, be it with technology or social structure, at work or at play. The goal of the human factors engineer and engineering psychologist is to understand the capabilities and limitations of human performance and to design safe and productive work, matching the functionality of the technology to the task requirements and human capabilities. A graduate of the program is expected to be able to:

  1. Integrate fundamental engineering, psychology, statistics, and general science principles to solve problems in simple and complex socio-technical environments.
  2. Develop successful professional careers in a variety of domains in industry or research settings.
  3. Communicate both technical and non-technical principles to a wide range of audiences.
  4. Demonstrate leadership in multi-disciplinary teams.

Pass/Fail

The opportunity to take certain courses pass/fail offers students a way to extend their interest beyond their core requirements. Taking courses pass/fail is not recommended as a means of reducing one's attention or effort in a particular subject. Guidelines on the pass/fail option are described in the University Bulletin. The following restrictions apply to the Pass/Fail option:

  1. Free Electives and HASS Electives (except ENG 1) may be taken pass/fail.
  2. No other courses listed on the BS in Engineering Psychology degree sheet may be taken pass/fail.
  3. No more than one pass/fail per semester.

Study Abroad

Many Tufts students choose to study abroad during their junior year. Since our Human Factors Engineering program is unique, many of our requirements cannot be fulfilled at an institution other than Tufts. Therefore, students interested in this option should begin to make plans well in advance of their junior year.

In most foreign countries, Human Factors Engineering and Engineering Psychology is known as Ergonomics. There are subtle differences between the areas of Human Factors Engineering being studied in the US and those being studied abroad. These differences may interest students who opt to study abroad, for they will have the opportunity to learn Human Factors Engineering from another perspective. Also, most foreign institutions offer complete programs of study rather than a collection of separate courses.

Since none of the Tufts programs abroad offer Ergonomics, students wishing to study Ergonomics at a foreign institution are advised to take a study abroad leave of absence and apply directly to the foreign school they wish to attend. In order to find out which schools offer programs in Ergonomics, one should contact the embassy for that country. Some of the countries that have programs in ergonomics are Germany, England, Switzerland, Israel, and Australia.

Once a student has chosen a foreign university to apply to, he or she should obtain a description of this school's Ergonomics program. All credits to be transferred must be given approval through SIS before the student leaves Tufts. The foreign courses that a student wants to count in substitution for the requirements of the BSHF degree must be approved by the Director of the Program.

Studying abroad is an excellent experience that can be replaced by no other. Although there are difficulties involved with planning a semester abroad, this should not discourage a student from choosing this option.

Degree Program

The Human Factors Engineering program has two parallel tracks: one for students in the School of Engineering and the other for students in the School of Arts and Sciences.

SOPHOMORE YEAR - The sophomore program builds on the freshman foundation in engineering. The second year curriculum introduces students to the field of Human Factors Engineering as well as to the basic behavioral science, physical science, and engineering concepts that are used in the field. Topics include:

  • ENP-53 Introduction to Engineering Psychology (3 credits)
  • ENP-61 Introduction to Human Factors Engineering (3 credits)
  • PSY-31 Introduction to Behavioral Statistics (5 credits)
  • ES-5 Introduction to Mechanics (3 credits)

JUNIOR YEAR - The third year focuses on the development of analytical and design skills, as well as on professional development. Courses include:

  • ENP-161 Human Factors in Product Design (3 credits)
  • ENP-166 Design of Human Computer Interfaces (3 credits)
  • PSY-32 Experimental Design (5 credits)
  • ES-56 Engineering Statistics (4 credits)
  • EM -52 Technical Communications (3 credits) 

SENIOR YEAR - The senior year provides focus on advanced topics in Human Factors Engineering, as well as a capstone design experience. During the senior year, students take:

  • ENP-162 Human Factors in Human-Machine Systems (3 credits)
  • ENP-130 Advanced Engineering Psychology (3 credits)
  • ENP-120 Human Factors Senior Design (3 credits)
  • COMP-171 Human Computer Interaction (3 credits)