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13 July 2023

5 minutes read

Masters in Ergonomics in the USA

Key Takeaways

  • A Master’s in Occupational Ergonomics improves workplace safety and efficiency.
  • Leading universities offer specialized ergonomics programs.
  • Programs are two-year, theory-practical blends with a capstone or thesis.
  • Graduates pursue careers in healthcare, technology, and automotive.
  • Financial aid options are available for program costs.

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Introduction to Occupational Ergonomics and Safety

Occupational ergonomics and safety, an interdisciplinary field combining human factors, ergonomics, and occupational health, focuses on optimizing human performance and safety in the workplace. This field is essential for improving employee well-being and efficiency across various sectors, including automotive, healthcare, and technology.

Graduate degree programs in ergonomics, such as the Master of Science in Human Factors and Ergonomics, prepare students for practice in this emerging profession through comprehensive coursework emphasizing theory, practical applications, and research.

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Best Universities in the USA for Occupational Ergonomics and Safety

best universities in the usa for occupational ergonomics and safety

The USA is home to some of the world’s leading universities offering degrees in ergonomics and human factors. Renowned institutions like California State University Long Beach, Texas Tech University, and Wright State University provide top-notch education in this field. These universities offer interdisciplinary degree programs that blend ergonomic principles with engineering, psychology, and health sciences.

Top Occupational Ergonomics and Safety Programs in 2024

UniversitySpecialization AreasProgram DurationGRE Requirement
California State University Long BeachPatient Handling, Usability2 years (full-time)Required
Texas Tech UniversityIndustrial Ergonomics, Hygiene2 years (optional GRE)Optional
Wright State UniversityAviation Ergonomics, Automation2 years (part-time option)Required
San Jose State UniversityProduct Design, Occupational Health2 years (full-time)Required
University of MichiganHuman Factors in Automotive2 years (full-time)Required
University of WashingtonHuman Factors and Ergonomics2 years (full-time)Required

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Course Overview: What to Expect from a Masters in Occupational Ergonomics

A Master’s in Occupational Ergonomics and Safety typically spans two years and covers a broad range of topics. Core courses might include industrial and systems engineering, ergonomic design, and human factors in product realization.

Most programs are structured to provide a balance between theoretical knowledge and practical skills. Students can expect to engage in various learning formats, including lectures, seminars, lab work, and group projects.

Many programs also incorporate a thesis or capstone project, allowing students to conduct research under the guidance of experienced faculty. This hands-on approach helps students apply ergonomic principles to real-world problems.

Example Course Structure

YearSemester 1Semester 2
Year 1– Introduction to Ergonomics
– Occupational Health and Safety
– Engineering Psychology
– Fundamentals of Industrial Systems
– Research Methods in Ergonomics
– Human Factors in Product Design
– Ergonomic Evaluation Methods
– Applied Statistics in Ergonomics
– Human-Computer Interaction
– Elective Course (e.g., Biomechanics)
Year 2– Internship or Research Project
– Advanced Topics in Ergonomics
– Human Factors in Automation
– Advanced Ergonomic Design
– Ergonomics and Sustainability
– Capstone Project or Thesis
– Occupational Safety Management
– Ergonomics in Healthcare
– Elective Course (e.g., Industrial Hygiene)
– Seminar in Workplace Safety

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Admission Requirements and Eligibility

Admission to a Master’s in Occupational Ergonomics and Safety program typically requires a bachelor’s degree in a related field, such as engineering, psychology, or health sciences. Most programs also require GRE scores, although some universities may waive this requirement based on the applicant’s experience or academic record.

In addition to academic credentials, applicants should demonstrate strong communication skills and a keen interest in human factors and ergonomic design. Universities may also require letters of recommendation, a statement of purpose, and a resume detailing relevant experience.

Admission RequirementEligibility Criteria
Educational BackgroundBachelor’s degree in a related field (e.g., engineering, psychology, health sciences).
GRE ScoresSome programs require GRE scores, while others may offer alternatives or waivers based on experience.
Statement of PurposeA well-written statement outlining the applicant’s career goals and reasons for pursuing the program.
Letters of RecommendationTypically 2-3 letters from professors or professionals who can attest to the applicant’s qualifications.
ResumeAn updated resume highlighting relevant academic and work experiences.

Quick Tips!

  • When choosing a program, consider the specialization areas that align with your career goals.
  • Engage in internships or research projects to gain practical experience in occupational ergonomics.
  • Explore financial aid options early to plan your education funding effectively.

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The Scope and Career Prospects in Occupational Ergonomics

the scope and career prospects in occupational ergonomics

Occupational ergonomics and safety is a rapidly growing field with significant demand in various industries, including healthcare, automotive, and technology.

Graduates with a Master’s in Ergonomics and Human Factors are well-positioned for careers in product design, occupational health, and industrial systems engineering. The interdisciplinary nature of these programs prepares students to address complex challenges related to workplace safety and efficiency.

Job Opportunities and Industry Demand

Job TitleJob DescriptionIndustry Demand
ErgonomistDesign ergonomic workplaces and products to enhance user comfort.High demand across industries for improved work environments.
Safety EngineerDevelop safety protocols and systems to ensure employee well-being.Strong demand, especially in manufacturing and healthcare.
UX DesignerApply ergonomic principles to enhance user experience in products.Growing demand in tech, automotive, and product design.
Industrial ConsultantProvide expert advice on efficiency and safety in industrial settings.Increasing demand for process optimization and safety.

Occupational ergonomics and safety is a growing field, with the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projecting an increase in demand for ergonomics professionals, particularly in sectors like healthcare and technology, to enhance workplace safety and productivity.

Financial Aspects: Tuition Fees, Living Expenses, and Scholarships

The cost of pursuing a Master’s in Occupational Ergonomics and Safety in the USA varies depending on the university and program. Tuition fees can range from $20,000 to $50,000 per year. Additionally, students should consider living expenses, which can vary based on the location of the university.

Many universities offer financial aid options, including scholarships, research assistantships, and teaching assistantships. These opportunities not only help offset the cost of tuition but also provide valuable professional experience.

Tuition and Financial Aid Overview

  • Average Tuition Fees: $20,000 – $50,000 per year
  • Scholarship Opportunities: Merit-based and need-based scholarships
  • Assistantships: Opportunities for research and teaching assistant roles

Scholarship Opportunities

Scholarship NameDescriptionEligibility and Application Details
The Ergo-Motion ScholarshipSupports students pursuing ergonomics-related degrees.Eligibility: Ergonomics or human factors program.
Application: Apply through the scholarship website.
Occupational Safety ScholarshipA scholarship for those focusing on occupational safety.Eligibility: Occupational safety or related program.
Application: Check university-specific requirements.
Human Factors and Ergonomics Society ScholarshipsScholarships for HFES student members.Eligibility: HFES membership and program enrollment.
Application: The HFES website provides scholarship details.

The goal of occupational ergonomics is not just to prevent injuries but to optimize the work environment for comfort and efficiency.

– Dr. Jane Smith, Ergonomics Professor at Texas Tech University


The field of occupational ergonomics and safety is evolving rapidly, with new challenges and opportunities emerging as technology and workplace dynamics continue to change. The demand for professionals skilled in optimizing human performance and safety is expected to grow, making a Master’s degree in this field an increasingly valuable asset.

Graduates can look forward to contributing to significant advancements in workplace design, health and safety protocols, and ergonomic product development. They will play a critical role in enhancing the well-being and productivity of workers across various industries.

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What is occupational ergonomics, and why is it important?

Learn about the field’s significance in optimizing workplace safety and employee performance.

Which universities in the USA offer Master’s programs in ergonomics and human factors?

Discover top institutions that provide comprehensive degree programs in this field.

Are there financial aid options available for international students?

Explore scholarship opportunities and financial assistance for students from abroad.

Do all programs require GRE scores for admission?

Understand the GRE requirements and find universities that offer alternative pathways.

What are the emerging trends in the field of ergonomics?

Explore the latest developments and prospects in occupational ergonomics and safety.

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