human-factors College of Design

Human Factors and Ergonomics


What is Human Factors and Ergonomics?
Human factors and ergonomics (HFE) is the study of how to make technological systems safe, effective, and easy and enjoyable to use. The graduate program offers interdisciplinary coursework that addresses human performance and how it can be enhanced through design of tools, systems, working environments, processes, and organizations. HFE has applications ranging from clothing and living spaces to business processes, the design of health care processes and technology, computer interfaces, and spacecraft cockpits.


Where is Human Factors Used?
Human Factors is relevant in all things that people use or touch, all things with which they interact, and all activities in which they participate. They are a part of:

  • Physical systems such as cell phones, blood sugar monitoring meters, and building designs;
  • Information systems such as web pages, web tools that support the formation of virtual communities, and the controls and displays in the cockpits of automobiles and airplanes;
  • Management systems, such as training programs, systems of recognition and reward for tasks well done.

In short, human factors is everywhere.


Find out more about the graduate minor or the graduate program, offering master of science and doctoral degree options. The HFE graduate program at the University of Minnesota is a STEM program.


Why should you apply?

By having a firm understanding of human factors you will become a better designer. Human Factors and Ergonomics will equip you with tools to design systems that are more socially responsible: safer, easier and more enjoyable to use, and better serve the actual needs of people of all types. Companies value people with human factors training because they see it as key to creating products that can compete effectively in a fiercely competitive global market. Read more about how professionals use human factors in their work.


Human Factors and Ergonomics
1985 McNeal Hall
St. Paul, MN 55108
(612) 624-9700
fax: (612) 624-2750

Contact Information

Undergraduate Student Services
12 McNeal Hall, 1985 Buford Ave., St. Paul, MN 55108
107 Rapson Hall, 89 Church Street SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455
P: 612-624-1717 | E:

General Information
P: 612-626-9068 | E:

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