Human Factors Ph.D. Program

Human factors psychologists study human capabilities and limitations and apply that knowledge to systems and environments to enhance human performance. The field strives to make it easier and safer for people to use technology and equipment in their everyday life to improve home and work environments.

The Human Factors Program at WSU

WSU’s Human Factors program is accredited by the Human Factors and Ergonomic Society and provides a strong foundation in research design and methodology within the wider context of basic and applied experimental psychology. We believe that the best way to prepare human factors psychologists for the applied environment is to provide general training in experimental psychology as well as specific experience conducting research on specialized topics.

Admissions Requirements 

  • Undergraduate major in psychology or related area with coursework in statistics and research methods
  • Minimum GPA of 3.0
  • Submission of scores on the GRE (Verbal and Quantitative)
  • Three letters of reference
  • Career/goals statement
  • Application materials must be completed by January 15


An internship is required of those in the human factors program for completion of the Ph.D. in Human Factors Psychology. The internship typically involves a minimum of 3 months of intensive training and supervised experience in a human factors related position. Past internships have involved paid employment with Google, Microsoft, Motorola, Honeywell, Dell, State Farm Insurance, 3M, and many others.

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Human Factors faculty (left to right): Dr. Ackerman, Dr. Suss, Dr. B. Chaparro, Dr. A. Chaparro,
Dr. Ni, Dr. He

Research Laboratories

Applied Cognitive & Expertise Lab (ACE)

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The Applied Cognition & Expertise (ACE) lab investigates human performance and cognition in complex,  dynamic, and often stressful operational settings. ACE seeks to Identify and define expertise in operational settings, understand the perceptual-cognitive basis for expertise and skilled performance, and design and validate solutions to mitigate error, accelerate learning, and improve resilience. Some topics of current interest to the lab are human factors of firearms and forensic science, police decision making and use of force under stress, CCTV security surveillance monitoring, mixed martial arts (MMA) judging, and emergency medical service (EMS) decision making.

Human-Automation and Interaction Lab (HAIL)

JPEG ImageJPEG ImageHAIL is interested in eye movements and attention, and the application of psychological theories and paradigms to real-world tasks (e.g., human computer interaction and driving). Current research projects include 1) detection of driver fatigue and distraction using vehicle dynamics, eye tracking, and EEG, 2) performance changes and mechanisms of distracted driving and automation-assisted driving.


JPEG ImageJPEG ImageOptimize is an applied research laboratory that conducts research related to human-computer interaction (HCI). In addition to research, the lab provides usability evaluation services and interface design services to the software development community and trains students on HCI with real-world projects. SURL has worked on a contract basis for many Fortune 500/1000 companies related to usability and HCI issues including Microsoft, Dell, Motorola, Coca-Cola, Textron, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Coleman, and Benchmark Brands. The current focus is website design and usability, mobile device usability and methods of text input, eye tracking of websites and mobile applications, and voice recognition on mobile devices.

Visual Perception and Cognition (VPC) Lab

JPEG ImageJPEG ImageVPC’s research investigates the visual perception of depth and shape in stereopsis, distance perception of 3-D objects in the real world, driving performance and visual information processing, and age-related dierences in perception and cognition. The VPC lab is particularly interested in improving older individuals’ visual performance through training (e.g., perceptual learning). The goal of their research is to understand the mechanisms underlying visual perception and cognition and to extend this research into applied areas such as driving, especially for the aged population.

Address Inquiries To:

Dr. Rui Ni
Coordinator, Human Factors Psychology
Department of Psychology
Wichita State University
1845 Fairmount
Wichita , KS 67260-0034