PGCert Ergonomics and Human Factors (Distance Learning) is specially designed to be undertaken by employees in any organisation who need to apply ergonomics principles to their work.
The course will provide an understanding of the key issues related to workplace ergonomics and work design and will also direct students towards additional resources to facilitate the learning process. It has a flexible structure which allows you to manage when and where you study. We will provide you with the support you need throughout your course, through telephone, email and online tutorials.
You will be taught by a team who actively work as researchers and consultants and can share their experience of applying ergonomics to the real world.
On successful completion of this course you should have an understanding of the importance of ergonomics in the workplace, a basic knowledge of ergonomics theory and the ability to use a number of valuable ergonomics assessment techniques.
You will be required to use this understanding both to complete the course and to apply the knowledge gained in real situations in the workplace. The distance learning format means that most of the material and recommended background reading can be undertaken by the student in their own time, but with access to and support from university staff.
This course will develop:
- graduates who understand and can apply theory, method and practice of human factors/ergonomics for analysing and evaluating products and work situation
- knowledge and understanding of human factors relevant to the workplace
- knowledge and understanding of how human factors principles and methods can be used in the design and management of organisational systems to improve performance, productivity and quality while ensuring the safety and wellbeing of the workforce
- critical and analytical skills relevant to the practice of human factors/ergonomics
- the ability to work independently and to design and conduct independent research within organisational contexts
The modules on this course are designed to lead from the theoretical basis of each topic to the practical application of that knowledge.
This is a distance learning course. Distance learning allows you to:
- enhance your ability to operate in a virtual environment
- proceed at your own pace and study at any time 24/7
- study anywhere you like using a computer connected to the internet
- benefit from online tutor support
- take part in online self-managed learning groups and work in collaboration with fellow course participants
- enjoy access at any time to the online information system at the University of Nottingham
The course is taught through the online virtual learning environment Moodle which supports and extends communication between students and staff. Modules are accessed through Moodle through the University website and use virtual discussion groups and tutorials, self directed study, self managed learning, group tasks and coursework.
- The course has been recognised by The Institute for Ergonomics and Human Factors as a Level 1 course – this means that after successfully completing the course you will gain full credit for the relevant secondary knowledge area when applying for Registered Membership of the Society
- The department also offers an MSc Applied Ergonomics and Human Factors (Distance Learning) – successful completion of the Postgraduate Certificate course will count towards the award of an MSc if you decide to continue your studies
- There are no geographical limits to this course, it can be studied from any country, all elements are through distance learning
- The Faculty of Engineering is ranked 3rd in the UK for research power under REF 2014, the British Government’s Research Excellence Framework; more than 98% of engineering research ranked of international quality, with 85% graded as world leading or internationally excellent
You will study two modules each taken over a six-month period. The first module starts in September and the second in March. Each module has a value of 30 credits and represents 300 hours of study, including formal teaching, independent study, and the preparation of assessments. Modules are assessed by project or course work.
Each module is offered over a 26-week span once a year. Normally you will study two modules in one year – most students will gain their postgraduate qualification in one year. Students usually transfer to MSc Applied Ergonomics and Human Factors (Distance Learning).
Once you have obtained he PGCert Applied Ergonomics and Human Factors, this counts as 60 credits towards the MSc, if you wish to continue your studies.
Ergonomics Applications in the Workplace
This module is specially designed to be undertaken by employees in any organisation who can apply ergonomics in their work. It has been produced to define the background to the subject and also enough operational detail to allow candidates to apply the knowledge gained at their work, whether during the module or subsequently in real situations.
The distance learning format means that most of the material and specified reading can be undertaken by the student in their own time, but with defined (if limited) access to and support from the university staff.
The module topics include:
- introduction to ergonomics
- the body at work
- simple biomechanics
- workplace design
- work seating
- work-related upper limb disorders
- manual handling
- display screen equipment
- effects of environmental factors
- influence of work organisation
Choose one from:
The syllabus covers:
- survey design, interviewing and questionnaire design
- experimental design
- selection and recruitment of participants
- ethical issues; participatory ergonomics
- task and function analysis
- observational methods
- design decision groups
- qualitative methods
- computer simulation and modelling
- psychophysics and ergonomics project management
Statistical techniques covered include ANOVA; non-parametric tests; parametric tests; multiple regression; multidimensional scaling; paired comparison; verbal protocol analysis; descriptive statistics; ranking and rating scales; factor analysis; power analysis and reliability analysis. Students are also introduced to methods within the professional practice of ergonomics including problem identification, cost benefit analysis and developing and assessing safety management systems.
Ergonomics in Work Organisations
The topics covered by the module include the work people do, worker-centred ergonomics, work as a sociotechnical system, physical environment (visual, auditory, thermal and vibration), psychosocial environment (motivation, stress and shiftwork pattern), job design and local control, selection and training, performance and appraisal, participatory ergonomics, team work, effects on performance and health, health and safety requirements and legislation, epidemiology, causes of accidents, reactive and proactive approaches to prevention, measuring and evaluating human reliability, management of change, management of risks in manual materials handling, management of risks of work-related upper limb disorders.
Throughout the module these topics are considered in a number of case studies, including work conducted at Nottingham and published case examples.
Practical Ergonomics Investigation
A practical ergonomics investigation is undertaken towards the end of the course.This is intended to integrate knowledge, methodology and practical skills.
Many students take the opportunity to conduct their project in an area related to their place of work, although this is not a specific requirement.
Previous projects have included:
- Measurement of mental workload in transport systems
- Qualitative evaluation of activity in chronic pain sufferers after orthopaedic trauma
- Cultural dimensions in design of Health and Fitness Smartphone Apps
- Development of a VR game for Mental Arithmetic Training
- A participatory approach to infection prevention and control in a neonatal intensive care unit
- Evaluation of an online patient monitoring system
- Effectiveness of participatory ergonomics program in health organisations
- Psychosocial factors affecting radiology trainees
- An investigation into the usability of a cycling computer under riding conditions
- Shiftworkers’ experiences of their work environment and workplace support
- Assessing team performance
Students should have access to a context in which to undertake the practical study. The aims of the individual project are broadly to enhance understanding in an area of relevance to the course, and to develop skills applicable in a wide range of circumstances.
You will develop skills in research, investigation, planning, scheduling, evaluation and written communication. The project may be undertaken on any topic which is relevant to ergonomics and human factors that is agreed by the Course Director. Collaboration with business, industry, and other outside bodies is actively encouraged.
This module is designed to be undertaken by employees in any organisation who can apply ergonomics in their work. The candidates will apply the material and ideas from previous ergonomics studies to a real ergonomics investigation of value to their organisation.
The above is a sample of the typical modules that we offer but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. This course page may be updated over the duration of the course, as modules may change due to developments in the curriculum or in the research interests of staff.
Our graduating postgraduate students are very much in demand with employers.
This course can enable you to:
- demonstrate to an employer that you are a forward thinking individual, who cares about your own professional development
- achieve a qualification equivalent to that of a face-to-face postgraduate certificate
- advance your career prospects
As well as offering you the chance to pursue a fulfilling career within industry and related areas, the postgraduate programmes offered by the department provide an excellent foundation for further research and a significant number of our students continue their studies to PhD level and beyond.
Average starting salary and career progression
92.3% of postgraduates from the Department of Mechanical, Materials and Manufacturing Engineering secured work or further study within six months of graduation. The average starting salary was £28,000, with the highest being £32,000.
* Known destinations of full-time home postgraduates who were available for employment, 2016/17. Salaries are calculated based on the median of those in full-time paid employment within the UK.
Careers support and advice
We offer individual careers support for all postgraduate students whatever your course, mode of study or future career plans.
You can access our Careers and Employability Service during your studies and after you graduate. Expert staff will help you research career options and job vacancies, build your CV or résumé, develop your interview skills and meet employers.
More than 1,500 employers advertise graduate jobs and internships through our online vacancy service. We host regular careers fairs, including specialist fairs for different sectors.
As a student on this course, there are no additional costs for your budget, apart from your tuition fees and living expenses.
You should be able to access all of the books you’ll need through our libraries and it is not usual for students to buy their own copies. Please note that these figures are approximate and subject to change.
Scholarships and bursaries
Government loans for masters courses
Masters student loans of up to £10,906 are available for taught and research masters courses. Applicants must ordinarily live in the UK or EU.
International and EU students
Masters scholarships are available for international and EU students from a wide variety of countries and areas of study. You must already have an offer to study at Nottingham to apply. Please note closing dates to ensure you apply for your course with enough time.
We provide guidance on funding your degree, living costs and working while you study. You can also access specific funding opportunities, entry requirements and other resources for students from specific countries.