This is a distance learning course which means you study on your own, at home or whenever suits you. You read, listen to and watch course materials, work on activities and write assignments.
Distance learning allows you to:
- proceed at your own pace, studying at any time of the day, 24/7 that suits you
- benefit from online tutor support if you need help, advice or encouragement
- take part in online self-managed learning groups and work in collaboration with fellow course participants
- access to online information system at The University of Nottingham
Hear from Dr Paul Bowie, a graduate of this course who is now Programme Director (Safety and Improvement) for NHS Education Scotland.
The modules on this course are designed to lead from the theoretical basis of each topic to the practical application of that knowledge.
There are six modules in total, two of which are research-based. Each module has a value of 30 credits and represents 300 hours of study, including formal teaching, independent study, and the preparation of assessments. Each module is offered over a 26-week span, normally once a year, with module start times in September and March.
Modules are taught through Moodle using virtual discussion groups and tutorials, self-directed study, self-managed learning groups tasks and coursework. Moodle is a virtual learning environment – an online electronic course management system that supports and extends communication between students and staff. It is accessed through the University website.
The final module involves you undertaking an individual project, which is intended to help you integrate your knowledge, methodology, and practical skills in an area that reflects your interests. You are actively encouraged to carry out this project within your own working environment wherever possible.
If your project is successful in advancing knowledge in your chosen area, you will be encouraged to present your findings as conference papers or journal articles.
You will typically study two modules in one 12-month period. The average student will therefore gain their MSc qualification in three years. In special circumstances it may be possible to study either one module at a given time or two modules concurrently.
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
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.
Human Factors in Interactive Systems
This module covers the following topics:
- introduction to HCI
- computers in education
- user interface design guidelines
- evaluation of interactive systems
- use needs methods and models
- human factors of geographical information systems
- human factors of visualisation technologies
- joint cognitive systems
- computers and collaboration
- HCI case studies
- human information processing including perception and cognition
- memory and attention
- mental models
- human workload
- situation awareness
- designs for the WWW and accessibility
- human error
- displays and controls
- decision making and decision support
- situated cognition
- product design and development
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.
Human Factors in Context
This module covers the following topics:
- responding to an Invitation to Tender
- codes of practice within organisations
- ethical issues
- legislation, standards and competencies when applying ergonomics
- presentation skills
- practical ergonomics tasks within organisations
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.
Teaching methods and assessment
UK students will need to attend the University during your first year of study for one exam. Overseas students can make arrangements to take the exam in their home country.
Our graduating MSc students are very much in demand with employers. A number of technology-driven companies such as Jaguar LandRover, BAE Systems, Rolls-Royce and AWE, are in regular contact with staff in the department seeking highly qualified and capable individuals.
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
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.