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Course overview

The programme is designed to give you the human factors/ergonomics experience required in a wide range of manufacturing, service and process industries, enforcement agencies such as Local Authorities and the health service, as well as a grounding for a career in research.

You will be taught by a team who are part of the internationally recognised Human Factors Research group and work as researchers and consultants in ergonomics and can share their experiences of applying ergonomics in the real world.

This course has been designed by leading researchers in the field of ergonomics and will give you the skills and experience to apply ergonomics in real world settings. Students receive high levels of support from tutors throughout the course, and distance learning means that students have the flexibility to study when and where it suits them.

Why choose this course?

Top 15

This course is offered within a UK top 15 department

Flexible Learning

Work at times that suit you and your employer and can carry out projects that are closely linked to the needs of your employer

Membership

Upon graduation you will be eligible to join The Chartered Institute of Ergonomics and Human Factors as a graduate member

Course content

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 systems at The University of Nottingham

Modules

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 and Microsoft Teams 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 a conference paper or journal article.

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.

Modules

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
  • anthropometry
  • simple biomechanics
  • workplace design
  • work seating
  • work-related upper limb disorders
  • manual handling
  • display screen equipment
  • effects of environmental factors
  • influence of work organisation
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.

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
Ergonomics Methods

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
  • automation
  • designs for the WWW and accessibility
  • human error
  • displays and controls
  • decision making and decision support
  • situated cognition
  • product design and development
The above is a sample of the typical modules 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. Modules (including methods of assessment) may change or be updated, or modules may be cancelled, over the duration of the course due to a number of reasons such as curriculum developments or staffing changes. Please refer to the module catalogue for information on available modules. This content was last updated on Tuesday 17 November 2020.

The PG Cert will take between 1 to 2 years to complete. Students will undertake two modules from the below list.

Core

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
  • anthropometry
  • simple biomechanics
  • workplace design
  • work seating
  • work-related upper limb disorders
  • manual handling
  • display screen equipment
  • effects of environmental factors
  • influence of work organisation

Optional

You must choose one of the below modules.

Ergonomics Methods

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 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. Modules (including methods of assessment) may change or be updated, or modules may be cancelled, over the duration of the course due to a number of reasons such as curriculum developments or staffing changes. Please refer to the module catalogue for information on available modules. This content was last updated on Tuesday 17 November 2020.

Learning and assessment

How you will learn

All students are assigned a personal tutor who is in regular contact to check on learning progress, well-being and general satisfaction with the course.

Communication is available through:

  • email
  • phone
  • Microsoft Teams
  • Moodle

We often run duplicates of every tutorial – one in the morning and one in the evening to help with time zone issues – and we generally record tutorials for students who can't attend.

We’ve recently introduced Microsoft Teams and this has resulted in an increase in peer-to-peer support. It has also increased interactions between students and academics, which again is a positive outcome.

We have a dedicated Facebook page for our current students and graduates from our programme.

How you will be assessed

All assessment is managed online - there is no requirement to attend in person. For degree classification please refer to the university quality manual.

Contact time and study hours

Each 30 credit module is equal to approximately 300 hours of work. Each module takes approximately 5 months to complete. Study hours are flexible to suit the learner; we host tutorial sessions but these are usually recorded to suit students in different time zones.

Entry requirements

All candidates are considered on an individual basis and we accept a broad range of qualifications. The entrance requirements below apply to 2021 entry.

Undergraduate degreeHigh 2:2 (or international equivalent) in a relevant subject

Applying

Please feel free to contact the course director, Dr Glyn Lawson to discuss your interest in the course.

Our step-by-step guide covers everything you need to know about applying.

How to apply

Fees

Qualification MSc PG Cert
Home / UK £10,500 £3,970
International £13,000 £7,990

If you are a student from the EU, EEA or Switzerland starting your course in the 2021/22 academic year, you will pay international tuition fees.

This does not apply to Irish students, who will be charged tuition fees at the same rate as UK students. UK nationals living in the EU, EEA and Switzerland will also continue to be eligible for ‘home’ fee status at UK universities until 31 December 2027.

For further guidance, check our Brexit information for future students.

Funding

There are many ways to fund your postgraduate course, from scholarships to government loans.

The University also offers masters scholarships for international and EU students. Our step-by-step guide contains everything you need to know about funding postgraduate study.

Postgraduate funding

Careers

We offer individual careers support for all postgraduate students.

Expert staff can 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.

Institute for Ergonomics and Human Factors

This course is accredited as the educational qualification for Membership of the Institute for Ergonomics and Human Factors.

  • Jaguar Land Rover
  • BAE Systems
  • Rolls-Royce
  • AWE
Two masters graduates proudly holding their certificates
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Applied Ergonomics and Human Factors MSc

A short introduction to the Applied Ergonomics and Human Factors course by distance learning

Related courses

The University has been awarded Gold for outstanding teaching and learning (2017/18). Our teaching is of the highest quality found in the UK.

The Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) is a national grading system, introduced by the government in England. It assesses the quality of teaching at universities and how well they ensure excellent outcomes for their students in terms of graduate-level employment or further study.

This content was last updated on Tuesday 17 November 2020. Every effort has been made to ensure that this information is accurate, but changes are likely to occur given the interval between the date of publishing and course start date. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply.