Postgraduate study
This part time course is designed to give you ergonomics and human factors experience needed for a range of industries.
PGCert Applied Ergonomics and Human Factors (Distance Learning)
Part-time only
Entry requirements
2:2 (Upper 2nd class hons degree or international equivalent)
6.0 (no less than 5.5 in any element) If these grades are not met, English preparatory courses are available

If these grades are not met, English preparatory courses may be available
Start date
UK/EU fees
£3,600 - Terms apply
International fees
£7,110 - Terms apply
University Park Campus



The Applied Ergonomics and Human Factors (Distance Learning) Postgraduate Certificate 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.

Key facts

  • 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.


Mechanical, Materials, and Manufacturing Engineering taught courses


Full course details

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

Distance learning

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

For more information on distance learning see the University's distance learning pages

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.

Academic English preparation and support

If you need additional support to take your language skills to the required level, you may be able to attend a presessional course at the Centre for English Language Education, which is accredited by the British Council for the teaching of English in the UK.

Students who successfully complete the presessional course to the required level can progress to postgraduate study without retaking IELTS or equivalent.

A specialist engineering course is available and you could be eligible for a joint offer, which means you will only need to apply for your visa once.




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. The modules are assessed by project work or course work.

The first module you will study is:

Ergonomics Application in the Workplace
This module provides a broad overview of the discipline of ergonomics and practical guidance for applying ergonomics techniques.

You will then have a choice to take one module from the three modules:

Ergonomics Methods
This module teaches students about the methods commonly used in ergonomics investigations including questionnaire design, interviewing, experimental design and statistics. Students are also introduced to methods within the professional practice of ergonomics including problem identification.
Ergonomics in Work Organisations
This module covers the topics relating to the practice of ergonomics within an organisation and includes topics such as job design, motivation, stress, teamwork, safety management systems, human error predication, socio-technical systems and social psychological aspects of work. 
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.

The module is designed to be taken by employees in any organisation who can apply ergonomics in their work. The candidates will apply the materials and ideas from previous ergonomics investigations of value to their organisation.

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

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 the MSc in Applied Ergonomics and Human Factors (Distance Learning).

Once you have obtained the postgraduate certificate in Applied Ergonomics and Human Factors, this counts as 60 credits towards the MSc Applied Ergonomics and Human Factors (Distance Learning) if you wish to continue your studies.

For more details on our modules, please see the Module Catalogue. Please note that all module details are subject to change.

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. Due to the passage of time between commencement of the course and subsequent years of the course, modules may change due to developments in the curriculum and information is provided for indicative purposes only.


Fees and funding

See information on how to fund your masters, including our step-by-step guide.

Please visit the faculty website for information on any scholarships currently available through the faculty.

Faculty of Engineering Scholarships

UK/EU Students

Funding information can be found on the Graduate School website.

Please visit the faculty website for information on any scholarships currently available through the faculty.

International and EU students

We provide information and advice for international and EU students on financing your degree, living costs, scholarships, external sources of funding and working during your studies.


Careers and professional development

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

In 2017, 92.3% of postgraduates in the department who were available for employment had 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 higher degree postgraduates, 2016/17. Salaries are calculated based on the median of those in full-time paid employment within the UK.

Career prospects and employability

The University of Nottingham is consistently named as one of the most targeted universities by Britain’s leading graduate employers* and can offer you a head-start when it comes to your career.

Our Careers and Employability Service offers a range of services including advice sessions, employer events, recruitment fairs and skills workshops – and once you have graduated, you will have access to the service for life.

* The Graduate Market 2013-2017, High Fliers Research


This online prospectus has been drafted in advance of the academic year to which it applies. Every effort has been made to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but changes (for example to course content) are likely to occur given the interval between publishing and commencement of the course. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply for the course where there has been an interval between you reading this website and applying.

Explore it - Virtual Nottingham
Human Factors and Ergonomics - Associate Professor Dr Gary Burnett in the virtual reality lab (15187)
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