“It was a fairly busy time of the day. A lot of other airliners were arriving at the same time, which means that air traffic control needed each of us on very specific routes at specific altitudes, very specific air speeds, in order to maintain this smooth flow of traffic,” he says.
So, air traffic control told him to fly a particular course. He and the other pilot flying the jet set the flight automation system to do it.
“What I anticipated the aircraft to do was to continue this descent,” he says. “Well instead, the aircraft immediately pitched up, very abruptly and much to my surprise. And both of us reached for the yoke, going, ‘What’s it doing?’ and there’s that shock of, ‘Why did it do that, what’s it going to do next?’ “
This is the second post in our 2-part look at some HF programs. Rich’s post about Clemson’s program can be found here.
The psychology graduate program at NCSU in Raleigh, North Carolina, U.S.A, boasts eight faculty in the Human Factors and Ergonomics specialization. This is in addition to the faculty in our sister program in Industrial Engineering and related faculty in areas as diverse as Industrial Design and Education. Graduates of the program can be found both in academia and industry (e.g., Virginia Tech faculty, IBM, HumanCentric, Dell).
A sampling of the kinds of research we do here:
Warnings – when are they appropriate, how to create them, how they can be misunderstood
Medication adherence – when do people share their prescriptions with others?
Methods of knowledge acquisition for collecting data from experts to be used to create artificial intelligence, training programs, and display formats
Designing instruction and feedback for diverse cognitive ability levels
We also have an active Human Factors and Ergonomics Society student chapter.
Our admissions process begins in the fall, when we start accepting applications for review in January. The current deadline for applications is January 1st of each year, but check the website to be certain.
I’m happy to answer emails from prospective students. Let me know what areas you are interested in and I can help connect you with the faculty here closest to those areas.
The director of our graduate program is the best person to ask about admissions and requirements:
This is the first post in our 2-part look at some HF programs. Anne’s post about North Carolina State University’s program can be found here.
Did you know that Human Factors is not only a fun blog, but something you could get a graduate degree in? The field is known by many names but they are the same, more or less¹ (for example, Anne and I received our degree in “engineering psychology”).
The degree is fairly generic and is defined further by specialization (for example, human-computer interaction and usability are closely associated with HF but by no means limited to it). Human factors graduates work in industry (evaluating software/hardware usability, designing), government, and research.
Unfortunately, we probably should have done these posts months ago when students were researching and applying to programs but better late than never! Still deciding on whether to do the M.S. or PhD? See this article (PDF link) provided by HFES. It’s old but still has great information.
Clemson University is located in Clemson, South Carolina which is situated in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains (in the upper left corner of the state). The area is known as the “upstate” of South Carolina and is adjacent to one of the largest metropolitan areas of the state (Greenville-Spartanburg area).
The Department of Psychology at Clemson University offers both master’s and PhD degrees in Human Factors. Clemson’s program is newer than most (established in 1988) but already has graduated several PhD students who work in academia and industry. The faculty have a wide variety of research interests. My own interests are pretty well covered by my posts on this blog.
We do not have rolling admissions; instead, applications are accepted yearly and acceptances are made in mid-late spring. It is probably a very good idea to target people who’s research sounds interesting to you and then ask them if they are taking students that year.
Feel free to ask me questions about the program but the best person to ask is our graduate coordinator:
Dr. Robert Sinclair
Department of Psychology
418 Brackett Hall
Clemson, SC 29634
(864) 656-0358 (fax) firstname.lastname@example.org
¹similar terms to human factors: applied cognitive psychology, applied experimental psychology, engineering psychology