We are pleased to offer this postgraduate taught programme along with four others in the field of ergonomics and human factors. This interdisciplinary approach to teaching and learning means that you benefit from teaching provided by our specialist experts in each area, ensuring that you are trained to the highest professional standard. This streamed approach also provides a greater degree of knowledge and information sharing across the different aspects of ergonomics and human factors.

Programme information

The field of ergonomics and human factors is about ensuring a good fit between people, the things they do and the objects they use and the environments they work, travel and play in. The programme takes a scientific look at these interactions and applies theoretical principles, data and methods to ensure that design is optimised for human well-being and overall system performance. Joining us on this well-respected programme will provide you primarily with a broad ergonomics education, with further opportunity to focus on a particular area of interest to you.

We offer five postgraduate taught programmes in the field of ergonomics and human factors. These programmes are awarded separate qualifications but share many core modules.

This course is aimed at students who want a broad human factors education. Current and past students have come from a large range of backgrounds, both in the UK and internationally. Degrees and experience held by our past students include the fields of: industrial design, health sciences, human physiology, kinesiology, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, psychology and branches of engineering.

Loughborough has been an international centre for Ergonomics and Human Factors for over 50 years. We have a world-leading reputation for research and teaching and are proud to have trained ergonomists now working all over the world. Our Ergonomics and Human Factors programmes can be studied in a number of ways making them very flexible and appropriate for a large number of people from different backgrounds – for example, from those based in employment to those wishing to study full-time.

How it is taught

Our Ergonomics and Human Factors programmes can be studied in a number of ways making them very flexible and appropriate for a large number of people from different backgrounds – for example, from those based in employment to those wishing to study full-time. Each module is taught over a one week intensive period in Loughborough, these are also known as block taught modules. Outside of this time, you will be expected to complete prepared programme materials and assignments using email and the internet. We will provide you with access to an interactive online system to provide you with additional materials and information. This system also enables you to participate in tutorial type discussion remotely.

Professional Accreditation

The programmes are professionally recognised by the Chartered Institute of Ergonomics and Human Factors (CIEHF) and the Centre for Registration of European Ergonomists (CREE). The CIEHF is affiliated with the International Ergonomics Association, opening up employment opportunities worldwide. Our Ergonomics in Health and Community Care programme meets the requirements for you to become a Registered Member of National Back Exchange.

Industry connections
The programme has strong links with industry. Outside speakers include industry (Humanscale, EDF Energy, Rolls Royce, AMEC); health and safety (e.g. aviation safety, environmental); health practitioners; and lecturers from other Universities. As part of the programme you will also be encouraged to undertake your main project in industry, providing realistic experiences and learning. The programme content has a strong practitioner bias, and the learning provides vocational training towards a career as an ergonomist or human factors expert.


Study Details:

MSc/PGDip/PGCert 1 year full time, up to 3 years part-time

Module Details:

Compulsory modules


Introduction to Ergonomics (MSc, Diploma, Certificate)   

This module gives an overview of the different areas of ergonomics, providing orientation and context for future modules. In doing so, it introduces many of the academic and research staff who teach on the programmes, along with their areas of expertise and research. The module also gives a first consideration to a range of issues involved in the use and evaluation of products, equipment and other ergonomics interactions.

Module content: the history, philosophy, definition and scope of ergonomics; the human-machine-environment system; examples of research and practice in a wide range of ergonomics specialities.

Human Function (MSc, Diploma, Certificate)   

This module provides a foundation in human function relevant to ergonomics: anatomy, biomechanics, physiology and anthropometry. This includes an understanding of physical performance in work and leisure activities.

Module content: human movement and how the musculoskeletal system supports postural stability; static and dynamic physical work affects; body structures and how work influences physiological systems; fundamentals of anthropometry related to work/activity and its application to design.

Human Factors and Systems (MSc, Diploma, Certificate)   

The aim of this module is to enable you to understand the role of people in systems, and to examine methods for analysingcomplex systems and designing systems with effective roles for people. Human error is considered by looking at the causation of near misses, incidents, accidents and disasters, in the context of sociotechnical systems thinking.

Module content: the system approach with ergonomics and the role played by humans; methods for carrying out systems ergonomics; task analysis and allocation; accidents and errors; applications in information systems; patient safety; interactive design; job design and teams; human reliability

Physical Health at Work (MSc, Diploma, Certificate)   

This module looks at aspects of modern work that can affect physical health. It includes consideration of physical agents such as dust, noise and vibration, and physical risk factors such as manual handling. It approaches these issues by understanding the problems, reviewing guidance and regulation, and discussing approaches to minimisingandmanaging physical health risks at work.

Module content: hearing loss; vibration related disorders; eye strain; heat and cold stress; air quality; regulations and standards; management of risk; minimisation of adverse health effects on the physical environment; occupational stress; display screen equipment.

Human Computer Interaction (MSc, Diploma)   

Please note the content of this module is currently under review

This module will give a working knowledge and practical experience of the design and evaluation of human computer interfaces for interactive products and systems. This includes the analysis of a context of use as a basis for the design of a user interface to match user, task and environmental needs. Programming skills are not required.

Module content: description of human-computer interface design principles; a process for user interface design; interface design for particular applications: the car and mobile phones; prototyping, heuristic evaluation and user testing; design of interfaces including a wide range of user abilities.

Data Collection and Analysis (MSc, Diploma)   

The aim of this module is to give you an appreciation of issues involved in the collection and analysis of data involving human participants. The module will include both quantitative and qualitative methodology. By the end of the module you will be able to understand the role of experimental design and analysis, the meaning of a number of standard statistical terms, the application of a number of standard statistical tests and the interpretation of the main elements of associated software output. This includes survey methods and techniques; interviewing (individual and group); sampling; analysis of protocols;observational methods; and checklists.

Module content: theory of qualitative data methodology; survey methods and questionnaire design; interviewing in individual and group (focus) settings; task analysis; observational methods; how to use NVivo and SPSS Software; overview of the role of statistics; presentation of data.

Environmental Ergonomics (MSc, Diploma)  

The aim of the module is to enable you to measure and understand the effects of the physical environment on humans, and to provide the basic principles and practice of environmental ergonomics including general philosophy and the effects of noise, vibration, heat, cold, thermal comfort, vision and lighting.

Module content: auditory perception; vibration related comfort; thermal comfort; vision; lighting; indices; regulation and standards; measurement techniques

Project Module (MSc)   

The aim of the project module is to write a dissertation to: recognise the main ergonomic factors in a given problem/ scenario; to understand the possible inter-relations between these; and to be able to discuss these and find more information on the issues and relationships in order to prepare possible courses of action.

Module content: you will learn how to systematically search and critically evaluate the literature. This includes ethics, methods, hypotheses, approach to the study, framework, models, results, analyses, interpretation etc. The project is conducted on an individual basis, usually in an industrial setting in your chosen area of specialism, under the supervision of a member of academic staff.

Our extensive industrial network often contact us with possible projects for this module. This provides you with the opportunity to work on a real industry project which will be company based and may be within the UK or outside it. If you are currently in employment you may also undertake a project related to your place of work.

Examples of past projects include: an investigation of slips, trips and falls at a UK water supplier; evaluation of the effectiveness of a patient warning mattress; musculoskeletal disorders in medial gas filling operatives; cyclists use of lights and visibility promoting equipment.

Optional modules

Disability, Ageing and Inclusive Design (MSc, Diploma)   

The aims of this module are to develop an awareness of ageing and disability and explore how ergonomists can play a part in the design of products, services and the built environment for older people and people with disabilities; to explore the concepts of ‘universal’ and ‘inclusive’ design, as applied to particular applications (low and high technology examples); and to examine the role of ergonomics in the development and evaluation of adaptations, generic or individual solutions.

Module content: definitions and demographics; media and social models of ageing and disability; contemporary issues in the philosophy, sociology and psychology of ageing and disability; legislation; information sources and relevant human factors techniques including user requirements capture and evaluation; practical experience and case studies of inclusive design principles and of solving accessibility and usability problems; reviews of current research – for example assistive/rehabilitation technology, inclusive design of products and services and the built environment.

Healthcare Ergonomics and Patient Safety (MSc, Diploma)   

This module will include a range of topics from organisational culture to equipment user trials. It contextualises a range of ergonomic approaches within the health and community care sectors and considers how care delivery is affected by environmental design and safety culture.

Module content: safety culture and behaviour; the evaluation and development of spatial requirements for care; the design, purchasing and management of equipment solutions; patient and person handling in theatres, bariatrics, paediatrics and the range of community services; evaluating patient handling strategies and outcomes; patient safety systems and methods; financial analysis and the context of ergonomics within care organisations.

Transport Safety   

This module provides you with a broad-based understanding of transport safety across different modalities and how principles inherent in ergonomics and human factors are applied within the transport domain.

Module content: road transport safety, rail safety, air safety, transport accident statistics, safety methods and safe systems, case studies of safe/unsafe transport practices with human factors issues.

Programme Funding

This programme is eligible for a number of competitive external scholarship schemes.

Student Destinations

95% of our 2011 – 2014 full-time students are now in employment or further study.

Successful completion of these programmes will enable you to become a professional ergonomics/ human factors practitioner. The nature of the programmes also opens up possibilities in other scientific and research careers.

Example jobs held by our recent graduates include: Chief Trials Officer, Ergonomist, Human Machine Interaction Engineer, Human Factors Consultant, Human Factors Engineer, Human Factors Specialist, Occupational Therapist, Usability Engineer

Recent destinations include: Atkins, AWE, Canadian Army Trials & Evaluation Unit, Jaguar Land Rover, Pirelli, QinetiQ, JCB.


UK/EU £6,600; International £18,950

Entry Requirements

For the MSc, an offer will be made to applicants who hold a first or second class upper UK Honours degree in a relevant discipline or closely related subject. For applicants who are yet to receive their first degree results, a conditional offer will be made pending results. If you are unfortunate to miss your conditional offer you can contact us to discuss your situation. For our Diploma and Certificate Programmes we assess applicants on a case-by-case basis. Our students come from a number of disciplines including: industrial design, health sciences, human physiology, kinesiology, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, psychology and branches of engineering.

Decisions are made on the basis of the application forms and documents provided. Additional materials may be requested, for example further documentary evidence or a piece of written work.

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