Engineering Professional Education

Human Factors in Engineering


Fall 2017

Days/Time: MWF / 2:30-3:20 pm
Credit Hours: 3

Learning Objective:
To learn the principles, assumptions, and methods on which the discipline of Human Factors is based; the systems engineering approach and implications for human factors; types of human error and the factors that influence their likelihood; facts and theories regarding human perception, cognition, action and their implications for design; anthropometric and biomechanical factors to be taken into account when designing for human use; influences of the physical and social environment on human perception and performance in various contexts; specific methods for evaluating usability of alternative designs; steps for implementing human factors and ergonomics programs within organizations. At the end of the course you should know why human factors analyses are needed, what types of factors must be considered for specific design problems, and the techniques that are available to make informed choices among alternative designs.

The course provides a survey of Human Factors and Ergonomics with particular reference human-systems integration and human functions in human-machine systems. We consider basic human capabilities and the ways that these capabilities are taken into account in the design of human-machine systems and work environments. Fall 2017

Topics Covered:
Historical Foundations of Human Factors and Ergonomics; Human Factors Research Methods; Systems Engineering; Human Error and Reliability Analysis; Human Information Processing; Psychophysical Methods; Signal Detection Theory and Chronometric Methods; Vision, Audition, and the Other Senses; Color Vision; Perceptual Organization; Depth Perception, Motion Perception, and Pattern Recognition; Static Visual Displays; Dynamic Visual Displays; Auditory and Tactual Displays; Attention; Mental Workload Assessment; Memory Stores; Processing Strategies and Communication; Situation Awareness; Problem Solving and Reasoning; Decision Making and Decision Aids; Skill Acquisition and Expertise; Expert Systems; Response Selection; Principles of Display-Control Compatibility; Control of Movement and Acquisition/Retention of Motor Skill; Types of Controls and Their Features; Control Panels; Engineering Anthropometry; Cumulative Trauma Disorders; Workspace Design; Lighting, Noise, Vibration and Temperature; Psychological Stress; Macroergonomics; The Practice of Human Factors.

Knowledge of basic algebra and some familiarity with probability and statistics.

Applied/Theory: 50/50

Web Address:

Web Content:
Syllabus, grades, lecture notes, WebEx, homework assignments, and message board.

Homework projects will be assigned in class each week. Most will be due the following week. The cumulative grade for the projects will be the equivalent of an exam grade. Homework will be submitted through the course site on Blackboard.


Two midterms and a final.

Official textbook information is now listed in the Schedule of Classes. NOTE: Textbook information is subject to be changed at any time at the discretion of the faculty member. If you have questions or concerns please contact the academic department.
Tentative--Required--R. W. Proctor and T. Van Zandt, "Human Factors in Simple and Complex Systems", 2nd ed. Published by CRC Press, 2008. ISBN 9780805841190

Computer Requirements:
ProEd minimum computer requirements.

ProEd Minimum Requirements: view

Tuition & Fees: view


Fall 2017
Fall 2019
Fall 2021


Robert W. Proctor



Purdue University
Department of Psychological Sciences
703 Third St
West Lafayette, IN 47907-2081


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