Your master plan for the future!
In the interdisciplinary Human Factors master's programme students gain deep knowledge of the "human factor". Over three semesters the degree programme examines the role of man's relationship to complex systems, as humans are at the centre of all technical user designs, regardless of product or system. They must be able to understand them and use them safely and efficiently. Besides usability, what is also extremely important is a positive user experience, the »Look and feel« of a human-oriented design.
"Human Factors" play a special role in a digital and dynamically changing society. The user is at the centre of the development of technical products. Companies offer excellent career perspectives to specialists with the relevant interdisciplinary know-how.
Areas of focus
- Man-machine interaction
- Ergonomics / Work Science
- Human Factors Engineering
- Engineering Psychology
- Usability & User Experience
- User Centered Design / UX Design
- User Research
The Human Factors master's programme is aimed at graduates with a bachelor's degree in the area of man-machine interaction. This includes for example Engineering Psychology or degrees which meet the same requirements for the Human Factors master's degree through relevant courses in engineering and psychology. Further information on admission requirements can be found in the official admission regulations (available shortly).
- Degree in field of engineering and/or psychology
- 210 ECTS points
- Proof of subject knowledge in at least three of the following areas. It is possible to make up missing courses in individual cases.
- Engineering (e.g. maths, physics, mechanical engineering, automatisation engineering, production engineering, etc.)
- Psychology (general and biological psychology, psychological methodology and statistics, work and organisational psychology, etc.)
- Information Processing (computer science, programming, etc.)
- Human Factors (engineering psychology, ergonomics, user centered design, human factors engineering, etc.)
- Application with selection procedure
The Human Factors master's programme prepares students for a career in research and development and for management positions. Graduates look at development processes holistically and put the human factor at the centre of their work. As an interface function, in their design of products and work systems they combine user experience with functionality, ergonomics, safety, usability, sustainability and innovation. With their interdisciplinary know-how they are in high demand across a range of sectors. Human Factors is therefore your master plan for the future!
Areas of employment
- Empirical research, User Research and User Requirements Engineering
- Design and evaluation of user interfaces
- Human Factors and Usability Engineering in the area of investment goods (e.g. production plant)
- User Experience (UX) design of interactive products
- Consulting and service in the field of man-machine interaction
A doctoral degree at one of our partner universities or a cooperative doctorate at the Faculty of Industrial Technologies opens further perspectives.
Study Human Factors with 100 companies
The Human Factors master's programme at the University Campus Tuttlingen is run in close cooperation with industry. More than 100 companies belong to the Friends of University Campus Tuttlingen and are actively involved in the setting up and teaching of the programme curriculum. The master's programme is therefore workplace relevant and highly current: student projects actually take place in the various companies. This gives students insights into the interdisciplinary field of human factors, as well as the everyday work and demands of engineers working in this field.
Apply by 15 January!
>> Application form and information
UNIVERSITY CAMPUS TUTTLINGEN of Furtwangen University
Kronenstraße 16 . 78532 Tuttlingen
Tel + 49.7461.1502-0
- ECTS 90 ECTS
- Programme duration 3 Semesters
- Campus Tuttlingen Campus
- Faculty Industrial Technologies
- Programme begins Summer semester (March)
- Application deadline 15 January (summer semester)
- Entry requirements Refer to Admission Regulations
- Teaching Language German
- Accreditation Yes (accredited through the university system accreditation)
Why do you build a "liver" out of adhesive tape, how well can you operate displays in tractors, and how can you play the drums without moving your arms? As different as these questions may be - at Furtwangen University (HFU) they were part of the same course of study. On the way to a master's degree in "Human Factors," which has been taught at HFU since last year, the focus is on the interaction between people and technology; in the second semester, students are required to complete the "Human Factors Project" module. "We have used 'real' research topics for this, to connect to reality as closely as possible" reports Dean of Studies Prof. Dr. Stefan Pfeffer. "We focus on very current research questions which are not purely theoretical."
Usability of MRI devices investigated
Four study projects dealt with very different topics; Prof. Pfeffer's own group, for example, researched the ergonomics of large-scale MRI equipment. The challenge: The research object is literally too large to be transported by the manufacturer to a clinic so that the device can be tried out there. So the students developed a virtual simulation in which subjects used VR headsets and sensors all over their bodies to recreate a liver biopsy. "Everything from the device's housing, which was constructed from Styrofoam sheets, to the 'liver' made of adhesive tape and foam mass was recreated as so-called 'haptic proxy objects' to achieve the most realistic haptics possible," reports project leader Pfeffer. The method for virtual usability tests developed by his students in this way will be further developed in follow-up projects in the future.
How stressful are VR headsets?
Prof. Dr. Verena Wagner-Hartl and her master's students also worked in a virtual setting. Her project group had two special features. On the one hand, the topic "Dealing with VR headsets" resulted in an interdisciplinary collaboration with Prof. Nikolaus Hottong from the Faculty of Digital Media and the two master's programmes "Interactive Media Design" and "Computer Science in Media" in that faculty. On the other hand, the group realized that their topic needed to be investigated much more fundamentally than they had initially thought. "We got into basic research and examined the effects of just putting on VR headsets," Wagner Hartl explains. "No one has yet looked at the 'baseline stress' that comes with VR use," adds Hottong. So the group of students tested how differently people react to the same content when it is experienced on screens or, precisely, in a VR simulation. To do this, skin resistance, muscle and heart activity were measured, and rating criteria were created to capture perceived discomfort. "Interaction in virtual reality often takes place in what is known as 'personal space,'" says Prof. Hottong, "that is, in the personal close-up range, and that is visually stressful." "The exciting result is that an after-effect is emerging," reports Prof. Wagner-Hartl. "We have evidence that stress effects from VR headsets persist for a while after use." The interdisciplinary team wants to continue working on this together - because such findings would be crucial both in the development of new applications and in specifications for work and break times.
Highly complex work in tractors
Prof. Dr. Gerald Schmidt and his team of master's students conducted research in a completely different area. "We investigated the serviceability of high-tech agricultural machinery," says project leader Schmidt, reporting on how complex the requirements are in such a workplace: "Anyone driving such a huge tractor has to keep an eye on the track in front, the land cultivation in the back, as well as all the display readouts at the same time!" Equipped with Go-Pro cameras and eye-tracking glasses, Schmidt and his students traveled to the cooperating partner university, Weihenstephan-Triesdorf University of Applied Sciences, where they were allowed to take a close look at the latest vehicles from a neighboring agricultural machinery school for research purposes. It is not only the agricultural machinery manufacturers who will benefit from the scientific analyses in the future. The editors of the magazine "profi", leaders in the presentation of new agricultural machinery, will be provided with objective, scientific criteria for evaluations through the project results. "This will benefit farmers quite directly who are considering investing well over a hundred thousand euros in a new machine," says Schmidt.
Inclusive music project
The study project group led by HFU professor Dr. Jochen Huber also entered into a special cooperation for their work. In cooperation with Lebenshilfe Tuttlingen, the students explored what interactive, technical possibilities there are for actively making music even as a person with so-called disabilities. "Being able to make music yourself is a very special experience," describes project initiator Andreas Brand, "especially when it's almost impossible for you to do so otherwise." Inclusion as a human right means that people with disabilities have a right to equal participation in cultural social life, for example, Brand clarifies. "Instead, those affected are hardly visible in society," he admits. All the greater the challenge, but also the motivation of the students, who used a great deal of ingenuity and creativity to evaluate how to make the motorised musical instruments available in the music fusion project playable: Those who can't press piano keys might be able to operate a remote-controlled Disklavier with body movements. Or with paint markers attached to their arms? Or purely by facial expressions? "The students designed and implemented interfaces that, for example, linked only the movements of the eyebrows to a certain tone or an entire music pattern," reports Professor Huber.
The result of the participatory development process flowed directly into current project publications, and fascinating music videos were created with artists from outside Lebenshilfe - which can be seen, for example, on YouTube: External link opens in a new window:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RYaTEYiaSDo "The project is a unique opportunity to create something sustainable," says Huber. The compiled "method suitcase" is now to be further developed.
The innovative teaching concept of the "Human Factors" course led to a "conference" at the end of the project module, where the work was presented. "One learning objective was also to prepare the projects for publication," summarises Professor Pfeffer. Here, too, expectations were exceeded: "These results were so good that we actually submitted them." In the meantime, the first abstracts have been peer-reviewed, i.e., reviewed by independent experts, and accepted for a poster presentation at an international human factors conference.