PhD in Human Behavior: Program Overview

Although there are no specific Ph.D. programs in human behavior, students may pursue a similar degree in human behavior and design. Find out about prerequisites, common curriculum, and career prospects for graduates.

Essential Information

Ph.D. programs in Human Behavior and Design train students to integrate their expertise in human behavior and design in order to create safer, healthier and more productive work environments. They are similar to programs in human factors psychology, applied psychology and industrial-organizational psychology in that they explore the limitations, abilities and behavior of humans. Specialization options include humans and the environment, human training and simulation, and interactions between humans and computers. Students can expect to spend a majority of their time conducting independent rsearch.

Students are typically permitted to apply to these programs immediately after receiving a bachelor's degree. Many programs require an undergraduate major in psychology, and some require applicants to have finished within the top half of their class or have a GPA of at least 3.0.

Doctorate in Human Behavior and Design

Coursework in these programs focuses on human perception, performance optimization, and technological skills. Possible course titles include:

  • Anthropometrics and ergonomics
  • Industrial psychology
  • Mixed methods research
  • Perception and sensation
  • Physiological psychology
  • Planning and managing facilities

Popular Careers

There are a variety of careers available to graduates. These include:

  • Ergonomic designer
  • Management researcher
  • Marketing researcher
  • Organizational consultant
  • Systems designer
  • University professor

Career and Salary Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, job growth for market research analysts was expected to grow 19% between 2014 and 2024, which is much faster than the average for all occupations. The projected growth was thought to be driven by an increase in the use of market research data across all industries. The BLS reported a mean annual salary of $70,030 for market research analysts and marketing specialists in 2015.

Meanwhile, postsecondary teachers were expected to see a 13% increase in jobs during the same time frame. Psychology teachers at colleges and universities made an average annual salary of $74,890 in 2015, while sociology professors made $76,750.

Continuing Education

Most psychologists specializing in human behavior and design generally don't need a license or certification since they don't offer patient care. However, they might want to continue their education to improve their opportunities for advancement. This can be done through attending seminars, taking additional graduate courses, and reading professional journals.

Overall, a Ph.D. in human behavior provides students with the psychology expertise and advanced research skills they need for careers related to research and analysis.

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