Bachelor's Programs in Engineering Psychology
As the digital world becomes more and more a part of our daily lives, the need for seamless interaction between technology and the people who use it increases. Designing software and websites in light of human psychology is an important factor in addressing this need. Colleges throughout the country are starting to offer bachelor's degrees that teach both psychology and computer science in order to train the next generation of developers how to design human-centered digital interfaces. Students pursuing a degree in engineering psychology should expect to take introductory and advanced coursework in both human psychology and computer science. Further details about undergraduate admissions, coursework, and career possibilities are discussed below.
Admission Requirements for Engineering Psychology Programs
Most colleges will require an official copy of a student's high school transcript, proof of GED completion, and SAT/ACT test results. Some colleges may also prefer applicants with demonstrable extracurricular activity in engineering, computer science, or psychology and may even request letters of recommendation from relevant past instructors or employers. Students may want to consider taking psychology and computer science courses in high school to acquaint themselves with these fields of study.
Engineering Psychology Program Coursework
Most programs in engineering psychology will train students in both the technical skill and the relevant theory necessary to conduct psychological research. Students might expect to come across some of the following courses while they pursue their degree.
Because engineering psychology is a fairly new discipline, students should expect coursework in contemporary, cutting edge psychological theories and research. These courses usually train students on how to conduct their own research in light of modern experimental knowledge. Practice in applying and analyzing the scientific method in psychological research is typically offered.
Statistics for Psychology Research
The ability to cull and analyze data is crucial to engineering psychology research. The specific application of statistics to the behavioral sciences is commonly taught in engineering psychology programs. Learning outcomes for this type, of course, are the ability to read and understand statistical reports, critique research methods, and construct statistical research frameworks for themselves.
Principles of Human-Centered Design
Engineering psychology is all about the user's experience of technology. Courses like this will introduce the fundamental design processes necessary to achieve a smooth human-technology interface. Students can expect being taught the design thinking skills of defining a problem, solution prototyping, and process iteration.
Sensation and Perception
Students pursuing a degree in engineering psychology might also take courses focused on how humans sense and perceive the world around them. These courses typically teach students about the sensory systems within the human body and how these systems process information through the brain. Some advanced courses may also offer the opportunity for students to conduct their own research into human perceptual processes.
Many programs offer specific coursework in how computers affect the human person. These courses often offer the chance to consolidate and apply knowledge learned in past psychology or computer science classes. Students may learn what psychological factors are relevant when a person uses a digital interface and how to thereby design websites and software ethically.
How to Choose an Engineering Psychology Program
When considering engineering psychology programs, be sure to research both the psychology ' 'and' ' engineering departments at the college in question. Most programs construct their engineering psychology programs through coursework taken from both of these departments. Some colleges also emphasize hands-on learning and may even help their students obtain internships. This practical experience is important for students to galvanize their engineering psychology skills and could also help them obtain employment after graduation.
Career Options with a Bachelor's Degree in Engineering Psychology
A degree in engineering psychology is applicable to a wide range of careers. Web and software design, research psychology, and behavioral science are some of the fields in which a graduate could pursue a career. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2018 the average mean salary for web developers is $75,580, and for psychologists working in industrial/organizational contexts, the mean salary is $109,030. Below are some specific positions a graduate of engineering psychology may hold.