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2024/25 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

MECH5495M Engineering Psychology and Human Factors

15 creditsClass Size: 60

Module manager: Dr Gustav Markkula

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2024/25

Pre-requisite qualifications

Undergraduate degree in Physical or Engineering Sciences

This module is not approved as an Elective

Module summary

This module will provide engineering students with an overview of the fields of engineering psychology and human factors i.e., of the capabilities, limitations, and behaviours of humans as users and operators of engineered technology (with a special emphasis in this module on ground vehicles and aircraft) as well as the implications of these matters for design of such technology.


The aim of this module is to improve the students’ ability of designing technology that is effective, safe, and acceptable for humans, and to make students capable of effectively contributing, from their engineering perspective, to multidisciplinary collaborations with experts in psychology and human factors. To this end, the module will cover the theory, from psychology, neuroscience, and physiology, of mechanisms underpinning human-machine interaction, as well as concrete applications of the same. The learning activities include both classroom lectures and interactive practicals, where the students will make use of the learned concepts in case studies, small data collection experiments, data analyses, and similar.

Learning outcomes
On successful completion of the module students will have demonstrated the following learning outcomes :

1. Comfortably read, understand, and communicate using basic psychology and human factors terminology
2. Describe the most important mechanisms and factors involved in shaping human behaviour when interacting with technology
3. Describe and discuss ways in which engineering design choices can make technology more or less effective, safe, or acceptable for a human operator.
4. Discuss possible limitations of our understanding of human psychology and behaviour, and implications for engineering design
5. Describe challenges associated with the experimental study of human behaviour, and some ways of addressing these challenges
6. Implement simple quantitative models of human operator behaviour, and analyse these in computer simulation

Upon successful completion of this module the following Engineering Council Accreditation of Higher Education Programmes (AHEP) learning outcome descriptors (fourth edition) are satisfied:
7. Formulate and analyse complex problems to reach substantiated conclusions. This will involve evaluating available data using first principles of mathematics, statistics, natural science and engineering principles, and using engineering judgment to work with information that may be uncertain or incomplete, discussing the limitations of the techniques employed. (M2)
8. Design solutions for complex problems that evidence some originality and meet a combination of societal, user, business and customer needs as appropriate. This will involve consideration of applicable health and safety, diversity, inclusion, cultural, societal, environmental and commercial matters, codes of practice and industry standards. (M5)

Skills Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of the module students will have demonstrated the following skills:

Applying Commercial, Ethical, Sustainable, Digital and Inter-Disciplinary Literacies, Critical thinking, Programming


1. Introduction to engineering psychology and human factors
2. Collecting and analysing data from humans interacting with technology
3. Sensation, perception, and motor control
4. Attention and memory
5. Decision-making and situation awareness
6. Operator state: stress, workload, fatigue, distraction
7. Anthropometry and biomechanics
8. Accidents and human error
9. Modelling and simulating human control of technology
10. Human-automation interaction
11. Human-centred design and evaluation

Methods of Assessment

We are currently refreshing our modules to make sure students have the best possible experience. Full assessment details for this module are not available before the start of the academic year, at which time details of the assessment(s) will be provided.

Assessment for this module will consist of;

1 x Assignment
1 x In-person closed book exam

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Independent online learning hours10.00
Private study hours107.00
Total Contact hours33.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)150.00

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

The practicals are interactive and will thus give weekly opportunities to gauge student progress, both for the teaching staff and the students themselves. Optional online MCQs will provide additional opportunities for the same. Finally, students can optionally submit the first half of the home assignment at an earlier deadline, to get feedback on this work in time before the exam.

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 30/04/2024


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