The M.A. Program
This specialization trains students to apply basic research skills in the cognitive sciences to "real-world" problems. Faculty help place students who do not have real-world experience in a part- or full-time practicum before completing their degree. Practicum placements use the extensive resources of the local Washington, D.C. area.
Students in our MA program can elect to focus on either professional training or preparation for a doctoral program. Both tracks stress the analytic and empirical methodologies that are used in all phases of interactive systems design (where this is broadly defined to include any human-machine system). The power and interpretation of these techniques reside in their close ties to cognitive theory. The professional training track emphasizes coursework and practical experience; the doctoral preparation track involves students in ongoing research projects.
For Engineers & Computer Scientists:
Many Human Factors and Applied Cognitive professionals work closely with engineers and computer scientists. It is therefore not surprising that many people with bachelor-level training as engineers and computer scientists express interest in HFAC as a profession. Obstacles to such career paths have included the apathy of traditional engineering and computer science schools towards such training, as well as entrance barriers erected by psychology departments against those without substantial undergraduate coursework in psychology. The Psychology Department at George Mason University seeks to overcome such traditional barriers and facilitate the graduate training of engineers and computer scientists in our HFAC masters program.
Job prospects for our MA graduates are very rosy. All of our graduates have been employed within 2 months of graduation. Some of our students' internships have turned into job offers so that they were employed prior to leaving the program. Our students have gone to work for both government (e.g., NIST - National Institute of Standards & Technology, FAA-Federal Aviation Administration, NTSB-National Transportation Safety Board, National Academy of Sciences) and industry (e.g., Microsoft, Intel, Yahoo, Mitre, MitreTek, Crown, American Institutes for Research, SAIC, Booz-Allen Hamilton, Verizon, Motorola).
For further information contact Dr. Matt Peterson ( firstname.lastname@example.org), director of the M.A. program. Please contact via email, as return phone calls may be delayed due to travel.