Graduate Program: Cognitive/Human Factors

The Cognitive/Human Factors Psychology Graduate Program at Kansas State University is designed to prepare students for careers as psychologists in industry, government, and academia. The program provides students with a broad background in the research methodology used in experimental as well as many other areas of psychology. The students are expected to acquire a general knowledge of the research problems and practices of current experimental psychologists in their chosen area. Current active research areas include judgment and decision making, visual perception, media psychology, evolutionary psychology and psycholinguistics. An internship in an applied setting is highly recommended for students interested in applied cognitive psychology.

Each year a graduate student from the cognitive/human factors program will receive the Harry Helson Award. The student is selected on the basis of both scholarship and research excellence that best typifies the excellence achieved by Harry Helson, a prominent experimental psychologist who was once on the faculty at Kansas State University.

Kansas State University has had more than 30 years experience in preparing students to take positions as applied experimental psychologists. Graduates are now working as government researchers, marketing research consultants, medical researchers, grant proposal specialists, and human factors analysts. As this partial listing indicates, there have been a wide variety of openings available to graduates of our program in applied experimental psychology.

We invite applications and inquiries about our program. Please contact Dr. Richard Harris ( at the Department of Psychology, Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas 66506-5302. (785)532-0610.

NOTE:  Due to budget cuts, we currently have no one on the faculty in the area of Human Factors, although we hope to in the future.  Before applying, please check the research interests of our faculty on the website to ensure that someone at KSU is doing research of interest to you.


Est: 1963 (reorganized in 1988). Part-time: yes. Program: Broad-based training in the major content areas of experimental psychology as well as emphasis on solving problems and conducting research in both basic and applied settings. An internship is strongly recommended, although not specifically required. The Psychology Department at Kansas State University has had a 30-year history of successfully preparing students to take positions as applied experimental psychologists in both the public and private sector.



Deadlines: 1/15. Fee: $30.

Admission Requirements

  • GPA: 3.0.
  • GRE: no minimum.
  • Other: TOEFL for foreign students. Undergraduate major in psychology is not essential. It is recommended that applicants have a minimum of 15 hours in psychology (including experimental methods), plus 3 hours of statistics, and 3 hours of computer science.
  • Research: high.
  • Work experience: medium.
  • Extracurricular activities: low.
  • Letters: high.
  • Interview: low.


Students applying last year: 20. Accepted: 3. Attending: 2. Openings/year: 3-6.

Financial Assistance

% receiving: 90. Amount: $8,300 - $12,000.

Degree Requirements


  • 30 units
  • oral examination of thesis
  • no foreign languages
  • thesis
  • Nonthesis option: no


  • 60 units (beyond MS)
  • preliminary exams
  • oral examination of dissertation
  • no foreign languages
  • research required
  • practical experience recommended, 4 years.


Required courses (units)

  • Quantitative Methods (4)
  • Experimental Design (3)
  • Multivariate Measurement (3)
  • Fundamentals of Perception (3)
  • Cognitive Psychology (3)
  • Physiological Psychology (3)
  • Seminar in Professional Problems (3)
  • Seminar in Cognitive Processing (3)
  • and additional graduate core courses


  • Engineering Psychology (3)
  • Industrial/Organizational Psychology (3)
  • Judgmental Process(3)
  • Seminars in Human Factors (3)
  • Ergonomics (3)
  • Biomechanics (3)
  • Computer Science (3)
  • Psychology of Language (3)

Required courses outside department: 0. Recommended courses outside department: 2.

Research Opportunities

The department has rooms for individual and group research; several computer laboratories; electrically shielded, light-tight, sound deadened room for visual and auditory research; an electrophysiological laboratory; a photographic darkroom; and access to campus facilities for electronics, woodworking, metal and machining and other specialized shops.

Teaching Opportunities

Opportunities range from assisting a faculty member in teaching a course to having sole responsibility for the preparation and teaching of their own course depending on experience. There is also an optional Supervised Teaching Program designed to give formal training and supervision in teaching at the university level.

Current Research Activities

Current research activities include projects in visual displays and visual performance, voice identification, autobiographical memory, judgment and decision making, consumer psychology, and psycholinguistics and advertising.

Student Statistics

Active: 14 (6 males, 8 females)
First-year students: 3


Gary Brase, PhD 1997,
U of California, Santa Barbara
Research interests: judgments under uncertainty, social reasoning and decision making, human rationality

Richard J. Harris, PhD 1974,
U of Illinois - Urbana-Champaign;
Research interests: applied psycholinguistics, mass communication, applied cognition.

Lester Loschky, PhD 2003,
U of Illinois - Urbana-Champaign;
Research Interest: Scene Perception, Visual Cognition, Human-Computer
Interaction, and Human Factors

James Shanteau, PhD 1970,
U of California, San Diego;
Research interests: judgment and decision making, consumer psychology, expert systems.