Cognitive/Human Factors

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

Kansas State University has had more than 50 years of experience in preparing students for positions as applied cognitive psychologists. Graduates are now working as academic faculty in both research and teaching focused institutions, 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 cognitive psychology. (A list of recent PhD graduates’ current positions can be seen here.)

We invite applications and inquiries about our program. Please contact Dr. Gary Brase (gbrase@ksu.edu) at the Department of Psychological Sciences, Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas 66506-5302. (785) 532-0609.

Graduate students from the cognitive/human factors program are eligible to receive the Harry Helson Award. Students are 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 on the faculty at Kansas State University.

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. We encourage you to directly contact professors whom you believe share similar research interests with you.

Admissions

Application

Deadline: 12/20 for full financial support consideration. Fee: $50.

Admission Criteria

  • GPA: 3.0 minimum, successful applicants typically have over 3.5 GPAs.
  • GRE (general test only): no minimum, but successful applicants typically have over 150 in both the Verbal and Quantitative Reasoning sections.
  • (for foreign students): TOEFL score of at least 550 (paper-based), 213 (computer-based), or 79 (IBT – internet based) are minimum requirements for consideration. Competitive applicants generally have scores above 600/250/100.
  • 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.
  • The Cognitive/Human Factors faculty also consider applicants’ actual research experience, work experience (if relevant), letters of recommendation, coursework history, and the degree of fit between the applicants’ interests and the research areas of our current faculty.

Admissions

During typical years the program will receive about 20-30 graduate applications, of which 3-4 will be accepted.

Financial Assistance

About 90% of admitted students receive support from the department, typically in the form of , part-time assistantships. Graduate teaching assistants within the department usually receive a salary of about $11,000 and also receive full tuition waivers. Research assistant positions typically pay significantly more (about $22,000), but do not include tuition waivers. Graduate research assistants usually do received out-of-state tuition waivers.

Degree Requirements

MS

  • 30 units
  • Thesis
  • Oral examination of thesis
  • Non-thesis option: no

PhD

  • 60 units (beyond MS)
  • Preliminary exams
  • Oral examination of dissertation
  • Research required (dissertation)

Curriculum

Required courses (units)

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

Electives

  • Engineering Psychology (3)
  • Industrial/Organizational Psychology (3)
  • Judgmental Processes (3)
  • Seminars in Human Factors (3)
  • Psychology of Aging (3)
  • Computer Science (3)
  • Psychology of Language (3)
  • History of Current Trends (3)
  • Health Psychology (3)
  • Personality Theory and Research (3)
  • Learning (3)
  • Pro-Seminar in Social Psychology (3)

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

Research Facilities

The Psychological Sciences Department is located on the top two floors of Bluemont Hall, in the middle of the K-State campus, and includes several modern laboratory facilities, most of which are available for hands-on use by students. Resources include an electrically shielded 64-channel electroencephalograph (EEG) system, eye tracking equipment, several rooms for individual and group testing, several computer laboratories, and a media editing lab.

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 Teaching Apprenticeship Program designed to give formal training and supervision in teaching at the university level.

Current Research Activities

Current research activities include projects in film and scene perception, film, pictorial, and reading comprehension, human-computer interaction, judgments and decision making, working memory, cognitive aging, metacognition, problem solving, social reasoning, statistical inference, social cognition, psycholinguistics, and mass communication.

Faculty

Heather Bailey
PhD, Kent State University, 2009
(785-532-0807, hbailey@ksu.edu)
Research Interests: Memory, Aging and Cognition, Metacognition (thinking about one’s own cognitive processes), Reading Comprehension

Gary L. Brase
PhD, University of California, Santa Barbara, 1997
(785-532-0609; gbrase@ksu.edu)
Research Interests: Judgments under Uncertainty, Social Reasoning and Decision Making, Human Rationality

Richard J. Harris
PhD, University of Illinois - Urbana-Champaign, 1974
(785-532-0610; rjharris@ksu.edu)
Research Interests: Applied Psycholinguistics, Mass Communication, Bilingualism

Lester Loschky
PhD, University of Illinois - Urbana-Champaign, 2003
(785-532-6882, loschky@ksu.edu)
Research Interests: Film Perception and Comprehension, Scene Perception, Eye Movements and Attention, Visual Cognition, Language Comprehension, Human-Computer Interaction

Michael Young
PhD, University of Minnesota/Twin Cities, 1995
(785-532-0602, michaelyoung@ksu.edu)
Research Interests: Decision Making in Dynamic Environments, Impulsive and Risky Choices in Immersive Environments, EEG During Choice