Collaborative Specialization in Psychology and Engineering (PsychEng)

What is the PsychEng specialization?

PsychEng is the Collaborative Graduate Specialization in Psychology and Engineering. This specialization is currently between the Department of Psychology (PSY) in the Faculty of Arts & Science (FAS) and the Departments of Civil & Mineral Engineering (CivMin), Electrical & Computer Engineering (ECE) and Mechanical & Industrial Engineering (MIE) in the Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering (FASE), with participation by additional FASE departments and institutes.

Psychology is a science that focuses on the mind and behavior of people and animals to understand individuals and groups across all levels of analyses, from the cellular to the cultural. Engineering involves the creative application of science to the design of systems, processes, structures and technologies. The Psychology and Engineering Collaborative Specialization serves students interested in contributing to the growing interdisciplinary scholarship at the intersection of psychology and engineering.

Participating Degree Programs:

Department of Psychology, Faculty of Arts & Science:

  • Master of Arts (MA), PhD

Department of Civil & Mineral Engineering (CivMin), Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering

  • Master of Applied Science (MASc), PhD

Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering (ECE), Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering

  • Master of Applied Science (MASc), PhD

Department of Mechanical & Industrial Engineering (MIE), Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering

  • Master of Applied Science (MASc), PhD

How does the research work?

The PsychEng Collaborative Specialization serves graduate students who are interested in the intersection of psychology and engineering by providing access to learning experiences that otherwise do not exist at the University of Toronto. Students will gain improved capacity to pursue, understand, discuss, and apply engineering to research in psychology, and to apply psychology to research in engineering. Psychology students may discover practical engineering applications to which to apply their work while engineering students can utilize psychological principles towards solving real-world problems. This specialization allows students to obtain a unique combination of competencies not otherwise available through a formal program, by completing related courses and immersion in a like-minded cross-disciplinary community, and by pursuing independent PsychEng-related research through projects that fit in areas including, but not limited to:

  • Human-factors/human-centered engineering
  • Psychology-informed engineering design theory and methodology
  • Engineering-enabled psychology
  • Interactions between psychology and artificial intelligence
  • Psychology-informed operations research
  • Psychological and neurological health

Participating Faculty Members

Civil and Mineral Engineering (CivMin)

Jeffrey Siegel, Indoor air and psychology

Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE)

Jonathan Rose, Automation of medicine, with a focus on mental health

Institute of Aerospace Studies (UTIAS)

Peter Grant, Pilot training

Mechanical and Industrial Engineering (MIE)

J. Christopher Beck, Operations Research and Artificial Intelligence
Amy Bilton, Design for the Developing World
Mark Chignell, Applied Cognition and User Interface Design
Birsen Donmez, Human Factors and Transportation
Michael Grüninger, Information Engineering and Knowledge Representation
Greg A. Jamieson, Human Factors and Automation
Paul Milgram, Human Factors and Medicine
Goldie Nejat, Robotics and Human-Robot Interaction
Alison Olechowski,  Product Design and Development
Li Shu, Creativity in Conceptual Design, Design for Pro-Environmental Behavior

Psychology (PSY)

Morgan Barense, Perception/Cognition/Cognitive Neuroscience
Dirk Bernhardt-Walther, Perception/Cognition/Cognitive Neuroscience
Daphna Buchsbaum, Development and Perception/Cognition/Cognitive

Craig Chambers, Perception/Cognition/Cognitive Neuroscience
Wil Cunningham, Social/Personality/Abnormal & Perception/Cognition/Cog. Neuro.
Katherine Duncan, Perception/Cognition/Cognitive Neuroscience

Norman Farb, Social/Personality/Abnormal & Perception/Cognition/Cog. Neuro.

Susanne Ferber, Perception/Cognition/Cognitive Neuroscience
Amy Finn, Perception/Cognition/Cognitive Neuroscience/Development

Michael Mack, Perception/Cognition/Cognitive Neuroscience

Elizabeth Page-Gould, Social Cognition
Jason Plaks, Social/Personality/Abnormal
Jay Pratt, Perception/Cognition/Cognitive Neuroscience


Admission requirements

Applicants must be accepted into one of the participating graduate degree programs (e.g., M.A.Sc./Ph.D. in the Department of Mechanical & Industrial Engineering or M.A./Ph.D. in the Department of Psychology) before being accepted into the Collaborative Specialization.

In addition to satisfying the home degree admission requirements, applicants will provide a statement of purpose in which they describe their background or experience relating to engineering, psychology, and their intersection, and why they are interested in pursuing graduate studies in PsychEng.

Registration Form

Course List

Core Course

APS1305Y PsychEng Seminar Series – Master’s level

APS1308Y PsychEng Seminar Series – Ph.D. level

In addition to the core course, students must take 2 PsychEng electives, one of which must be from the non-home department.

Elective Courses

Please note that not all courses are not offered every year. Consult each unit’s website for details.

Civil and Mineral Engineering Graduate Courses

CIV1320H: Indoor Air Quality

Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Graduate Courses

ECE1778: Creative Applications for Mobile Devices

Mechanical & Industrial Engineering Graduate Courses

MIE1070: Intelligent Robots for Society
MIE1401: Human Factors Engineering
MIE1402: Experimental Methods in Human Factors Research
MIE1403: Analytical Methods in Human Factors Research
MIE1412: Human-Automation Interaction
MIE1415: Analysis and Design of Cognitive Work
MIE1505: Enterprise Modeling
MIE1510: Formal Techniques in Ontology Engineering
MIE1720: Creativity in Conceptual Design
KMD2001: Human Centred Design

Psychology Graduate Courses

PSY1000 Directed Studies
Department of Psychology courses offered in the 5000 series (see Department for exclusions)

Additional Information

If you would like additional information about this specialization, please contact:

LH Shu, Professor of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering
Wallace G Chalmers Chair of Engineering Design
Director of Collaborative Specialization in Psychology and Engineering