Collaborative Specialization in Psychology and Engineering (PsychEng)

What is the PsychEng specialization?

PsychEng is the graduate-level Collaborative Specialization in Psychology and Engineering. Participating departments include Psychology (PSY) in the Faculty of Arts & Science (FAS), and Civil & Mineral Engineering (CivMin), Electrical & Computer Engineering (ECE) and Mechanical & Industrial Engineering (MIE) in the Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering (FASE). All graduate students and faculty from the Department of Psychology and any FASE Department or Institute are welcome to participate.

Psychology is a science that focuses on the mind and behavior of people and animals to understand individuals and groups across several 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

Research requirement

Students will incorporate aspects of the other field into their research, with guidance from a faculty member from the other field. For example, engineering students will incorporate aspects of psychology into their research, guided by a psychology faculty member on their (defense) committee.

Participating Faculty Members

Civil and Mineral Engineering (CivMin)

Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE)

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

Institute of Aerospace Studies (UTIAS)

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
  • 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
  • Benjamin Wolfe, Applied Perception and Psychophysics

Admission requirements

Applicants must be accepted into one of the following degree programs:

  • MASc/PhD in any department in the Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering (FASE)
  • MA/PhD in the Department of Psychology

before admission into the PsychEng 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 requirements

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, at least one of which must be from the other faculty.  That is, all engineering students must take at least one graduate-level psychology course, and psychology students must take at least one graduate-level engineering course.

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
  • MIE1444: Engineering for Psychologists
  • 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

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