Collaborative Specialization in Psychology, Psychiatry and Engineering (PsychEng)

What is the PsychEng specialization?

PsychEng is the Collaborative Graduate Specialization in Psychology, Psychiatry and Engineering. This specialization is currently between the Department of Psychology (PSY) in the Faculty of Arts & Science (FAS), the Department of Psychiatry in the Temerty Faculty of Medicine, and several Departments 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. Psychiatry is a branch of medicine that focuses on mental health, including diagnosing, preventing and treating mental conditions. Engineering involves the creative application of science to the design of systems, processes, structures and technologies. The Psychology, Psychiatry and Engineering Collaborative Specialization will draw students interested in contributing to the growing interdisciplinary scholarship at the intersection of psychology, psychiatry and engineering.

Participating Degree Programs:

Department of Psychology, Faculty of Arts & Science:

  • Master of Arts (M.A.), Ph.D.

Institute of Medical Science:

  • Master of Science (MSc), PhD

Departments of 1) Mechanical & Industrial Engineering (MIE), 2) Civil and Mineral Engineering (CivMin),  3) Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE), Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering:

  • Master of Applied Science (M.A.Sc.), Ph.D.

How does the research work?

The PsychEng Collaborative Specialization serves graduate students who are interested in the intersection of psychology, psychiatry 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 psychiatry, and to apply psychology and psychiatry to research in engineering. Psychology and psychiatry students may discover practical engineering applications to which to apply their work, while engineering students can utilize psychological and psychiatric 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
  • Engineering design theory and methodology
  • Engineering-enabled methods in psychology
  • Psychology-informed operations research
  • Interactions between psychology, psychiatry and artificial intelligence
  • Psychiatry and engineering-methods to support mental health

Participating Faculty Members

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

Civil and Mineral Engineering

Jeffrey Siegel, Indoor air and psychology

Electrical and Computer Engineering 

Jonathan Rose, Software and Natural-Language Processing in the Service of Mental Health

Institute of Aerospace Studies (UTIAS)

Peter Grant, Pilot training

Hugh Liu, Aircraft Flight Systems and Control 


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
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


Tony George, Biology of addiction co-morbidity with serious mental illness 

Meng-Chun Lai, Mental health and wellbeing of neurodivergent individuals with autism or related neurodevelopmental conditions, across sexes and genders 

Hsiang-Yuan Lin, Neuroimaging and computational methods to characterize atypical neurodevelopment 

Benoit H. Mulsant, Improving treatment of severe mental disorders 

Abigail Ortiz, Mood disorders with focus on bipolar disorder 

Admission requirements

Applicants must be accepted into one of the participating graduate degree programs (i.e., M.A.Sc./Ph.D. in the Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering or M.A./Ph.D. in the Department of Psychology or M.Sc./PhD in Institute of Medical Science) 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, psychiatry and their intersection, and why they are interested in pursuing graduate studies in PsychEng.

Steps to complete registration:

1. Complete the Registration Form and submit the signed form to

2. Complete online registration form.

Course List

Core Course

APS1305H PsychEng Seminar Series - Master's level - Two Sessions required

APS1308H PsychEng Seminar Series - Ph.D. level - Two Sessions required

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.

Mechanical & Industrial Engineering
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 and Psychiatrists
MIE1505: Enterprise Modeling
MIE1510: Formal Techniques in Ontology Engineering
MIE1720: Creativity in Conceptual Design
KMD2001: Human Centred Design

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

Institute of Medical Science (Psychiatry related topics)
MSC1006H: Neuroanatomy - Introduction to Anatomical Organization of the Brain
MSC1085H: Molecular Approaches to Mental Health and Addictions
MSC1087H: MRI Neuroimaging Methods
MSC1089H: The Biopsychosocial Basis of Mental Health and Addictive Disorders
MSC6000H: Special Topics, Reading Course

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



Pablo Cotera

PhD Candidate,

Water and Energy


Chelsea DeGuzman

PhD Candidate,

Autonomous Vehicles

Bowen Du

PhD Candidate,

Indoor Air Quality

Sarah Halabieh

MASc Candidate

Design for Pro-Environmental Behavior

Emily Heffernan

MA Candidate,

Computational Cognitive Neuroscience, Artificial Intelligence

Dina Kanann

PhD Candidate,

Autonomous Vehicles


 Alex Sahar

MASc Candidate,

Design Creativity

Shane Saunderson

PhD Candidate,

Social Robots


Lauren Vomberg

PhD Candidate,

Auditory perceptual organization and music cognition paradigms

Tiana Wei,

PhD Candidate,

Neurobiology of language and brain lateralization