PhD in Human Behavior: Program Overview
Read an overview of programs such as the Ph.D. in Human Behavior. Discover the educational prerequisites of such advanced programs and review the coursework. Learn about some popular careers and see career and salary statistics for market research analysts.
Ph.D. programs in human behavior and design prepare students to merge their knowledge of psychology and design to create safer, healthier and more productive environments. These programs, which are similar in scope to programs in human factors psychology, applied psychology and industrial-organizational psychology, explore the limitations, abilities and behavior of humans. This information is used to design tools, machines, systems and environments that are safe, effective and productive.
Human behavior and design students might be able to choose a specialty, such as the interface between humans and the environment, human components in training and simulation or interactions between humans and computers. Graduates of these programs might qualify for careers as ergonomic designers or organizational consultants, among others.
Students typically can apply to doctoral programs in human behavior and design immediately after receiving a bachelor's degree. Often, their undergraduate major must be in psychology. Some programs require applicants to rank in the top 50% of their undergraduate class; most schools require an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher.
Ph.D. programs in human behavior and design highly emphasize research, so classroom course hours are usually fewer than research hours. Courses might include:
- Anthropometrics and ergonomics
- Industrial psychology
- Mixed methods research
- Organizational psychology
- Perception and sensation
- Physiological psychology
- Planning and managing facilities
- Qualitative (or quantitative) research methods
- Statistical and research procedures
There are a variety of careers available to Ph.D. graduates in human behavior and design. These might include:
- Ergonomic designer
- Management researcher
- Marketing researcher
- Organizational consultant
- Systems designer
- University professor
Career and Salary Information
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, market research analysts were expected to see extremely good job growth - 41%, from 2010-2020. The projected growth was thought to be driven by an increase in the use of market research data across all industries. The BLS reported a mean annual salary of $67,500 for this position in 2012.
Meanwhile, post-secondary teachers were expected to see a 17% increase in jobs during the same time frame. Psychology teachers at colleges and universities made an average salary of $74,890 in 2012, while sociology professors made $73,080.
Psychologists specializing in human behavior and design generally don't need a license or certification since they don't offer patient care. However, they might want to continue their education to improve their opportunities for advancement. This can be done through seminars and additional graduate courses, as well as reading professional journals.
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