Masters in Human Factors in Information Design
Gain a deep understanding of human behavior and user experience through research and insights that inform experience design and product innovation.
How do you get healthy food to neighborhoods that need it most?
Frequently Asked Questions about the MSHFID Program
- Gain access to an alumni network where you can connect with leading companies including Facebook, Google, Amazon, Fidelity, Sony and more.
- Learn about human behavior relative to product design, universal accessibility, minimal design, usability and the user experience.
- Master UX research methods, including ethnography, field research, interviews, survey design, and formative and summative usability testing.
- Become adept at moving quickly from research and data to innovative design solutions.
- Gain a firm grounding in business strategy that embraces the critical role of UX in adding value for organizations of every kind.
- Study at Bentley, online from a home or office, at our San Francisco satellite campus, or a combination of the three.
- Named Top Academic Program by UX Magazine
Our program emphasizes the strategic role of UX in enhancing an organization’s competitive advantage. As a result, Bentley graduates routinely land senior-level positions at top companies across the country and around the world. See below for a partial list of employers and job titles our alumni have achieved over the past year.
|Company Name||Alumni Title|
|Bose Corporation||Senior Software Engineer|
|Capital One||UX Researcher|
|Charles River Analytics||Human Factors Scientist|
|Cigna||Sr. Experience Design Lead|
|Fidelity Investments||UX Designer|
|User Experience Researcher|
|Intel Corporation||Graphic UI Designer|
|iRobot||Design Research Intern|
|Liberty Mutual||UX Researcher|
|The MITRE Corporation||Principal Software, System and UX Engineer|
Since 1999 the UXC has worked with well over 200 clients from around the world, including Fidelity, Blue Cross Blue Shield, SAP, TD Bank, Geico, Partners Healthcare, MetLife, Philips, and more.
Projects have included everything from software, websites, mobile applications and intranets to documentation, consumer products and medical devices.
Over the past four years, the program has established strong partnerships with leading tech organizations in the Bay area. This network has supported the placement of graduates in these same organizations and corporate sponsorship of leading-edge design problems in Bentley classes.
Every single course is corporate sponsored (leading tech in business orgs are bringing real problems to our students)
"every HFID class is sponsored by leading tech and business organization including Google, Intuit, Captial One, Fidelity, Verizon"
The Bentley HFID program utilizes three comprehensive learning centers and facilities that allow you to get hands on and work with the technology you will have access to during your professional career.
User Experience Center (UXC)
The campus-based is the hands-on research centerpiece of the MSHFID program. Its full-time staff of UX professionals provide consulting services to corporate and nonprofit clients around the globe. Graduate students accepted to the Research Assistantship program receive financial support and gain valuable experience by working in the UXC on client projects. Many clients return to recruit our students for their expertise.
Dr. Ziat's Haptics Lab
Dr. Ziat holds degrees in Electronic Engineering (B.A.) and Cognitive Science (M.A. and Ph.D.). Taking advantage of her eighteen years of experience in haptics, Dr. Ziat’s lab studies issues related to human-machine interaction, focusing on perception and human interactions with natural and artificial environments. The experimental approach employs the techniques of engineering, cognitive psychology, human-computer interaction (HCI), and neuroscience, to gain an understanding of human touch and how the brain interprets variable sensations as a stable perception of the world. The overall goal is to establish design principles for haptics.
Dr. Ericson's Virtual and Augmented Reality Lab
Dr. Ericson directs a new virtual and augmented reality research lab. The lab is a dedicated space designed for safe and effective use of immersive technologies, equipped with a powerful 3D graphics computer, high-quality VR/AR hardware, game development and avatar creation software, and a variety of biometric tools for assessing psychological and physiological responses to immersive experiences. The lab is currently engaged in collaborative research projects with Dana Farber Cancer Institute (DFCI), Harvard Medical School, and colleagues in Bentley's Natural and Applied Sciences and Mathematics departments. The lab is staffed by graduate and undergraduate lab managers, research assistants, and software engineers, and offers opportunities for students to develop marketable skills, coauthor original research papers, present work at conferences, and contribute to novel research in a variety of fields including healthcare, sustainability, and architecture.
Years Average Professional Experience
Domestic Placement Rate
Average age of students in this program
Part-Time Students Enrolled
Top Employers Hiring Our Graduates
The Masters in Human Factors is a 10-course program including three core human factors courses, five electives, and two business electives. California students can choose to take four of their courses at our satellite campus in San Francisco, five courses online and one at Bentley’s User Experience Center on campus in Waltham.
Students have the option to take either HF 710 or HF 725 as part of their three core course requirements.
Designing intuitive, self-revealing products requires understanding the human factors that underlie the user's interaction with the product. This course introduces the applied theories relevant to the design of information products, training programs or user interface designs. Particularly relevant to those working with critical applications, diverse user populations and new technologies, the course helps students to create applications compatible with the strengths and weaknesses of the user's information processing systems. Students learn to anticipate user requirements before product development, to explain the user's performance during usability and prototype testing, and to foster a smooth transition for users facing new technologies or information.
Addresses methods and tools that information designers can use to integrate user-centered design approaches and human-factors principles to enhance the usability of information products. Through readings, short papers and team projects, students examine common project-management problems that can adversely affect usability, define the implications of those problems for the user interface, and apply selected project-management techniques for anticipating and managing usability issues. Lectures, discussions and assignments focus on various user-centered design methodologies and human-factors techniques, and examine implementing these approaches in the project environment. Course materials and activities focus on processes such as creating user-centered project environments that support a human-factors approach to user-interface design, setting and evaluating project performance standards. Students examine and define metrics (ROI) for evaluating the effectiveness of the usability effort.
This five-day program offers on-line program students an opportunity to explore and develop the skill component of many of the program's classes including user requirements gathering, field methods, prototyping and usability testing. This experience has been created as a complement to the online experience in each of these classes. The program is held primarily in the Design and Usability Center while select experiences will take students into the field. Immersion in the user-centered design experience during a full-week of interactive discussions, an expert panel presentation, site tours, and hands-on workshops is the focus of the week. Over the course of the five days, students will experience the entire user-centered design life-cycle. Interaction/networking with program faculty and current students and alumni from the on-campus program is included in the week's activities.
In a business world where change is continuous and innovation essential, leadership and management are critical competencies that every User Experience (UX) professional must command. In this course students will learn how to lead and to manage user-centered strategies, tactics, organizations, and teams. Through case studies, visits with Silicon Valley-based UX leaders, lectures, team exercises, short papers, and hands-on assignments, students will learn how User Experience participates at a strategic level, how to communicate the value of user experience to executives, as well as how to recognize business challenges that can be turned into user experience successes. As part of this course, students will create their own personal strategic plan for use in managing their career as a user experience professional and leader.
This course presents the principles, methods and tools for addressing usability issues. Topics covered include processes for assessing the usability of the communicative aspects of the human-computer interface in software applications, websites and other forms of interactive media. Students will plan and administer tests and other means of product assessment through simulated usability problems and case studies. Human-computer interfaces and various forms of documentation (print and electronic) used in assignments and exercises will range from prototype to released products.
Elective Courses: Human Factors
Select five courses from the following:
In today's global marketplace, long-term success requires a strategy for tailoring products to the requirements of the international community. This course introduces participants to the theory and practice of internationalizing all aspects of a technology business, including documentation, training, user interface, and marketing. Moving beyond the simple translation of language, this course addresses internationalization from the more comprehensive perspective of cultural theory. The course begins by recognizing the ethnocentric biases that affect all aspects of information design, then proposes a strategy for creating a globalized core design for all aspects of the product line. Working from this globalized core, developers can more easily and economically tailor product design to serve the needs of a local community. The course will focus on the major markets for technology, medical and scientific products, including Japan, China, France, Germany and England.
This course examines the theory and practice of designing dynamic visualizations that clarify thinking, facilitate problem-solving, and foster creativity. This course helps students to harness their visual and creative potential and to display this potential in the visual medium. In practice, students will learn to make large collections of verbal and numerical data accessible through carefully crafted visual displays. The unique strengths and weaknesses of both words and visuals are analyzed. Advancing from this analysis, the course helps students design a visual-verbal system where the strengths of one medium support the weaknesses of the other. This complementary system more fully integrates visual and verbal information, thereby dramatically improving the reader's understanding and retention of the communication design.
Applies human factors design principles, strategies, and best practices in creating various types of web sites. Incorporates the information and knowledge needs of users, clients, product design teams , management and other constituencies involved in creating, implementing, maintaining and using information on the World Wide Web. Topics include the user-centered design process, form and function, technology and usability issues, site types and organization, information categorization and labeling systems, global and local navigation systems, searching and browsing systems, accessibility, interactivity, page layout, template design, prototyping, modularity, scalability, maintenance and management. Students learn to identify for different audiences the value of using information architecture principles and best practices to design highly functional web sites and web applications. Includes individual and group projects.
Covers more advanced assessment techniques than studied in HF750, such as usability benchmarking, competitive testing, and special studies that require advanced measurement skills. The content goes beyond usability to focus on two new overlapping areas: hedonomics and the user experience. These new areas focus less on productivity and more on the broader emotional experience with products and services. The course examines metrics suitable for assessing the contribution of the user experience to the business bottom line. The core learning activity is a field-based experience where student teams conduct research, prepare a detailed report and deliver a presentation to the sponsoring organization. In addition, influential thought leaders from the user experience community contribute to the class.
This course introduces students to the theory and practice of engineering expert knowledge into system designs. To overcome the limitations of human processing capabilities, the technology industry mu st increasingly move from a model of providing support, training and documentation in forms external to the system, to a model where this information is seamlessly integrated in the larger system design. Early examples of knowledge-based subsystems include wizards, agents and expert system support. The very nature of expert knowledge, its value to the expert, and the way in which the expert constructs this knowledge are key elements of the course. Students learn to develop strategies for collecting and organizing knowledge from experts, and study ways to integrate expert knowledge in system designs. The course relies heavily on experts from local research and development labs.
HF 761 embraces an "informed problem solving" approach to mobile design. In particular, the approach is directly informed by customers -- what they do, what they need and how they interact. With the massive growth in smart phone and tablet usage, it is important to think about how UX designers adapt their approach to design for these devices. Smart phones and tablets offer new capabilities, but also new design challenges. The way humans interact with them is different in their ability to use touch, gestures, other forms of input such as images and voice. This course will examine how the traditional research and design process is altered to enable us to create the best mobile products for our customers.
This course introduces students to the process of iterative, user-centered design and to the state-of-the-art in user interface design and technology. This course allows the students to experience the benefits of iterative design by requiring them to present several iterations for feedback to the class. Furthermore, by having the students design a non-traditional interface in groups, the impact of iterative design and the importance of carefully analyzing the users in the use context are magnified. The students are also introduced to the latest user interfaces and user-interface research by reading many journal and conference articles, identify and present some issues from these papers, and write a research paper on an interface topic.
This course will cover the fundamental principles and methods of interaction design and prototyping. The goals of this course are to provide students with an understanding of interaction design principles and how those principles are embodied in prototypes. The first half of the course will cover the history of interaction design, universal design principles, patterns, design constraints, metaphor, affordances, aesthetics that affect interaction, visual design considerations, human-computer dialog and time-based design.
Places the concept of field research within the user-centered design lifecycle. Methods examined in the class include contextual inquiry, ethnographic survey, card sorts, and cognitive task analysis; how the methods are used, and how collected data fits with business and technical requirements. The course covers the design, planning and delivery of a field study, including preparation, sample definition, administration, and data analysis. Students will examine how the data analysis informs the design process. Special emphasis will be placed on different types of user populations and how they affect the way the field research is implemented. Guest speakers and intensive workshop exercises will be interspersed with lecture. Articles will be discussed during class.
Ethnographic research involves naturalistic inquiry aimed at capturing social phenomenon as they occur in a particular setting. Ethnographers can employ multiple data collection strategies to do this, but typically focus on participant/observation methodologies as a primary approach. While primarily found in social science disciplines such as anthropology and sociology, ethnographic approaches increasing are being applied in IT/IS fields for the purposes of achieving better technological designs, improving the user experience, and facilitating collaborative work. This course will introduce the student to the origins of the ethnographic method, discuss the theoretical bases of its use, identify strategies for successful ethnographic inquiry, develop initial skills for data analysis and reporting, and provide examples of how ethnographic studies of work and technological use have been used in a variety of business and organizational contexts.
A one-credit field-based educational experience for HFID students, with the opportunity to (1) observe human factors and user experience practices, (2) apply knowledge of human factors and user experience research methods (3) develop project management skills, (4) and explore development cultures. This internship option is available to HFID graduate students. Students must work a minimum of 120 hours at an approved organization, complete a reflection paper, and coordinate their performance appraisal with a specified site supervisor. A student is limited to doing one such one-credit internship before degree completion.
This class prepares students to engage in professional and scholarly research in human factors with an emphasis on user-experience design. By critiquing research methodologies and methods from journaland practitioner publications, students will discuss the strengths and weaknesses of particular research designs. Through lectures, readings, and interactive classroom discussions of research studies, students will learn how to apply the most appropriate research methodology(s) and method(s) to a particular research problem. The course covers the full spectrum of research from basic to applied.
This course is by invitation to students having shown superior knowledge, ability, and skill in their course work. Students need to take HF 700 and HF 795 in the first semester to prepare for their research project. Application for thesis option is open to full and part-time students. Students need to apply for the thesis option when they enter the MSHFID program. The candidate would be evaluated at that time to determine if they possess appropriate academic experience to pursue the thesis option. The decision regarding their admittance will be made in mid-October. Working with a Thesis Advisor, candidates will develop a research prospectus based their research interest. The prospectus will be reviewed and approved by the department research committee.
Elective Courses: Non-Human Factors
Select two courses from an approved business area such as:
This course teaches object-oriented programming and development using the Java programming language. Students first gain a solid understanding of programming fundamentals, including control and data structures and the use of built-in classes. This is followed by the study of object-oriented programming concepts and practices, from defining classes and methods to the more advanced object-oriented concepts of inheritance, encapsulation, polymorphism and abstract classes. Students' understanding is reinforced throughout the course through the development of stand-alone applications. No prior knowledge of Java or other programming languages is required.
This course focuses on computer system hardware, operating system software, and network technology, which collectively form the system platform for assimilating and delivering information products and services to the organization and its external stakeholders. It introduces basic system infrastructure as a complex organization of these various components, including widely accepted infrastructure standard models, and offers a solid conceptual foundation for work and further learning in system architecture and information system design.
Global Business Experiences are faculty-led courses that last from 10 day to 2 weeks and offer an intensive look at business or cultural practices in a country abroad. These courses are usually offered in January during semester break, in March during Spring Break or in May at the start of the summer semester. Students visit companies daily and meet with business leaders and government officials to further their global mindset and cultural awareness. Through immersion in the business practices of another region, students gain valuable professional skills and develop a stronger bond with their classmates that will benefit them throughout the remainder of their graduate study. Visit the following page for a listing of sites: bentley.edu/offices/international-education/global-business-experiences.
The class will provide a managerial perspective on information management in organizations, with emphasis on the relationship between the business and its information systems at strategic, tactical, and operational levels, information impacts on business processes within and between organizations, business intelligence, business analytics and reporting, performance management, quality of data, ethical use of information, data standards, data sharing for business process support, and other current managerially-focused topics. The students will obtain hands-on experience with real-world data and advanced information management and analytics technologies such as SAP BusinessObjects, Lumira, Digital Boardroom, and others.
Organizations use a variety of complex work teams to accomplish their objectives. Unfortunately, many organizational teams are not particularly effective. This course is designed to help students lead, participate and work effectively in a variety of team environments -including virtual teams and groups. You will develop a greater understanding of group dynamics, of your own behavior in teams, and team leadership skills. The course is highly experiential and involves working in teams on graded and non-graded assignments. These assignments include team presentations and written and oral analysis.
This course prepares students for leadership positions in technology-based organizations. The course introduces principles of technology growth and diffusion and how they impact business strategy and planning, markets, the performance of cross-functional teams, product design and project management. Through this course, students gain an understanding of theories, tools and best-in-class practices required to commercialize new technologies or to adapt existing practices in response to either sustaining or disruptive technological innovation. Through lectures, group discussions, case studies and research projects, students explore how leading businesses are creating value from emerging technologies and may continue to do so in the future.
In the increasingly complex and global marketplace, innovation is becoming a necessity for competitive strength and survival. Creativity and good ideas alone are not enough for success; they must be transformed into viable goods and services and offered to customers through innovative business models. This course focuses on strategies that leaders use for stimulating and implementing innovation in the workplace. It looks at innovation strategically at the level of the firm and industry. The innovation strategies of successful and unsuccessful firms are highlighted. The course covers topics such as sources of innovation, design thinking, disruptive innovation, business model innovation, first mover advantage/disadvantage, value innovation, and dominant design and standards battles. During the semester, the students will tour innovative companies, and hear from experts in the financing and valuation of small innovative firms.
This course provides students with an in-depth coverage of simple and multiple linear regression methods and, as time permits, an introduction to the analysis of time series data. Simple and multiple linear regression techniques are covered, including the use of transformations such as squares and logarithms, the modeling of interactions, and how to handle problems resulting from heteroscedasticy and multicollinearity. Issues surrounding outlying and influential observations are also covered. The art and science of model building are demonstrated with the help of cases. Autocorrelation is then considered, and an introduction to the ARIMA modeling of times series is provided. The course makes use of statistical packages such as SAS, JMP, R or SPSS.
Find out More
Find Yourself at Bentley
To create a thriving population of students with a wide range of life and work experiences, Bentley considers the entirety of candidates’ applications including prior work experience, test scores, learning objectives, and other factors as we determine admissions decisions.
Masters in Human Factors Program Requirements
Application fee / Transcripts / Resume / 2 Essays / GMAT or GRE scores (may be waived for qualified students) / TOEFL/IELTS scores for international students (may be waived for qualified students) / Two letters of recommendation / Interview (may be requested by Bentley)
Full-Time & Part-Time
|Round||Send Completed Application By||Admission Decision Available|
|Round 1/Priority:||December 1||January 15|
|Rolling Admission:||February to August||2 weeks from submission|
Full-Time & Part-Time
|Round||Send Completed Application By||Admission Decision Available|
|Round 1/Priority:||October 1||2 weeks from submission|
|Rolling Admission:||October to December||2 weeks from submission|
- Students seeking visas for Fall should apply by July 1, and for Spring should apply by November 1
- All applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis.
- Applicants who wish to be considered for merit-based aid should apply as early as possible.
- Those who apply during the Rolling admission period are accepted on a space-available basis.
- Accepted students must confirm their acceptance within 2 weeks of decision to reserve their space in their program.