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We have put together a careers pack for students that contains lots more information about what to study and what it's like to work as an ergonomist. You can download it here (1.1Mb)

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Careers staff: you can download a larger file (4Mb) with more images for printing as careers material for ergonomics.

Click to download the ergonomics careers pack with images Careers pack (with images)


If you're interested in ergonomics and would like to continue studying this fascinating and diverse subject, there are several options open to you.

what will I be called?

Avoiding the temptation to be very silly here, someone who has qualified and works in ergonomics (er·go·nom·ics) is called an ergonomist (er·gon·o·mist).

what can I study?

You can study a degree in ergonomics or one that combines ergonomics with another related subject, like information technology.

There are, at present, two undergraduate degree courses in ergonomics offered by Loughborough University.

The two B.Sc. Degrees in Ergonomics at Loughborough University are the only full undergraduate programmes available in the United Kingdom, and are offered from the Department of Human Sciences. The first of these is the 3-year degree, and the second is a 4-year degree with a sandwich year in industry.  The aim of all of these degrees is to enable you to become a professional Ergonomist, practising as such in the United Kingdom (in other words, the degree is not just about theory, but about practice as well).

The programmes fulfil the requirements for full membership of the Ergonomics Society (the professional body for ergonomists), and meet the technical requirements for accreditation as a European Ergonomist, enabling you to practise anywhere in the European Union (you will need some years of professional practice after you have left to gain this qualification).

Both programmes have as their core, the disciplines of psychology, anatomy and physiology, and ergonomics in design, running through all three academic years.  In Year 1 these are treated as separate disciplines, as in most Universities; however, from then on there is more and more mixing of these pure disciplines to produce the unique blend that is ergonomics, including the introduction of other important professional subjects such as the environment, cultural influences, and so on.  In the final year there is a range of modules available for you to specialise in your particular interests - for example, in health and safety; in consumer products and their design; in organisational design; and in the ergonomics of information technology.

The scope of Ergonomics is enormous; if you think you might be interested, please see the course details on the Loughborough University web site (go there) (and find out about an oil tanker disaster!).

Several other first degree courses have options in ergonomics or human factors.  However, most ergonomists start their careers by taking a first degree centred in another subject and then going on to follow a Masters Degree in ergonomics.  A wide range of Masters are available, both in the UK and overseas and it is also possible to study at home via 'distance learning'.

The choice of relevant undergraduate courses is very wide.  You might wish to select a subject that forms part of the foundations of ergonomics (e.g. biology, physiology, psychology, etc.) or one which focuses on an application area (computing, design, physiotherapy, etc.).  The ergonomics community is diverse; throughout the world you will find people who have come to ergonomics via a very wide variety of routes - what is important is that you choose the one that is best for you.  Of course, in addition to these specific undergraduate/postgraduate courses, there are a number of others which contain considerable amounts of ergonomics, although it is not their main focus.

All the courses that the IEHF recognises for membership applications are listed on the IEHF's main web site (go there) or you might like to ask us about your proposals. The IEHF's main site also outlines the various grades of membership appropriate for the different stages in your career (go there).

You can train further and take a Masters degree. Students studying for Masters degrees in ergonomics usually have other qualifications in psychology, biology, design, engineering, physiotherapy or other related subjects before undertaking a Masters degree. There are a number of  BSc degree courses that train people to become professional ergonomists.  There is one undergraduate degree course in ergonomics at Loughborough University.

where can I work?

In lots of companies and all over the world! Many ergonomics professionals work in commercial companies, government departments and research institutions  – including areas such as product design, health and safety, management, and research and development (R&D).  There is also an increasing number of specialist consultancy companies, who offer advice and services to a wide range of clients, in all areas of ergonomics.  Many ergonomists work in research organisations, including Universities and other institutions – some specialising in particular areas of the subject, and others contributing to multidisciplinary teams.

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Ergonomics 4 Schools was created by the IEHF - an international organisation for professionals using knowledge of human abilities and limitations to design and build for comfort, efficiency, productivity and safety.


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