Graduate Catalog
Policies, Procedures, Academic Programs
Human Factors of Transportation Safety
3500 Transportation Research Plaza (0536)
Blacksburg, VA 24061
Contact this Certificate
Phone Number(s):
Miguel Perez, Ph.D., CPE, Program Coordinator:

Certificate Overview

The Human Factors of Transportation Safety Graduate Certificate Program (HFTS GCP) focuses on the driver characteristics, states, behaviors, and performance factors that, in interaction with vehicle, traffic, and roadway factors, have a major influence not only on mitigating the deleterious effects of crashes, but on actively avoiding them altogether. Virginia Tech is uniquely positioned to offer such a program by integrating the strengths of the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI) in partnership with the following academic departments, as all of these are already focusing on integrating human factors into their curricula and research programs:

The HFTS Graduate Certificate Program is housed and administered within VTTI (with support from the Graduate School and affiliated faculty of the partnering departments). It is important to note that the Certificate must be pursued as an integral part of the student’s Master’s or Doctoral matriculation plan at Virginia Tech; it may not be pursued independently.

Mission Statement: Create and deliver in-depth knowledge and marketable skills applied to the research, evaluation, maintenance, improvement, and protection of all transportation users and their communities via the application of human factors theories, tools, and methods; and to train the next generation of leaders in the field of the human factors of transportation safety within the Commonwealth and across the Nation.

For many years, Virginia Tech has been offering a number of undergraduate and graduate courses with relevance to the human factors issues associated with transportation safety. Offering the HFTS GCP as an option to graduate students at Virginia Tech appropriately emphasizes the ever-increasing importance of this field and focuses student learning and skills acquisition on a comprehensive domain of knowledge and skills. The HFTS Certificate provides students the requisite advanced skills and expertise necessary to join the transportation safety field in industry as well as research communities. The integration and expansion of human factors-related transportation safety offerings at Virginia Tech will continue to contribute effectively to the enhancement of transportation safety state-wide, nationally, and internationally.

Course Requirements Overview

§  Four courses must be selected from a structured menu of options (see Course Requirements section for details).

§  Courses from at least 3 of the 5 affiliated departments noted above must be represented in the student’s overall graduate program of study.

How to Apply:
Fill out the online application for participation in the certificate program.
Upon processing of the application, you will be contacted
with information about the submission of additional
required materials. Thank you for your interest.

Admission Requirements

  • Admission to the Graduate School

  • Completing a Graduate Certificate Application is required for all students. 

  • Courses applied towards certificate credit must be part of an approved program of study. 

Course Requirements

The certificate requires a total of 4 courses distributed as follows:

One course from each of Categories A, B, and C, and one course from either Category D or E

Category A: Transportation Safety / Risk Core

- BMES 5234 Advanced Vehicle Safety Systems

- CEE 5640 Highway Transportation Safety

Category B: Human Factors Core

- ISE 5604 Human Information Processing

- ISE 5605 Human Factors Systems Design I

- PSYC 5344 Cognitive Psychology

Category C: Statistics and Research Design

- ISE 5615 Human Factors Research Design

- PSYC 5315 Research Methods

- STAT 5374 Statistical Epidemiology and Observational Studies

- STAT 5615/5616 - Statistics in Research

Category D: Transportation-Related Eng./ Modeling / Design

- BMES 5164 Advanced Impact Biomechanics

- BMES 5174 Biomechanics of Crash Injury Prevention

- BMES 6164 Computational Modeling in Impact Biomechanics

- BMES 6174 Advanced Human Modeling: Injury and Tissue Biomechanics 

- CEE 5604 Traffic Characteristics and Flow

- CEE 5644 Transportation Systems Planning

- CEE 5654 Advanced Geometric Design & Highway Safety

Category E: Human Factors Aspects of Transportation

- CS/ISE 5714 Usability Engineering

- ISE 5644 Human Audition and Auditory Display Design

- ISE 6604 Human Factors in Visual Display Systems

- ISE 6614 Human Computer Systems

- ISE 6624 Advanced Topics in Human Factors [1]

- PSYC 5404 Biological Bases of Behavior

- PSYC 6404 Behavior Management in Large-scale Systems

- STAT 5204 Experimental Design and Analysis I

- STAT 5204G Experimental Design: Concepts and Applications

- STAT 5214G Advanced Methods of Regression Analysis

- STAT 5514 Regression Analysis

Thesis/Dissertation Topic & Optional Research Internship

  • Thesis/Dissertation topic must be transportation safety related (and approved by the Human Factors of Transportation Safety Graduate Certificate Program administrative body as well as the student’s graduate committee)
  • If the student chooses the project option, it must be transportation safety related, and the student must take an additional course (5 total courses), with the fifth course being selected from any category within the HFTS GCP menu, A-E.
  • Optional research internship for one semester up to one year at VTTI or equivalent opportunity (e.g., NHTSA, GM, etc. [can earn up to 6 research credit hours and up to 3 independent study credit hours per semester of internship]) – note that these optional hours/experiences do not substitute for any of the 12 required credit hours.
  • Prior to filling in the Graduate School's Certificate Application Form, the prospective student should first contact the HFTS Program Coordinator.