Program Plan

This program is designed to satisfy the MS Program Requirements of OSU’s Department of Integrated Systems Engineering, as well as meet the needs of engineers who wish to assume responsibilities in occupational safety and ergonomics.  The department’s requirements for Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISE) students seeking a master’s degree via the thesis program include a minimum of 30 semester hours, including at least 22 hours of course work and 4 hours of thesis research credit.  The course work consists of a depth requirement (6 semester credits minimum), a breadth requirement of at least three credit hours from a relevant area in or outside of  ISE, 3 semester credit hours of graduate level course work focused on mathematical, statistical, or numerical methodologies, and 2 semester credit hours of ISE Graduate Research Seminar, and elective course work.  An oral defense of the thesis is also required.  There is a non-thesis program, as well, but almost all of our students complete a thesis.

The program for the NIOSH-supported students includes required courses in occupational biomechanics, cognitive engineering, occupational health, industrial accident prevention and control, human error and systems failure, a research practicum, and an applied practicum (Table A).  Working closely with the faculty, the research practicum provides students with the opportunity to work as a member of a group to identify a novel research topic, design an investigational protocol, write an application to the Institutional Review Board and secure its approval of the protocol, conduct the experiment, analyze the data, and write up the study in a paper that is submitted to a peer-reviewed conference or journal.  The applied practicum gives students the opportunity to apply knowledge from coursework to a real-world problem.  Projects may come through the Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation, or through our advisory board members, former trainees, other local industry contacts, or other sources.

Table A.  Required courses in Occupational Safety & Ergonomics (this set of courses fulfills the ISE depth requirement):

  • ISE 5600 – Principles of Occupational Biomechanics and Industrial Ergonomics (UG3)
  • ISE 5700 – Cognitive Engineering (G3)
  • ISE 5640-  Occupational Safety: Analysis and Design of Work Environments (UG3)    OR
    • Chem-BioE 5755 Chemical Process Safety (UG3)
  • ISE 7610 – Advanced Topics in Biomechanics and Musculoskeletal Disorders: Spine biomechanics (G4)   OR
    • ISE 7620 – Advanced Topics in Biomechanics and Musculoskeletal Disorders: Upper extremity biomechanics (G3)
  • ISE 7615 – Biomechanics Research Practicum: Experience in spine biomechanics  (G3)     OR
    • ISE 7625 – Biomechanics Research Practicum: Experience in upper extremity biomechanics (G3)
  • ISE 5710 – Behind Human Error: Safety and Complex Systems (UG3)    OR
    • ISE 5870 – Resilience Engineering (UG3)
    • ISE 5740 – Cognitive Engineering Systems: Human-Centered Automation (UG3)
    • ISE 5820 – Systems Thinking in Engineering and Design (UG3)
    • HIMS 5550 – Human Factors in Healthcare (UG3)
  • PUBH-EHS 5325 – Principles of Occupational Health Science (G4)
  • ISE 6193 – as Safety & Ergonomics Practicum (UG3)

Students are also required to take a course in experimental design.  Additionally, seminars given by local experts (academics and practitioners) covering selected topics in their areas of expertise are also part of the curriculum.  These include experts in system safety and risk management, epidemiology and injuries of children in farm families, industrial safety, and hospital safety.  Additionally, students can avail themselves of continuing education courses offered by the Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation, to gain exposure to topics that are not covered in courses here at OSU.  All of these provide additional opportunities for the students to meet and interact with local safety and health professionals.

Elective courses are offered in a variety of areas, to match a student’s particular area of interest.  These include civil engineering, mechanical engineering, epidemiology, and environmental health.  Examples of elective courses appears in Table B.

Table B.  Sampling of elective courses (choose a minimum of 1 course) (≥ 3 hrs)

  • CIVIL EN 5810 – Construction Safety & Forensics (UG3)
  • ISE 5820 – Systems Thinking in Engineering and Design (UG3)
  • ISE 5620 – Risk Assessment Tools for Occupational Musculoskeletal Disorders (UG3)
  • ISE 7720  – Cognitive Systems Engineering: Models and Methods (G3)
  • ISE 5760 – Visual Analytics and Sensemaking (UG3)
  • ISE 6194 – Human-Centered Machine Learning (UG3)
  • ME 5716 – Probabilistic Reliability and Safety Assessment (UG3)  (cross-listed with Nuclear Eng.)
  • PUBH-EHS 7365 – Principles of Risk Assessment (G3)
  • PUBH-EHS 7380 – Exposure Science Monitoring Techniques (G3)
  • PUBH-EHS 6310 – Principles of Environmental Health (G3)
  • PUBH-EPI 6410 – Principles of Epidemiology (G3)
  • PUBH-EPI 6430 – Epidemiology I  (G3)
  • PUBH-EPI 6432 – Injury Epidemiology (G3)
  • ENGR 7710 –  Engineering Research Communications (G3)

Sample plans of study are provided in Tables C and D, below.  Students who receive traineeships through this program, in order to qualify for tuition support, must register for 12 graduate credit hours each semester they are enrolled.  ISE 6193 is used to provide students registered time to obtain training in responsible research practices and become involved in ongoing faculty research.  Table C provides a sample plan of study for individuals interested in electives in safety and complex systems and Table D provides a sample plan of study for students interested in environmental health science (students with this interest may consider pursuing a dual MS/MPH degree program in ISE and EHS).   Each student’s study plan will reflect his or her interests and goals.  In the summer of their first year, students will either be involved in research or have an internship.

Downloadable file for program planning