Simulation, Modeling and Applied Cognitive Science (PhD)
College of Technology and Innovation

Cognitive, Human Factors, Modeling, Science, Simulation, engineering

Beginning in the fall 2014 semester, this program will be affiliated with the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering. For more information about this change, please visit or contact your advisor.
Program Description
Degree Awarded: PHD  Simulation, Modeling, and Applied Cognitive Science

Simulation, modeling and applied cognitive science describes a growing transdisciplinary field (including the disciplines of psychology, engineering and computer science) that explores how people interact with technological and social systems in contexts that include transportation, medicine, military, computing and other complex systems. Cognitive science provides the foundation necessary for integrating human capabilities and limitations into complex sociotechnical systems (i.e., the practice of cognitive engineering), and the application of cognitive science relies heavily on simulation and modeling methods.

A large domain exists in which coupling applied cognitive science with simulation and modeling is imperative. Examples include the following:

  • development of intelligent agents
  • driving simulators for research on driver distraction
  • dynamical systems models of team interaction
  • gaming simulators for studying business decision-making
  • human-in-the-loop simulation studies of cybersecurity analysis
  • models of cognitive states and processes or sociocultural systems
  • medical simulation for health care research
  • nuclear control room simulation for improved human system integration
  • pilot training research using aircraft simulators
  • simulation of consumer behavior
  • tests of future airspace control concepts using air traffic control simulators

This PhD is designed to produce individuals who are well-grounded in simulation, modeling and cognitive science and skilled in its methods. Employers (e.g., Department of Defense, Federal Aviation Administration, Nuclear Regulatory Commission, hospitals, etc.) have an ever-increasing demand for personnel who can bridge the gap between rigorous science and solutions to real-world problems. The doctorate will provide transdisciplinary, research-driven training in the computing, engineering, technology, applied cognitive science and human systems integration.

Degree Requirements

Program requires the following: 84 credit hours, a written comprehensive exam, an oral comprehensive exam, a prospectus and a dissertation.

Students will work with a committee of at least three faculty members to design a program of study tailored to the student's interests and background. There will be considerable flexibility in setting the plan of study, but it must include a minimum number of credit hours in the areas of foundations, tools and methods, applications, research and scholarship. The program should also aim for an interdisciplinary education by including work in various disciplines. The degree requires 84 credit hours, with up to 30 credit hours accepted from a previously awarded master's. Electives can be chosen to provide additional breadth or depth, depending on the student.

Admission Requirements

Applicants must submit all the items below to complete an application file. Incomplete files will not be reviewed or considered until complete.

  1. an online Graduate Education application
  2. official transcript from each college or university attended
  3. an English proficiency exam for applicants whose native language is not English
  4. official GRE general exam scores
  5. statement of research interests
  6. three letters of recommendation

Note: A master's in psychology, engineering, cognitive science, computer science or closely related field is required.

International applicants can find complete information on the English proficiency exams and other required documents on the Graduate Education website:

For best consideration, the deadline is Feb. 1 for fall applications. Late applications may still be considered for the same application term or for the next term of admission; however, the department reserves the right to deny or not review a late application.

Admission to the graduate degree program presupposes an adequate technical preparation in statistics, cognitive science and software programming. Applicants who lack some of the required preparation still may be admitted but assigned deficiency courses, which must be completed within the first semester of starting the graduate program while concurrently enrolled in graduate-level course work. Deficiencies courses are assigned after admission is granted but before the start of the student's first semester. A faculty member will notify students with deficiencies and the specific course requirements via email.

Students must fulfill both the requirements of Graduate Education and those of the College of Technology and Innovation.

Contact Information

Faculty of Applied Psychology | TECH 101 | 480-727-4723