Making technology human with Engineering Psychology

The first psychology degree programme on the Furtwangen University Tuttlingen Campus - starts winter semester 2017

At kick-off (from left): Prof. Dr. Martin Heine (Dean ITE, HFU), Dr. Joachim Schulz (Member of the Board of Aesculap AG), Prof. Dr. Andreas Gollwitzer (Vice-Dean Academics ITE, HFU), Ines Lützen (Work and Organizational Psychologist, Aesculap AG, Member of programme advisory committee), Prof. Dr. Rolf Schofer (President, HFU), Prof. Dr. Stephan Messner (Vice-President ITE, responsible for setting up Engineering Psychology degree programme, HFU).

Engineering Psychology is the name of the new bachelor degree programme being offered for the first time in winter semester 2017 at Furtwangen University. The interdisciplinary programme combines psychology with engineering and will complement the health and engineering programmes already offered in the Faculty of Industrial Technologies (ITE) on the university's Tuttlingen campus. 

Engineering psychologists take "human factors" -  psychological, cognitive, social and ergonomic aspects - into consideration in the technical design process. They learn about how humans interact with machines and the challenges of realizing socio-technological systems. In doing so they aim to improve user-friendliness and functionality, thus creating a positive user experience. Whether in medical technology, the automotive sector, industrial robotics or multimedia tools, technology must be intuitive for the user.

Both psychological and technical know-how is taught on the course. "Basically it is about making the use of complex products simple: a knowledge of psychology and the application of psychological methods is therefore vital," says Professor Dr. Stephan Messner, who is responsible for setting up the new programme. Because, whether it is with a smartphone, a ticket machine or a production plant, both at home and at work, interaction between humans and tools and machines is increasing. Therefore the more intuitive these are to use, the better.

Dr. Joachim Schulz, a member of the board of the medical engineering firm Aesculap in Tuttlingen who was involved in setting up the new programme, commented, "Psychology is involved at all stages of the work process. Its importance rises with the increasing workplace digitalization of our medical technology customers, for example in operating theatres. But medical technology production using complex, automated plant also requires sophisticated man-machine interfaces, so it makes sense to involve experts with interdisciplinary knowledge in the the product development process right from the start."  The President of Furtwangen University, Professor Dr. Rolf Schofer is delighted that the university is able to expand the range of opportunities for future students.

Degree focus and practical application

The degree focuses on general and cognitive psychology, psycho­logical methodology and the psychology of work. Man-machine interactive systems, usability, ergonomics and technology, as well as management and communications skills are also taught on the course. The degree awarded is a Bachelor of Science.

Study hand in hand with industry

In keeping with the overall strategy of the university campus in Tuttlingen, the Engineering Psychology programme is being set up and run in close cooperation with industry. The programme is therefore practice-oriented and up-to-the-minute with student projects and field trips being carried out at various local companies.

Academic counselling, applications and admissions

Applications for the Engineering Psychology programme starting in October, 2017 are now being accepted. Study places are limited to 40. Application deadline is 15 July. Visit us at our Open Day on 14 May, 2017, or at careers fairs or in schools. More information can be found under the following link: