Occupational Ergonomics and Health

Program Overview

The Occupational Ergonomics and Health program incorporates Northeastern University’s unique experiential learning approaches by immersing students in real work scenarios and case studies. Based in public health approaches applied to the community of workplaces, students will complete projects both individually and in teams to develop skills to administer comprehensive and integrated programs for the workplace.

This is one of the only degree programs that combines ergonomics and health wellness programs.

Interdisciplinary collaboration with faculty

Cross-departmental course offerings

Online, in-class, or hybrid

Full-time or part-time

Click each box to learn more about our program.


Management of workplace ergonomics and health programs requires a multidisciplinary set of skills based on understanding the interaction of the work environment including the physical and organizational level with the individual’s musculoskeletal system and health programs. These skills include a leadership role in an interprofessional approach to injury management, hazard recognition and control, and worker education and training.  Overall, ergonomics and health professionals must be able to look beyond the task demands of a job and incorporate a systems approach to the prevention of injury to improve the overall health of today’s workers.

Educational Goals

Upon completion of the program, students will be able to:
  • Describe the scope and types of workplace programs of ergonomics and health.
  • Compare fundamental ergonomic approaches to the prevention of work-related injuries, musculoskeletal disorders, and disabilities.
  • Create and administer integrative and innovative approaches to workplace health promotion and wellness programs.
  • Work collaboratively as part of an interprofessional team to solve worker health-related cases.
  • Analyze factors in the work environment that affect safety and pose risks to workers.
  • Create worker safety and health prevention programs.
  • Apply theory and synthesize evidence to support the development of workplace safety and wellness programs.


Graduates of the program are expected to fulfill positions in organizations seeking to promote worker health through integrated approaches of ergonomics and wellness. With the changing nature of work and health care, organizations are building and expanding their primary prevention efforts for workers in the workplace. Such organizations need leaders to meet these challenges creating a culture of health and safety for their employees.

Job outlook:

  • The demand for occupational safety and health professionals has been growing in recent years with the need for training in ergonomics.
  • State governments are implementing legislation for safe patient handling in health care settings, thereby increasing the demand for professionals with ergonomics expertise. Such programs based on ergonomics need to focus on organizational and facilities factors for successful implementation.
  • The workforce in the United States has an increasing number of chronic health issues that need to be addressed by the workplace in order to maintain a productive workforce.
  • The Affordable Health Care Act emphasizes workplace health promotion activities to address the increasing number of chronic health issues of the U.S. population.


Our Master of Science degree can be completed within 12 months for full-time students (4 courses per semester) and within 36 months for part-time student (1-2 courses per semester). The program requires 32 semester hours of coursework and a 4 semester hour capstone project. The curriculum will emphasize preparation to become a Board Certified Professional Ergonomist.

Required Core Classes

PHTH 5202 Epidemiology
PHTH 5210 Biostatistics in Public Health

HINF 6201 Organizational Behavior, Work Flow Design, and Change Management
PHTH 5214 Environmental Health
PT 5600 Ergonomics and the Work Environment
PT 5610 Workplace Wellness and Health Promotion
PT 6978 Independent study

Choose 5 of the following courses:

CAEP 6203 Understanding Culture and Diversity
CAEP 6220 Development Across the Life Span
IE 7315 Human Factors Engineering
PHTH 5224 Social Epidemiology
PHTH 5228 Advances in Measuring Behavior
PHTH 5240 Evaluating Scientific Evidence
PHTH 6320 Qualitative Methods in Health and Illness
PT 6243 Health Education, Promotion, and Wellness
SOCL 7270 Sociology of Work and Employment

The Capstone is an advanced level project course. The course requires students to integrate what they have learned through their academic coursework and their experiential learning experience (co-op, research, study abroad, and service). Capstones are oftentimes interdisciplinary.

Sample Course Pattern for Full Time Students

  • Fall Semester - Year 1

    • PHTH 5202: Epidemiology (3 CR)
    • PHTH 5214: Environmental Health (3 CR)
    • HINF 6201: Organizational Behavior, Work Flow Design, and Change Management        (3 CR)
    • Elective (3 CR)
  • Spring Semester - Year 1

    • PHTH 5210: Biostatics in Public Health (3 CR)
    • PT 5600: Ergonomics and the Work Environment (3/4 CR)
    • PT 5610: Workplace Wellness and Health Promotion (3 CR)
    • Elective (3 CR)
  • Summer Semester - Year 1

    • Independent Study/Capstone Project (4 CR)
    • Elective (3 CR)
    • Elective (3 CR)
    • Elective (3 CR)

Curriculum subject to change


The Occupational Ergonomics and Health program accepts students for entry in both Fall and Spring semesters. Specific deadlines are outlined below.

Fall Entry Spring Entry
Applicants accepted: Domestic and International Domestic Only
Delivery: Hybrid on
Hybrid on campus/online
Student status: Full-time or part-time Full-time or part-time
Application deadline: April 1st October 1st

Admissions Checklist

Click each required application item for more information.

Completed Online Application

Completed Online Application

Applications are to be submitted through the online portal found on Northeastern University’s Graduate Studies website.
Official Transcripts

Official Transcripts

Applicants are required to submit official transcripts of all college-level study.
Undergraduate GPA of 3.00 (B) or Higher

Undergraduate GPA of 3.00 (B) or Higher

We do not have any course or discipline prerequisites, but we do require students have a minimum undergraduate grade point average of 3.00 (B).
Three Letters of Recommendation

Three Letters of Recommendation

Please include academic and professional references only for each of the three letters of recommendation.
Personal Goal Statement

Personal Goal Statement

Describe your interests in occupational ergonomics and health in 500-1000 words. Please include the following:
  1. Your areas of interest and relevant experiences.
  2. What are your career goals upon receiving a Master Degree in Occupational Ergonomics and Health?
  3. Include any other information you feel is useful to the Admissions Committee.
TOEFL or IELTS (international students)

TOEFL or IELTS (international students)

All applicants who did not obtain undergraduate or graduate degrees from U.S. institutions or institutions where English was used are required to submit TOEFL or IELTS scores. The minimum TOEFL score required is 105. Please use code #3629 when submitting scores. The minimum IELTS score required is 7.
Official GRE Scores

Official GRE Scores

All applicants are required to submit GRE scores. The GRE must have been taken within the past 5 years. Scores at or above the 50th percentile in each domain are required. Please use code #3629 when submitting scores.
Resume / CV

Resume / CV

Applicants are required to submit an updated resume or CV.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I find schedules for open house programs?

Updated information for Open Houses and Information Sessions can be found at the Graduate School web page for the college.

What is the approximate cost of the program?

Check out the Student Financial Services webpage for Bouvé College of Health Sciences Graduate Programs tuition cost.

What kind of financial assistance is available?

The Martin Luther King Jr. Fellowship is a scholarship available to minority students.  This is offered by the John D. O’Bryant African-American Institute.

The Double Husky Scholarship is helping Husky alums finance their graduate education by providing a tuition discount of up to 25 percent on more than 100 eligible degree programs.

What resources are available for International students?

The university has a strong global emphasis that embraces diversity and offers a welcoming and encouraging environment for all of our international students. The Office of Global Services —part of a comprehensive University support network—offers cultural and educational programs and services designed to support your transition to life in the United States and to enrich your Northeastern experience.


Contact Information

We welcome any question you may have regarding our program. Please contact Dr. Lauren A. Murphy with any general program or admissions-related inquiries.

Lauren A. Murphy, PhD

Dr. Murphy is a faculty member in the Department of Physical Therapy, Movement and Rehabilitation Sciences. Her primary role is as the Director of the Occupational Ergonomics and Health program. As program director, Dr. Murphy oversees admissions, recruits talented students, plans curriculum, and teaches program-specific courses. She worked with and learned from a number of certified ergonomists during her postdoctoral research fellowship at the Harvard School of Public Health and Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety. Dr. Murphy completed her PhD in industrial/organizational psychology with a concentration in occupational health psychology at Portland State University in Portland, Oregon. Her current research projects involve examining safety climate in the trucking and construction industries, as well as investigating work-family issues as they relate to workers’ health and safety outcomes.

Postdoctoral Fellowship in Occupational Safety and Health, Harvard School of Public Health and Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety, Boston, MA

PhD in Industrial/Organizational Psychology, Portland State University, Portland, OR

BS in Psychology, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Amherst MA

Research interests:
Safety climate, occupational safety and health, work and family issues

Human Factors and Ergonomics Society (HFES)
Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP)
Society for Occupational Health Psychology (SOHP)

Ergonomics and the Work Environment
Workplace Wellness and Health Promotion

Faculty Page


Lauren A. Murphy, PhD
Program Director

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