Background

The Ergonomics Graduate Training Program provides high quality training for graduate students interested in a M.S. and Ph.D. degree in ergonomics. The program was started in 1990 by Dr. David Rempel MD, MPH and is currently under the direction of Dr. Carisa Harris-Adamson PhD, CPE.

Ergonomics on the West Coast

In 1998 California became the only state in the nation to enact a workplace ergonomics standard. This standard and the high cost of work-related musculoskeletal disorders have generated a high West Coast need for professionals and researchers with expertise in ergonomics. UC Berkeley is one of only two West Coast universities that offer Ph.D. training in ergonomics - the other is the University of Washington.

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Interdisciplinary Bridges Across Campus

As a small program, the courses, lectures and research advising are built by forming collaborative relationships with faculty from other disciplines. The multidisciplinary composition of the affiliated faculty and students is recognized as necessary for investigating risk factors and design solutions for chronic musculoskeletal disorders and engineering solutions.

For example, students take courses from the Departments of Industrial Engineering, Integrative Biology, and Environmental Health Sciences. Students from bioengineering, nursing, industrial hygiene and occupational medicine take the Ergonomics course (PH269C) side-by-side with ergonomics students. A more detailed program plan can be found here.

Ph.D. students are recruited from Mechanical Engineering (UCB) and Bioengineering (UCB/UCSF), complementing students from  Environmental Health Sciences (UCB), and Occupational Medicine (UCSF). Students with backgrounds in engineering carry out research and exchange knowledge and share experiences with students whose strengths are in biology and health.

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Outreach & Affiliations

The Ergonomics Program continues to provide training to health and safety professionals throughout the State with the COEH continuing education program.  The faculty also speak at regional professional health and safety conferences (WOHC, AIHA, BAER). There has been increased outreach and education to regional contractors and manufacturers through joint meetings with OHSA , employers, trade conferences, contractor associations, and unions.