Human Behavior and Design Ph.D. (Ithaca)

Field of Study

Design and Environmental Analysis

Program Description

The Ph.D. in Human Behavior and Design at Cornell University is a multidisciplinary program integrating the social sciences and design. Research focuses on environmental settings across a range of scales (from products to buildings to cities), that support safe, healthy and productive behaviors and foster sustainable design and lifestyles.

The program brings together faculty and students with expertise in the fields of interior, industrial and graphic design, architecture, art, design history, historic preservation, design with digital media, building technology, environmental psychology, human factors and ergonomics, economics, and facility planning and management to work on problems related to the interior environment.

For more information, visit the Ph.D. in Human Behavior and Design website.

Research opportunities:
Much of the research occurs in the field. The department also has a computer-aided design and facility management lab; human factors and ergonomics research labs; an art and environmental design gallery; and a wood workshop.

Contact Information

Phone: 607 255-2809

Graduate Programs
1411 Martha Van Rensselaer Hall
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY  14853

Concentrations by Subject

  • human behavior and design


Visit the Graduate School's Tuition Rates page.

Application Requirements and Deadlines

Application Deadlines:

Fall: Nov. 1; no spring admission

Requirements Summary:

A student who wishes to enroll in the Ph.D. program in Human Behavior and Design must apply to and be accepted by the field of Design and Environmental Analysis. Prospective graduate students will complete and submit an online application with the required documents outlined below. Applicants who embrace thinking across disciplinary boundaries and who have a passion for teaching and scholarship are encouraged to apply. The strongest applicants are those who have a foundation in research (e.g., have completed a research thesis (undergrad or graduate), have participated in a lab as a research assistant, have perhaps taken a social science research methods class). Applications will be reviewed by the members of the graduate field. Only students with outstanding records will be admitted to the program.

Outstanding students with a B.S. or B. A. degree in human factors, psychology, facility planning and management or related areas such as industrial design, interior design or architecture, engineering, or anthropology may be admitted into the Ph.D. program depending on the relevance of their background to the research specialty they will pursue. Since Human Behavior and Design is a highly interdisciplinary field, decisions will be made on a case-by-case basis.

The following documents are required to apply to the Ph.D. program in Human Behavior and Design

  • Academic Statement of Purpose
  • Personal Statement
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Official transcripts
  • Writing sample
  • Curriculum vitae
  • GRE general test (the desired combined score should be greater than or equal to 310)
  • English Language Proficiency Requirement for all applicants

Learning Outcomes

Make an original and substantial contribution to the discipline

  • Think originally and independently to develop concepts and methodologies
  • Identify new research opportunities within one's field

Demonstrate advanced research skills

  • Synthesize existing knowledge, identifying and accessing appropriate resources and other sources of relevant information and critically analyzing and evaluating one's own findings and those of others.
  • Master application of existing research methodologies, techniques, and technical skills
  • Communicate in a style appropriate to the discipline
  • Develop and conduct empirical research of publishable quality

Demonstrate commitment to advancing the values of scholarship

  • Keep abreast of current advances within one's field (e.g., environmental psychology, design research, facility planning and management, ergonomics, etc.) and related areas
  • Show commitment to personal professional development through – engagement in professional societies, publication, and other knowledge transfer modes.
  • Participate as an active contributor to the field through conference presentations, attendance at professional meetings, etc.

Demonstrate professional skills

  • Adhere to ethical standards in the discipline
  • Listen, give, and receive feedback effectively
  • Develop grant proposal and apply for extramural funding

Demonstrate teaching skills

  • Effective teacher both in the classroom and in mentoring students
  • Organize and deliver a course to undergraduates
  • Learn and practice student evaluation techniques