April 1, 2014

Humans are a part of every complex system—even autonomous systems involve people. People set the mission, use the products, and maintain the technology. As such, systems engineering requires an understanding of human capabilities and limitations, both as individuals and as social groups. Methods to integrate humans and technology, and measurement of human integration effectiveness and efficiency of that integration, are critical skills in systems engineering.

The Human System Engineering (HSE) concentration aims to provide those skills to Johns Hopkins Engineering for Professionals students.

HSE is a comprehensive methodology for integrating human requirements as part of an overall system solution. HSE is initiated early in the acquisition process and continues throughout the system's life cycle. The goal of HSE is to optimize the total system performance by accounting for both the human and technology components, and their integration.

HSE provides an accurate representation of human needs and requirements, which can increase mission effectiveness and reduce life cycle costs (both acquisition and operating costs).

With respect to system effectiveness, the human contributes 70 percent of system performance variability. Therefore, considering the human in the design of the system improves operability, reduces probability of human error and enhances error tolerance, speeds technology adoption, reduces personnel hazards, and improves survivability.

HSE improves habitability and quality of life (less turnover of crew) in addition to improving maintainability. The effect of HSE on affordability is significant. For example, manpower accounts for 40 to 65 percent of Operation and Support (O&S) costs in DoD systems.

The objective of the Systems Engineering HSE concentration is to create systems engineers with a strong understanding of how the human fits into the system.

Not a day has passed since I graduated from the HSE program concentration that I haven't used the methods that I learned and the knowledge I gained there. When I first joined the concentration, I didn't really realize how directly applicable the classes would be to the work I do in air and missile defense. However, not only did the concentration improve the work I had been doing, but it also opened up many new opportunities for me, and has allowed me to steer my career in a very exciting and positive direction.
⁓Recent HSE concentration graduate, Lynn Reggia

The HSE concentration offers five courses. Students are required to take two core courses and select two electives. In addition, the student's capstone project reflects their knowledge of HSE. The core courses are Foundations of Human Systems Engineering (645.450) and Integrating Humans and Technology (645.451). The elective courses include Social and Organizational Factors in Human Systems Engineering (645.754), Methods in Human-System Performance Measurement and Analysis (645.755), and Principles of Human-Computer Interaction (635.461.81 in Information Systems Engineering).