May 27, 2024  
2016-2017 Graduate Catalog 
2016-2017 Graduate Catalog Archived Catalog

Psychology: Industrial-Organizational

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The mission of the Industrial-Organizational (I-O) psychology concentration is to provide students with the training necessary to pursue a variety of I-O related careers. These include, but are not limited to, positions in human resources departments in work organizations (e.g. job analyst, testing specialist, trainer, compensation analyst, organizational development specialist, generalist), and human resource management consultant. In addition, the I-O program can be used as a preparation for the pursuit of doctoral training in I-O or related fields of study. As with any educational program, many graduates have found work in other fields based on some combination of their interests and circumstances.


The fundamental educational philosophy of the program is to train students to think in a logical and critical manner. This skill is useful to anybody in any endeavor. The curriculum is organized around specific core knowledge domains particular to I-O psychology. Two of these, the industrial domain and the organizational domain, are evident in the program label. The industrial domain includes content such as job analysis, selection, tests and measurements, and training. The organizational domain includes content such as work motivation, justice in the workplace, organizational development, culture, occupational health, and conflict management. The third domain, research methodology, includes content such as univariate and multivariate statistical analysis, experimental design, survey research, and scale construction. In summary, the Industrial-Organizational concentration promotes learning objectives that include critical reasoning, ability to apply and effectively share scientific knowledge in diverse situations, formal scientific methods and thinking, and advanced statistical analysis.

Students should consult the I-O program Web site,, for more information about the program.


The integration of course work and practice throughout the students’ graduate academic program makes possible the most effective learning to prepare them for applied professional careers in I-O Psychology. To achieve this end, I-O students become involved in a variety of real life work organization activities through completion of an extensive practicum program. The practicum is carried out in private and public work organizations in which the students engage in a wide variety of projects under the guidance of field supervisors, coordinated by the I-O faculty. Enrollment in the practicum course in the summer between the first and second year is required.


I-O students may, at their option, elect to complete a thesis. This option is particularly valuable for students who are considering the pursuit of a doctoral degree. However, all students are encouraged to seriously consider completing a thesis as this provides excellent experience in formulating and testing hypotheses, in developing critical thinking skills, in preparing a paper that reports the findings, and in providing an in-depth exposure to research literature. These skills are valuable in any area of professional endeavor.


Students must have had the following four undergraduate courses (or their equivalent) prior to the start of graduate coursework: Introduction to Statistics, Industrial-Organizational Psychology, one additional psychology course, and a computer literacy course. Computer literacy may be demonstrated by evidence of experience working with personal computers. (Note: Lack of these prerequisite courses does not preclude consideration of a student’s application. If accepted, students without the requisites may be required to take them prior to beginning graduate coursework or may be allowed to take them in the first semester of the program.)

Program Requirements

Completion of a minimum of 48 hours of graduate coursework is required for graduation. Thirty (30) of these hours are specific required course work, with the remaining 18 hours consisting of approved elective courses. (See Graduate Program Regulations   for the policy regarding transfer credit.) Students must also either successfully pass a written comprehensive exam or successfully defend a thesis.

Course Scheduling

A full-time student can complete the degree requirements in four semesters. Part-time students will take longer. All required courses are offered in the evening, permitting working students to attend part-time. Evening classes also permit students to schedule practicum projects during normal business hours.

A typical program of study for a full-time student is given below. Students must complete a personal program of study with the advice of an I-O faculty member (generally the program coordinator) during their second semester of course work as part of the Admission to Candidacy process. All elective courses must be approved by the program coordinator.

First Year



Second Year

Total: 48 hours

Additional Information and Notes

* I-O students are encouraged to take at least one course labeled PSY 5950r or PSY 5960r. These courses are in-depth seminars on some topic of general interest in psychology. Students may also take a combination of graduate courses through the business school to fulfill their elective requirements.

** I-O students are required to register for 3 hours of practicum credit in the summer following their first year of course work.

Courses for Graduate Students Only

Only graduate students admitted to the appropriate program in psychology may register for any of the courses numbered 5010 or above; all other graduate students must have written permission of the instructor. A student may not use more than a total of nine hours in any combination of the Psychology 5997r and 5998r courses toward any one master’s degree specialty unless specific approval is given by the student’s program coordinator. The student’s program coordinator must specifically approve any use of Psychology 5999r topics toward completion of a master’s degree specialty.

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