Industrial-Organizational Track | Department of Psychology


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Industrial-Organizational Psychology trains students to apply theory and methods of psychology in order to solve workplace issues using a scientist-practitioner approach. Students will be immersed in classic and contemporary research in order to acquire skills in areas of personnel selection, employee motivation, training and development, performance management and evaluation, and organizational change and development. Our program prepares students for doctoral level training, as well as employment in a variety of organizational settings.

In addition to the general admission requirements for all applicants to our program, we recommend applicants to the Industrial-Organizational Psychology track have passed a college-level introduction to I/O psychology or similar class prior to entrance into our program.

Please view the the Industrial-Organizational track curriculum to learn more about the courses students in this track will take. As part of this coursework, students will complete a 6 credit Plan B Research Project in Psychology, which involves conducting an empirical research project or meta-analysis under the direction of a faculty advisor. The project must be designed and conducted by the individual student; the topic, however, may be based upon the research program of the faculty advisor.

Year 1 (18 credits)
8103 Introduction to Graduate Studies in Psychology (0)
5052 Advanced Statistics 1 (3)
5701 Advanced Personnel Psychology (3)
8701 Performance Evaluation and Management (3)
8021 Research Methods and Evaluation (3)
5702 Advanced Organizational Psychology (3)
8705 Organizational Systems and Development (3)

Year 2 (18 credits)
8706 Personnel Training and Development (3)
8052 Advanced Statistics II (3)
8099 Research Project in Psychology (6)
Elective (6)

Example Electives (PSY 5111 Advanced Personality, PSY 5621 Behavioral Approaches to Worker Wellbeing, MBA 8811 Human Resource Challenges, SAFE 6012 Risk Management and Workers Compensation, SAFE 6821 Organization and Administration of Safety Programs)

It is expected that students will complete the program in two years. Students will be expected to maintain satisfactory academic progress. Students must maintain a GPA of 3.0 or better and must earn a grade of B or better for each course. Furthermore, students must not have more than 8 credits or two courses with an incomplete for longer than two semesters.

The Director of the MAPS Program (DGS) will advise newly admitted students during their first semester in the program. Before mid-term of the second semester in which the student is enrolled in the program, the DGS will be responsible for assuring that all students select a faculty advisor and establish an examination committee. The DGS will also be the instructor of record for the Introduction to Graduate studies course.

A final oral examination covering the Plan B project will be given at the end of the student’s academic program. The oral examination will be conducted by the student’s advising/examining committee. The examination will require the student to demonstrate an understanding of the theories, methods, and analyses employed in his or her research project.

For more information on faculty in this track, please click on the names below.

Year 1

PSY 8103 - Introduction to Graduate Studies (0.0 cr) This course will orient new students to key facets of graduate studies in the Master's in Psychological Science Program. Program expectations, requirements, and timelines will be clarified to enable students to make progress in formulating goals in their chosen tracks.  This course will provide students with a basis for academic collaboration and professional development by facilitating student interactions with peers and the faculty in psychology.

PSY 5052 - Advanced Statistics I (3.0 cr) Advanced statistics used for experimental and correlational research in psychology; analyze data from simple and complex research designs analysis of variance and linear regression techniques; hypothesis testing; nonparametric statistics; assumptions of tests and diagnosis of assumption violations; interpretations of results; use of common statistical software (e.g., SPSS or R).

PSY 5701 Advanced Personnel Psychology (3.0 cr) Students will apply theories and research finding to address issues of personnel recruitment, selection, and classification in the workplace.

PSY 8701 Performance Evaluation and Management (3.0 cr) This course centers on the methods of evaluating performance and on actions taken with employees based upon such appraisals. Theoretical understanding and familiarity with research on interpersonal judgment and perception, criterion theory and development, rating scale construction and use, sources of information, and effective communication will help students in this course develop skills in designing performance appraisal and feedback systems which meet organizational needs while enhancing employee motivation.

PSY 8021 - Research Methods and Evaluation (3.0 cr) Examination of quasi-experimental and experimental designs within psychological science.  The course will provide comprehensive coverage of the assessment of reliability and validity of measures, methods, and research designs to facilitate the development of a research proposal.  A wide variety of quantitative and qualitative research designs, measurement techniques, and methods will be described and evaluated in terms of internal, external, construct, and statistical conclusion validity.

PSY 5702 Advanced Organizational Psychology (3.0 cr) This course covers core contents in organizational psychology, with a focus on understanding of research findings to enhance organizational functioning and employee well-being.  Topics include employee motivation, job attitudes, work stress, teams, leadership, and organizational justice and culture.

PSY 8705 Organizational Systems and Development (3.0 cr) This course is designed to cover topics central to organizational systems and development, including classical and contemporary theories of organizations, organizational structure, organizational design, technology, and cross-cultural differences and issues. Students will learn how to integrate theory, research findings, and applied techniques to help organizations adapt within the ever-changing local and global environment.

Year 2

PSY 8706 Personnel Training and Development (3.0 cr) This course is designed to cover topics central to personnel training and development. This course requires the integration of theories, tools, concepts, and techniques learned in the classroom with an application in a "real" organization. Students will learn how to analyze performance deficiencies in order to determine whether training is required and, if so, how to design and implement effective training to help fix performance problems. Basic phenomena of learning, various training and development approaches commonly used in business and industry, and design issues necessary for planning evaluation and improvement strategies will be covered.

PSY 8052 Advanced Statistics II (3.0 cr) Advanced statistics used for experimental and correlational research in psychology; analyze data using advanced univariate, basic multivariate, and meta-analytic techniques; assumptions of test; diagnosis of assumption violations; interpretation of results; use of common statistical software (e.g., SPSS or R).

PSY 8099 Research Project in Psychology (6.0 cr) This course provides a capstone experience for students to integrate all they have learned in order to produce scholarly work.  Under the guidance of a faculty advisor, students will plan, design, conduct, and present an original project.

Elective (6)

Example Electives: PSY 5111 Advanced Personality, PSY 5621 Behavioral Approaches to Worker Wellbeing, MBA 8811 Human Resource Challenges, SAFE 6012 Risk Management and Workers Compensation, SAFE 6821 Organization and Administration of Safety Programs

As part of some courses, students have worked with local businesses and organizations to apply the theories and models from coursework to real-world settings. A few past projects have been highlighted below.

  • Students analyzed a real (profit or non-profit) organization from a systems perspective to identify performance gaps and provide recommendations for an effective change intervention to improve performance and produce organizational change. Students had the option to present their findings and recommendations to the organization's management.
  • Students identify a performance that they would like to teach to the class. Training may be based on demonstrated organizational need (e.g., structured interviewing) or could be related to a personal hobby (e.g., cake decorating). Students create training objectives, design effective training and development programs using different techniques or methods, implement a variety a different training and development activities, measure and evaluate the effectiveness and efficiency of training and development programs, and identify opportunities to improve existing training based on training evaluation.
  • Students designed a performance evaluation form used in the annual review of college administrators.
  • Students evaluated the career website of a large manufacturing company and provided research- based recommendations to enhance applicant attraction.
  • Students presented research-based information on using structured interviews to hiring managers of a large nonprofit organization.
  • Students designed a training program for managers to give effective feedback to employees.
  • Students surveyed the job satisfactions of local nonprofit employees.
  • Students evaluated the hiring system used by a healthcare employer.
  • Students provided research-based recommendations to a retail organization regarding the move from a formal evaluation system to a frequent performance management process.

Student Internships

Internships are not a required part of the Industrial-Organizational course curriculum, but several students have had opportunities to intern with local organizations while completing the MAPS program. See below for examples of these internship opportunities.

  • Customer and employee development at a large manufacturing company
  • International I-O consulting firm
  • Instructional design
  • Human resources at a large bank