Industrial/Organizational Psychology

Industrial-organizational psychology is the branch of psychology that applies psychological theories and principles to organizations, promoting efficiency and productivity, as well as the well-being of employees. Many graduates of the I/O Psychology MA program work in organizational settings after graduation, while others use their time in the program to strengthen their academic backgrounds in psychology before pursuing further graduate studies at another institution.

Admission to the Industrial/Organizational Psychology Program

An interview with one or more faculty members is required for admission to the Industrial/Organizational Psychology program. The interview is intended to clarify the applicant's understanding of the program and the profession, and to evaluate the applicant's potential success as a candidate. After admission, each candidate is required to meet with a faculty advisor to outline a planned program of study. Prior to registering for courses each semester, candidates are encouraged to meet with their advisor. Students may be required to take one or more English writing courses if their writing skills do not meet graduate level standards.

The Industrial/Organizational Psychology program offers two programs of study in industrial/organizational psychology: a traditional MA program and a 5-year integrated Bachelor's/Master's degree program. Requirements for the programs include:

  • Industrial/Organizational Psychology: Requires the completion of 39 credits of approved courses. 36 of these credits must be in psychology.
  • 5-Year Integrated Bachelor's/Master's degree in Industrial/Organizational Psychology: Requires the completion of 9 credits at the undergraduate level and 30 credits at the graduate level.

Note: Students who need to take 9 credits every semester for financial aid or visa reasons may need to take additional credits beyond the minimum required for the degree.


Candidates in the Industrial/Organizational Psychology program are expected to act in accordance with the American Psychological Association's ethical principles. Candidates who behave unethically may be dismissed from the program. The ethical principles are available online. In addition, the Disposition Statement presented in this catalog is applicable to this program.

Comprehensive Examination

Successful completion of the master's comprehensive examination is required of all candidates.

The comprehensive examination in psychology requires candidates to demonstrate understanding and mastery of relevant knowledge in psychology, as well as the ability to synthesize this knowledge in the creation of sophisticated essays.

Candidates are eligible to take the master's comprehensive examination after successful completion of 24 credits, 18 of which must be specifically in psychology. Candidates have a maximum of two opportunities to pass the examination.

PY 0098 Comprehensive Exam in Applied Psychology0 Credits

The comprehensive examination in applied psychology requires candidates to demonstrate understanding and mastery of a broad body of relevant knowledge in psychology, as well as the ability to synthesize this knowledge in the creation of sophisticated essays. Candidates are eligible to take the master's comprehensive examination after successful completion of 24 credits, 18 of which must be specifically in psychology. Cumulative GPA of 3.0 required to sit for the exam.

PY 0401 Special Topics in Psychology (Shell)1-3 Credits

The special topic course varies in content, as needed, in order to provide timely opportunity to explore time sensitive, new and emerging topics and foci on a one-time basis, or to offer a pilot section of a new course in development. Each special topic course will have a unique focus, clearly identified in the course title after the colon. Candidates may take a special topic course more than once, as long as the course content and foci are distinctly identified.

PY 0406 Organizational Development3 Credits

Prerequisites: PY 0420, PY 0545.

This course explores and analyzes the various methods and techniques for effective organizational development in contemporary organizations. The course focuses on models, case studies, and candidate examination of organizations with which they are affiliated. Candidates identify and study key success factors such as organizational culture, leadership, and history.

PY 0420 Introduction to Industrial and Organizational Psychology3 Credits

This course introduces the application of psychological concepts, principles, and methods to process issues and problems in the work environment. Topics include personnel selection, training and development, work motivation, job satisfaction and effectiveness, work design, and organizational theory. For students interested in the five-year integrated bachelor's and master's degree in Industrial/Organizational Psychology, permission of the instructor is required. May be used by Psychology majors as a Psychology elective towards the undergraduate degree if PY 0124 has not been taken.

PY 0433 Behavioral Statistics3 Credits

Participants study descriptive and inferential statistics with an emphasis on methodological and technological applications in the behavioral sciences. Topics range from measures of central tendency to parametric and nonparametric tests of significance. Applied Psychology students must earn at least a B in the course for the course to count toward their degree. Candidates with a prior course in statistics may try to test out of PY 0433 before the first class. Contact the instructor well in advance of the first class to make arrangements. Candidates who successfully test out of this course will substitute another approved three-credit course appropriate to their program.

PY 0435 Psychology of Personality3 Credits

This course takes a comprehensive approach to understanding theories of personality formation through an in-depth survey and critique of major and minor theories of personality. The course emphasizes developing a critical understanding of the similarities and differences among the theories and the contribution of each theory to conceptualizations of normal and abnormal behavior, with application to the understanding of current research in personality psychology. Cross-cultural issues are addressed. Applied Psychology students must earn at least a B in this course for the course to count toward their degree.

PY 0471 Effective Interviewing3 Credits

This course trains individuals whose work requires a high skill level in communication. The course emphasizes defining the goals of the interview and the best means for achieving these goals, attending to overt and covert language and non-language messages, and dealing with the emotional dimensions of the interview. Candidates learn and experiment with a variety of interviews in different contexts.

PY 0475 Program Evaluation3 Credits

Prerequisites: PY 0201; or PY 0433, PY 0571.

This course focuses on concepts and principles in performing evaluations of psychological and social programs. Evaluations are an amalgam of political and scientific perspectives that require numerous skills and talents. A number of topics and models of evaluation are presented. However, no two evaluations are alike. Therefore, solid training in methodology and technical techniques is imperative for performing evaluations. The objectives of this course are to develop skills in designing evaluations, to develop survey instruments, to develop proposals, and to communicate evaluation results. In each of these areas, ethical issues are addressed. Quantitative methods are emphasized, but qualitative approaches are presented.

PY 0480 Consulting Theory and Practice3 Credits

This course is designed to assist candidates in developing an understanding of and skills in the practice of consultation in both internal and external roles. The core psychological principles and techniques apply equally well in business, non-profit, and educational settings. The course focuses upon the psychological concepts, models, and principles for effective consultation. A variety of contemporary models are examined. Candidates are expected to develop insight into their own consultation approaches and their strengths and needs.

PY 0485 Performance Coaching3 Credits

This course focuses upon the models, strategies and techniques for coaching and mentoring managers and employees in contemporary organizations. Students are introduced to research on interpersonal and leadership style issues that have been shown to play key roles in leadership success or failure. Students are also introduced to research related to leadership "derailment," or failure patterns observed in managers and employees who have been previously assessed as being moderate to high-potential leaders. Within this course, students learn about the most common performance coaching challenges and practice conducting performance coaching sessions.

PY 0501 Fundamentals of Survey Design3 Credits

Prerequisite: PY 0201 or PY 0433.

This course covers the important basics of measurement and the fundamentals of un-normed survey and questionnaire design. It also will provide training in entry-level survey/questionnaire skills for those who may be required to develop simple surveys/questionnaires in their work.

PY 0545 Designing and Developing Training Programs3 Credits

Prerequisite: PY 0420.

Designed for prospective trainers, training specialists, personnel generalists, or line personnel in business and industry, this course focuses on designing and developing training programs for administrative professionals, management employees, and school personnel. Course assignments provide individualization and allow content to be tailored to participant needs and working environments. Crosslisted with MD 0545.

PY 0571 Research in Psychology3 Credits

Prerequisite: PY 0433.

This course emphasizes developing a critical understanding of the essential issues involved in designing, conducting, and reporting the results of psychological research. It provides the foundation necessary for more advanced courses in research design and data analysis or for developing a master's thesis proposal.

PY 0578 Field Work in Applied Psychology3 Credits

Prerequisites: Completion of 21 credits in psychology, including PY 0406, PY 0420, PY 0433, PY 0435, PY 0545, PY 0571; B or better cumulative GPA.

Advanced candidates matriculated in the industrial/organizational/personnel track undertake approved, supervised fieldwork in an area related to their professional interests and program content. Course requirements include a site supervisor and a faculty supervisor for each candidate, and a fieldwork placement that involves at least 13 full days of on-site experience. Enrollment by permission only.

Associate Professor

McClure, chair

Associate Professor of the Practice


Instructor of the Practice