Jul 24, 2024  
2023-2024 Graduate Bulletin 
2023-2024 Graduate Bulletin [ARCHIVED BULLETIN]

Industrial-Organizational Psychology, M.A.

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A Master of Arts (M.A.) degree in I-O psychology is suitable for those seeking to develop the applied skills necessary for basic consulting projects in business and government. Graduates of the master’s program typically find jobs involving analysis of jobs and people as a basis for improving the fit between them. The faculty of psychology offers a broad array of courses, including but not limited to personnel selection, training, leadership, work motivation, work groups and teams, and several methods topics, including psychological measurement, research design, and statistics.

Learning Outcomes

Students who complete the M.A. program will:

  • describe and apply theory and related methods suited to helping organizations solve people-related problems;
  • describe and evaluate the aims, practices, and strategies of organizations, workgroups, and individual works to achieve fit;
  • identify, describe, and execute methods suite to testing the qualities of specific HR-related practices and interventions serving organizational aims through research design, assessment, and advanced statistical methods;
  • communicate with technical proficiency in terms understandable by lay professionals; and
  • describe, explain, and engage the standards of academic, research, and business professionalism.


Admission to the M.A. degree program in I-O psychology is selective, and because of high demand, not all qualified applicants can be admitted.

Candidates for admission to the Master of Arts (M.A.) program in I-O psychology must meet the requirements for admission to the Graduate School, including language proficiency, found in the Admission  section of this Bulletin. In addition, minimum requirements for admission to the program include:

  • An undergraduate grade point average of 3.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale;
  • An adequate background in psychology; and
  • Satisfactory test scores on the Graduate Record Examination.

Candidates for the M.A. degree program in I-O psychology typically have completed a minimum of 18 credit hours of undergraduate coursework in psychology including courses in I-O psychology, statistics or research methods.

Applications for admission to the M.A. degree program in I-O psychology are evaluated once a year for fall semester matriculation. The application deadline for the program is December 15.

Curriculum Requirements

The M.A. degree requires completion of 37 credit hours. Coursework meeting these requirements is designated by the Program Director. A thesis option is available. Interested students are encouraged to participate in research projects under faculty supervision. Students must also complete a 200-hour internship (one credit hour), and pass a comprehensive exam consisting of written, quantitative, and oral components, covering all major aspects of I-O psychology as an applied discipline.

Methods Courses (9 Hours)

General Elective Courses (6 Hours)

Choose from one of the options below:

  • Non-Thesis Option
    • Take 6 hours of elective coursework from available graduate-level psychology courses, graduate courses in other departments, or as transfer hours from a previous graduate program. Courses from other departments require permission of the instructor of record. Hours transferred from a previous program and/or institution are subject to approval by the Program Director and the Graduate School.
  • Thesis Option
    • Take 6 hours of research and thesis (PSY 7981-6 

Thesis Option

Students may be admitted to the thesis option only after successfully completing at least 18 hours of degree-related coursework. Eligible candidates are expected to have earned (a) a minimum GPA of 3.66 from the first 18 hours of graduate-level coursework, (b) no grade below a B in those 18 hours, and (c) a grade of A in both PSY 7343  and PSY 7283 . The student must also determine a working thesis title and identify the primary faculty advisor. The application must be submitted to the I-O Program Committee no later than one year before the month in which the student plans to graduate. Notice of acceptance or rejection is provided by the I-O Program Director within 2 - 3 weeks.

Additional information regarding management of the thesis option following admission confirmation by the I-O Program Director may be found in the Graduate Student Handbook for the M.A. and Ph.D. Programs in Industrial-Organizational Psychology .

Comprehensive Examination

The M.A. Comprehensive Examination is typically offered once per year, on the Friday before the start of spring semester classes.  Offerings at other times during the year are at the discretion of the I-O Program Committee. Students intending to take the exam must inform the I-O Program Director in writing (e-mail preferred) at least 8 weeks prior to the scheduled date of the exam (usually by late October). Students must be enrolled in the semester in which they take the exam.

The exam has three parts: (1) written, (2) analytic, and (3) oral. All 3 components are completed within a one- to three-week period. Departmental procedures and policies relating to the M.A. Comprehensive Examination can be found in the Graduate Student Handbook for the M.A. and Ph.D. Programs in Industrial-Organizational Psychology .

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