What is Industrial/Organizational Psychology?
Broadly speaking, the field of I-O Psychology focuses on factors that influence individual and organizational effectiveness. This emphasis can take many forms. Industrial (or Personnel) Psychology focuses on selecting and maintaining human resources in organizations. It includes issues such as: job analysis, employment testing, personnel selection, performance appraisal, and training. Organizational Psychology, on the other hand, deals with more general theoretical approaches to understanding both individual behavior in organizations and organizations themselves. Important issues include: leadership, motivation, job attitudes, decision-making, group dynamics, job design, and organization development. While the general emphases of Industrial and Organizational Psychology are somewhat different, they are closely intertwined. By taking courses in these areas, students learn both theoretical and practical considerations important to doing research on these topics and/or working in an organization.
Our program is a full-time, daytime course of study that maintains a balance of industrial and organizational issues. In addition, we follow the scientist-practitioner model so you can expect course work to focus on understanding theories, past and future research on the above topics, and how these issues are applied in the work place. For example, students take seminar courses in which theory and research are discussed, as well as applied courses where students use their knowledge to help organizations with a current work issue. Another important element of our program is our focus on quantitative methods. Attention is given to theory and application of statistics that are often used in applied and research settings. Having sharp quantitative skills helps increase employability of our graduates.
A unique element of our program is that our students take some classes in the College of Business in their first year. This joint effort of faculty in the Department of Psychology and the College of Business results in exposure to more resources and alternative viewpoints. MBA courses give I-O students a unique and visceral understanding of business issues.
Many students are attracted to the program because of the numerous connections to local businesses in regard to internships (e.g., Edward Jones, EASI-Consult, Monsanto, Nestle-Purina). In addition, students are encouraged to participate in research with faculty, with other graduate students, and of their own accord. Many students present at professional conferences such as Midwest Academy of Management and SIOP's annual meeting. If you plan on a career in academia, there are plenty of optional teaching opportunities available to more advanced students, typically in the third year of the program. Some examples of courses taught are organizational behavior, human resource management, motivation, I-O, and psychological statistics.
By completing formal coursework and seminars with faculty members from both departments, assisting faculty in research and consulting projects, interning at local organizations, and developing one's own research interests, students in the I-O program are prepared equally well for a career in industry or academia.
The Department of Psychology is housed in Stadler Hall, which is part of a large research complex that features a computer lab, social psychological research suites, and state-of-the-art instructional technology. The personal computer labs are linked to a campus network that provides access to numerous advanced software applications (e.g., SPSS), scientific databases (e.g., PsycInfo), and free Wi-Fi. Students enjoy unlimited free printing which is very helpful as research and coursework require finding and obtaining many articles!