Industrial-Organizational Psychology

Ranked #1 in the U.S.! The top-rated Industrial-Organizational Psychology program for exceptional education and real-world experience.

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Industrial-Organizational Psychology, M.A.

MTSU’s Industrial-Organizational Psychology (I-O) Master’s program is nationally ranked #1 in the United States.

Why is MTSU's I-O program so highly acclaimed?

  • Positive, collaborative, student-oriented culture

  • Exceptional academic and research opportunities

  • Extensive applied experiences with real-world clients

  • Significant funding typically available

  • 100% placement into I-O careers is standard

How MTSU I-O students achieve that success

Professional Experience Anchored in Science. We balance a strong academic education with professional-level applied experiences beyond the classroom. In fact, our students work with several real-world clients during their time in our program. That adds up to an impressive client list on each student’s résumé by the time they graduate from MTSU.

A terrific resource for MTSU I-O students is our Center for Organizational and Human Resource Effectiveness (COHRE). COHRE is a professional I-O consulting firm with a wide range of clients. It provides our students with premier applied learning and I-O work experience.

Research, Networking, & Mentoring. MTSU students often present at research conferences, and are engaged in additional activities that develop their professional network. That includes individual mentors for each student, not only from within the program but can also include external professionals in our field. That’s in addition to the many benefits of having a strong, vibrant I-O alumni group. It’s all part of a well-rounded start to each student’s I-O career.

Program format

MTSU’s I-O program is designed to be a two-year full-time commitment in person. Funding opportunities are plentiful, including graduate assistantship (GA) positions, paid internships, COHRE consulting positions, and more. Our cohort model gives our students a close group throughout their time in our program, with small class sizes taught in a highly interactive and engaging style.

We attract applicants from across the U.S. and internationally. That provides our students with a diverse array of talented classmates. We foster a supportive, collaborative culture among our students that enhances their personal friendships and professional careers.

MTSU’s I-O curriculum aligns with master’s-level training guidelines of the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP) and the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). All of our students also complete a professional internship and a research thesis.

Careers of our graduates

Courses, research, and applied experiences prepare students for positions in human resource departments, consulting firms, or entry into I-O doctoral programs.

Career specialties cover the full spectrum of I-O, including recruitment and selection of employees, training, job analysis, compensation, performance measurement and talent development, leadership, work attitudes, occupational health, organizational development, and more.

Graduates of our program typically have a 100% placement rate into professional-level I-O jobs, or entry into doctoral programs. To learn more about the I-O jobs and doctoral opportunities of our alumni, check out the CAREERS section of our website below.

MTSU location and lifestyle

MTSU is in a growing city of over 150,000 located near Nashville, Tennessee. The quality of life here has been acclaimed among the Top 25 “Best Places to Live in America” by both Time Magazine and US News and World Report.

It all adds up to MTSU’s #1 national ranking among I-O master’s programs, as published by SIOP. Our program began in 1968, has been nationally esteemed for decades, and offers a bright future ahead. Explore how you can launch your I-O success story here!

Great funding opportunities from graduate assistantships (GA) enable most of our students to attend for well below the in-state tuition rates…even for out-of-state students! Even without a GA, other financial possibilities for reducing out-of-state rates may include MTSU’s Regional Scholars Program or the Academic Common Market.

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News Briefs

MTSU students receive national recognition from SHRM

MTSU's I-O Psychology master's students lead a national-award winning chapter of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), and several have earned individual awards from SHRM too. Our students have not only won SHRM’s top national award, Outstanding Graduate Student of the Year, they’ve done so an amazing five times! This national award considers doctoral and master’s level students in any HR-related program from across the country. Awardees praised MTSU's program for providing them with the knowledge, tools, and opportunities to achieve the award through evidence-based classes, projects with the program's consulting firm COHRE, and the University's strong SHRM chapter. As one awardee said, "MTSU's I-O program truly is a top destination in the field for anyone trying to get a comprehensive education with both applied and scientific components."

COHRE provides consulting experience for students

One of the contributing factors to the national acclaim of the I/O master's program at MTSU is the on-campus consulting firm. The Center for Organizational and Human Resource Effectiveness (COHRE) is an unrivaled resource for expanding students' opportunities to work on consulting projects beyond the classroom. COHRE provides a high-profile avenue for creating consulting partnerships between the business world and the program's students and faculty. Utilizing the expertise and experience of MTSU faculty, graduate project associates, and consultants, COHRE helps clients meet their human resources and organizational development needs. In addition to the professional consulting experience, students leave the program with a résumé full of clients. Many students work directly for COHRE, and all have class projects and internships that develop from COHRE's client relationships. The consulting firm is truly an unparalleled resource unique to MTSU's I/O master's program.

News Briefs

MTSU students receive national recognition from SHRM

MTSU's I-O Psychology master's students lead a national-award winning chapter of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), and several have earned individual awards from SHRM too. Our students have not only won SHRM’s top national award, Outstanding Graduate Student of the Year, they’ve done so an amazing five times! This national award considers doctoral and master’s level students in any HR-related program from across the country. Awardees praised MTSU's program for providing them with the knowledge, tools, and opportunities to achieve the award through evidence-based classes, projects with the program's consulting firm COHRE, and the University's strong SHRM chapter. As one awardee said, "MTSU's I-O program truly is a top destination in the field for anyone trying to get a comprehensive education with both applied and scientific components."

COHRE provides consulting experience for students

One of the contributing factors to the national acclaim of the I/O master's program at MTSU is the on-campus consulting firm. The Center for Organizational and Human Resource Effectiveness (COHRE) is an unrivaled resource for expanding students' opportunities to work on consulting projects beyond the classroom. COHRE provides a high-profile avenue for creating consulting partnerships between the business world and the program's students and faculty. Utilizing the expertise and experience of MTSU faculty, graduate project associates, and consultants, COHRE helps clients meet their human resources and organizational development needs. In addition to the professional consulting experience, students leave the program with a résumé full of clients. Many students work directly for COHRE, and all have class projects and internships that develop from COHRE's client relationships. The consulting firm is truly an unparalleled resource unique to MTSU's I/O master's program.

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CAREERS

Start Your I/O Career Now 

MTSU I-O students begin their I-O career before they graduate through internships, client projects, and consulting opportunities with our Center for Organizational and Human Resource Effectiveness (COHRE), and I-O research experience throughout their time in our program. These experiences are invaluable for building an outstanding résumé and accelerating employability directly upon graduation. That consistently translates into a 100% placement rate for our graduates into professional-level I-O job opportunities or entry into doctoral programs. 

Alumni Jobs 

MTSU’s I-O alumni have successfully found jobs throughout the United States and internationally. MTSU master’s I-O graduates work in a variety of organizations ranging from large Fortune 100 companies to government and large consulting firms. Some alumni job titles include:  

  • Corporate Human Resources Director 
  • Strategy & Performance Consultant 
  • Learning Program Manager, Global Talent Development 
  • Human Capital Consultant 
  • Compensation Director 
  • HR Business Partner 
  • HR Strategy & Design 
  • HR Data Analyst 
  • Data Science Coordinator 
  • Vice President of Diversity, Equity & Belonging 
  • Senior Consultant of HR and Organizational Development 
  • Organizational Effectiveness Specialist 
  • Director Organizational & Leadership Development 
  • People Strategy Consultant 
  • Talent Management Director 
  • Vice President of Human Resources 
  • Vice President of Global Talent and Transformation 

Employers of MTSU Alumni include:

  • AON Consulting 
  • Bridgestone 
  • HCA 
  • APTMetrics 
  • Microsoft 
  • Nissan 
  • Federal Management Partners 
  • Towers Perrin Consulting 
  • Toyota  
  • Booz Allen Hamilton 
  • TopBloc 
  • Brookdale Senior Living 
  • KPMG International 
  • FedEx 
  • Personnel Decisions Research Institutes (PDRI) 
  • Qualtrics 
  • Claris Health 
  • Hogan Assessment Systems 
  • NASA

Doctoral Opportunities for MTSU Alumni 

MTSU I-O master’s graduates who are interested in academic careers and choose to pursue doctoral degrees are also highly successful. Our alumni have earned I-O-relevant Ph.D. opportunities across the country. A partial list of examples includes: 

  • Clemson University 
  • University of Minnesota 
  • Penn State University 
  • Texas A&M University 
  • University of Oklahoma 
  • Memphis State University 
  • James Madison University 
  • Florida State University 

REQUIREMENTS

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FACULTY

INFORMATION

Applicants

Launch your I-O career long before you graduate! Our I-O master’s students begin their professional career during their time in our program. We offer a two-year, full-time program that integrates classroom academics with extensive applied experiences for real-world clients. The resulting scientific expertise, and practical hands-on skills, build confidence and success for our students.

The bottom line is MTSU I-O students get a premier education in and out of the classroom, along with a client list on their résumé. It all adds up to a job placement rate for our graduates of 100% typically. Those placements are often in human resource departments or consulting firms, or entry into I-O doctoral programs. (Click on the CAREERS tab above for more details.)

Applicants must have:

  • Submitted all the required application materials (click on REQUIREMENTS tab above for details)
  • An undergraduate grade point average of 3.00 or higher
  • A minimum score of 141 on the GRE Quantitative section

Average scores for those admitted to our program are typically: GPA 3.75, GRE Quantitative 153, GRE Verbal 154, and GRE Analytical Writing 4.5. We evaluate each applicant’s scores in the context of the rest of their application materials, and some may be admitted with scores below these averages.

Application deadlines:

  • Feb. 15 for the Fall semester (primary selection time)
  • Oct. 1 for the Spring semester (few openings)

Make sure you also apply for a Graduate Assistantship (GA) position if you want financial assistance. The GA application is a separate form that is in addition to your I-O program application, and should also be submitted prior to the deadline above. You can access the GA form at www.mtsu.edu/psychology/grad/assistantship.php

Most of the I-O students who have applied for a GA successfully obtained one, which enabled them to dramatically reduce their tuition costs. We encourage you to pursue this opportunity and submit your GA application form!

For complete curriculum details, click on the REQUIREMENTS tab above.

 

Testimonials

"It is great to have two years of on-the-job training with highly qualified mentors beside you, lending you advice and cheering you on. Each professor has something unique that has added to the program and my experience."Jaclyn Pritchett, Executive Vice President of Human Resources at Brookdale Senior Living

"The I-O staff at MTSU are not only knowledgeable about their field but have the practical experience to enrich the learning.”—John Opron, Director of HR and Organization Development at Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems LLC

 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is industrial/organizational psychology?

Industrial/organizational psychology is the scientific study of improving the workplace by studying employees and organizations. More simply stated, I-O psychology can be described as human resources meets organizational development. The “I” side of the field involves examining how to best match individuals to specific job roles, while the “O” side is more focused on understanding how organizations affect individual behavior. However, the two sides are equally important and work together within the field. Specific topics in I-O psychology include recruitment, selection, compensation, performance appraisal, training, socialization, motivation, leadership, group performance, human factors, and organizational development. I-O psychologists often work in a human resources department, consult, or conduct research.

What makes your program stand out from other programs?

First, in addition to rigorous academics covering the full spectrum of I-O topic areas, our program puts a strong emphasis on high-quality applied experiences. Our students get hands-on experience by working with several prominent real-world clients. That means our students start their I-O career during their time in our program. That success is a major reason for our #1 national ranking. Those applied opportunities are facilitated by our Center for Organizational and Human Resource Effectiveness (COHRE), which is a professional consulting firm that employs many of our students to work on major client projects. It all pays off with an impressive job placement rate for our graduates of typically 100%.

Second, the positive, supportive culture has long been rated by our students as a top feature of our program. The diversity of our students includes classmates from across the country and internationally, with all sorts of backgrounds. They become a close cohort of personal friendships and professional collaborations in our program.

Are there opportunities to get involved in real-world client projects?

A major strength of the program is the availability of opportunities for students to get real-world experiences outside the classroom. These experiences include a required internship, course projects, COHRE (Center for Organizational and Human Resource Effectiveness) professional consulting projects, and other outside opportunities. During the internship, each student is able to work with a company using the knowledge and skills they have learned in the program. Our students have had internships with the corporate headquarters of Nissan, General Electric, Bridgestone, State Farm Insurance, Disney, FedEx Freight, and many more. Beyond the internships, every semester students are involved in at least one applied project through course projects or involvement with COHRE.

What are your alumni doing now?

Our alumni work in many different positions, countries, and corporations. Examples of places where our alumni have worked at are Coca-Cola, Microsoft, Dell Computers, Verizon, AON Consulting, and Personnel Decisions Research Institute (PDRI), just to name a few.  While many alumni directly enter the workforce after completing our program, several have successfully pursued doctoral degrees. Click on the CAREERS tab above for further details.

The balance of academic rigor and applied experiences offered by MTSU’s I-O master’s program prepares students to enter the workforce or pursue I-O doctoral programs.

How do I apply?

The REQUIREMENTS tab above outlines all the Application Procedures for you, including the Online Application for Admission. Our I-O master’s program application deadlines are Feb. 15 for the Fall semester (primary selection time) and Oct. 1 for the Spring semester (few openings).

Also before the deadline, submit a graduate assistantship (GA) application if you want funding assistance. This is a separate application that is in addition to your I-O program application. Most of our students successfully obtain a GA position, but you must submit the GA application to be eligible for a potential GA.

What is the typical academic profile of program applicants?

Admission to the master’s in I-O Psychology program is competitive. Each year, the program admits 10–13 new students. The program usually draws 50-70 applications who meet the minimum qualifications. Of those admitted, the typical average scores are: GPA 3.7, GRE-Quantitative 153, GRE-Verbal 154, and GRE-Analytical Writing 4.5. Of course, we evaluate each applicant’s scores in the context of the rest of their application materials, and some may be admitted with scores below these averages.

What do you like to see in a personal statement?

We encourage you to address: 1) why you are interested in the field of I-O psychology; 2) why you are interested in our specific I-O program here at MTSU; 3) summary of your research experience, employment/work experience, and other leadership experience; and 4) any additional information that you would like us to know about you.

What does it cost to attend graduate school at MTSU?

Graduate school cost information is available from the College of Graduate Studies. The good news is that our I-O students typically face much lower costs than the standard fees listed by the College of Graduate Studies.

Most of our I-O graduate students obtain a graduate assistantship (GA) position, which dramatically reduces their tuition costs and pays a monthly stipend. Those with a GA pay no more than half of the in-state tuition rate, even if they are out-of-state students. Be sure to apply for a GA!

If an out-of-state student does not immediately obtain a GA, there may be additional possibilities for significantly reducing tuition costs. Students from Georgia, West Virginia, and possibly some other southeastern U.S. states may be eligible for in-state rates via the Academic Common Market. Also, the Regional Scholars Program is available to students whose permanent residence is in a county within 250 miles of MTSU, or are from one of the eight states bordering Tennessee. That can reduce out-of-state tuition by nearly 50%. More information about these programs and other opportunities is available from the College of Graduate Studies.

Additional financial support opportunities are also available.

What kind of financial aid is available to students?

There are many resources for financial support available to our I-O students.

As noted in the “cost” FAQ, most of our I-O graduate students obtain a graduate assistantship (GA) position, which dramatically reduces their tuition costs and pays a monthly stipend. Those with a GA pay no more than half of the in-state tuition rate, even if they are out-of-state students. Make sure you submit a graduate assistantship application when you apply to our program so that you can be fully considered for a GA opportunity.

Our Center for Organizational and Human Resource Effectiveness (COHRE) also employs many of our I-O students to work on professional consulting client projects. Those include some GA positions, some hourly positions (paid at a rate of at least $28/hour), and some students have both GA and hourly opportunities.

All of our students also complete an internship while enrolled in our program, and these are nearly always paid positions.

Our students have also received significant funding for travel to regional, national, and international conferences.

Additional funding opportunities may come from the College of Graduate Studies for students from the United States, and for international students.

Can I talk to a current student about the program?

Yes! Our current students are happy to talk to prospective students. Andrea Chalut ([email protected]), Haylie Lloyd ([email protected]), and Rhea Maladkar ([email protected]) are MTSU I-O students who have volunteered to be contact persons for prospective students. Please feel welcome to reach out to them.

 

Current Students

College of Graduate Studies Info & Forms
Applicant and Current Student resources. Also links to the Graduate Catalog. Forms for current students include: request for overload, prerequisite verification form, intent to graduate, and thesis forms.

I-O Program Handbook
Information for I-O students about program guidelines and expectations

Curriculum Plan
Each student should collaborate with their I-O faculty advisor about how to fill out this form during their first semester. Students should complete this form and obtain approval from their faculty advisor during their first semester (preferably before registering for their second-semester classes).

Course Planning Guide

Outline of typical sequencing of required and elective courses.

Thesis Information & Resources

Thesis information, guidelines, resources, and requirements provided by the Psychology Department.

Thesis Guidelines

Comprehensive guide to the thesis process from College of Graduate Studies (CGS). Includes general guidelines, university format and style requirements, CGS thesis forms, and submission requirements for a completed thesis.

Professional Organizations

MTSU SHRM

Our I-O grad students are highly active members and leaders for this national award-winning student chapter of the Society for Human Resource Management.

National SHRM

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) is the largest professional association devoted to human resource management. Many of our students, faculty, and alumni are members of this national organization. Membership provides access to several valuable professional resources.

MT SHRM

Nashville’s regional Middle Tennessee SHRM chapter hosts many events (see their website’s Attend section), sponsors scholarships that our I-O students have often earned, and provides other support to our MTSU chapter. It’s common for MTSU students to also join the MT SHRM chapter.

Society for Industrial & Organizational Psychology

SIOP is the premier professional association of I-O Psychology. MTSU I-O students commonly join SIOP and attend the national conference, often presenting research at that conference.

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