The Department of Psychology's Doctor of Philosophy degree in Industrial/Organizational Psychology is based on a scientist-practitioner model of professional training. The program enrolled its first Ph.D. students in the fall of 2012. This group represented the first Ph.D. students in the university's history.
The PhD program provides a more advanced degree in the Industrial/Organizational Psychology area. Generally, master’s degrees and PhD's in I/O psychology have a different focus and therefore prepare students for different kinds of work. While a master’s degree is an almost purely applied degree that prepares students for application of I/O psychology principles with a focus on practical skills, the PhD is a research degree that prepares students to conduct scientific research and analyze data with a much higher degree of sophistication.
While the doctoral degree can prepare one for an academic career, most I/O psychologists, even those with the PhD, work outside of academia. The Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, the leading professional organization for I/O psychologists, found in a 2006 membership survey that most respondents held PhDs (89% PhD, 11% master’s degree). Of these mostly PhD respondents, however, only 39% were employed by a college or university.
I/O psychologists with PhDs work for companies, non-profit organizations, government, research institutes, consulting firms, and as independent consultants. They occupy roles similar to some that would be occupied by master’s-level I/O practitioners, but the PhD prepares practitioners for more sophisticated work, especially work requiring high-level analytical, methodological, and statistical skills.
The field of I/O psychology is experiencing rapid growth, creating a higher need for well-trained I/O psychologists. The federal government estimated that between 2006 and 2016, there would be a 21% increase in I/O psychology positions nationally, which is considered well above average by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In addition, the most recent Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook estimated that the projected growth for 2010-2020 is 29%, which far exceeds the projected growth for most other disciplines. Further, the median annual income is currently $83,580 for an I/O Psychologist. However, that median number includes “all” I/O psychologists regardless of degree level. Every three years the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP) conducts a survey of SIOP members’ income (2012 SIOP Salary Survey). For those who graduate specifically with a Ph.D. in I/O Psychology, the current median income is $119,568. Furthermore, that income has steadily increased 3-4% per year for the years included in the survey (1999-2012). It is important to note that this trend continued during and subsequent to the 2008 economic downturn.
A degree in I/O Psychology also qualifies a person for many jobs in peripheral areas such as human resources, training and development, labor relations, and compensation functions. These fields are experiencing above-average growth as well, with an expected 17% increase in positions between 2006 and 2016, according to the 2009 Occupational Outlook Handbook.
Candidates for admission to the PhD program should have either a bachelor’s or a master’s degree in psychology, management, business or in a closely related field. Students entering with a bachelor’s degree will earn a master’s degree (modified from the terminal MA offered by the Department of Psychology) during their progression through the doctoral program.
Applicants must submit the PhD application form; transcripts of all undergraduate and graduate course work; verbal, quantitative, and analytical writing scores on the Graduate Record Examination; three letters of recommendation, using the program’s letter of recommendation form; and a personal statement. The personal statement should demonstrate a clear, well-articulated understanding of the expectations and responsibilities of graduate training in industrial and organizational psychology, strong career motivation, and indication of research interests.
Roosevelt considers each applicant on an individual basis and seeks diversity in ethnic and cultural background, education and life experience, and sexual orientation.
Apply here for the PhD program in Industrial/Organizational Psychology.
PhD students must make continual progress toward their degrees while enrolled in the program. Each student will be evaluated yearly by the entirety of the I/O faculty, and students not making appropriate progress will have one year to remediate, based on a remedial plan provided by the faculty.
Students who earn a C for any course must repeat the course and earn a B or better. Students may also be dismissed from the program for lack of progress on a thesis or doctoral project if they do not meet a deadline decided by their thesis or doctoral project chair and the PhD program director. Again, this matter normally will be addressed in the yearly review.
Upon admission to the PhD program, students meet with their faculty advisors to develop a program completion plan covering all courses required for the doctoral degree, training experiences, the master’s project, the comprehensive exam, and the doctoral project. When receiving the yearly evaluation feedback, the advisor and student will revise the plan as necessary. It is extremely important that the student complete the plan of study within the first semester on campus as this assures cohort integrity and viability of I/O electives in other students' plans of study.
All students must complete a plan of study that includes all of the requirements presented below in the curriculum statement. Given the nature of doctoral education, there is no “minimum” number of hours necessary for graduation.
Instead, the student must complete the requirements set forth in his or her plan of study by the student's advisor. In addition to the required and elective courses, students are expected to complete a master’s thesis under the supervision of a faculty advisor and faculty committee. After successful completion of the thesis, students will take a comprehensive examination. After passing the comprehensive examination, students will complete a doctoral dissertation under the supervision of a faculty advisor and faculty committee.
The standard course load for a full-time student in the PhD program is nine to twelve semester hours each fall, spring, and summer semester for the first three years. Students typically will have only a course or two remaining after the fall of their third year. Many times these courses will be dissertation hours if the student has followed their plan of study. Again, however, this is dependent on students setting and following their plan of study. While not required, most students will obtain one or more internships in the third year and beyond to gain real-world experiences while still under the supervision of their faculty advisor.
The PhD program may accept credit for substantially equivalent graduate-level coursework completed at approved universities or schools of professional psychology. However, this credit will be determined when developing the plan of study with the major professor upon acceptance to the program. Students entering with a master’s degree should also meet with the director of the program to confirm which required courses will be waived based on previous graduate work. Again, any and all waivers should be reflected in the plan of study. It is also possible that the thesis requirement will be waived for students who already have completed a thesis in a terminal Master’s program. This will be on a case by case basis, however, and the student will need to get the approval of a thesis waiver. The thesis waiver form is considered part of the plan of study and should be completed at the time of the initial plan of study.
As mentioned, students' progress will be evaluated yearly, and if progress has not been adequate, students may be dismissed from the program after a year of probation. Obviously, in certain situations, a precipitating event may be at the level that dismissal is immediate without the possibility of remediation (for example, plagiarism, academic dishonesty, sexual harassment).
The third list presented above provides example courses that will fulfill those requirements. Other electives and general courses may be approved by the faculty advisor and the director of the program as long as they are incorporated into the student’s plan of study. These other courses MUST BE in the student's plan of study and preapproved to be used in either list 2 or list 3 above.
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