CHICAGO ● LOS ANGELES ● ONLINE-BLENDED
Master of Arts, Industrial and Organizational Psychology
The M.A. in Industrial and Organizational Psychology (I/O) curriculum enables Chicago School students to gain the essential diagnostic and consultative skills to help organizations and the individuals within them solve problems, perform effectively, work in a global multicultural environment, and grow professionally. The Chicago School focuses not just on theory and research, but on teaching its students the applied skills necessary to succeed in the business world. The I/O program at The Chicago School is distinctive in that it applies the discipline’s assessment skills and feedback mechanisms to the program itself. Students not only learn how to design and implement assessment centers and 360-degree feedback tools, but they also benefit by participating in these very same practices to identify their own strengths and to improve developmental areas.
Intensive coursework that balances theory and practice is accompanied by two supervised internships, or an applied research project. Students must successfully complete 46 credit hours, six of which are electives, to graduate.
Students may choose to declare a concentration in Human Resources. The M.A. in I/O Psychology with an HR Concentration has been endorsed by the Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM). An analysis of the M.A. in I/O Psychology curriculum was conducted to determine the degree of overlap between program competencies and the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) content areas and competencies. Consequently, students who obtain the M.A. in I/O Psychology with a concentration in Human Resources will be prepared to sit for the Professional in Human Resources (PHR) certification exam offered through the Human Resources Certification Institute (HRCI), assuming any experiential requirements have been met for the exam. Aligning ourselves with an organization like SHRM enhances our ability to prepare our students to be successful human resources professionals.
The concentration in Human Resources will offer our students additional training and education to become successful human resources professionals. The IO training will provide students will the skills to develop, create, and implement assessments, interventions, and process to improve organizational effectiveness, while the Human Resources training will provide them with a solid foundation in the management of human resources.
The Chicago School, in cooperation with Lake Forest Graduate School of Management (LFGSM), also offers its graduates the option of earning an accelerated M.B.A. degree. This program is designed to facilitate additional graduate-level education for actively employed professionals who have received an M.A. in I/O Psychology. Chicago School alumni who enroll at LFGSM through this educational alliance will receive transfer credit for three graduate-level courses toward the completion of an M.B.A. degree.
Our students have secured internships and jobs at organizations such as the Chicago Board of Trade, Leo Burnett, Deloitte, Towers Perrin, RHR, Intercontinental Hotels, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Chicago Tribune, AC Nielsen, Red Cross, Allstate, Rush Health Medical Systems, GM Electromotive Division, Buck Consulting, YMCA, Aon Consulting, United Healthcare, Bank of America, Red Prairie Software, Ernst and Young, GSP Marketing, United Airlines, Watson Dwyer, Synovate, Monar Consulting, HR Advantage, and Carrington LTD Executive Search.
The IO program also offers an Executive Career Enhancement and Leadership (ExCEL) track in Applied Industrial/Organizational Psychology. This track offers courses in a format of online courses and one virtual residency consisting of a one hour meeting each term via a Webinar/teleconference. This accelerated track is designed for working adults who desire advanced skills and knowledge in human behavior to improve individual and organizational performance. It is an applied program that incorporates individual work experiences and workplace situations with classroom theory to extend and deepen learning and it builds upon the self-direction of adult learners to strengthen this relationship. Students must complete an applied research project which integrates program learning and applies this learning to an authentic workplace situation. Additional field practica are not required.
Students in the ExCEL track will select from a specialization in one of the following areas: Organizational Effectiveness, Workplace Diversity, Consumer Psychology, or Leadership for Healthcare Professionals. For those who do not wish to pursue a Master’s degree, The Chicago School also offers a nine credit hour certificate in one of the aforementioned areas of specialization.
Application to the Industrial and Organizational Psychology graduate program is open to any person who has earned a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution and who meets other entrance requirements. Applicants will be judged on their overall ability to do graduate work. Factors that are considered in admission are: GPA from undergraduate and any graduate schools, successful work history after completion of the baccalaureate degree, the admission essay, and letters of recommendation from academic professors or professional or volunteer experience supervisors. Generally, an undergraduate GPA of a 3.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale is required for admission. There are separate applications for the campus-based and online and blended format tracks of ExCEL. Those interested in the ExCEL track must apply directly at http://psychology.thechicagoschool.edu/.
The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is not required; however students who have taken the exam may submit their scores to enhance their application. Scores should be sent directly to the school (GRE School Code: 1119) for consideration. Please see the application for detailed instructions and information regarding application requirements, deadlines, and letters of recommendation.
Degree applications must be submitted with a $50.00(USD) application fee to be considered. Certificate applications must be submitted with a $25.00(USD) application fee to be considered.
Campus-Based Degree Admission Requirements
The campus-based track requires three specific undergraduate courses (one course in psychology, one course in statistics or quantitative psychology, and a course in research methods or experimental psychology) that must be completed prior to enrollment, with a grade earned of “C” or better. The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is not required for our M.A. Industrial and Organizational Psychology program; however, we encourage students to submit their scores to enhance their application. Please note that you must have your official scores sent to The Chicago School (School Code 1119). Please see the application for detailed instructions and information regarding application requirements, deadlines, and letters of recommendation.
ExCEL Track and Certificate Admission Requirements
Students applying into the ExCEL (Executive Career Enhancement and Leadership) track or the certificate options are not required to submit letters of recommendation, but may submit them to strengthen their application. Applicants to this track should ensure their resume properly highlights three or more years of related, post-baccalaureate relevant work experience or five years or more of unrelated work experience. In additional to the admission criteria, students within this track and certificate must have access to a computer that is less than three years old, a broadband internet connection, and the Microsoft Office Suite including Word, Excel, and Outlook and, at minimum, the following computing skills:
- A comfort with basic Internet technology
- The ability to open and attach files from and to email
- The ability to send and receive email
- The ability to save documents
Beginning in June 2008, certificates are available in the following areas: Organizational Effectiveness, Workplace Diversity, Consumer Psychology, or Leadership for Healthcare Professionals. These are nine-credit-hour, blended-format programs for working professionals.
TOEFL or IELTS, International Credentials, and International Students
TOEFL or IELTS: If English is not your primary language, you must submit official TOEFL or IELTS scores with your application (TOEFL School Code: 7161). International students who received a bachelor’s degree from an accredited United States institution are exempt from this requirement. The minimum scores are: TOEFL - 550 paper based, 213 computer based, 79 internet based; IELTS - 6.5.
ELS Educational Services, Inc.: The Chicago School is a cooperative member of ELS Educational Services, Inc. which provides intensive English language programs. Students who have successfully completed ELS course 112 may be considered for admission in lieu of the TOEFL or IELTS.
International credentials: Applicants with international credentials must obtain and submit an official “course-by-course” evaluation through an evaluation agency such as World Education Services (www.wes.org) or Educational Credential Evaluators Inc (www.ece.org). In addition to the agency evaluation, all official graduate and undergraduate transcripts must be submitted.
International students: International students must submit a completed application by the general consideration deadline. In addition, once accepted, international students must submit the International Student Information form, a copy of their passport, and financial documentation showing sufficient funding for at least one year of study and all living expenses. This documentation must be submitted at least two months prior to the start of the semester in order to allow sufficient time for the school to issue an I-20 for the student to obtain an F-1 visa, if needed. An I-20 visa will not be issued without this documentation.
Note: Since the ExCEL track does not require any residency or travel to the US for completion, an I-20 will not be issued for this track.
The Chicago School reviews applications on a rolling basis. Once review begins, complete applications will be considered by the Admission Committee and notified regarding the admission decision. The Chicago School does not share information or provide any feedback regarding admission decisions.
If a student is offered admission, an intent to enroll form and a non-refundable tuition deposit* of $500 will be required by the deposit deadline indicated in the offer of admission in order to secure a place in the incoming class. The non-refundable deposit will be applied in full toward the student’s tuition upon enrollment.
* Students accepted into the ExCEL track or certificates are not required to submit a tuition deposit.
Transfer of Credit
Prior graduate coursework, if within the area of study, may be eligible for transfer or waiver of credit. Students accepted to the program may petition by submitting a Petition for Transfer/Waiver of Credit** and all required documentation. The decision to accept transfer credit is solely that of the school who reserves the right to require satisfactory performance on an examination before awarding a transfer of credit. Satisfactory completion of a competency examination is required before transfer of credit is awarded when the course in question has been taken more than five years prior to admission. Transfers of credit are subject to the following conditions:
- Transferred course credit is restricted to graduate level courses from a recognized, regionally-accredited graduate degree granting institution.
- Transfer of credit is not granted for internships.
- Transfer of credit is granted only for courses in which the grade obtained was a “B” or higher. Pass/Fail grades are not eligible.
- No credit will be transferred for coursework that is more than 10 years old.
- All coursework being submitted for transfer credit evaluation must have been completed prior to matriculation into The Chicago School.
- For each hour of credit accepted a transfer fee will be assessed. Please see the tuition and fee page of the TCSPP website.
- The maximum number of semester credits that may be transferred for the campus based track of the I/O program is 12 hours and for the ExCEL track nine hours.
A course that does not meet the specific content requirements of an existing TCSPP elective course may be accepted as transfer credit as an elective if the course supports the required competencies and learning objectives of the program and meets the following conditions:
- The course must meet all other requirements for transfer credit.
- The course must be at the equivalent degree level.
- Approval by the Department Chair for the transfer credit and documentation of this approval is required.
**Please submit all required documentation with each petition. Any credit approved for transfer will not be added to the student’s academic record until after the second week of their first semester.
Waiver of Courses
Any domestic or international student with previous graduate course may request a waiver of coursework. Waiver of courses does not reduce the total number of hours of coursework to be completed at The Chicago School; it permits students to substitute coursework as approved by the department chair. An international student, who has completed an undergraduate course(s) that, in the judgment of the department chair, is equivalent to a required course at The Chicago School, may apply for the course to be waived. Waiver will not apply to undergraduate courses offered by U.S. educational institutions. M.A. students may seek a waiver for a total of 12 credit hours; ExCEL students may seek a waiver for a total of nine credit hours. Those Master’s students seeking both a waiver and transfer of credit hours may not exceed a total of 12 credit hours; ExCEL track students may not exceed nine credit hours.
It is expected that students will fulfill all degree requirements through courses offered at The Chicago School. Under unusual circumstances, and subject to the approval of the department chair, a student may be permitted to complete certain course requirements at another institution. For ExCEL tracks, two distance courses have a blended (online and on-campus) format and therefore require a one weekend intensive seminar on campus. Students are notified at the onset of the course of the exact date that they are required to report to campus.
Matriculated students must be continuously enrolled in the program until graduation unless granted an approved leave of absence. Satisfactory progress semester hours do not include waiver or transfer credit hours. No student will be permitted to take less than three semester hours of coursework in the fall or spring semesters unless that student has fewer than three semester hours of coursework remaining or is on an approved leave of absence. In order to receive financial aid, however, you must be at least half-time for the semester.
Credit Hours per Year and Program Length
The maximum duration of the programs is five years. Students must complete, at minimum, nine semester hour credits each calendar year. Students must be enrolled for a minimum of nine semester hours during fall and spring semester and five credits during summer term to be classified as full-time in terms of financial aid.
The ExCEL track is a 20-month, half-time program. In order to be classified as half-time in terms of financial aid, students must be enrolled for a minimum of 3.5 credit hours in at least one of the two eight- week fall, spring, or summer terms.
Policy on Repeating Courses
I/O students may not graduate with a final grade of “C” in a required course. Students who receive a grade of C in a required course must retake the course in which they received the grade of “C” or take a replacement course approved by the I/O and Business Psychology faculty.
Students must complete the online Petition for Program Completion form in order to have their degree conferred, diploma issued, and to participate, if desired, in the annual commencement ceremony by the end of the third week of the semester in which a student expects to meet the program requirements for the Master of Arts degree. Students who will complete their requirements in the upcoming summer term, and wish to participate in the annual commencement ceremony, must submit the Petition for Program Completion in the spring term by the deadline indicated on the Graduation page of the website.
Students must be in good standing in their program and have completed all of their degree requirements before the Master’s degree can be conferred. This includes coursework and any clinical training (practicum/internship), thesis/dissertation, and/or applied research project, required by the program of study. After all final grades are posted for the student’s final semester; a degree audit will be conducted to verify degree completion. The degree is then conferred, posted to the transcript, and a diploma is issued.
*Detailed information regarding petitioning and commencement can be found on the website.
The Industrial and Organizational Psychology (I/O) Program has adopted the Society of Industrial and Organizational Psychologists’ (SIOP) recommended areas of study as the basis for its curriculum. It provides students with a broad knowledge of the scientific literature and theoretical principles of organizational and industrial psychology and the application of these principles to the variety of work settings in which I/O psychologists are employed. Students develop an understanding of the way organizations operate, gain the essential assessment, intervention, and consultation skills to help organizations and the individuals within them solve problems, enhance performance, and manage the complexities of today’s work environment. The emphasis is on training students to assume professional responsibilities in human resources, consulting, management positions, and organizational-development.
- Students will demonstrate the ability to critical review the work of others, including probing for more information, searching for logic flaws, and the creation of alternative solutions to problems.
- Students will demonstrate ability to comprehend of data and information presented in research articles and apply to organizational problems.
- Student will demonstrate their knowledge of test development, descriptive statistics, data management, basic statistical procedures, and program evaluation principles.
- Students will demonstrate their knowledge of I/O theories, their ability to apply these theories and their appreciation for scientific knowledge.
- Students will demonstrate knowledge of the role of individual differences in the workplace and the ability to establish and benefit from collaborative professional relationships with others, regardless of differences in background, work roles, and points of view.
- Students will be able to develop assessment, intervention, and evaluation strategies and convey these I/O principles in language appropriate for the audience.
- Students will demonstrate the ability to form effective professional relationships based on attitudes and communication skills that foster respect, trust, open dialogue, and collaboration, regardless of differences in background, education, points of view or position in the organization.
- Students will demonstrate oral and written communication that is grammatically correct, logical, succinct, consumer-oriented and of professional quality. Students will demonstrate non-defensive, learning-oriented, responses to constructive feedback.
- Students will demonstrate personal integrity and ethical behavior in their professional practice
Ethical and Professional Behavior
I/O program students are expected to develop a working knowledge of the ethical and legal issues pertaining to work in the domain of I/O psychology including, but not limited to, APA’s current Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct for Psychologists; relevant federal, state, and local laws, statutes, regulations, and legal precedents (e.g., the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s Uniform Guidelines on Employee Selection Procedures, 1978) as well as the professional norms, standards, and guidelines relevant to the profession (e.g., Specialty Guidelines for the Delivery of Services by Industrial-Organizational Psychologists, 1981; Principles for the Validation and Use of Personnel Selection Procedures, 1987; and Standards for Educational and Psychological Tests, 1985, see www.siop.org).
Writing Assessment and Requirements
Believing that academic preparedness is a key to success in graduate school, The Chicago School of Professional Psychology requires new students to complete its innovative program, Foundations for Scholarship and Practice. This program, offered by the Center for Academic Excellence (CAE), reinforces the skills new students need to achieve their career goals. “Foundations” is an integral part of the first semester’s curriculum and all students are required to complete the program successfully and in a timely manner.
Foundations for Scholarship and Practice consist of three elements:
- Writing Assessment Process - In this component of “Foundations,” each student writes an essay in response to an assigned question and submits it to CAE for scoring. CAE returns the scored essay with constructive feedback. Based on the student’s performance, the school may waive the Academic Writing Course requirement (#2, below). Essay submission by the given date is considered successful completion of this element of “Foundations.”
- Academic Writing Course - This online course in professional writing is taken before or during the first semester at The Chicago School. A final grade of “pass” is considered successful completion of this element.
- Academic Focus Program - Academic Focus is an online, tutorial-driven orientation to graduate academics. A final grade of “pass” is considered successful completion of this element.
ExCEL Track Option (Online-Blended Only)
The ExCEL track allows students to learn about new theories, concepts, and best practices relevant to their careers and apply that learning in the workplace. This track is accelerated and offered in two eight-week terms each semester. A typical student schedule would include one three-semester-credit course per term as well as one .5 credit course per term, totaling seven semester credit hours per semester. The program may, therefore, be completed in five semesters or approximately 20 months.
The ExCEL track features online courses and one “virtual residency” one hour Webinar/teleconference per term. Courses are based on:
- An instructional environment which accepts students as mature learners and allows them to bring their work-related experience and expertise into the class
- Readings and materials which expose students to new theories, concepts, and best practices relevant to their careers
- Providing a broader range of workplace experiences and provide multiple perspectives on workplace problems, situations, and challenges from classmates
- An experienced faculty member who is a personal mentor-guide-facilitator-resource for students
Study in the ExCEL track culminates in an applied research project. The Applied Research Project is completed over the length of the program through 10 courses at .5 credits each, in addition to required interactions with facilitators, the student’s advisor, and cohort members.
- Knowing the history, scope, and watershed applications of consulting psychology proves useful in preparing the consultant for designing interventions and for establishing credibility with organizational clients.
- Mastery of these competencies enables the consultant to conduct surveys, interpret formal assessment data, and build empirical evidence of effectiveness of interventions. It also provides a foundation for understanding business financial reporting.
- These essential competencies cross domains Consulting psychologists must acquire appropriate understanding of and sensitivity to multicultural/international issues in order to temper interventions with consideration of the client’s outlook on the world.
- The competent practitioner masters active listening skills, accepts and evaluates feedback non-defensively, and actively seeks to modify his/her behavior appropriately.
- Self-Awareness and Relationship Development competencies apply in each of the individual, group, and organization/system wide/intersystem domains of consulting services. Consultants must develop and maintain constructive, collaborative relationships with a variety of types of people and organizational representatives.
- Professional ethics and compliance with standards is considered as a pervasive, general competency in The Chicago School Model of Education. Knowledge of the psychologists’ code of ethics will permeate each of the three domains of interventions.
- Process consultation/action research skills contribute to a number of other competency areas and illustrate a hallmark expertise in consulting. Process skills are integral to organizational assessment and in most forms of intervention.
- The consultant and client agree on actions (psychological procedures and processes introduced into the organization) that will likely be effective in addressing the problem. Evidence-based practice is stressed.
- Consultants have a working knowledge of legal constraints on competing for contracts, consider practical business operation principles and practices when engaging clients, and apply industry-wide regulations and technological advances that have impacted the way businesses do business.
- It is critical for practitioners to organize and present ideas effectively for both formal and spontaneous presentations that are clear, concise, and informative using language that is appropriate for the audience. The consultant must be able to compose grammatically correct, consumer-oriented reports of a professional quality.
- Assessment is a disciplined analysis of a present situation that requires determining what pertinent elements combined to generate the current situation. Assessment can be considered the systematic process of making inferences in order to arrive at a diagnosis for use in informed decision making regarding interventions.
Industrial/Organizational Psychology Certificate Options-Fully Online
Beginning in June 2008, The Chicago School also offers three-course certificate options in the following areas: Organizational Effectiveness, Consumer Psychology, Workplace Diversity, and Leadership for Healthcare Professionals. The program consists of three graduate level courses and can be completed in approximately five months. Participants will earn nine graduate-level credits and a certificate of completion.
Internship Requirements (Campus-Based Track Only)
The director of Business Psychology internships must approve the student’s internship in order for the student to receive credit for training. All sites listed in the Field Placement Database have been previously approved. Students may also develop a site for internship experience. The internship should provide the student with a valuable work experience in which he or she will encounter opportunities to develop relevant and transferable skills that can be used to further his or her career. The following guidelines are provided to help one decide whether an internship opportunity meets the school’s guidelines and/or if a current work experience can count toward internship credit.
Time Commitment: Each of the internships must provide a minimum of 300 hours (for a total of 600 hours of internship experience). During the 15-week fall and spring semesters, students should expect to work approximately 20 hours per week at the site. Internships completed during the eight-week summer term average to about 37.5 hours per week. Internships lasting two full semesters may count for both internship experiences so long as the student meets the 600-hour requirement. If a student is working 30 or more hours per week while on internship, it is strongly suggested that he or she be on the part-time track during that semester.
The internship should coincide with the start and end dates for the semester in which it takes place. If the internship lasts less than 90% of the full length of the semester, the student must obtain permission from the Business Psychology internship director. For the fall and spring semesters, the internship should overlap the term by at least 13.5 weeks; summer internships should overlap at least seven weeks of the semester.
Relevance: The internship should involve the student in learning specific, transferable, I/O-relevant or HR-relevant professional skills. Internships involving only clerical work (e.g. photocopying, filing) or professional work of a non-I/O nature (e.g. telephone sales of non-I/O products and services) will not be approved as an internship experience.
Payment: Some but not all internships are paid. Consistent with the mission of school, students are strongly encouraged to consider completing internships in agencies that provide community services or that serve underserved populations. Many of these agencies, unfortunately, do not have the funding that larger corporate organizations can often provide.
Below are some examples of possible internships that would be approved by the Business Psychology internship director so long as they meet the time and relevance requirements:
- A pre-existing I/O internship
- A pre-existing HR internship
- A current job
- Project work for community service organizations
- Project work for independent employment
Students are given a letter grade for the quality of their work performance in the Internship Seminar. Additionally, the I/O internship director reviews the evaluation of the student’s performance by the internship site supervisor, as well as the number of internship hours accrued, before the grade is awarded for the internship experience. More details about the grading process for I/O internships are provided in the internship seminar course syllabus.
Applied Research Project
Students with experience in the field could complete an Applied Research Project (ARP), in place of the Internship requirements. Students who are allowed to complete the ARP will be required to enroll in two courses over the course of their program. A faculty member will approve and supervise the project through these courses. The criteria for entry into these courses would be: three years of post-baccalaureate work, and the student must be working on a project related to the field of IO Psychology. The student must get approval of the Business Psychology Department Chair to enroll in these courses.
Note: Students pursuing this option will only have a choice of one elective.
Students may choose to complete a thesis instead of completing one of the internship requirements. The thesis option would be comprised of two courses, Thesis I and Thesis II. The student must get approval of the Business Psychology Department Chair to enroll in this course. The student must also select a faculty member to serve as thesis advisor. This faculty member will supervise the thesis.
Note: Students pursuing this option will only have a choice of one elective.