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    The Chicago School of Professional Psychology
  Sep 25, 2023
2011-2012 Academic Catalog and Student Handbook with Addendum 
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2011-2012 Academic Catalog and Student Handbook with Addendum [Archived Catalog]

M.A. Industrial and Organizational Psychology

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Master of Arts, Industrial and Organizational Psychology

Program Overview

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 on 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. 

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.

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.

Admission Requirements

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. Students must submit official transcripts from all schools where a degree was earned. It is recommended that transcripts are submitted from all schools where credit was received to enhance their applications. 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

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

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.

Standardized Testing:

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.

Application Fees:

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.

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 ( or Educational Credential Evaluators Inc ( 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.

Applicant Notification

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.


The following policies are located under Academic Policies and Procedures  : Transfer of Credit, Waiver of Courses, Satisfactory Academic Progress, Grading Scale, Grade Change Requests, Degree Completion, Degree Conferral, Minimum and Maximum Timeframe requirements, and Credit Hours per semester for Financial Aid.

Academic Development Plans

An Academic Development Plan (ADP) is initiated and created by the Department in which the student is enrolled when a student demonstrates deficiencies in competencies that interfere with academic performance, training competence, and/or professional behavior. Academic Development Plans (ADPs) do not constitute disciplinary action, but failure to complete the plan may lead to disciplinary action.

Student Learning Assessment

The Chicago School of Professional Psychology (TSCPP) is committed to offering the highest quality graduate and undergraduate completion programs in applied professional disciplines. In order to meet the TCSPP standard for academic quality, all programs will develop overall program competencies, learning objectives, assessment instruments, course descriptions, and course learning objectives. Each of these curriculum components must align in order for students to understand how their program will prepare them for the profession and how they will learn what TCSPP intends. 

All academic programs at TCSPP are required to develop, conduct, and report annual assessments of student learning and program effectiveness in compliance with the processes and procedures established by TCSPP.  These assessments provide reliable and valid information to monitor, maintain, and advance the quality of academic programs. 

Foundations for Scholarship and Practice 

To ensure academic preparedness, a key to success in graduate school, The Chicago School of Professional Psychology requires new students to complete the program Foundations for Scholarship and Practice (Foundations). This program reinforces the skills new students need to achieve their academic goals. Foundations is an integral part of the first term’s curriculum (first and second terms’ curriculum for the Online-Blended Programs) and all students are required to complete the program successfully and in a timely manner.  Failure to complete any element of the program can lead to academic consequences, including dismissal.

Foundations for Scholarship and Practice consists of three elements: 

1.  Academic Focus Program - Academic Focus is an online, self-paced orientation to graduate academics. Completion of these tutorials is required by Friday of the fourth week of the first term. A final  grade of “pass” is considered successful completion of this element of Foundations.

2.  Writing Assessment Process - In this component of Foundations, each student writes an essay in response to an assigned question and submits it for evaluation. Based upon the results of this assessment, , the school may waive the Academic Writing Course requirement (#3, below). Essays are due by Friday of the third week of the first term and essay submission by the given date is considered successful completion of this element of Foundations.

3.  Academic Writing Course (AWC) - This online course is taken before or during the first or second term at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. A final grade of “pass” is considered successful completion of this element. Failure to earn a final grade of “pass” may result in an Academic Development Plan or referral to the Student Affairs Committee. All students are required to take the course, unless they place out through the Writing Assessment Process. Students who place out of the Academic Writing Course may elect to take the course. Based on academic performance concerns, instructors may require AWC completion by a student by creating an Academic Development Plan.

Failure to complete any element of Foundations by the required due date may result in Academic Development Plan or referral to the Student Affairs Committee. 

Preparing for the Academic Writing Course

It is solely the responsibility of the student to make the necessary adjustments to his/her school, work and personal schedules as required for full participation in this course. The Chicago School is not responsible for ensuring that these adjustments are made. Students failing AWC must retake the course in the subsequent semester. The successful completion of AWC is a graduation requirement.

Fees associated with Foundations for Scholarship and Practice

All students incur a one-time fee for their participation in Foundations for Scholarship and Practice. See Tuition & Fees schedule for a full list of applicable course fees

Residency Requirement

Fore the ExCEL track, 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.

Grade Requirement

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.

The Program


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.

Program Outcomes

1. 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.

2. Students will demonstrate ability to comprehend of data and information presented in research articles and apply to organizational problems.

3. Student will demonstrate their knowledge of test development, descriptive statistics, data management, basic statistical procedures, and program evaluation principles.

4. Students will demonstrate their knowledge of I/O theories, their ability to apply these theories and their appreciation for scientific knowledge.

5. 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.

6. Students will be able to develop assessment, intervention, and evaluation strategies and convey these I/O principles in language appropriate for the audience.

7. 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.

8. 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.

9. 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

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.

On the Chicago campus, 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. 

More specific information is located in the Program Guidebook.

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.

More specific information is located in the Program Guidebook.

Thesis Option

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.

More specific information is located in the Program Guidebook.

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.

Program Outcomes

1. 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. 

2. 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. 

3. 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. 

4. The competent practitioner masters active listening skills, accepts and evaluates feedback non-defensively, and actively seeks to modify his/her behavior appropriately. 

5. 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. 

6. 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. 

7. 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. 

8. 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. 

9. 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. 

10. 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.

11. 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

The Curriculum: Campus-Based Degree

Campus-Based Degree Program Requirements

Intensive coursework that balances theory and practice is accompanied by two supervised internships. Students must successfully complete 46 credit hours, six of which are electives, to graduate. The Chicago School offers both a full-time and a part-time curriculum. Courses may be delivered in an on-ground, blended, or on-line format. If a student is working 30 or more hours per week, it is strongly recommended that he or she follow the part-time track.

Diversity is an institutional learning goal, and an IO Psychology program competency. All students in the I/O program are required to fulfill a Diversity requirement by successfully completing one three-credit hour course from a block of pre-approved courses.

A diversity course may be taken outside of the department with the Business Psychology department chair’s approval, along with approval from the department chair of the course.

Required Core Courses: 37 Credits

Elective Courses: 6 Credits

Diversity Course: 3 Credits

Total M.A. Industrial and Organizational Psychology program credits: 46

Human Resource Concentration

The HR concentration consists of a 12 credit hour concentration as part of the M.A. in I/O Psychology program. Students who choose to complete the Human Resources concentration will complete the program with 49 credit hours rather than 46. The Human Resource concentration incorporates the Diversity Course requirement by making the Managing Organizational Diversity course a required course. In addition, 3 other courses must be completed to receive the Human Resources Concentration: Business & Financial Literacy, SHRM PHR/SPHR Certification Preparation Course, and Strategic Human Resource Management. Each of these four courses is 3 credit hours each. The Thesis Option or Applied Research Project Option are not available to students who choose the Human Resources Concentration.

The Curriculum: ExCEL Track Degree and Certificate

ExCEL Track Degree and Certificate Program Requirements

The M.A. Industrial and Organizational; Applied I/O Psychology ExCEL track is a 35-semester credit hour program including 10 courses and a five-credit-hour applied research project. ExCEL tracks feature online courses, Webinar/teleconferences, and a part time curriculum to accommodate the flexibility needs of working professionals. Students in this track are encouraged to apply current work projects to their degree coursework and thus are expected to be employed. The ExCEL track does not include internships or a thesis option; rather, students will complete an applied research project over the course of their studies that reflects their grasp of the program’s learning outcomes.

All students completing the M.A. in Industrial and Organizational Psychology, ExCEL track select an area of specialization. Each specialization consists of 9 credit hours taken over the course of the program. These courses provide in-depth study in a niche area of industrial and organizational psychology. Coursework is completed online. Non-degree seeking students may elect to take concentration coursework as a stand-alone, three course certificate. The curriculum is designed to be completed in approximately six months (3 eight week terms). There are four areas in which a student may specialize or pursue a certificate:

Consumer Psychology: Concentration in this area will provide a better understanding of how consumers think, feel, and reason, and how marketers can adopt and improve their marketing strategies to more effectively gain consumer confidence.

Leadership for Healthcare Professionals: Those who specialize in this area will better understand the legal framework of the healthcare industry, its systems of care, and the implications of social, cultural, and behavioral aspects of health-related issues.

Organizational Effectiveness: Those who specialize in this area will learn to identify limitations in current work processes, management approaches, and team building practices and create a more effective workplace.

Workplace Diversity: Concentration in this area will teach students to address the challenges of diversity, create a balanced, inclusive workforce, understand global leadership, and manage generational differences.

All students enrolled in the M.A. in Industrial and Organizational Psychology, ExCEL track select an area of concentration.

Core Courses: 21 Credits

Applied Research Project Courses: 5 Credits

Specialization/Certifcate Courses: 9 Credits

Non-degree seeking students may enroll in a three-course certificate program in one of these areas.

Total M.A. Industrial and Organizational Psychology: ExCEL Track Credits: 35

Certificate Courses

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