Industrial-Organizational Research (IOR)

Master of Arts Degree

Photo of the 2019 Industrial-Organizational Research Cohort

Program Overview

The Industrial-Organizational Research specialization prepares students to conduct applied research in business and organizational settings. Students acquire a solid foundation in statistics and research methods that can be applied across a wide range of environments.  Students gain a background in contemporary psychological theories, and are equipped with the analytic tools necessary for effective problem solving in applied settings, as well as the development of innovative research.  Students learn how to apply psychological and research principles to develop understanding and skill in job analysis, personnel recruitment and selection, performance management, training design, employee motivation, job satisfaction, leadership, teamwork, and organizational climate.

This specialization is designed to be completed in two years and culminates with a thesis or research project. While it is expected that all students will have the opportunity to participate in the solution of actual problems under the guidance of faculty, selected students also have the opportunity for field placements in business settings.

Refer to our Applying for Graduate Admissions page for information about admissions criteria and procedures.


Program Requirements

The Industrial-Organizational Research specialization requires 39 semester credit hours of coursework and research or field experience. The first year of study typically consists of courses in statistics, research methods, and courses related to the discipline. This work is continued into the second year, where students take additional elective courses and work on a thesis or research project.  Further, during the second year students are encouraged to take part in an internship in a business setting relevant to their primary area of interest.

Content Requirements

  • PSY 518 Personnel Psychology (3)
  • PSY 522 Organizational Psychology (3)
  • PSY 631 Job Analysis and Performance Management (3)
  • PSY 593 Advanced Organizational Psychology (3)
  • PSY 525 Social Psychology (3)

Methodological Requirements

  • PSY 511 Univariate Statistics (4)
  • PSY 512 Research Methodology (3)
  • PSY 611 Advanced Data Analysis (4)

Research Requirements

  • PSY 699 Research and Thesis (4) or PSY 596 Special Problems in Psychology (4)
  • A committee consisting of graduate faculty must review and approve a student's thesis proposal or research project (for non-thesis students) before he or she can sign up for thesis credits or special problems. 

Electives  (9 credits)

  • PSY 590 Industrial-Organizational Psychology Internship
  • PSY 573 Group Dynamics
  • PSY 593 Special Topics in Psychology: Seminars in Organizational Psychology
  • COM 533 Content Analysis Research Materials
  • COM 540 Persuasive Communication and Campaigns
  • MLR 640 Performance Appraisal, Compensation, and Benefits (3 credits)
  • MKT 501 Marketing Theory and Practice (3 credits)

Other courses in Marketing, Operations Management and Business Statistics, Management and Labor Relations, Communication, and Psychology are possible for elective credit, subject to approval by the IOR Faculty Committee.



The faculty of the Industrial-Organizational Research program have diverse areas of expertise, as evident in their research programs and in the courses they teach. These interests broadly address improvements in human resource, and organizational functions, such as:

  • Job-seeking strategies and behavior
  • Employee recruitment strategies and outcomes
  • Work vs. Non-work life balance
  • Motivation and learning
  • Teamwork and leadership
  • Turnover causes and consequences
  • Gender bias in performance appraisal
  • Cross-cultural organizational environments
  • Employee performance and satisfaction
  • Textbook presentation and learning outcomes; and
  • Field research methodology

More detailed information on faculty interests can be found in the faculty's CVs and faculty profile pages, which can be accessed using the links below.

Faculty Profile Title Email Lab name
Mike Horvath Associate Professor Organizational Psychology Research Laboratory
C.C. Bowen Associate Professor Psychological Applications in the Workplace (PAW Lab)


Next Steps for Industrial-Organizational Graduates

The Industrial-Organizational Research Program prepares students to work in organizations that need “people information,” whether it concerns consumers or members of the organization. Students who complete this program can design and execute research to answer questions in a manner that will contribute to improved organizational functioning.

Potential placements:

Potential employment opportunities are plentiful. Many graduates obtain full-time employment in settings where they completed internships or applied research projects.

Graduates are prepared for careers in human resources or organizational behavior, working on topics such as personnel selection, job analysis, job attitude measurement, and training design.  Graduates also are prepared to conduct program evaluation and assessment in public agencies.

The following is a sample of the types of organizations employing graduates of the Industrial-Organizational Research program:

  • Marketing Research Consulting Firms
  • Hospitals and Healthcare Organizations
  • Banks and Financial Institutions
  • Personnel Selection Consulting Firms
  • Advertising Agencies
  • Real Estate Firms
  • Industrial Manufacturers
Where are They Now?

Find out what IO alumni are saying about their experiences


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