Graduate Program Industrial/Organizational Psychology

Topics Covered
Masters Program
Doctoral Program
Combined J.D./M.A. Program
Course Offerings
Professional Opportunities 
I-O Program Disclosure Data  

Applications are due December 15 for admission during the next Fall term.

The express mission of the Industrial/Organizational Psychology Program at The University of Tulsa is to achieve students’ mastery of key knowledge and skills needed to help organizations succeed through selecting, training, and engaging the best available workers. Adopting a scientist-practitioner orientation, we emphasize that the best foundation for good practice is good science. Our curriculum offers a balance of I/O content, methods, and applications in a culture stressing professionalism, respect for individual differences, and the importance of evidence-based practice. Our students learn to think critically and to communicate clearly in solving real-world problems in work settings. Practice is what we do; science is how we do it. 

Topics covered in the I/O programs

Personnel Assessment: Developing and using assessment tools for personnel selection, classification, and promotion; measuring the impact of cultural variables on test performance; early identification of managerial potential; and emphasis on alternatives to cognitive abilities testing, including physical fitness and personality assessment.

Criterion Development and Performance Management: Understanding job duties and worker requirements using both traditional job analysis and modern competency modeling approaches; designing, implementing, and monitoring effective performance appraisal and performance management systems.

Quality of Work Life: Increasing effectiveness at the organizational, work unit, and individual levels; balancing work and family role requirements; facilitating change in organizational systems; and redesigning jobs to increase both employee productivity and satisfaction.

Training and Development: Training needs assessment, formulation and implementation of training programs designed to improve individual and organizational effectiveness, and evaluating training and developmental programs in terms of their impact on employee productivity and satisfaction.

Leadership and Motivation: Employees' morale, decisions to join/leave occupations and organizations, definition of leadership and its role in developing and enhancing subordinate motivation, impact of leadership on organizational effectiveness.

Human Resource Management and Employee Relations: Design, implementation, and management of employee reward systems; understanding the implications of changing workforce characteristics for human resource management; developing and implementing systems for reducing work-related stress; increasing occupational health and safety; and balancing work and family demands.

The Master's Program

The M.A. degree program is a 42-credit-hour program designed for both full- and part-time students. It is a flexible program that permits specialization in traditional personnel topics such as selection and performance assessment, organizational development and effectiveness, or the development of research skills for diagnosing organizational problems and evaluating interventions.

The I/O Master's degree program has a very strong local and regional reputation and a growing national reputation. Approximately 10 students are admitted each year. Nearly all students complete the M.A. degree in two years, and many complete the M.A. degree in a year-and-a-half by taking additional courses during the summer and a slightly heavier course load during the year. The student population is diverse in gender, age, ethnicity, and nationality, and students often enter the program with extensive experience in human resource management, organizational consulting, or work experience in organizations.

Recent entrants into our MA program have undergraduate GPAs in the 3.0 to 3.7 range and verbal and quantitative GRE scores that rank in the 55th percentile. Although we have admissions cutoffs for GRE scores and for undergraduate GPA, we occasionally admit students who score below these cutoffs if they have other strengths in their application. 

Our students find successful employment in local businesses, consulting firms, corporations, or governmental organizations. Further, several of our M.A. students, on the strength of their training and performance, have been admitted to Ph.D. programs in industrial and organizational psychology at TU and other prominent Doctoral programs.

The Doctoral Program

The Ph.D. degree program requires a minimum of 90 semester hours beyond the baccalaureate degree. In addition to program elements that are required of all Doctoral students (the general psychology core, statistics, research methodology, the pre-candidacy research paper, the comprehensive exam, and the dissertation), students in the I/O program complete a flexible 15-hour core within their area of specialization. Students can take electives in psychology, business, law, education, and engineering as consistent with their professional goals.

The program is designed to prepare students for employment in industry, government, research, consulting, or university settings. Completion of a Master's thesis is not required for this program, although students complete a pre-candidacy research paper and may earn an M.A. degree as part of normal progress through the program.

The I/O Doctoral program admits three to six students each year. The program is designed to take four years to complete. We make a genuine effort to evaluate the “whole” applicant. GRE scores and GPA are important but other factors such as research and work experience, writing ability and professional goals are also given strong consideration. Recent entrants into our Ph.D. program have undergraduate GPAs in the 3.5-4.0 range and typically have verbal and quantitative GRE scores that rank in the 60th percentile.

Combined J.D./M.A. in I/O Psychology

In conjunction with the College of Law, the Department of Psychology offers an interdisciplinary program in law and I/O Psychology. Students who are interested in the joint program seek admission to each individual program and consult with academic advisors in each program to plan their degree program. There are two curriculum options for the joint program.

  • Option 1 consists of 30 credits of psychology and 81 credits of law
  • Option 2 consists of 33 credits of psychology and 78 credits of law.

Both options include all required subjects as established by the College of Law for the Juris Doctor degree (the J.D. is an ABA and AALS accredited degree) and all required subjects in industrial and organizational psychology as established by the Department of Psychology. This program eliminates 21 hours of course work that would be required if the programs in law and industrial and organizational psychology were taken separately.

Course Offerings

The industrial and organizational psychology program is designed to help students adapt their academic work to their professional goals and interests while ensuring that they are broadly trained psychologists. All students are required to take a graduate level introductory industrial and organizational psychology course and at least 12 additional hours of graduate level work in industrial psychology. Most of this course work consists of seminars on specific topics in industrial and organizational psychology. In recent years, these seminars have covered job analysis and personnel selection, organizational development, organizational theory, leadership and motivation, training, compensation, and occupational stress, health, and safety. Students are encouraged to conduct independent studies in specific areas of interest.

Students also may take courses in other programs that are consistent with the goals of graduate education in industrial and organizational psychology. Sample courses include organizational change, behavioral science in administration, international human resource management, human resource management law, and program evaluation. Students meeting the prerequisites are encouraged to take courses in other topics such as finance, economics, and strategic planning. Finally, the I/O program recognizes the increasing overlap between clinical psychology and industrial psychology. Consequently, students are encouraged to take certain clinical psychology courses that are relevant to the science and practice of I/O Psychology.


Students in both the M.A. and Ph.D. programs begin applied work early in their training. M.A. students are also required to complete Psy 7443 (Fieldwork in I/O Psychology), an internship in a human resource management or Industrial/Organizational Psychology position. The internship lasts for at least a semester and consists of at least 12-15 hours per week of work (or the estimated equivalent of a three credit course). Doctoral students may also complete Psy 7443 and may repeat it for up to a total of nine credit hours. The I/O Psychology program has relationships with a number of local and national corporations, consulting firms, and government agencies. These relationships greatly facilitate the process of securing internships for students, and students typically receive compensation for their internship work. Qualified students gain additional experience by participating in faculty research and internal or external consulting.

Professional Opportunities

Graduate students may also develop personal and professional skills through membership in a variety of organizations on campus, locally, and nationally. I/O students are highly encouraged to join professional societies like SIOPand the Academy of Management as student members. Students may contribute to SIOP’s official blog, The SIOP Exchange.  Graduate students in the I/O program may also attend monthly meetings of two professional societies, the local chapters of the American Society for Training and Development and the Society for Human Resource Management. Graduate students may also join the Graduate Students of Psychology (GRASP) or participate in research/community activities through Center for Community Research and Development (CCRD). Upon joining these research based organizations, many, if not most, students become actively involved, and present research at annual conventions of these organizations.

Notably, the Graduate School provides travel support for such presentations, and students may receive as much as $1000 to offset travel costs.