Master of Science in Industrial Organizational Psychology

Program Coordinator: Chris Wright

The SF State Master of Science in Industrial Organizational Psychology (I/O) has been in existence since the early 1960s. The program is a two-year course of study requiring 37 graduate-level units of coursework, 300 hours in an applied internship, and a culminating experience. The program is firmly grounded in the scientist/practitioner model and provides an educational foundation for students who plan to do professional work in the field or continue their education in I/O. The primary emphasis in the I/O graduate program has been placed on the theoretical and empirical foundations of psychology. Although I/O psychology is clearly an applied discipline, our faculty believe that the most valuable educational experience is one in which skills and knowledge are developed through an understanding of basic concepts, methods, and research in the field of I/O psychology. The program attracts applicants from throughout the country and abroad. Currently, 80% of our students admitted to the program majored in psychology as an undergraduate. Applicants often have experience with psychology research, working in human resources, and/or organizational consulting. Typically, 9-12 new students enroll each academic year. Because it is a two-year program, this means that there are usually 18-24 active I/O graduate students at any given time. 

Students complete 37 graduate-level units across the two years. In year one, the workload primarily involves coursework within seminar courses. In year two, the workload primarily involves supervised work within an internship, independent study, and research. Students must take at least two electives to complete the necessary units for the program. The electives can be taken during either year of the program. A wide variety of elective courses are available, subject to approval by the I/O faculty. Particular student interests and career goals are considered in selecting the elective courses. Electives most commonly taken include courses in other areas of psychology (e.g., social, developmental, statistics), the Lan Family College of Business, and supervised research within a faculty research lab (PSY 799 or PSY 899).

Graduate Programs in Psychology

Application to a graduate program is completed through the Cal State Apply application process.

The graduate admission application must be submitted by the deadline to be considered for admission. The department accepts applications for the fall semester only, with a deadline of February 1st. The Master in Science programs generally require an interview during the admissions process.

Some of the Psychology graduate programs require applicants to submit the results of the Graduate Record Examination — verbal, quantitative, and writing sections. Applicants should check the current application of the program they are applying for requirements.

Students who intend to work toward the M.A. or the M.S. in Psychology must meet the prerequisites outlined within each concentration. Required undergraduate coursework that an applicant may not have completed can be rectified as the graduate advisor deems fit without being included as units toward completion of the master's degree

To advance to candidacy (graduation), graduate students must meet all the general requirements for the specific program in which they are involved.

Written English Proficiency Requirement

Graduate students pursuing a Master of Science in Industrial Organizational Psychology must meet both of the following proficiencies to advance to candidacy (graduation):

Level 1 - A score of 4.0 or better on the GRE Analytical Writing Test or equivalent.

Level 2 - Satisfactory completion of the Comprehensive Written Examination (PSY 896 or PSY 896EXM [0 units]) or PSY 898 Master’s Thesis.


Applicants to the Master of Science in Industrial Organizational Psychology must have:

  1. Completed an undergraduate course in intermediate statistics.
  2. Completed 15 units of Psychology coursework.

Program Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the Master of Science in Industrial Organizational Psychology the student will be able to:​

  1. Conduct a review of scientific research and identify applications of theories related to:
    • employee selection
    • performance appraisal
    • training and development
    • worker motivation and attitudes
    • teamwork and leadership in organizations
  2. Conduct a:
    • job/task analysis
    • selection decision
    • training needs assessment
    • survey assessment within an organization
  3. Apply legal and ethical guidelines to workplace problems.

Industrial/Organizational Psychology (M.S.) - 37 units

Data Collection and Analysis (7 units)

PSY 770Research Methods and Techniques3
PSY 772Applications of Multiple Regression to Psychological Research4

Core Industrial/Organizational (21 units)

PSY 760Seminar in Organizational Psychology3
PSY 761Industrial and Organizational Psychology3
PSY 762Seminar in Industrial Psychology3
PSY 765Industrial Training Program Development3
PSY 766Psychological Foundations of Organizational Change3
PSY 768Seminar to Accompany Field Experience in Industrial/Organizational Psychology3
PSY 769Field Experience in Industrial/Organizational Psychology3

Electives (6 units)

Selected with the approval of an advisor. Examples include:

COUN 720Career Counseling3
CSC 869Data Mining3
CSC 890Graduate Seminar3
DS 776Data Analysis for Managers3
LABR/ANTH 525Diversity in the Workplace3
MGMT 640Managing Diversity in the Workplace3
MGMT 656Seminar in Managing Teams3
MGMT 788Management Principles and Organizational Behavior3
PSY 740Seminar in Social Psychology3
PSY 742Seminar in Survey Research3
PSY 771Analysis of Variance and Experimental Design4
PSY 799Supervised Selected Research2-6
PSY 899Independent Study1-3

Culminating Experience (3 units)

Select one:

PSY 896
Directed Reading
and Culminating Experience Examination
PSY 898Master's Thesis3