Jun 20, 2024  
Graduate Catalog | 2023-2024 
Graduate Catalog | 2023-2024 Previous Edition

Psychology, Industrial/Organizational, M.A.

The objective of UNC Charlotte’s nationally recognized master’s degree program in Industrial/Organizational (I/O) Psychology is to provide students with the knowledge and skills necessary to improve the world of work from both an employee and organizational point of view. The program and its curriculum are built on five key foundational elements: Leadership, Organizational Change and Development, Talent, Culture/Climate, and Analytics. The program provides these foundations in the context of science-driven practice. Specifically, students are provided with a strong foundation in (a) reading, understanding and applying the science of I/O Psychology to solve organizational problems and (b) collecting, critically evaluating, and statistically examining data to support organizational decision-making. Students receive individual attention from faculty members who maintain rigorous standards of academic excellence.

The program is designed to be accessible for working professionals. Courses are offered in the evenings and on weekends so that individuals who work full-time can complete the program. The program is ideal for people working in an I/O-related field, such as in a Human Resources function within an organization, who are looking for a degree that will allow them to expand their career options. The program is also appropriate for working individuals looking to change careers and for individuals who have just completed an undergraduate degree. Work in an I/O-related career is not required for admittance into the program.

An Advisory Board has been established for the I/O Program. The Board, made up of leading I/O psychologists and human resource professionals working in the Charlotte Community (see the department website for a list of current Board members), provides regular reviews and evaluations of the programs’ curriculum to ensure that course content addresses current topics and issues facing I/O psychologists working in the business community. The Board also plays a key role in identifying  business leaders in the community who can provide information or guidance to students.

Admission Requirements

  • Test Scores - Submit scores from the Graduate Record Exam (GRE), Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT), or Miller Analogies Test (MAT). The I/O program will accept scores from any one of these tests.
  • Letters of Recommendation - Two letters of recommendation from working professionals who received a bachelor’s degree more than five years ago are suggested to seek out recommenders who can speak to their capabilities and potential as an I/O or HR professional (e.g., supervisors, coworkers, individuals with an advanced I/O degree). Applicants who have recently graduated from a bachelor’s program, should seek out academic recommenders who can speak to their potential for graduate studies.
  • Statement of Purpose - Minimally, the statement should address: (a) motivation for seeking a degree in I/O psychology, (b) preparation for graduate studies in I/O Psychology, and (c) expectation of how the degree will positively impact your career. Statements should be kept to approximately two pages.
  • Degree - Applicants must also have a bachelor’s degree from a college or university accredited by an accepted accrediting body (the Graduate School requires that applicants upload transcripts from each institution attended). While a degree in psychology or business is not required, applicants with backgrounds in these disciplines may be given preferential treatment.
  • Additional Requirements - The Graduate School has additional requirements for applications. Please see The Graduate School  section and/or the website at graduateschool.uncc.edu for additional details.

Admission to the program is competitive. Applicants whose native language is other than English must offer acceptable scores on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (see graduateschool.uncc.edu for what constitutes an acceptable score). Applications should be submitted by February 1 of years that applications are accepted (applications are accepted on an every other year basis).

Degree Requirements

A minimum of 31 credit hours of graduate coursework is required.  Courses will be required during the Summer Session between the first and second year in the program.  Additional details about these requirements can be found in the I/O Psychology Graduate Student Handbook.

Specialization Tracks (1 or 6 credit hours)

Students select a specialization track:  (1) a thesis research track or (2) a practice track.  These tracks allow the student to tailor, in part, their educational experience to their career objectives.  The only difference between the tracks is the capstone experience.  A complete description of the specialization tracks and requirements (including a thorough discussion of the comprehensive exam) can be found in the most recent version of the I/O Psychology Graduate Student Handbook

Thesis Research Track Option (6 credit hours)

Students choosing the thesis track defend an empirical thesis and take the following:

Practice Track Option (1 credit hour)

Students choosing the practice track complete a standardized comprehensive examination in the summer of year two in the program and take the following course.  The examination samples content from across the I/O Psychology discipline. 

Additional Requirements

All PSYC courses in the Industrial/Organizational Psychology curriculum may be taken only with permission of the Department of Psychological Science or course instructor.  Access to registration for these courses is only by permission of the Department of Psychological Science or course instructor.

Students enrolled in both the M.A. in Industrial/Organizational Psychology program and the Ph.D. in Organizational Science  program must meet additional requirements.  If the student chooses a thesis chair who is not an I/O Psychology faculty member or I/O program affiliated faculty member as listed on the website, the student must complete an extra requirement to demonstrate mastery and socialization as an I/O psychologist.  This can be achieved in one of two ways.

  1. The student may take the I/O Psychology M.A. comprehensive exam (to be administered by an I/O program faculty member)
  2. The student may take 2 or more credit hours of practicum.  The practicum content must be approved by the I/O M.A. Graduate Program Director.  Practicum credit hours do not count toward the required credit hours for the I/O program, but may be used as elective credit hours towards the Ph.D. in Organizational Science  program.

Degree Total = 31-36 Credit Hours

Grade Requirements

Students who receive two grades of C or one Unsatisfactory (U) grade during their graduate career are automatically terminated from the program.

Students must complete either a comprehensive examination or orally defend a thesis project.  Failure to pass the qualifying exam or the oral defense after two attempts will result in termination from the program.

Practica and Applied Experiences

Students who desire I/O-related work experiences have a wide range of opportunities for applied experiences. These can occur as part of a formal practicum experience (i.e., internships) or more informally through the UNC Charlotte Organizational Science Consulting and Research Unit. While practicum experiences are not required as part of the program, Faculty and Advisory Board members have connections within the local community to help students find relevant experiences.