Option in Industrial/Organizational Psychology

MS in Psychology, Option in Industrial/Organizational Psychology









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Student Learning Outcomes   

MSIO Application Prerequisites
MSIO Degree Requirements
MSIO Faculty
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Sampling of MSIO Theses Titles

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The Master of Science in Psychology, Option in Industrial/Organizational Psychology program (MSIO) is a rigorous program designed for students who plan to use psychology in the solution of problems in business and industryThe program combines scientific discipline with professional practice.  Student learning is achieved through seminars consisting of both a core sequence and course electives, practicum experience within an organization and development of a professional portfolio or a thesis.  Required seminars examine a variety of content areas within Industrial/Organizational (I/O) psychology including organizational behavior, personnel psychology, training, and organizational development.  Elective courses allow students some flexibility in determining which statistics and research methods courses best suit their personal interests.

The practicum enables students to implement I/O knowledge and skills in an organization.  The capstone of either a portfolio/research project or a traditional thesis provides the opportunity for students to display the culmination of their research and analytical skills. 

This full time program was established specifically to encourage qualified individuals to advance their formal education beyond the bachelor’s degree in areas that emphasize the value of human resources in the industrial community.  The program is conceived as leading to a terminal M.S. degree, but some of our students successfully pursue doctorate education.  Perhaps due in part to student interest in organizations, the majority of students are employed part time during the program.  Such employment can facilitate understanding of Industrial/Organizational theory, and provide the opportunity for practical applications of material discussed in the seminars.  Although part time employment (particularly in human resource or organizational development fields) is encouraged, students are advised to work no more than 20 to 25 hours per week during the first year of enrollment.

The Master of Science in Psychology, Option in Industrial/Organizational Psychology program at CSULB is an academically challenging program that requires a high degree of student dedication for satisfactory completion.  Each seminar during the first year of enrollment typically assigns 60 – 80 pages of primary (i.e., journal articles and book chapters) and secondary (i.e., textbook) reading sources weekly, in combination with group assignments, research proposals, class presentations and/or exams.  Through experience, faculty have learned that satisfactory progress is unlikely to be achieved by students who attempt to work more than 20 to 25 hours per week in addition to enrollment in the industrial/organizational program. In order to properly address student academic needs, applicants will not be admitted if they cannot commit to full time enrollment status.  The program typically admits approximately 10-12 students annually. Although there are no minimal cutoff scores beyond University requirements for admittance, successful applicants typically possess a GPA greater than 3.5 for their last 60 units.  (Due to the recent implementation of a new GRE scoring system, it is not possible to provide target scores.  Applicants are encouraged to prepare before taking the GREs.)  Most graduates of the program have found positions in industry, have advanced in the companies employing them, or have been accepted into Ph.D. programs elsewhere.

Personnel Analyst; Performance Assessment; Services Consultant; Compensation Analyst; Human Resources Manager; Special Projects Coordinator; Consultant for Strategic Resources; Director of Marketing; Organizational Effectiveness Consultant; Organizational Development Specialist; Training & Development Manager; Strategic Research Analyst; Research Analyst; Testing & Assessment Specialist

Los Angeles USD, Strategic Business Solutions – Rite Aid, Andersen Worldwide, Ford Motor Company, Ernst & Young, Pacific Bell, Hay Group Consulting, Toyota Motor Credit Corporation, Universal Studios, J.D. Power & Associates, City of Los Angeles, City of Santa Monica, City of Huntington Beach, City of Long Beach, County of Los Angeles, County of Orange, Boeing, TRW, Southern California Edison, The Gas Company, Jack-in-the-Box (Corporate), TransAmerica, CSU Dominguez Hills, California State University Chancellor’s Office.

APA: I/O Introduction  
APA: Pursuing a Career in IO Psychology
SIOP: Building Better Organizations (www.SIOP.org)  
SIOP Brochure: Becoming an IO Psychologist
SIOP Brochure: Science for a Smarter Workplace  
I/O Psychology – A Brief Description
USA Today: IO Psychology Fastest Growing Job 


SIOP Science for a Smarter Workplace Video

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Student Learning Outcomes

Knowledge Base in I-O Psychology

By the time of completion of the Master’s degree, students will:

  1. Describe key concepts, principles, and overarching themes in I-O psychology.
    a. Including (but not limited to) information related to the following topics:

    1. Measurement of Individual Differences
    2. Criterion Theory and Development
    3. Job and Task Analysis
    4. Employee Selection, Placement, and Classification
    5. Performance Appraisal and Feedback
    6. Training: Theory, Program Design, and Evaluation
    7. Work Motivation
    8. Attitude Theory; Small Group Theory and Process
    9. Organization Theory
    10. Organizational Development

Scientific Inquiry and Critical Thinking

By the time of completion of the Master’s degree, students will:

  1. Use scientific reasoning to interpret I-O psychological findings.
  2. Engage in innovative and integrative thinking and problem solving.
  3. Interpret, design, and conduct I-O psychological research.
  4. Appropriately apply and properly conduct descriptive and inferential statistical analyses.

Ethical and Social Responsibility in a Diverse World

By the time of completion of the Master’s degree, students will:

  1. Demonstrate an understanding of the ethical and legal implications of conducting research in and the practice of I-O psychology.


By the time of completion of the Master’s degree, students will:

  1. Demonstrate effective writing skills.
  2. Exhibit effective presentation skills.
  3. Engage in active and meaningful discussion/dialogue on I-O psychological topics.

Professional Development

By the time of completion of the Master’s degree, students will:

  1. Apply I-O psychological content and skills to succeed in professional and academic endeavors.
  2. Demonstrate the ability to work effectively both independently and in group settings.
  3. Develop meaningful professional direction for a career after graduation.


MS in Psychology, Option in Industrial/Organizational Psychology – Degree Application Prerequisites


Applicants to the industrial/organizational program are expected to have a bachelor’s degree with a major in Psychology or 24 upper division units (eight semester upper division courses) of Psychology coursework, as well as some lower division courses.  (If your bachelor’s degree is not in Psychology, please visit this page.)  The following courses (or their equivalents) must be included.  Students may be admitted to the industrial/organizational program if they lack only one required prerequisite course.  The missing course must be completed within the first year of graduate study.  Students missing more than one prerequisite course at the time of application may be offered provisional admission, if they submit a plan to take the missing courses along with their application, subject to approval.  However, because these 2 course areas are prerequisites for the first semester MS in Psychology, Option in Industrial/Organizational program courses, PSY 314 or 315 AND 351 or 381 or 453/553 must be taken prior to program entry.

Prerequisite Coursework must include the following CSULB courses (or equivalents, to be determined by Psychology Dept.):

  • PSY 220 (Research Methods)
  • PSY 310 (Intermediate Statistics; requires Introductory Statistics)
  • PSY 314 (Psychological Assessment) or PSY 315 (Principles of Psychological Testing)
  • PSY 332 (Cognition) or PSY 333 (Psychology of Learning)
  • PSY 351 (Social Psychology) or PSY 381 (Introduction to Industrial/Organizational Psychology) or PSY 453/553 (Principles of Group Dynamics)

See Prerequisite course descriptions below (PSY 100 is prerequisite for all courses):

100. General Psychology (3)
Introduction to the scientific study of human behavior.  Provides a basis for further study and for application to everyday life.  Topics include biological foundations of behavior, motivation, emotion, learning, memory, thinking, personality, development, social behavior, abnormal behavior, methods of therapy.

110. Introductory Statistics (4)
Calculation and meaning of statistical measures.  Descriptive and inferential statistics.

220. Research Methods (4)
Prerequisite: PSY 110 or introductory statistics course.
Introduction to basic research methods in Psychology.  Principles of experimentation, naturalistic observation, correlational studies.

310. Intermediate Statistics (3)
Prerequisites: PSY 110 or introductory statistics course.
Basic theoretical concepts of statistics and the use of these concepts in the selection and development of model testing, hypothesis testing and parameter estimation procedures.  Both single measure (univariate) and correlational (bivariate) concepts will be covered.

314. Psychological Assessment (3)
Prerequisites: PSY 110, 220.
Principles of assessment applied to the measurement of individual behavior and to programs intended to affect behavior.  Includes interviews, tests and other methods.

315. Principles of Psychological Testing (3)
Prerequisites: PSY 110, 220.
Principles and practices of group and individual testing in the fields of intelligence, aptitude, achievement, personality and interest.  Emphasis on the evaluation of tests as measuring devices, their applicability and limitations.

332. Cognition (3)
Prerequisite: PSY 220, 241.
Study of higher-order processes basic to the acquisition of knowledge. Includes thinking, problem solving, creativity, information processing, decision making, judgment, concepts and imagination.

333. Psychology of Learning (3)
Prerequisite: PSY 220, 241.
Learning is a relatively permanent change in behavior resulting from experience.  Emphasizes interaction of biological and environmental variables in the processes of instinct, habituation, sensitization, Pavlovian conditioning, instrumental learning, and cognition; examination of methods, theory and applications.

351. Social Psychology (3)
Study of individuals and groups as they are affected by social interactions. Topics may include social cognition, attitudes and persuasion, social influence, interpersonal perception and attraction, aggression, altruism, and group dynamics.
Not open to students with credit in SOC335I.

381. Introduction to Industrial/Organizational Psychology (3)
Introduction to theories, methods, findings, and applications of industrial-organizational (IO) psychology. Topics covered include job analysis, employee recruitment and selection, performance appraisal, employee training and development, work stress, teams, satisfaction, motivation, and leadership.

453/553. Principles of Group Dynamics (3)
Prerequisite: PSY 351 or consent of instructor.
Behavior in groups with attention to such factors as leadership, followership, interaction and influence including organization, management, morale, and efficiency.  Problems, techniques and methods of investigation.

A number of the courses in the MS in Psychology, Option in Industrial/Organizational program are dual numbered, i.e., while course material is the same there is a separate numbering for graduate (500-level) and undergraduate (400-level).  All graduate students (those who hold a Bachelor’s Degree) are to enroll in the 500-level courses.  Courses that are double numbered include the following: 401/501; 407/507; 411/511; 412/512; 415/515; 418/518; 423/523; 427/527; 433/533; 436/536; 438/538; 441/541; 444/544; 451/551; 456/553; 456/556; 475/575.

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MS in Psychology, Option in Industrial/Organizational Psychology – Degree Requirements

Current MSIO Program Handbook    

36-UNIT SEQUENCE OF REQUIRED COURSES (Applied/Portfolio Track OR Research/Thesis Track)

The CSULB MSIO program offers students a choice between two tracks: applied/portfolio or research/thesis.  Students must declare their choice of track by the beginning of their second year in the program.  While the coursework for the two tracks is largely the same, the tracks are differentiated primarily by the culminating experience.  Students planning on a career as a practitioner of Industrial-Organizational psychology are encouraged to choose the applied/portfolio track.  In this track, a student will assist a faculty member in a supervised research project, and will develop a portfolio of his or her applied projects.  Students planning on pursuing a doctorate in Industrial-Organizational psychology may consider the research/thesis track, which requires students to conduct an entire thesis.  Steps in thesis development include choosing a research topic, creation of a thesis proposal, data collection and analysis, and writing a discussion of study findings.

Applied/Portfolio Track

  1. PSY 581 Organizational Psychology
  2. PSY 585 Personnel Psychology
  3. Two (2) of the following advanced statistical courses:
    PSY 511  Statistical Design and Analysis of Experiments
    PSY 512  Multivariate Analysis
    PSY 523  Qualitative Methods in Psychology
  4. Two (2) of the following courses: 
    PSY 501  History of Psychology
    PSY 518  Computer Applications in Psychology
    PSY 527  Human Factors
    PSY 533  Research Cognition and Learning
    PSY 544  Cognitive Neuroscience
    PSY 553  Principles of Group Dynamics
    PSY 575  Clinical Interviewing
    PSY 634  Seminar in Cognition
    PSY 651  Seminar in Social Psychology
    PSY 656  Seminar in Personality
    HRM 445 Compensation Administration
  5. PSY 515 Test Construction
  6. PSY 582 Research in Industrial Psychology
  7. PSY 683 Issues in Organizational Development
  8. PSY 686 Issues in Training
  9. PSY 688 Practicum in Industrial Organizational
  10. PSY 699 Directed Research and Portfolio

Research/Thesis Track

  1. PSY 581 Organizational Psychology
  2. PSY 585 Personnel Psychology
  3. Two (2) of the following advanced statistical courses:
    PSY 511  Statistical Design and Analysis of Experiments
    PSY 512  Multivariate Analysis
    PSY 523  Qualitative Methods in Psychology
  4. One (1) of the following courses:
    PSY 501  History of Psychology
    PSY 518  Computer Applications in Psychology
    PSY 527  Human Factors
    PSY 533  Research Cognition and Learning
    PSY 544  Cognitive Neuroscience
    PSY 553  Principles of Group Dynamics
    PSY 575  Clinical Interviewing
    PSY 634  Seminar in Cognition
    PSY 651  Seminar in Social Psychology
    PSY 656  Seminar in Personality
    HRM 445 Compensation Administration
  5. PSY 515 Test Construction
  6. PSY 582 Research in Industrial Psychology
  7. PSY 683 Issues in Organizational Development
  8. PSY 686 Issues in Training
  9. PSY 688 Practicum in Industrial Organizational
  10. PSY 698 Thesis

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MS in Psychology, Option in Industrial/Organizational Psychology Faculty

Gino_GalvezGino Galvez  
Assistant Professor 
PhD, Portland State University

Dr. Gino Galvez received his B.A. degree in Psychology from California State University, Northridge and his Ph.D. degree in Applied Psychology from Portland State University. Dr. Galvez serves as the Director of the Center for Evaluation and Educational Effectiveness (CEEE) and has over 15 years of experience conducting mixed-methods evaluation research for grant-supported projects and community-based organizations. In addition, Dr. Galvez has played key roles as an investigator or lead evaluator on multi-year grant-funded research projects (e.g., National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, U.S. Department of Education). Broadly, these research projects have focused on examining interventions that broaden participation in the STEM fields. More specifically, he has examined brief writing interventions, low-income, first-generation status and underrepresented student success, undergraduate research training programs, the role of mentoring, and the development of noncognitive factors (e.g., science identity). In the Department of Psychology, he teaches courses in Test Construction, Research Methods, Qualitative Methods, Social Psychology, and Industrial-Organizational Psychology.



Christopher Warren – MSIO Chair 
Associate Professor
PhD, Tulane University

Chris Warren went to the University of South Florida for his undergraduate studies, completing a thesis as a McNair Scholar focusing on the effects of caseworker turnover in home intervention programs. Chris went on to graduate studies in New Orleans at Tulane University, completing a masters thesis on the outcomes of emotion regulation at work, and a doctoral dissertation on affective reactions to the way organizations manage various stakeholders. Joining the CSULB faculty in 2006, Chris has taught numerous courses at the undergraduate and graduate level, including Research Methods, Group Dynamics, and Organizational Training, and has supervised a number of thesis projects on topics ranging from psychometrics to counterproductive work behaviors. In addition to research, he has done program evaluation for the department and its courses, graduate programs, and the university. Through service-learning courses, and as a consultant, Chris has also done team-building and development work for academic programs, research consortia, and local organizations such as the City of Anaheim and YWCA. Chris enjoys hiking, cooking, and tennis in his (hypothetical) free time.


Amy Wax amywax
Assistant Professor
PhD, Georgia Institute of Technology

Amy Wax received her B.A. in Psychology from Occidental College in 2010, and received her M.S. and Ph.D. in I/O Psychology from Georgia Tech in 2013 and 2015.  Her research interests include diversity in the workplace, teamwork, and social networks. She has published in journals such as Organizational Psychology Review and Small Group Research. At CSULB, Amy instructs classes at the graduate (e.g., Organizational Development, Organizational Psychology, Social Network Analysis) and undergraduate levels (e.g., Introduction to Industrial/Organizational Psychology). In her free time, she enjoys playing tennis and ukulele.     
Amy Wax CV  



David Whitney  
PhD, Michigan State University

Dave Whitney earned his BS degree from Union College in NY, and his MA and PhD degrees in Industrial-Organizational Psychology from Michigan State University. As a faculty member at CSULB since 1995, Dr. Whitney has taught graduate courses in personnel selection, test construction and employee training, as well as undergraduate courses in Autism Spectrum Disorders and I-O psychology. He has served as a program evaluator for numerous grant-supported and institutional research projects. In addition to research interests in employment testing and employment coaching, he has collaborated with local Regional Centers to examine factors that might facilitate employment opportunities for individuals with developmental disabilities. While he very much enjoys his adopted home of Southern California, his childhood roots are reflected in his undying (and some might say undeserved) devotion to New York Jets football. 


Steve Rivera

Steve Rivera received his M.A. in Industrial/Organizational psychology in 2007 from California State University, Long Beach, and has worked full-time with the City of Los Angeles Personnel Department since 2007. While with the Personnel Department, he has worked in the Public Safety Bureau, Employee Development Section, Examining Section, and Employment Services Section.  Steve’s interest are in the areas of testing and job analysis and has presented at PTC, IPMA, and SCPMA on these topics.  He has been fortunate enough to work on various projects including the creation of a competency model approach to job analysis, creation of a non-cognitive test, and the implementation of an online application and candidate tracking system. Future projects include online testing (proctored and unproctored), online performance evaluations, and onboarding.

List of all CSULB Psychology Faculty and Contact Information

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2017/2018 MSIO Committee Student Representatives

Renee Lutz     
Diana Pineda       


Sampling of Masters’ Theses Titles from the MS in Psychology – Option in Industrial/Organizational Psychology program

“Repatriation Adjustment: A Study of American Employees after Return from Overseas Assignments”

“The Effects of Humor on Perceptions of Organizational Conflict”

“Feng Shui and Psychology: Situational and Individual Predictors of Dominance”

“Applicant Reactions to Biodata Item Types”

“Cultural Differences in Perceptions of Effective Leadership Behaviors”

“The Effects of Physical Attractiveness and Interview Structure on Hiring Decisions”

“The Effects on Leader-Member Exchange on Supervisor’s Downward Influence Attempts”

List of MS Industrial/Organizational Psychology Masters’ Theses Abstracts

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Psychology Department Graduate Assistant Positions   

    The Psychology department has a number of graduate assistant positions available.  These provide financial support and professional experience, as well as additional contact between students and faculty.  These positions are awarded on a competitive basis to new and continuing students.  Types of positions include graduate assistants in laboratory and other courses.

Current students and successful applicants interested in serving as a Graduate Assistant (GA) should submit a GA application to the Graduate Advisor.  Applications must be submitted for each semester.  Positions are open until filled.  Review of applications will begin June 15th for the Fall semester and November 15th for the Spring semester, and should be submitted by these deadlines.
Successful applicants will be sent a URL for the GA applications.  GA applications should be sent to the Graduate Advisor’s office.

Each semester the department of Psychology hires about 10-13 graduate assistants to perform various activities.  The assignments are usually 10 hours per week for 17 weeks in the Fall and 17 weeks in the Spring.  Most GA assignments fall into two major categories.  Some assignments are to assist in the introductory research methods course.  This involves preparing materials, grading papers and assisting students.  Other GA assignments support introductory and intermediate statistics courses.  These assignments generally involve grading papers, assisting students and helping students with various statistical software packages.  Both research methods and statistics GA positions also involve providing support for the department computer lab.  An EEO/AA/Title IX policy is followed.


  • Financial: If appointed for 10 hours of work each week, a first year GA receives approximately $5000 per year.  There are some 10 hour per week positions available.
  • Educational: By teaching, GAs can further develop their own psychological skills.
  • Experiential: Working closely with a faculty member can add to a GA’s knowledge and experience.
  • Convenience: Having a job on campus can save travel time and study time.

J. Robert Newman Scholars Program   

Due to a generous bequeathment from a faculty member beloved by students, staff and colleagues, the Psychology department is able to award three students funding that will cover a portion of the cost of enrollment fees.  The three master’s program committees may each select an outstanding incoming or continuing student as a J. Robert Newman scholar.  The recipient receives $500/semester, up to four semesters.

Additional Sources of Financial Support   

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