FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Some of the more frequently asked questions of our program are listed below. They are grouped into two categories: Questions about I-O graduate education in general and questions about our specific program. If your questions remain unanswered, or you just need more information, please e-mail Michael-Biderman@utc.edu.
Should I get a masters degree before applying to Ph.D. programs?
Students who intend to obtain a doctorate and who have the credentials to be admitted directly into a Ph.D. program should apply directly to such programs. Having a master's degree is not a prerequisite for admission to most Ph.D. programs. There is no guarantee that coursework taken in a master's program will satisfy requirements of a Ph.D. program.
One advantage of completing a master's degree such as that offered by UTC is in the practical focus of the coursework. Graduates of a program such as ours have a much better grasp of problem areas within I-O psychology than most undergraduates. Some Ph.D. programs appreciate and seek out this greater awareness of the field.
Students who have been unable to get into Ph.D. programs may increase their chances at future success by successfully completing a master's program. The reasons for this are that completing a thesis, presenting at conferences and meeting Ph.D. level faculty can better prepare these students to make the jump to a Ph.D. program after graduating with their master's degree. Each year, one or two of our students has sought admission to doctoral program and most have been successful. In recent years, UTC graduates have been accepted at The University of Tennessee, University of Oklahoma, Virginia Commonwealth University, the University of Nebraska, University of Central Florida, and Georgia Tech.
What do graduates of I-O masters programs generally do?
Many graduates of the program initially work within Human Resources departments. In smaller organizations, one person may be the entire "HR department". In larger firms, M.S. level graduates typically specialize in some area such as staffing, training, job analysis, or compensation. Others work as organization or training specialists, focusing on human resources problem solving and education throughout an organization.
A growing employment option for master's students is work within consulting firms. These positions are typically project-based in traditional HR areas (e.g., staffing, training, performance appraisal, compensation) but may also involve more macro-organizational tasks such as setting up team-based practices, doing employee surveys, or suggesting changes to organizational structure.
In addition to these two main career routes, other graduates of our programa have used their statistics training to obtain work as data or statistical analysts. Finally, some graduates have gone on to Ph.D. programs.
How much money do new I-O masters graduates typically make?
Starting salaries depend on both the type of organization, e.g., public vs. private, the size of the organization, and the location of the country. Here is a link to a web site that has recent salary information on I-O graduates: http://www.siop.org/tip/backissues/July05/pdf/Sheridan%20redo/431_036to050.pdf
Can I visit the campus?
Absolutely. We would love to meet you. Just contact the current program director, Dr. Bart Weathington at Bart-Weathington@utc.edu or by phone (423-425-4289) and you can set up a mutually convenient time. Your visit will probably not affect our admissions decision, so do not come just for that reason. But if you want to see us in person and/or want to see the Chattanooga area, we encourage your visit. Typically, you will spend 30-45 minutes with one of the faculty and then we will show you around campus and probably will be able to spend an hour or so driving you around Chattanooga.
How much is all of this going to cost?
For the 2007-2008 academic year the total cost for in-state graduate students is $5854 (about $2927 per semester for 9 or more credit hours). For out-of-state students, it is projected to be $15,816 (roughly $7908 per semester for 9 or more credit hours). These figures are usually adjusted each summer for the following academic year. The projected per semester costs for the 2008-2009 academic year are not yet determined, but can be expected to be between 6 and 8% more than the current levels.
In-state and out-of-state residency is determined by the Graduate Division. Generally, if you come from out-of-state to attend school, you will retain your out-of-state designation for the entire program. Out-of-state students who are working full-time in Tennessee are permitted to take 6 hours each semester at in-state rates. You may contact the Dean of the Graduate School, Dr. Deborah Arfken, with questions about residency regulations.
Where do graduate students typically live?
There are many places to live in Chattanooga within either a short walk or drive from the campus. Recently, a complex of dormitories called UTC Place was constructed next to campus. This complex includes some apartments designated for graduate students. But the vast majority of our students live off-campus. A great many of them live in one of the apartment complexes that are located on Mountain Creek Road at the foot of Signal Mountain (technically Walden's Ridge). This area is a 10-minute drive from campus.
Can I go on to a Ph.D. program after graduating from UTC's I-O program?
Certainly, but not automatically. We have no formal ties with any Ph.D. program. However, 10 to 20% of our graduates go on to do Ph.D. work. Admission to a Ph.D. program is in no way assured if you successfully complete our program, but if you come and do well, you may improve your prospects.
When would classes actually begin?
Classes typically begin during the last full week of August. We hold an orientation for two days at the end of the week prior to the start of classes. For Fall, 2005 classes began Monday, August 22. Orientation is on Thursday and Friday, August 18 and 19.
Can I apply after the March 15th deadline?
Yes. However, if you do, consideration of your application is affected not only by your qualifications, but also by the space available for the coming Fall semester. Thus, your probability of admittance is highest if you submit your materials by the March 15th deadline. The later you apply, the less likely it is that there will be space available.
I received a letter saying that I was "provisionally admitted." What does that mean?
The admissions process to any UTC graduate program occurs in two phases. In the first phase, the Graduate Division makes an initial assessment of an applicant's undergraduate GPA. If it is 2.5 or better, the applicant is "Provisionally Admitted," even if the application is not fullycomplete. In this status, applicants are permitted to take up to 9 credit hours of graduate course work that, if approved by the program coordinator, may be applied to the student's graduation requirements if that applicant is subsequently admitted to the program.
The second phase of the process is admission to the I-O degree program. The first cutoff date for this decision is March 15. If there are slots available after March 15, other students may be admitted.
Our M.S. program is selective, and not all provisional students are admitted to the I-O degree program. Only students with sufficiently high undergraduate grade point averages and GRE scores, lucid personal statements, and excellent letters of recommendation are accepted into the degree program. It is important to point out that "Provisional Admission" is not probation. Successful completion of the 9 hours does not insure subsequent admission to the I-O program.
The provisional status allows local students to get started on course work while they work to complete their application. The I-O program policy is to allow provisionally admitted students to take only elective courses. And they take this course work at the risk of ending up not being admitted to the program. Applicants should never make plans to move to Chattanooga to attend the I-O program just because they have been provisionally admitted.
Do you accept new students in the Spring (or Summer)?
Admission for the Spring or Summer terms is unusual, but possible. Students admitted in the spring may take elective courses in the program. Because of the sequencing of our classes, full-time students who begin in the Spring cannot complete the program in less than 5 semesters, whereas almost all full-time students who start in the Fall will be finished in 4 semesters (not counting the Summer as a semester).
Can I report some other GPA other than my overall GPA in my application?
Many students think that their overall undergraduate GPA (including all collegiate hours, no matter where they were taken) is not the best reflection of their academic abilities. While our formula uses the overall GPA, we encourage you to report some other value that you think is a better reflection of your present academic accomplishment. We will take this information into consideration when evaluating your application. You may indicate this on the Supplemental Application Form and/or in your Personal Statement.
Who should I get to complete my recommendation forms?
Academic references (i.e., former or current professors) are best. However, they are not absolutely necessary. You may use other professional acquaintances if academic references are difficult (or impossible) to contact.
How many applicants do you have? How many are accepted? How many actually enroll?
In the past few years, we have had about 100 inquiries each year directed to the program coordinator or the Graduate School. We do not know how many potential students inquire by visiting this web site. A decision on acceptance or rejection is not made until an application has been completed. In the past few years we have had between 30 and 45 completed applications each year. Before this web site was created, many of the completed applications were denied because of low UGPA and/or GRE scores. Now that it is quite easy to get information on our admission requirements on the web site, very few students who wouldn't be accepted apply for the program. This means that we accept a large percentage of students who complete their applications. Of those 30-45 who are accepted, about just under half decide to come to UTC. In past years, our 1st year classes have had between 13 and 17 students. Our most recent class, however, has more than 20.