UTC I-O Program Description


The UTC I-O program leads to a comprehensive and balanced terminal M.S. degree in the science and practice of I-O Psychology. Most of our graduates go directly into practice-oriented jobs. However, our program also provides a solid foundation for students seeking an eventual doctoral level education in I-O or a related field. Apart from the few graduates every year who pursue further training at a doctoral level, our graduates pursue a variety of careers. Many enter human resources  (HR) departments as HR generalists or training/development specialists. Other graduates become specialists in job analysis, compensation, testing and measurement, organization development/effectiveness, and selection. Still others have used their training in computer technology and statistics to launch careers in data analytics and applied research contexts. There are also always a couple students who find non-traditional ways of leveraging their I-O education along with their other unique skills and interests. Whatever your occupational goal may be, we can help you work towards it while gaining a firm footing in the science and practice principles of I-O psychology.

The Details

The UTC I-O curriculum is comprehensive and current. We recently updated and enhanced our full set of course offerings to ensure the strongest possible emphasis on all of the core competencies for graduate education outlined by the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP; 2017). Specifically, the UTC I-O curriculum focuses attention on the following competencies identified by SIOP as essential to success as an I-O psychology professional:

  1. Ethical, Legal, Diversity, and International Issues
  2. Fields of Psychology
  3. Professional Skills
  4. History and Systems of Psychology
  5. Research Methods
  6. Statistical Methods/Data Analysis
  1. Attitude Theory, Measurement, and Change
  2. Career Development
  3. Criterion Theory and Development
  4. Groups and Teams
  5. Human Performance
  6. Individual Assessment
  7. Individual Differences
  8. Job Evaluation and Compensation
  9. Job/Task/Work Analysis, Competency Modeling, and Classification
  10. Judgment & Decision-Making
  11. Leadership and Management
  12. Occupational Health & Safety
  13. Organization Development
  14. Organization Theory
  15. Performance Appraisal/Management
  16. Personnel Recruitment, Selection, Placement and Classification
  17. Training: Theory, Delivery, Program Design, and Evaluation
  18. Work Motivation
  1. Consumer Behavior
  2. Human Factor

More than 99% of UTC I-O students within the last 10 years have finished the program in two years. We do our best to accommodate life schedules by offering all core courses from 5:30 - 8:00 pm Monday through Thursday, and electives typically one day per week in the afternoons. We have a strong presence in the Chattanooga region, and most local employers of our students and graduates have been willing to accommodate these class schedules with flexible work hours as needed. 

At a high level, our program curriculum is composed of the following four components:

  1. Required core courses. Our courses have been designed to conform to SIOP's competency-based graduate education guidelines. These courses address multiple core content areas, as outlined in the current Graduate Catalog.
  2. At least 300 hours of applied experience. Students receive course credit for the 300 hours of required time they spend on practicum or working on special approved applied projects. This applied experience may be gained by working with local organizations or organizations in other locations more convenient for students. All students are required to enroll in and complete the first of these applied experiences (for at least 150 hours and 3 credit hours) during the summer between the first and second year. Tuition and fees apply, as per the university Bursar's fee schedule.
  3. Targeted elective courses. We strive to give students as much flexibility as possible in choosing their electives. They may be taken from courses offered in the Psychology Department, the UTC School of Business, or from other departments on campus when relevant. The placement of electives in students' schedules may vary. Some choose to take their electives at different times, based on what is offered and/or on what the student's schedule will allow in a given semester. As an example, for students choosing to complete a thesis, PSY 5990 - Thesis will be used to fill two elective courses. Students often decide to take a portion of their elective coursework outside the department. We strongly encourage this cross-disciplinary study and we try to advise students to the highest quality course offerings within other departments on campus when these interests arise.
  4. Comprehensive exam or completion of a thesis. In addition to completing a minimum of 48 hours of coursework, students must either pass a comprehensive exam (spring semester of the second year) or complete a master's level thesis under the guidance of the program faculty (by the spring semester of the second year).
    • The comprehensive exam consists of several integrative questions requiring the student to bring together material from the core courses. In the past, to facilitate in-depth study and preparation, a list of potential exam questions has been distributed about five weeks prior to the exam.
    • We strongly encourage students considering additional training at the doctoral level to opt for the thesis instead of the comprehensive exam. Thesis topics are chosen in conjunction with the thesis supervisor, who then supervises the topic and research plan development, data gathering and analysis, and final write-up and reporting of findings. A committee of additional faculty members is also involved in evaluating the quality of the proposed and completed project. It is not uncommon for theses to be accepted for paper/poster presentations at regional, national, or international conferences. Many student-faculty thesis research teams have also successfully published work from thesis projects. If you are interested in seeing what recent students and faculty have been doing as thesis research, check out the following collection of theses archived through the UTC Scholar system.

More details on the current UTC I-O courses and program of study can be found in the current Graduate Catalog