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 the current program director, Dr. Chris Cunningham (chris-cunningham@utc.edu).

General I-O Questions

Program Specific Questions

Application Questions


General I-O Questions

Should I get a master's 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 a wide variety of doctoral-level institutions including Central Michigan University, St. Mary's University (Canada), University of Georgia, Old Dominion University, The University of Tennessee, University of Oklahoma, Virginia Commonwealth University, the University of Nebraska, University of Central Florida, and Georgia Tech.

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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 program have used their statistics training to obtain work as data or statistical analysts. Finally, some graduates have gone on to Ph.D. programs.

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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 provides recent salary information for I-O related careers: SIOP - Surveys

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Program specific questions

Can I visit the campus?

Absolutely. We would love to meet you. Just contact the current program director, Dr. Chris Cunningham at chris-cunningham@utc.edu or by phone (423-425-4264) and you can set up a mutually convenient time. Your visit is unlikely to influence your chances at gaining admission to the program, so do not visit 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 discussing any questions you might have about the program and Chattanooga area. With a little planning time, we may also be able to arrange for you to visit with some current students and see the campus and surrounding area.

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How much is all of this going to cost?

The total cost for graduate students varies from year to year for in-state and out-of-state graduate students. You can estimate the costs of attending our program by checking out the current tuition rates via UTC's Bursar Office (click here for direct access). You also might find it helpful to review the material we have posted in our financial assistance section of this website. Keep in mind that as a full-time graduate student, you would be planning for 9 or more credit hours per semester. In-state and out-of-state residency is determined by the Graduate School following guidelines from the university system. Generally, if you come from out-of-state to attend school, you will retain your out-of-state designation for the entire program. As detailed in our financial assistance section, however, many of our out-of-state students qualify for in-state tuition rates through the Academic Common Market program. It is also worth noting that out-of-state students who are working full-time (30+hours per week) in Tennessee are permitted to take up to 8 hours of credit each semester at in-state rates. You may contact UTC's Graduate School with questions about this part-time student opportunity and residency regulations more generally.

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Where do graduate students typically live?

There are many places to live in Chattanooga within either a short walk or drive from the campus. Most of our students live off-campus, in apartment complexes that are within a 10-15 minute drive from campus. To help you understand your options, we have provided links to several search tools under our About Chattanooga section to this website.

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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, a handful of students from every cohort often pursue doctoral-level studies after completing their M.S. degree with us. 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.

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When would classes actually begin?

Classes typically begin during mid-August. We hold an orientation at the end of the week just prior to the start of fall semester classes. Information regarding orientation is provided to all admitted students typically in early June of each year.

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Application Questions

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.

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Do you accept new students in the Spring (or Summer)?

Typically, no. 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).

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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 admissions formula primarily 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.

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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.

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How many applicants do you have? How many are accepted? How many actually enroll?

We typically receive and process close to 80 applications each year. Only fully completed applications are reviewed. Ultimately offers are made to between 15 and 20 students each year. 

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