Industrial/Organizational Psychology PhD at Montclair State

Industrial/Organizational Psychology (PhD)

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Industrial/Organizational Psychology (PhD) – STEM Designated Degree Program

Industrial/Organizational (I/O) Psychology is the scientific study of human behavior in the workplace. It focuses on the assessment of individual, group and organizational dynamics and application of evidence-based principles to improve the well-being and performance of an organization and its employees. I/O psychologists look at questions such as: What are the best ways to select and retain employees? How are decisions made? How do we train better leaders? What makes employees happy and engaged? How do team members interact and collaborate? Knowing the answers to these questions and many others help business owners determine where to change systems to improve company functioning. I/O psychology has taken on an increasingly strategic dimension in the world of business. In fact, the field was recently identified by the Bureau of Labor Statistics as being among the fastest growing occupations in the country with New Jersey having one of the highest concentrations of highly paid I/O positions.    

Unique Advantages of the I/O Psychology PhD at Montclair State

The Ph.D. program in Industrial/Organizational Psychology at Montclair follows the scientist-practitioner model, equally emphasizing the generation and application of psychological science to improve the workplace. Students will develop their research and analytical skills in concert with individual faculty members while also applying this knowledge through coursework, consulting, and experiential projects. The Montclair I/O program also has many unique offerings to service a new generation of doctoral students in the 21st century.

  • Data Science: We are the only I/O Psychology PhD program to offer a Data Science concentration in computer science where students take courses in Python, computational modeling, database systems, data mining, and natural language processing.
  • Statistical Training in R: The Psychology department offers a specialized R Data Science course for social scientists, teaches most quantitative courses in R, and is creating a quantitative certification for students seeking to specialize in advanced statistical modeling.
  • Balance: Our program adheres to the SIOP competency model for graduate education (SIOP, 2017) to offer a balanced curriculum equally emphasizing methodological, industrial, and organizational topics.
  • Business Strategy and Internship: Students are required to take business courses in competitive advantage, HR strategy, and organizational development along with an internship. The exposure to big-picture areas and actual business operations helps students close the intersection between I/O ideas and strategic concerns facing executives and managers.
  • Wide Expertise: We have 8 full-time and affiliate faculty with active laboratories, making us one of the largest I/O Psychology programs in terms of research breadth. Students can choose a range of mentors who best align with personal interests and career endeavors.
  • Regional Reputation: We are the only I/O Psychology PhD program in the state of New Jersey. The program builds on the current MA program which is among one of the most rigorous and best respected in the region. Faculty regularly serve on boards of local I/O professional groups which provide speakers and development opportunities.
  • Large Alumni Network: Our 300+ alumni are locally employed as consultants, talent managers, data analysts, operational engineers, executive coaches, and entrepreneurs. Recent graduates hold positions in Fortune 500 companies such as Johnson & Johnson, JP Morgan, JetBlue, and Morgan Stanley; consulting firms such as Korn Ferry, Boston Consulting Group, KPMG, and Mercer-Sirota; and government such as Jefferson County, NYC Citywide Administrative Services, and The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. The program hosts a monthly speaker series where recent alumni return to discuss daily work life, career paths, and advice on how to succeed in different business environments.
  • Support: The program is dedicated to a strong, collaborative culture which supports student development. Most doctoral students are guaranteed funding for their first four years of study. There is also an onboarding process, peer mentorship program, annual celebratory party, SIOP reception for alumni and students, and financial support for travel and research.

Along with the Industrial/Organizational Psychology (PhD) degree, the department also offers an Industrial and Organizational Psychology (MA) degree. More details about the I/O program can be found at the Psychology Department’s website.

Please refer to our programs of study page for a comprehensive list of all of the graduate programs offered within the university.

Admission Requirements

The Office of Graduate Admissions requires the equivalent of a U.S. bachelor’s degree in order to be eligible to apply for a graduate program. Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree in psychology OR a minimum of 12 undergraduate credits in psychology, including a course in statistics and a laboratory experimental course. Please note: an introductory course in psychology does not count toward the minimum credit requirement, though it might be needed as a pre-requisite to other psychology courses. Students demonstrating a strong background in psychology and behavioral research will be given priority.

Applicants with non-U.S. degrees, please visit the International Applicants page to review the U.S. degree equivalency information.

Application Checklist

In order to make applying for graduate school as seamless as possible for you, we have
created an application checklist. This checklist can be a reference point for you during the
application process to ensure that you have a comprehensive understanding of the steps
needed to apply, as well as all corresponding supplemental materials for your specific
program of interest.

  • Priority Deadline: Dec 1st 2022. Applications to the PhD in Industrial and Organizational Psychology program that are complete as of the December 1st deadline will receive priority review, and can expect an admissions decision by April 15th. Applications completed after the priority deadline will be reviewed on a rolling basis until the program is full. Please note: Upon offer of admission, you will be asked to submit an enrollment deposit of $200. 
  • Submit Online Application: Please create your online account and submit your application by following the general application instructions and pay (or waive) the non-refundable $60 application fee. Once this step has been completed, the online portal will allow you to upload your supplemental materials.

The following is a list of the supplemental materials that will accompany your application for the Industrial/Organizational Psychology (PhD) program:

  • Transcript: One from each college attended.
  • Essays/Personal Statement – Please write an integrated essay providing a response to each of the following questions:
    • What are your goals for graduate study and your future career?
    • In what ways do your academic background and your professional experiences provide evidence of your potential for success in the program you selected and in your eventual career? Please give specific examples of relevant coursework and/or experience.
    • What are your thoughts, ideas, and areas of interest that may lead to dissertation research?
    • Is there any further information we should consider in assessing your candidacy?
  • Letters of Recommendation: Three (3) letters of recommendation, from persons qualified to evaluate the applicant’s promise of academic achievement and potential for professional growth.
  • Standardized Test Scores: GRE
  • Resume:  A current resume is not required, but applicants are encouraged to include one.
  • Applicants with non-U.S. degrees, please visit the International Applicants page to review the US degree equivalency information.

The Ph.D. degree requires completion of 79 credits hours of which students take 24 credits the first year and 18 credits all remaining years plus a 1 credit summer internship. The first year is course heavy and focuses on statistics and design, I/O domains, and business strategy along with an elective. Students are also encouraged to establish a relationship with a research advisor as early as possible during the first year. The second year leads into advanced I-O topics along with a structured, year-long research experience where students formulate original theoretical ideas, develop multi-method studies, and present findings at a program-wide colloquium. Following second year, students complete a summer internship and a prospective comprehensive examination to qualify for doctoral status. During the last two years, students refine their focus through advanced seminars, dissertation, teaching, and a specialization, allowing scholarly pursuits most relevant to their personal and career goals. Your advisor will help you select courses best serving your goals, but those courses provide the flexibility to create a degree that works best for you.

I/O Psychology Core and Internship 22 credits
Methods, Stats, and Data Science 18 credits
Business and HR Strategy 3 credits
Specialization [Psych or Comp Sci] 12 credits
Advanced Electives 6 credits
Thesis and Dissertation 18 credits
Total 79 credits

If you have any general questions regarding the application process and requirements, please email or call us:
Office of Graduate Admissions
Telephone: 973-655-5147
Fax: 973-655-7869

If you have specific inquiries regarding your program of interest, please contact the Industrial/Organizational Psychology (PhD) Program Coordinator:

Program Coordinator: Dr. Valerie Sessa
Office: Dickson Hall 237

*During the summer months, there will be a rotating department chair available to answer your inquiry. Click to find the updated summer chair for this program.*