College of Science and Health > Academics > Psychology > Graduate Programs > Industrial-Organizational Psychology (MA/PhD) > Industrial/Organization Psychology FAQ

Industrial/Organization Psychology FAQ

The Basics

Industrial-Organizational (I-O) psychology is the scientific study of the workplace. Rigor and methods of psychology are applied to issues of critical relevance to business, including talent management, coaching, assessment, selection, training, organizational development, performance, and work-life balance. SIOP 
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has released a list of occupations that are expected to have the greatest percent increase in jobs between 2012-2022. At the top of the list is I-O Psychology, with a projected 53% growth in jobs and a 2012 median salary of $83,580 per year. BLS Report

Applying to the I-O Psychology MA/PhD Program

We look at several predictors for your success in our program. It is important that our students have a strong interest and commitment to research, as the Ph.D. is a research degree. Research experience, indicators of academic potential (GRE, GPA), and a very clear statement of interests are all considered important, along with recommendation letters. The GRE general exam is required, so it is important to prepare and take the exam before the application deadline. 

Good news! Our program does not select students to be assigned to one particular professor. Instead of this fixed mentorship model, faculty evaluate all applicants and we accept people to the program. We hope that at least some of the research is of interest but students can choose who to work with once they are here, and even work with more than one faculty member. We understand that interests change/adapt as students learn more about the field and give students the opportunity to be involved in more than one of our labs, or even to carve out an area of their own interest. But if you have a particular faculty member or research area in mind, you can tell us about this in your personal statement. 

It is competitive to get in. In recent years we've had 60 or more applicants for three first-year slots. Once here, however, we encourage collaboration and cooperation rather than competition among students.

The application deadline is December 15, and it takes about a month for the Admissions Committee to review all the files. Notifications are generally sent out mid to late February. 


Any assistantship funding you receive will require 20-22 hours per week of TA, RA, or other responsibilities. Many I-O graduate students also spend some time working in an organization to gain professional experience. We do encourage that; however, you should not commit more than 8-10 hours per week to internship responsibilities while you're taking classes.

Most students admitted are likely to receive graduate assistantships. Departmental graduate assistantships carry stipends around $30,000 per academic year and full tuition waivers. Assistantships granted to first year students are renewable for up to five years with acceptable progress in the program.

Students with assistantships work as research assistants and/or teacher's assistants. The number of hours per week that is dedicated to these assignment(s) varies depending on each student's funding.

Life as a Graduate Student

There are five full-time I-O faculty and an average of 3 to 5 new graduate students each year. This allows for an average I-O class size of six to twelve students. However, some classes are combined with other disciplines, such as statistics and elective courses, which can increase the class size. These combined classes have approximately thirty students per class.
Students generally complete their master's thesis either by the end of their second year or the middle of their third year of coursework. Upon completion of three years of coursework, students prepare for and take written and oral comprehensive exams. These exams are based on all three years of coursework. Students must pass both exams in order to start work on their dissertation. The program is designed to be completed in 4 years.
DePaul's program is structured on a quarter system. There are Fall, Winter, Spring, and Summer quarters. I-O classes are not offered in the summer, therefore many students choose to have an internship or work on research during the summer break. In addition, DePaul's winter break lasts from Thanksgiving to just after the New Year. Students use this time for internships, thesis work, or much needed relaxation.
Each class is different, however, there are commonalities. Each class has a tremendous amount of reading of primary source material. In addition to the readings, most classes have presentations and/or proposals. Some classes have a field project where students develop knowledge and skills through the application of course material. Most of the I-O classes have a discussion format, therefore, it is important to go to classes prepared!
You may have been taking five or even more classes at a time as an undergraduate. However, graduate classes involve a lot more work. So, you'll be taking no more than three classes each term.

For most entering I-O students, the Fall Quarter of Year 1 includes PSY404 -Learning and Cognition, PSY410 - Advanced Statistics I, and PSY 448 - Concepts, Methods, and Ethics in I-O Psychology.

Living in Chicago

The cost of living in Chicago can be very high. Therefore, students may choose to live in different neighborhoods depending on their budgets. The areas closest to DePaul are Lincoln Park and Lakeview. However, it is not necessary to live right in the DePaul area. Most neighborhoods are accessible to DePaul within thirty minutes by taking the elevated train (the subway), which is referred to as the "el". Many students live in neighborhoods which are a little further from DePaul, but are close to the "el", such as Rogers Park, Andersenville, and Wrigleyville.
Finding an apartment in Chicago can be hard without coming in person. Apartment listings tend to go very quickly. Also, they can look much better on paper than in person! The Chicago Reader is a good place to look for listings and get ideas about going rates depending on location and number of bedrooms. Many first years choose to live in studio apartments.
The cost of living in Chicago is generally higher than many other locations. Not only is rent higher, but gas, groceries, and transportation also tend to be more expensive. The cost of living in Chicago may take some adjusting and good budgeting, but living in such a great city makes it well worth it!
It is not necessary to have a car, especially if you live near the "el" or bus routes. Parking can be hard to find, and expensive. Therefore, most students first decide where to live and then assess if it is necessary or desirable to have a car.
The Department of Psychology is located on the northeast side of Chicago on DePaul's Lincoln Park campus. This campus is the oldest and largest of DePaul's six campuses and is within walking distance to the "el", Lake Michigan, and hundreds of excellent restaurants and stores.
Chicago is not only an exciting place to study and work, but it also a great place to live. Extracurricular activities such as theatre, jazz, museums, restaurants, shopping, and Lake Michigan are only a few of the many things to do in Chicago. The following websites provide information specific to Chicago, including upcoming events and festivals, restaurant guides, job listings, public transportation, and much, much more: