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

Industrial/Organization Psychology FAQ

The Basics

What is I-O?

​​​Industrial-Organizational (​I-O) psychology is the scientific study of the workplace. Rigor and methods of psychology ar​e applied to issues of critical relevance to business, including talent management, coaching, assessment, selection, training, organizational development, performance, and work-life balance. SIOP​ ​

Why I-O?

​​​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

What is most important in my application?

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.

What if I am not sure of which professor I want to work with?

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.​ 

How competitive is DePaul's I/O Program?

It is very competitive to get in. In recent years we've had 100 or more applicants for three first-year slots. Once here, however, we encourage collaboration and cooperation rather than competition among students.

When should I hear whether my application has been accepted?

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.​ 


Do most students work or have internships?

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 somt time working in a Chicago-area 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.​

Do most students receive funding?

All students admitted are likely to receive graduate assistantships. Most graduate assistantships carry stipends around $15,500 per academic year and full tuition waivers. Assistantships granted to first year students are renewable for the second and third year with acceptable progress in the program.

Are students expected to teach classes or conduct research in exchange for funding?

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

What is the faculty to student ratio?

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.​

What is the average time frame to receive your MA and PhD?

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.

Is this program on quarters or semesters? When are the breaks?

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.​

How are the I-O classes structured?

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!

What is the course load?

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.​

What courses will I begin with?

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

Where do most students choose to live?

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.​

How can I find an apartment?

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.​

What is the average cost of living?

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!

Do I need a car?

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.​

What is the campus like?

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.​

Where can I find information about local events and entertainment?

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 f​estivals, restaurant guides, job listings, public transportation, and much, much more:​​