University of Minnesota
Department of Psychology

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Degree Requirements for the PhD in I/O Psychology

1. Coursework in I/O Psychology

No formal requirement, but the norm is Psych 5707 (Personnel Psychology), , 5708 (Organizational Psychology), 3 semesters of the I/O Seminar (8701, 8702, 8703), and specialty courses as appropriate (e.g., Sackett/Ones seminar on counterproductivity; Kuncel seminar on human abilities; Sackett seminar on fairness and bias in personnel selection; Ones seminar on personality).

The I/O seminar merits elaboration. Students enroll in this seminar in their second and third years. Multiple I/O faculty participate. Thus it is a weekly gathering of a group of faculty and a group of students. Over three semesters we systematically explore, in depth, a broad range of topics in I/O psychology. Each student typically takes responsibility for leading the discussion in one week each semester.

2. Coursework in Quantitative Methods

Two statistics courses are needed to meet the department distribution requirement in Statistics; I/O students routinely take far more.

One psychometrics course is needed to meet department distribution requirement in Psychometrics; I/O students often take more.

Available Quantitative Methods/Statistics/ Psychometrics/ Research Methods courses include:

  • Introductory Graduate Statistics (Psych 8814–8815)
    • Two–semester sequence taught within the Dept. of Psychology. Covers probability theory, correlation and regression, ANOVA, some multivariate stats
  • Regression Analysis
    • 2 options: Regression Analysis from Educational Psychology (Epsy 8264) or Applied Regression Analysis from Statistics (Stat 5302)
  • Factor Analysis/Multivariate Statistics (Psych 8884)
    • Prof. Niels Waller, Dept. of Psychology
  • Structural Equations Modeling (Epsy 8266)
    • Prof. Geoffrey Maruyama, Dept. of Educational Psychology (Maruyama is the author of the text Basics of Structural Equations Modeling)
  • Hierarchical Linear Models
    • Prof. Michael Harwell, Dept. of Educational Psychology
  • Analysis of Longitudinal Data
    • Prof. Jeff Long, Dept. of Educational Psychology
  • Psychometrics (Psych 5862)
    • Prof. Niels Waller, Dept. of Psychology
  • Advanced Psychometrics: Generalizability Theory and Item Response Theory (Psych 5865)
    • Prof. David Weiss and Prof. Mark Davison, Dept. of Educational Psychology (Davison is former president of American Psychological Association Division 5 – Measurement and Statistics; Weiss is founder and former editor of Applied Psychological Measurement)
  • Psychological Scaling (Epsy 8221)
    • Prof. Mark Davison, Dept. of Educational Psychology
  • Meta‚ÄďAnalysis (Psych 8960)
    • Prof. Deniz Ones, Dept. of Psychology
  • Research Methods in I/O Psychology (Psych 8960)
    • Prof. Paul Sackett, Dept. of Psychology

3. Psychology Department Distribution Requirement

Requires 5 courses in 4 areas of Psychology. The I/O, Psychometrics, and Statistics courses discussed above will cover three of these. Thus one additional course in some other area of psychology (e.g., social, personality, individual differences) must be taken to satisfy this requirement. The typical student will choose to take more courses in areas of interest.

4. Graduate School "Minor" or "Related Field" Requirement

The Graduate School requires that 12 credits be taken outside of one's home department. *****IMPORTANT: the Psychology Department has been granted a waiver of this requirement by the Graduate School, permitting a minor/required field to be within the Psychology Department (e.g., 12 credits of statistics/research methods). The Minor/Related Field requirement is met for most students via methods and statistics courses. Courses in other departments (e.g., Management, Communications) are taken by some students to fulfill this requirement.

5. First year research requirement

Each incoming student will be involved in a new or continuing faculty research project immediately upon arrival. The goal of this "early research experience" is to develop enthusiasm for and interest in research.

Students will develop and carry out a "first year research project". This may be an outgrowth of the early research experience, or it may be completely separate. A goal is to have a topic identified by the end of one's first semester. It is not crucial that the student originate the idea, but it is the intent of this project that the student take a lead role in carrying out the project (as opposed to be a "helping hand" on a faculty project). The student should be the one to write up the project.

Completion of the first year project requires a written product in the form of a journal submission or conference submission. A note from the advisor to the student's file documents completion of the project. Time to complete the project may vary, given the nature of the project (e.g., some may require lengthy data collection, while others make use of existing data). Normally, we expect completion prior to the midway point of the second year, but advisor judgment as to whether the student is making timely progress is the final arbiter.

6. Written Qualifying Exam

Students take a week—long take home examination, which is given shortly after completion of the three–semester I/O seminar sequence. The exam has two components. Roughly half of the exam deals with material in the common core of courses taken by all students: 5707, 5708, 8701, 8702, and 8703, and thus is common to all students taking the exam. The other portion of the examination is tailored to the interests of each individual student. With the approval of the advisor, the student designates six topics for examination in greater depth than the common core. The choice of topics may be a natural outgrowth of experiences in the program (e.g., the three topics the student pursued in depth in the seminar series; topics pursued in first year and subsequent research projects; topics examined in specialty seminars). The exam involves essay questions which sample the common core and the student's chosen topics of interest.

7. Oral Examination

An oral exam is conducted after completion of the written exam. The oral examination is based on the written exam, and permits discussion and elaboration of initial written responses. Completion of this exam makes the student a formal "candidate" for the Ph.D; at this point the student is "ABD": All But Dissertation..

8. Dissertation

An original contribution to knowledge. Generally an empirical study or series of studies of some substance. The dissertation defense before a faculty committee is the final rite of passage for the conferral of the Ph.D.

In preparing to conduct the dissertation research, students will prepare a written proposal and hold a proposal meeting with the committee. Such a meeting provides an opportunity for the student to get feedback on the proposed study, and for discussion with the committee about ideas and issues that may potentially strengthen the study. While stopping short of a formal contract, it offers the student some assurance that the study, as proposed and amended in the meeting, meets with committee approval. While it is desirable to have the entire dissertation committee present at this meeting, there is flexibility with advisor approval (e.g., to accommodate committee member travel).

Prototypic Program of Study

Year 1 – Fall

Psych 5707 – Personnel Psychology
Psych 5862 – Psychometrics
Psych 8814 – Analysis of Psychological Data I

Year 1 – Spring

Psych 5708 – Organizational Psychology
Psych 8993 – Research Methods in I/O Psychology
Psych 8815 – Analysis of Psychological Data II

Year 2 – Fall

Psych 8701 – I/O Seminar (Campbell, Kuncel, Ones, Sackett, Schmidt)
Select among stats, methods, I/O specialty seminars, and other courses within or outside psychology, in consultation with your advisor

Year 2 – Spring

Psych 8702 – I/O Seminar (Campbell, Kuncel, Ones, Sackett, Schmidt)
Select among stats, methods, I/O specialty seminars, and other courses within or outside psychology, in consultation with your advisor

Year 3 – Fall

Psych 8703 – I/O Seminar (Campbell, Kuncel, Ones, Sackett, Schmidt)
Select among stats, methods, I/O specialty seminars, and other courses within or outside psychology, in consultation with your advisor

Year 3 – Spring

Select among stats, methods, I/O specialty seminars, and other courses within or outside psychology, in consultation with your advisor

Year 4 – Dissertation