Applying To Industrial-Organizational Psychology Graduate Programs

The path to an I/O graduate program can often be ambiguous but there are several tips that can increase your chances of success. My first recommendation is to talk directly with current graduate students and faculty members in an I/O program. If you are not located by a university that has an I/O program, do not be afraid to send an email to a professor or graduate student (i.e., me) of your choosing. Most email addresses can be found at their department websites. Often, program websites only report the minimum GPA and GRE scores required to apply but people associated with the program will often have a better idea of what it takes to assemble a competitive application.

For instance, my program recommended a GRE score of 1300 but it took a score of 1350 to actually be competitive.

My second recommendation is to start working hard towards building your curriculum vitae (i.e., academic resume) and studying the GRE. Your scores on the GRE and your GPA are usually the most important part of the application, however, there are some things you can do to enhance your chances of success. I strongly recommend volunteering some of your time to conducting research with graduate students.

Similarly, an undergraduate or honors thesis demonstrates that you have some basic understanding of research and that you are motivat

Applying To Industrial-Organizational Psychology Graduate Programs

ed to work hard. I was lucky enough to do both and I found working in as many labs as possible allowed me to make the connections necessary to become a graduate student. Your research does not have to focus on I/O issues but it should highlight your understanding of the scientific process. This research also connects you with faculty member that can write your letters of recommendation and help you craft your personal statement.

Another way to enhance your curriculum vitae is to work in an I/O related position. For instance, I worked part-time in the selection (i.e. HR) department at my local electric company. This is also a great way to make connections with businesses that you might later need in order to collect data for you graduate thesis and dissertation. Finally, there are a few things that you can do that serve as icing on the cake. Try to enroll in a graduate level I/O classes if possible. This demonstrates that you can handle the material that you might soon be exposed to. Similarly, try to submit some of the research that you do (e.g. undergraduate thesis) to either an undergraduate conference or graduate level conference. There is a multitude of conferences out there so you should have no problem finding a place to present your research. Lastly, apply to join the undergraduate psychology organizations at the university you currently attend (e.g. Psi Chi).

My last recommendation is to try and apply to as many schools as feasible for your current situation. Although you might have a particular school already in mind, acceptance to a program is never guaranteed and it would be irresponsible not to keep an open mind when it comes to higher education. I personally applied to more than 9 schools and I was only accepted to 4 despite me relatively strong applications. Unfortunately, applying to a large group of schools can be costly. I spent several hundred bucks in order to apply. A large percentage of the cost was due to sending my GRE scores and academic transcripts. Although it is a bit pricey, it is definitely worth the extra money.

In order to decide which schools to apply to, the Society for Industrial & Organizational Psychology website ( is vital. Once there, click on the student tab to access the relevant links. There you can find a list of the best schools, internships, and other information related to graduate school. This society also holds one of the most popular I/O conferences that you might want to considered attending. Please get started on this process ASAP. I have seen several students wait until the end of their junior year to start researching and preparing for the GRE. Unfortunately, I am not aware that any of these students were successful.