I/O Psychology MPS Course Overview and Description


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Course Overview and Descriptions

The IO MPS is designed to be completed in 15 months over the course of 5 terms. Students will complete ten required 3-credit courses, with two courses completed each term.

At the University of Maryland, we use a combination of in-class instruction and discussion, online materials, and hands-on learning in each of our classes to provide you with a rich and interactive learning environment. The UMD IO MPS is distinctive in that every class we offer includes a substantial immersive component. In some courses, you will have the opportunity to help actual businesses solve a question or problem they are currently facing. In other courses, you will run through simulated organizational problems, and in still other classes, you will discuss and analyze case studies.

Classes typically require approximately three hours of in-class instruction and hands-on activities every other week and additional work outside of in-class instruction.

Year 1

Term 1

  • Analytical Thinking: Statistical Methods at Work
  • Introduction to Industrial and Organizational Psychology

Term 2

  • The Business of Evaluation: Research Methods at Work
  • Selection and Classification Issues in Organizations

Term 3

  • Advanced Analytical Thinking: Statistical Methods at Work II
  • Talent Development

Term 4

  • Business Fundamentals and Legal Issues Facing Organizations
  • Managing Strategic Organizational Change

Year 2

Term 1

  • Performance Management, Compensation, and Benefits
  • Practicum in I/O Psychology


PSYC652 Analytical Thinking: Statistical Methods at Work (3 credits).

Personal and organizational growth begins with asking and answering great questions. Correspondingly, this course begins with demonstrations of how to translate business questions into research questions. Statistical methods used to answer business questions are taught first conceptually, then computationally using statistical software. This course emphasizes interpreting results, the regression model, and other issues salient to business research, such as handling large datasets. Students will be provided with a simulated dataset that they will use in learning how to frame and answer business questions using the techniques covered in this course. At the conclusion of this course, students will be required to provide an executive-level presentation on the business question, their findings, and resulting implications.

PSYC603 Introduction to Industrial and Organizational Psychology (3 credits).

Advanced survey of industrial-organizational psychology, including selection, training, motivation, group processes, leadership, organizational psychology, and organizational theory. Readings stressed and seminar time will be used primarily for hands-on activities, discussion, and integration of the reading materials.

PSYC653 The Business of Evaluation: Research Methods at Work (3 credits).

Building on Analytical Methods, students in this class will learn about the strengths and weaknesses of commonly employed research methods in business settings. Students will learn about longitudinal research, survey and interview (including focus groups) design, and sampling and weighting, among other topics. Each design module will review best practices and limitations, and will include a discussion of how to handle and make sense of the resulting data. As part of this course, students will work in small groups to design and launch a research study that will answer a pressing business question.

PSYC654 Advanced Analytical Thinking: Statistical Methods at Work II (3 credits).

In this course, students will delve deeply into issues of interpreting and questioning analytic results. Students will learn how to creatively present empirical results in ways that grab the attention of – and are clear to – a variety of stakeholders. Students will complete the group projects they began in Business of Evaluation during this course, culminating in two presentations – one to the rest of the class (technical audience) and one to an expert panel of practitioners. Finally, this course will introduce students conceptually to a number of advanced statistical methods, such as meta-analysis and structural equation modeling.

PSYC732 Selection and Classification Issues In Organizations

Consideration of societal, organizational and individual demands for appropriate use of individual differences in (primarily) initial placement of employees. Recruitment, and selection issues, the role of governmental regulations, and the role of individual factors in individual behavior are considered. Extensive coverage given to fundamental psycho-metric problems and the development of individual and organizational criteria of effectiveness.

PSYC655 Talent Development (3 credits).

In this course, students will learn how to design and implement effective employee training programs as well as how to encourage informal learning in organizations. This course will review current theories in adult learning (e.g., ADDIE model, action learning, peer feedback/coaching), several popular assessment tools (e.g., MBTI), and best practices for evaluating training programs. Issues relevant to leadership identification and development – including succession planning – will also be covered. As part of this course, students will work in teams to design and deliver a brief training module and practice giving and receiving feedback. Additionally, students will complete – and facilitate a debriefing on – a 360-degree feedback assessment.

PSYC656 Business Fundamentals and Legal Issues facing Organizations (3 credits).

This course provides an overview of the fundamentals of business, including both issues of finance and legal issues faced by organizations. Topics will include finance, accounting, and marketing. Students will learn core business concepts, about how each major business function enables organizations to run, and how to talk to and understand the leaders of organization. Additionally, this course will provide an overview of common legal challenges organizations face. In addition to introducing students to employment law, this course will review professional ethics standards for IO psychology. This course will use case study methodology to hone students’ understanding of the ethical and legal issues faced in day-to-day organizational life.

PSYC657 Managing Strategic Organizational Change (3 credits).

In this course, students will learn to think about organizations as systems and will explore catalysts of organizational change. Issues of strategy, market pressure, competition, workforce planning, and stakeholder buy-in will be discussed. Finally, students will learn about methods for planning, leveraging, and managing organizational change. Case study methodology will be used to deepen learning on the challenges faced during organizational change and how to guide organizations through change – planned or not.

PSYC660 Performance Management, Compensation, and Benefits (3 credits).

This course draws together content on organizational behavior, selection, assessment, development, employee relations, and compensation, among other topics. Students in this course will learn about how to align organizational reward systems, including selection, development, performance appraisal, feedback, and compensation systems. This course will pull from current organizational research and theory on issues ranging from work motivation, employee retention, and feedback processes to issues of organizational strategy and culture.

PSYC661 Practicum in I/O Psychology (3 credits).

In this practicum, students will work in a real organization and will have the opportunity to apply what they have learned in class to real-world problems. Students will write a reflection paper reviewing what skills they have applied – and developed – while completing this practicum.