Applying to the Graduate Program of the Psychology Department is done by filling out an electronic application to the Penn State Graduate School. Full details of the process and links to the relevant Graduate School pages can be found here.
We do not admit students as terminal master’s students. Students who enter with a master’s degree generally have the same funding support as all first year students. Approval of the master’s thesis for I-O psychology degree is made on a case-by-case basis. For admittance, we take a whole picture perspective. We like to see all of the following:
- Good GREs and GPA (no official ‘cutoffs’).
- Students in our newly admitted cohort had an average GPA of 3.82, and average GRE scores (percentiles) of GRE-V = 158.7 (80th percentile), GRE-Q = 156.3 (57th percentile), and GRE-W = 4.8 (88th percentile). In addition, members of this cohort had substantial research experience. For example, the median number of semesters working as an UG RA was 7, and the median number of 1st authored conference presentations was 3.
- For information on cohorts from the past few years, click here.
- Research experience – especially psychology, but in other areas as well. This might be an honors thesis, independent study, class project, or a job.
- Solid letters of recommendation from persons in academics especially (again, speaking to ability to conduct research).
- A clearly written personal statement that suggests familiarity with I-O topics, and interest in the research and careers I-O offers.
Not required, but they help:
- Enough practical/applied experience to show you can function in team and corporate settings.
- Enough I-O background to show you know what you are getting into, even if it is informal training through reading on your own (we realize not all programs have an I/O instructor).
Our program does not do the mentoring model, where you are selected by, and only work with, one faculty member. All faculty select our incoming class, and you are actually required to work with multiple faculty during your time here. One person may remain your thesis or doctoral advisor, if you want, but you should have research interactions with multiple faculty. We find this provides more breadth of knowledge and skills, as well as provides students with more resources and less dependence on any one faculty member. Feel free to mention your interests in your personal statement, however, so we know our program does have research that meets your interests.
No. In Penn State’s I/O program, the Master’s degree is a step in the process toward earning your Ph.D. Penn State offers a separate Online Master of Professional Studies in Psychology of Leadership at Work degree, but that is separate from Penn State’s I/O Ph.D. program. Click here for more information on that program.
Traditionally, the Penn State I/O program is able to fund students through teaching or research assistantships for the first five years in addition to waiving tuition.
The borough of State College has a population of roughly 42,000 people, with approximately 60,000 people living in the surrounding townships. It possesses small town charm with a big university feel. The city boasts many great shops and restaurants, as well as a good number of unique surrounding towns. Visit statecollege.com for more details. It may be an adjustment for students who are used to living in a large city, but State College is conveniently located to provide access to many major metropolitan areas (e.g. Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, New York, D.C., etc.). Additionally, for those students who may need to travel, daily buses run to and from various points in town and on-campus (and several major cities) and University Park Airport provides daily flights with American Airlines and United Airlines.