Apr 27, 2009
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Hi,

I'm hoping to apply for I/O PhD programs this winter, but I'm concerned I don't have enough relevant research experience to be a good applicant. Do I/O programs weigh research less than other kinds of psych? I did work for a consulting firm my first year out of college (I've been out 2 years now), so I'm hoping that helps. Other than this weakness, I think I'm in good shape.

Basic Stats:

Math and Psych double major
GPA: 3.6 (Psych GPA 3.95)
GRE: 780V, 780Q
2 summers in undergrad working in psych labs (running subjects; no independent research)
Senior Honors Psych Thesis (developed and ran my own experiment)
1 year business analyst at consulting firm
Currently working for biological/chemical engineering lab as a lab tech (misguided though that I wanted to do med school)


What do you think? I'm worried that my current job has nothing to do with I/O, but I couldn't even try and find a psych-related job until end of summer, at which point it's so close to application time it doesn't seem worth it.

Any input at all is much appreciated-- I/O seems to work differently than most other psych fields, so I really don't know what's most important to them!

Thanks!
 
Feb 14, 2010
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Hate to sound dumb, but what is I/O?
Maybe we should put the translations in parentheses after using jargon in case people use different terminology or are just unfamiliar with the words. Just an idea...
 
Jan 12, 2010
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Industrial Organization... (I/O) there does not seem to be a whole lot of I/O people roaming these boards but I did run across a I/O forum on grad cafe... If you don't get too many bites.

I think the biggest thing for apps for I/O I think is your personal statement... from my understanding most programs don't do interviews.
 

AcronymAllergy

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I'd say that I/O programs value research as much as, if not more than, most clinical programs. They tend to be about on par with cognitive in that respect.

Also, nearly every I/O professor I've met is a veritable stats guru...those people have some serious statistical skills, especially with respect to structural equation modeling and its various components (e.g., factor analysis).

Your research experience will likely be on the lower end of the curve compared to most other applicants, but your GRE scores will definitely at least get your application looked at. And having done a self-directed senior thesis definitely helps, so be sure to plug that.

I'd say you might as well apply and see how things go. As you've said, finding a psych-related research position in this economy would be tough, so if you made your applying contingent on gaining more research experience, you might be waiting around a while. Might as well throw out a few feelers and see what happens.
 

jnine

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You're fine. The SOP will be key for you. Be explicit in relating all your past experiences to your current intersts and how they fit with the program you're appying to. Also clearly articulate your goals as anI/O psychologist. I would Include a little bit about my understanding of what I/O psych is all about and what I wanted to add to the field.

You can be an I/O psychologist with a masters, so you'll also need to explain why you are looking for a PhD. The PhD is a research degree, so your dissertation should make a contribution to the field and you should be looking to conduct at least some research over your career. If you're only looking to practice, consider an MA. (This is what the schools might say to you.) Best of luck.
 
Apr 27, 2009
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Thanks for giving me your opinions! It sounds like what I thought, that getting accepted somewhere will be pretty hit or miss. The main reason I'm trying to figure out now if I have a good chance is I have to decide next week about accepting a health metrics/public health related position, which is a two year commitment, so I wouldn't be able to apply for psych programs this year. But since I/O is stats heavy, maybe I'd come out a stronger candidate with the quant experience, even if it's not psychology subject matter.....
 

IOPsych

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Thanks for giving me your opinions! It sounds like what I thought, that getting accepted somewhere will be pretty hit or miss. The main reason I'm trying to figure out now if I have a good chance is I have to decide next week about accepting a health metrics/public health related position, which is a two year commitment, so I wouldn't be able to apply for psych programs this year. But since I/O is stats heavy, maybe I'd come out a stronger candidate with the quant experience, even if it's not psychology subject matter.....
You look like you will be fine. Your GRE looks great, especially the quant. In I/O they weigh very heavily on quant as statistics is highly stressed. In our program we take 2-3 more statistics related courses than the clinical folks.

I don't think you need to explain why you want to go above and beyond a master's although it is true you can do consulting with a master's many organizations will not hire individuals with master's as they want to maintain a high degree of credibility in the field. Many of the top consulting firms will not let you deal with clients without a PhD; PDI, DDI, Psych. Associates, etc.

You are a very strong candidate. Let me know if you have any further questions. I am a 3rd year I/O doctoral student.

Edit: You would almost certainly be accepted at certain universities just because of your GRE score. I know at our program if an individual has over a 1300 they can be put up for a university fellowship. You would almost certainly get this fellowship which I believe is 18k a year. Not saying that every person who applies with a 1300 they accept, but couple that with your very good GPA and the fact that you have research experience makes you a very strong applicant.

And there are two main reasons I/O programs don't have interviews:
1. They cost a lot.
2. All of the research we conduct has shown that even structured interviews are not very good predictors of performance. So it would not make much sense for us to go against what our own science is telling us and do it anyway. They do add incremental validity, but not enough to offset the cost of getting every applicant to the university.
 
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Therapist4Chnge

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You look like you will be fine. Your GRE looks great, especially the quant. In I/O they weigh very heavily on quant as statistics is highly stressed. In our program we take 2-3 more statistics related courses than the clinical folks.
sjh692,

I looked briefly at I/O programs (I did related work in my previous career) and most of the programs I considered had more rigorous stats requirements than most of the clinical programs. Depending on the direct of your career, you will need to have a solid background to do well.
 
Mar 25, 2010
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IO programs also vary in terms of their stats requirements. I am at a very well respected IO PhD program and we are only required to take 2 stats courses (the same sequence as clinical/social students). Of course, students are encouraged to take more and most do. Not very many students came into the program as stats gurus (I definitely was not nor would I consider myself one now as a second year student). The faculty understand that most students learn stats during grad school from taking grad classes and especially from working with real data. You will find that it is very important to have a good, solid grip of psychometrics if you intend to go applied.
 
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