FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
How many students are in the program?
Usually there are around 15-20 students
in the program at any one time. Some incoming "classes" have had only 2 or 3
students, others have had as many as 7 students. The number of students admitted each year
depends on several factors, including how many returning students there will be and what
sources of funding will be available in the upcopera:speeddial oming year. Maintaining a low
student-faculty ratio is important to allow students frequent interaction with all faculty
and to provide for close mentoring relationships.
How many classes do students typically take?
Students typically take two (3-credit) classes each semester, prior to their
dissertation work. This allows for ample time for involvement in multiple research
projects. Each class is usually one three-hour seminar each week. First-year students take
a standard set of courses, including two courses that provide an introduction to the Organizational
field, one statistics course, and one course in psychometric theory and test construction.
In fall and spring semesters, students who have assistantships are typically waived
tuition for nine credit hours; during summer session, five credit hours of tuition are
typically waived. While a few summer courses are offered in related departments, most
students take thesis or dissertation credits during the summer.
What are the classes students typically take?
Each class is usually one three-hour seminar each week. First-year students take a standard set of
courses, including two courses that provide an introduction to the Organizational field, one statistics course, and one
course in psychometric theory and test construction. Although students take a majority of their classes within Organizational
psychology, students are allowed to participate in seminars in other areas that fit with their interests. In past semesters,
students have taken courses in social psychology, management, cognitive psychology, communications, math, human development, and education.
How long does the graduate program take?
The graduate program can be completed in four years, although most students prefer to
complete it in five years. The reason for choosing an extended plan is that it offers
students more time to become involved in research and applied projects that are outside of
their required assistantship work or coursework. Students begin working toward their
masters degree by completing a thesis sometime between their second and third years
in the program. After the thesis, the student is admitted to the doctoral level of the
program. Then students spend a semester, usually in the third or fourth year, preparing
for and completing comprehensive exams. When the student has passed these exams, work
begins on the dissertation. After completion of a dissertation, the student receives the
Will I be assigned to work with a particular professor, or
will I get to choose whom to work with?
First-year students will be assigned (when they are admitted) to work as a teaching or
research assistant with a particular professor for their first year in the program.
However, students are required during their first semester to work on an additional
project with a different professor. Generally, the first-year students and the faculty get
together as a group and agree upon who will work on which project, based on the interests
of the students and faculty.
Students are always encouraged to work with more than one faculty member or on more than
one research project, to gain more and varied experience in Organizational Psychology.
Which professors are admitting students next year?
Whereas many psychology programs use a direct mentoring approach, which assigns each graduate
student to a single advisor, MSU’s Organizational students are selected into the program by the entire faculty.
Students are not brought in to work with a single faculty member, but instead, gain a broad base of knowledge
early in their graduate career by working with different faculty and eventually specialize over time. Students
participate in different types of projects through their graduate careers: some involve one student with
one faculty member, other projects involve collaborations of multiple students and/or multiple faculty members.
Will I receive a teaching or research assistantship?
Generally, all students who are admitted to MSU’s Organizational program receive either a teaching or
research assistantship, although this is not guaranteed. It is not feasible to expect a student to complete the necessary
graduate work at the same time as holding down a full or part-time job. Therefore, MSU’s Organizational program has established
a practice of only admitting the number of students that can be supported on a graduate assistantship through available funding.
Specific information about funding offers is included in admission letters sent in the spring.
Are professors actively involved in research? How
involved are the students in research?
The faculty members in MSUs Organizational program are all actively involved in research.
Some faculty members pursue more
laboratory-oriented research, others are more focused on field research projects, and some
are involved in both. All students are encouraged to work on research projects with the
faculty members. Usually the role the student plays in the research depends on their
interest and level of expertise. Student activity ranges from collecting laboratory data
to participating in research plan development, and students are often encouraged to
"take the lead" on various research projects.
What kind of applied work is done?
Professors regularly do work with outside organizations. Examples of recent
applied projects include: selection system design, training program development, employee surveys, and
evaluations of interventions to enhance productivity and satisfaction. Some of the organizations where this
work has been done include Ford Motor Company, Accident Fund, Honeywell. Great Lakes
Industries, and Kelly Services. In addition to gaining
hands-on experience, the project teams often build some research questions into the project design, which enables
them to produce research articles as well as technical reports. Often students’ research assistantships will involve an applied project.
Will I be required to do an internship?
While internships are
not a required part of the doctoral program, students who are considering careers in
applied settings are encouraged to seek an internship. Students who do intern usually take
a position sometime during their fourth year, after completing comprehensive exams.
Internships are not arranged by the faculty; students must actively and individually
pursue internship positions with organizations and/or consulting firms.
Where have students recently interned?
Graduate students in our program have engaged in internal consulting, external consulting,
government-based, and international internships. In recent years, our students have interned with Google, Sodexo,
Aon Consulting, Jackson National Life, the Singapore Civil Service College Center for Leadership Development,
Valterra, HumRRO, and Proctor and Gamble.
Where are recent graduates employed?
Graduates of MSU’s Organizational Ph.D. program are employed at a variety of organizations,
consulting firms, and universities. Recent graduates have accepted tenure-track faculty positions at Univeristy of Akron,
Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis, Indian School of Business, Singapore Management University, and Wayne State University.
Graduates also are working in applied settings at Google, Aon Consulting, Personnel Decisions Research Institute, Aptima, and APT Metrics.
Do students attend or present research at
Each year students attend the Society for
Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP) annual conference. Most students present one or more academic
research papers, or contribute to a symposium presentation of their research. Some
students also attend and present research at the Academy of Management annual conference.
Do students publish research in professional and
MSU students regularly submit research
articles to top-tier scientific journals and are often published. While many
publications are generated by a group working together on a research project, students
also have authored articles based on their dissertation, thesis, or class research papers.
Student publications can be found in such journals as the Journal of Applied
Psychology, and Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes.
Do I need to have my own computer?
MSUs Organizational program provides a 24-hour access computer lab for Organizational graduate
students. All computers provide access to both e-mail and the Internet. However, many
students do choose to purchase their own computer for use at home.
Do students live on or off MSUs campus? What is a
typical monthly rent payment in the East Lansing area?
Almost all students choose to live off-campus. There are plenty of reasonably priced
apartments and townhouses in either walking or short-driving distance from campus.
One-bedroom apartments (w/o utilities) tend to run in the $400-$500 range (per month);
two-bedroom apartments are in the $550-$650 range.
When do students make living arrangements?
Students generally come to the East Lansing area to look for an apartment and sign a
lease during the early summer. However, some student start as early as April, because some
apartment complexes will put you on a waiting list, and will contact you when a unit comes
available within the time frame that you would like to start your lease.
Students can also search for apartments through Rent.com, or MyCheapApartments.com, or Apartments.com, or ApartmentList.com. University apartments are also available on campus.
Do I need to have a car?
While you may decide you dont want to have a car if you live very close to
campus, most of the current students do have cars. There are a few small stores and
restaurants close to campus, but most of the supermarkets, other stores, and restaurants
are not a reasonable walking distance. There is a bus line that runs through the East
Lansing area. However, having a car is recommended. Parking permits are available for
purchase for students who have assistantships or fellowships and cost around $130 for each of fall/winter, winter/spring, and summer semesters.
What is the weather like in winter in mid-Michigan?
The first snowfall is usually in early November, and winter weather usually lasts until
mid-March. Temperatures are coldest in January and February, usually ranging from mid-30s
to the single digits. Snowfalls are not particularly heavy, and we have a number of
students from southern states that have successfully learned to drive in the snow!
Will I need to take out student loans, or can I afford to
live off the assistantship?
The assistantship stipend is designed so that one student can afford to live modestly.
Whether you need a loan will depend on your lifestyle, and if you have any other factors
involved, such as a spouse or dependent children, high moving expenses, plan on purchasing
a computer, etc. Many current students do have loans; however, there are a few who are
managing the process loan-free.
Do I have to pay tuition? Do I pay the out-of-state
resident tuition rates?
In fall and spring semesters, students with assistantships are waived tuition for six
credit hours; during summer session, four credit hours of tuition are waived. Students who
take more than six (or four) credits are required to pay for those additional credits, but
pay at an in-state student rate. The out-of-state portion of the tuition is waived for
graduate assistants. Students are responsible for paying fees each semester.
Do I receive any health care coverage?
All graduate students on an assistantship receive student medical insurance coverage
free of charge. This includes major medical coverage, sick/injury visits to the campus
health clinic, and many lab test are covered. Prescriptions have a $15 co-pay (generic;
$30 for brand-name). Dental, optical, and well-care visits are not covered.
The Application and Selection Process
When should I apply to MSUs graduate Organizational program?
The application deadline is December 1st of every year. Be sure to take your General
and Psychology GRE tests soon enough that the scores will be released to MSU by the
What materials in the application are
While the MSU Organizational program has no particular formula to apply when considering an
application, the following is a list of what the faculty will look at when deciding
whether to admit a student:
Most admitted students have good credentials in all of these areas; however, a strength
in one area can help to balance a slight weakness in another area. For example, good
research experience can be a benefit to a student who does not have an outstanding GPA. Given this holistic approach, there is no minimum GRE score for admission into the program.
|GRE Scores (General & Subject)
||Fit with Faculty Interests
|Psychology Courses Taken
||Relevant Work Experience
|| Letters of Recommendation
How many students apply to the graduate program? How many are
Approximately 70 students apply each year to MSUs
Organizational program, out of which two to five
students are generally admitted into the program.
Should I visit MSU?
Once admitted, students are encouraged to visit us and explore MSU and East Lansing.
Though they can come at any time, we try to coordinate visits in late-March so that all of
the prospective students come at the same time and meet each other, as well as interact
with all of the faculty and current students. Students typically arrive on Friday (or the
night before) so that they can attend our weekly "Brown Bag" presentation and
often stay through part or all of the weekend.