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Industrial/Organizational Psychology






Why is the degree M.P.S. rather than M.A.?

The Master of Professional Studies (M.P.S.) degree is a highly applied program, even more so than the Master of Arts (M.A.), which is generally more applied than the research-oriented Master of Science (M.S.) type program. The M.P.S. is designed for students seeking preparation to work in fields related to Human Resources, Organizational Behavioral Management, Training, and/or Usability. In addition to providing practical classroom experience, the program culminates with a practicum, in which the student will work in a job related to his or her career path. Finally, the M.P.S. includes interaction with an Advisory Board -- a panel of experts with contacts in the field, who will lend their expertise in shaping the program.

In terms of the practicum, does it require daytime work hours? If yes, how many? Will students be paid for their time?

The practicum is a 3-credit course and it is anticipated that the students will work in a supervised business-type setting for a minimum of 9 hours per week. These are not required to be daytime hours. While UMBC faculty and staff will help place all qualified students in internships, they cannot guarantee that the internships will be paid.

Alternatively, instead of being placed in an internship, students who are already employed in an I/O-related job, may choose to find or design an enriching internship experience within his or her own company. In addition to the work experience, students will meet on a regular basis and will complete a portfolio of their work-products. The course will culminate with an in-depth written analysis of the experience and a formal presentation.


What type of career/job search support does the program or UMBC provide upon graduation?

One form of assistance is the placement in the practicum, which may lead to a full-time job as well as possible connections to other organizations that have job openings. To assist us in placing students in internships and jobs, we will have support from UMBC's Shriver Center. Our students will also have access to UMBC's Career Services department and the USG's Career Services group. Additionally, we will have access to our Advisory Board members who may also have job opportunities through their organizations and/or may know of opportunities in related areas.


What opportunities/careers are available with this degree?

This is an applied degree, which is intended to provide recent college graduates or mid-level employees coursework and practical experience in the areas of human resources, organizational behavior management, human factors, and training and development. Graduates from this program will work in Human Resources departments either for corporations, in the government, or in consulting firms. Additionally, depending on their interests, students may choose to work on training teams and/or in areas that do human factors work. For more information about what a master's-level degree in I/O psychology can do for you, visit the Society for Industrial/Organizational Psychology's (SIOP) web site and see the page on "Guidelines for Education and Training at the Master's Level in Industrial-Organizational Psychology."


Will this degree facilitate my transition into the field of organizational behavior/development upon graduation? Or will I need work experience while in school?

This degree will provide some coursework and will give you a foundation in that area; however, practical work experience is highly recommended and can be arranged as part of the practicum.


Who are the main recruiters of your graduate program?

It is expected that the Human Resources departments and research contractors/consultants of many of the local Washington D.C. and metro area businesses and government agencies will be the primary recruiters from our program; however, we also expect that students will also be hired by I/O consulting firms and training organizations.


Does the program/faculty have I/O contacts in the DC metro area? If yes, where?

Yes. Various locations. Some of these include, but are not limited to: the Department of Education, Health and Human Services (HHS), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC), Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC), the Montgomery County Public School System (MCPSS), Human Genome  Sciences, Inc and other governmental agencies.  Networking activities and local professional organizations provide additional opportunities to meet and talk with professionals.


How much support/mentoring will there be if students decide to pursue doctoral studies?

This program is a terminal master's-level program. While we do not specifically support or mentor doctoral-level students, we will certainly provide advising and information regarding next steps, to assist our students who decide to continue their studies beyond the master's level.


What is licensure and what do I need for it?

To find out about licensure, please see the SIOP web site.