Some of the more frequently asked questions of our program are listed below. They are grouped into two categories: Questions about I-O graduate education in general and questions about our specific program. If your questions remain unanswered, or you just need more information, please e-mail the current program director, Dr. Chris Cunningham ([email protected]).
General I-O Questions
Program Specific Questions
General I-O Questions
Should I get a master's degree before applying to Ph.D. programs?
Students who intend to obtain a doctorate and who have the credentials to be admitted directly into a Ph.D. program should apply directly to such programs. Having a master's degree is not a prerequisite for admission to most Ph.D. programs. There is no guarantee that coursework taken in a master's program will satisfy requirements of a Ph.D. program.
One advantage of completing a master's degree such as that offered by UTC is in the practical focus of the coursework. Graduates of a program such as ours have a much better grasp of problem areas within I-O psychology than most undergraduates. Some Ph.D. programs appreciate and seek out this greater awareness of the field.
Students who have been unable to get into Ph.D. programs may increase their chances at future success by successfully completing a master's program. The reasons for this are that completing a thesis, presenting at conferences and meeting Ph.D.-level faculty can better prepare these students to make the jump to a Ph.D. program after graduating with their master's degree. Each year, one or two of our students has sought admission to doctoral program and most have been successful. In recent years, UTC graduates have been accepted at a wide variety of doctoral-level institutions including Central Michigan University, St. Mary's University (Canada), University of Georgia, Old Dominion University, The University of Tennessee at Knoxville, University of Oklahoma, Virginia Commonwealth University, the University of Nebraska, University of Central Florida, and Georgia Tech.
What do graduates of I-O masters programs generally do?
Many graduates of the program initially work within Human Resources (HR) departments. In smaller organizations, one person may be the entire "HR department". In larger firms, M.S. level graduates typically specialize in some area such as staffing, training, job analysis, or compensation. Others work as organization or training specialists, focusing on human resources problem solving and education throughout an organization.
A growing employment option for master's students is work within consulting firms. These positions are typically project-based in traditional HR areas (e.g., staffing, training, performance appraisal, compensation) but may also involve more macro-organizational tasks such as setting up team-based practices, doing employee surveys, or suggesting changes to organizational structure.
In addition to these two main career routes, other graduates of our program have used their statistics training to obtain work as data or statistical analysts. Finally, some graduates have gone on to Ph.D. programs.
How much money do new I-O masters graduates typically make?
Starting salaries depend on both the type of organization, e.g., public vs. private, the size of the organization, and the location of the country. Members of the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (www.siop.org) have access to an annual salary survey that provides very helpful information along these lines. Additional information about salaries for I-O psychology professionals can be found through O*NET (O*NET OnLine) and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Can I visit the campus and program to learn more in-person?
Absolutely. We would love to meet you. To facilitate scheduling, though please note the following visitation guidelines:
- From September through May, we have open visits on the third Thursday of these months. Visits will be in the afternoon and there may be the option of sitting in on an evening seminar if interested.
- During June, July, and August, we schedule visits on an as-needed basis.
If you are interested in visiting, check the general rules above and your calendar, and contact the program director, Dr. Chris Cunningham at [email protected] or by phone (423-425-4264) to work out the details. Your visit is unlikely to influence your chances at gaining admission to the program, so do not visit just for that reason. However, if you want to meet us in person and/or want to see the Chattanooga area, you are encouraged to visit. Typically, you will spend 30-45 minutes with one or more of our faculty members, discussing any questions you might have about the program and Chattanooga area. When possible, we will try to connect you with some current students to tour the campus and learn about the program from their perspective. Note that virtual "visits" with faculty and students are also possible.
How much is all of this going to cost?
The total cost for graduate students varies from year to year for in-state and out-of-state graduate students. You can estimate the costs of attending our program by checking out the current tuition rates via UTC's Bursar Office (click here for direct access). You also might find it helpful to review the material we have posted in our financial assistance section of this website. Keep in mind that as a full-time graduate student, you would be planning for 9 or more credit hours per semester. In-state and out-of-state residency is determined by the Graduate School following guidelines from the university system. Generally, if you come from out-of-state to attend school, you will retain your out-of-state designation for the entire program. As detailed in our financial assistance section, however, many of our out-of-state students qualify for in-state tuition rates through the Academic Common Market program. It is also worth noting that out-of-state students who are working full-time (30+hours per week) in Tennessee are permitted to take up to 8 hours of credit each semester at in-state rates. You may contact UTC's Graduate School with questions about this part-time student opportunity and residency regulations more generally.
Where do graduate students typically live?
There are many places to live in Chattanooga within either a short walk or drive from the campus. Most of our students live off-campus, in apartment complexes that are within a 10-15 minute drive from campus. To help you understand your options, we have provided links to several search tools under our About Chattanooga section to this website. Admitted students are provided with a spreadsheet of recommended housing compiled by current students.
Can I go on to a Ph.D. program after graduating from UTC's I-O program?
Certainly, but not automatically. We have no formal ties with any Ph.D. program. However, a handful of students from every cohort often pursue doctoral-level studies after completing their M.S. degree with us. Admission to a Ph.D. program is in no way assured if you successfully complete our program, but if you are admitted here and do well with us, you may improve your prospects of continuing your studies at a doctoral level.
When would classes actually begin?
Classes typically begin mid-August each year when we begin that year's cohort of new students. We hold an orientation at the end of the week just prior to the start of fall semester classes. Information regarding orientation is provided to all admitted students typically in June of each year.
Can I apply after the March deadline?
Yes. However, if you do, consideration of your application is affected not only by your qualifications, but also by the space available for the coming Fall semester. Thus, your probability of admittance is highest if you submit your materials by the March deadline. The later you apply, the less likely it is that there will be space available.
Do you accept new students in the Spring (or Summer)?
Typically, no. Because of the sequencing of our classes, full-time students who begin in the Spring cannot complete the program in fewer than 5 semesters, whereas almost all full-time students who start in the Fall will be finished in 4 semesters (not counting the Summer as a semester).
Can I report some other GPA other than my overall GPA in my application?
Many students think that their overall undergraduate GPA (including all collegiate hours, no matter where they were taken) is not the best reflection of their academic abilities. While we do consider overall undergraduate GPA first, we also consider your last two years of undergraduate GPA and your major GPA when evaluating your application.
Who should I get to complete my recommendation forms?
Academic references (i.e., former or current professors) are often a good place to start, but they are not requirements. You may use other professional connections if academic references are difficult (or impossible) to contact. Friends or family members are not suitable recommenders.
How many applicants do you have? How many are accepted? How many actually enroll?
We typically receive and process close to 80 applications each year. Only applications that are complete by our March deadline are guaranteed to be fully reviewed. Ultimately offers are made to between 15 and 20 students each year, and the final cohort is set by mid-April.