IO Psych Angst
July 26, 2012 11:25 AM Subscribe
I'm an English major who wants to go to grad school in Industrial/Organizational Psych. How can I improve my chances?
Snowflake details inside.
posted by anonymous to Education (6 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I loved AP Psychology in high school, and got college credit for it. I went into college thinking about cognitive science, got scared at the prospect of doing experiments with brains/rats, and jumped ship for an English major (which I love).
In the process of trying to figure out what to do with my life, I recently discovered Industrial/Organizational Psychologist. For many, many, reasons, this is my dream job.
I’m the weird kid who was obsessed with the MBTI in seventh grade. I fantasize about making systems more efficient, particularly ‘human’ systems—like the workplace. As an added bonus, this appears to be a burgeoning field where I could actually get a job after graduating. As to whether that means academia or out in the world as an I/O psychologist-consultant—well, I don’t know.
The qualification necessary for this type of job appears to be a Ph.D. Yes, I get that you can stop at a Masters’, but that seems to limit job type/growth opportunities.
Problem: I have no research experience. Well, I’ve done a couple of summer grant-research type things, but for fiction writing. Not the same thing…
My plan to remedy this is to contact Psych professors at my college like, NOW, to persuade them that yes, they want me as a volunteer in their Social Psych lab in the fall (there is no I/O concentration here). And take more Psych courses (I have credit for two Intro Psych courses, a Psych Statistics course, and will be taking a Research Methods course in the fall, along with more Social/Personality type Psych classes).
Other details: My GPA is 3.85; it should be a smidge higher when I graduate. I anticipate doing well on the GRE and Psych GRE subject test, although I have not taken either yet. And I have a few professors who could speak to my being a great writer/analyst, but not speak to my potential for research.
Another snowflake detail: I am right now set to graduate in three years instead of four (as in, this coming spring). But if staying another year to take more Psych courses or do more research would be invaluable, then I would have to reconsider. It would cost about 20K more, though, which was why I would be graduating early in the first place. (I will have about 16K debt overall by graduating in three years, if that matters in terms of choosing to be a poor grad student).
So from my end it seems like there is no chance I will be admitted directly to a Ph.D. program in I/O if I applied this fall. Probably for my own good. But I am still convinced that this is what I want to do as a career.
My instinct is to try to get into an M.A. or M.S. program for I/O, and from there transfer into a Ph.D. program. And there is the danger that I will discover that it isn’t my thing after all, which would certainly put a damper on things, although I intend to do loads more research, talk to several psych professors, and contact I/O psychologists who went to my school for more insight.
Is it difficult/frowned upon to go for a Masters at one school and a Ph.D. somewhere else?
How can I improve my chances for getting into a Master’s Program in I/O to begin with?
Any other advice about this plan or career path would be welcome.
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