Overview

The thesis option in the Master of Science in Industrial-Organizational (I-O) Psychology degree program exists for students who wish to investigate an area of I-O Psychology in depth and conduct original research. A thesis is not required for to complete the MS degree. Students who choose this path are expected to demonstrate strong aptitude, effort, direction, and persistence. Students intending to continue their graduate education at the doctoral level or wanting to learn how to conduct research in organizations should consider the thesis option.

The Practicum option in the Master of Science in Industrial-Organizational (I-O) Psychology degree program exists for students who wish to investigate an area of I-O Psychology through an applied project in that area. A practicum is not required to complete the MS degree. Students who choose this path are expected to demonstrate strong aptitude, direction, effort, and persistence.

Content

A masters thesis project generally will involve (a) developing a research idea with your advisor; (b) conducting a current review of the relevant literature; (c) defining a coherent research design methodology and data analysis strategy; (d) presenting your proposal to and obtaining approval from your thesis committee; (e) obtaining approval to conduct your study from  the Institutional Review Board (IRB); (f) conducting the research project following your committeeís guidance; (g) collecting and analyzing your data, (h) summarizing your findings in writing, drawing appropriate conclusions, identifying limitations, and making recommendations for future research.

A masters practicum project generally will involve (a) developing a project idea with your advisor, (b) identifying a problem; (c)  conducting a current review of the relevant literature; (d) developing an appropriate  intervention designed to address the identified organizational need, concern, or problem; (e) obtaining approval from the Institutional Review Board (IRB); (f) presenting your proposal to and obtaining approval from each your practicum committee; (g) conducting the practicum project following your committeeís guidance, (h) implementing the organizational intervention; and (i) summarizing your findings in writing, drawing appropriate conclusions, evaluating effectiveness, identifying limitations and recommending future actions.

Committee

Each student initiates the thesis option by contacting one graduate faculty member in the I-O Psychology graduate program to discuss serving as the principal thesis advisor and thesis committee chair. The advisor and student will assemble a thesis committee consisting of at least two additional members. One member must be a graduate faculty member from the Department of Psychological Science, and the second, a faculty member from an NKU department other than the Department of Psychological Science (e.g., Management, Marketing, Organizational Leadership). Following Faculty Handbook policy, the thesis committee chair must be a member of the Department of Psychological Science and all committee members must hold graduate faculty status.

Each student initiates the practicum option by contacting an interested organization and one graduate faculty member in the I-O Psychology graduate program who will serve as the principal practicum advisor and the practicum committee chair. For a practicum project that will be submitted to UMI ProQuest (published), the advisor and student will assemble a committee consisting of at least two additional members, including at least one additional faculty member. For a practicum project that will not be submitted to UMI ProQuest (unpublished), the advisor and student will identify a second reader, who will be a faculty member.       

Process

The graduate student must submit an informal proposal for a thesis or published practicum project to the proposed thesis or practicum advisor for consideration. This document should briefly describe the proposed work, provide some references to relevant research literature, and be approximately three to five pages in length. Proposals will not be approved until the student has completed Research Design, Methods and Statistics I and II (PSY 615; 616). Once the proposal is approved by the thesis or practicum advisor, the student may register for PSY 797 (thesis) or 795 (practicum) credit hours and begin work on the full, formal proposal that will be presented to the thesis/practicum committee members for approval.

The amount of work required for an MS thesis usually equates to six credit hours of graduate coursework in I-O Psychology. Accordingly, thesis students should plan to register for PSY 797 for a period expected to last two semesters. Practicum students should plan to register for PSY 795 for a period normally expected to last two semesters as well. Credit hours may be distributed across more than two semesters if needed.