Industrial and organizational (I/O) psychology is one of the fastest growing fields, according the United States Department of Labor. Mason, already boasting a strong graduate program in I/O, has expanded the undergraduate psychology program to include both a minor and concentration in work and organizational psychology, centering on the theories of I/O psychology.
Zhalai Baz, a senior in the I/O concentration, was first introduced to I/O in her Research Methods course (PSYC 301). After finishing Research Methods, she was inspired to take Introduction to I/O (PSYC 333) with Lauren Kuykendall. “Not only was I interested but also I could see myself in the field applying the theories and ideologies,” Zhalai said. This course quickly became Zhalai’s favorite in the concentration. It taught her the basics of I/O, such as the study of working and the application of that science to workplace issues. Together the class explored questions such as the implications of having a diverse workforce and what are effective ways to capitalize on such diversity? Or, what is effective leadership and how can organizations develop leaders?
The undergraduate I/O offerings were developed to provide students an opportunity to study this growth area. Seth Kaplan, head of the I/O doctoral program, notes, “We are fortunate to have top graduate programs in I/O. In fact, the Mason masters and doctoral programs in I/O psychology have been ranked in the Top 10 by U.S. News and World Report. Thus, we are able to offer undergraduate students courses taught by leaders in the field.” With an understanding of I/O, students can pursue a career in a variety of areas, such as human resources or management consulting, for example. Kaplan notes that this is an excellent primer to obtaining a graduate degree in I/O, which is very beneficial in terms of career prospects.
Zhalai is now preparing to take the GRE to continue her I/O studies at the graduate level. In the meantime she is thankful for her time at Mason and the wonderful opportunities it has afforded her by getting involved in campus organizations and grow towards her full potential.