Master of Arts in Industrial Organizational Behavior Management


The Master of Arts in Industrial Organizational Behavior Management in the Department of Psychology at Western Michigan University prepares students for doctoral study work or employment at the M.A. level in personnel training and development, instructional design, productivity and safety improvement, quality enhancement, work process improvement, and organizational systems analysis.

Program details

Credit requirements to degree:

  • A minimum of 36 credit hours
  • A minimum grade of B is required for all coursework in the program

Undergraduate prerequisites overview

 Required qualifications:

  • A bachelor's degree with a minimum of 18 credit hours in psychology, which must include:
    • Three credit hours of statistics

Preferred qualifications:

  • An undergraduate major in psychology
  • A minimum GPA of 3.0
  • Minimum GRE scores corresponding to the 50th percentile on the verbal and quantitative sections

Other criteria taken into consideration include letters of reference, research activity, work experience, social and professional skills and the extent to which the applicant's interests match the program.

Program requirements

Competency I: Industrial Organizational Behavior Management Core (12 credit hours)

  • PSY 6430: Personnel Selection and Placement. This course is designed to teach students: (1) the legal and professional requirements for personnel selection and placement programs; (2) how to design and conduct job analyses, interviews, and tests that conform to the legal and professional requirements; and (3) how to evaluate the adequacy (the reliability and validity) of personnel selection and placement instruments.
  • PSY 6440: Personnel Training and Development. This course emphasizes the principles of behavior analysis as they apply to learning as well as techniques and administrative procedures used in the development of human resources at all levels.
  • PSY 6450: Psychology of Work. This course is an advanced course designed to examine human behavior in organizations from a behavioral psychology perspective. Topics covered include: the history of industrial organizational psychology, motivation, performance improvement techniques, compensation, quality, job satisfaction and its relation to productivity, and the ethics of personnel management. Students entering the course are expected to have an understanding of the basic principles of operant and respondent conditioning because these concepts are used to interpret and analyze worker behavior.
  • PSY 6510: Behavioral Systems Analysis. This course trains you on applying behavioral systems analysis concepts to the design of systems which yield objective measures of critical organizational business indices.

Competency II: Behavior analysis Core (3 credit hours)

  • PSY 6100: Conditioning and Learning. This course examines conditioning and learning from the perspective of the experimental analysis of behavior. Emphasis is placed on basic laboratory research procedures and findings.
  • PSY 6166: Conditioning Principles and their Organizational Applications. This course serves as a scholarly introduction to basic and advanced principles of behavior with an emphasis on potential organizational applications. The course will describe the development of a science of behavior and the integration of this science with other natural sciences. Important topics such as the acquisition and maintenance of behavior, assessment and evaluation, and motivational variables will be examined in relation to complex behaviors. The potential relevance of other behavioral research areas to organizational applications will be broadly considered.

Competency III: Research Methods (6 credit hours)

  • PSY 6080: Research Methods in Behavior Analysis. This advanced course on research methods in behavior analysis addresses research with human and nonhuman subjects, placing an emphasis on applied, human research. Research issues and specific research methods are discussed at philosophical, strategic, and practical levels. Research decisions are placed within the context of the philosophy of science underlying all scientific research endeavors. Topics include: the mission of science; behavioral assessment and measurement; experimental design, with emphasis on single-subject designs; analysis and interpretation of data; dissemination of scientific research; and, ethical issues in research. Students demonstrate their mastery of research issues through the proposal of a research project.
  • PSY 6340: Experimental Design and Analysis I. Topics in this course include statistical decision theory, one factor analysis of variance, multiple comparison procedures, factorial designs, randomized block designs, fixed, random, and mixed models, and basic issues in experimental design.

Competency IV: Professional Ethics (3 credit hours)

  • PSY 6050: Professional and Ethical Issues in Psychology. This course addresses the standards and contemporary issues affecting professional conduct. The topics to be covered revolve around ethical conduct in practice and research as well as the decision-making foundations for resolving ethical issues. Selected legal issues affecting professional practice are also addressed.

Competency V: Research and Practice (6 credit hours)

Thesis option:

  • PSY 7000: Master’s Thesis (6 credits). Requires the completion of a research thesis of publishable quality. A written proposal must be approved in advance by your three-person committee and an oral defense of the final written thesis is required.

Practicum option (two of the following):

  • PSY 5990: Individualized Practicum. Students complete an individually designed practicum, which must be approved by their advisor in advance.
  • PSY 6520: Systems Analysis Practicum. This course integrates behavior analysis with organizational systems analysis to improve the design and management of human performance systems. Students conduct analyses for organizational clients and work with organizational team members to redesign and/or create new performance systems at the organizational level, the work process level, and the individual job performer level.
  • PSY 6549: Behavior-Based Instructional Design. This course Will cover the basic principles and techniques of effective instruction and training as applied to a wide variety of settings, including K-12 education, higher education and personnel training.

Competency VI: Electives (6 credit hours)

Electives should be approved in advance by a faculty advisor. You may take courses in the Department of Psychology or in other departments.

Potential courses in other departments include, but are not limited to:

  • ACTY 6010: Accountancy
  • MGMT 6140: Business Process Management
  • MGMT 6200: Enterprise Requirements Planning System Configuration
  • MGMT 6410: Business Venturing
  • MGMT 6500: Managing Change
  • MGMT 6520: Strategic Human Resource Management
  • PADM 6510: Health Services Delivery
  • PADM 6540: Strategic Planning and Management of Health Care Organizations
  • PADM 6550: Administration of Health Services
  • SOC 6880: Methods of Survey Research