Looking at Careers in Industrial/Organizational Psychology


The Industrial/Organizational (I/O) Psychology Master’s Degree at Elmhurst University has the purpose of providing relevant, hands-on practice so that students can gain a professional edge. More than just educating their students, the faculty focus on helping students identify careers in I/O Psychology.

While the industry itself can be applied across many verticals, Elmhurst provides a learning opportunity that intersects with the world of consulting and sets its students up for success.

What is Industrial Organizational Psychology

I/O psychology is the scientific study of the workplace; rigor and methods of psychology are applied to issues of critical relevance to business. These issues include talent management, leadership coaching, assessment, team dynamics, selection, training, organizational development, job design, performance and work-life balance. The industrial side of I/O involves matching individuals to specific job roles and the organizational side focuses on how an individual’s behaviors are influenced by the organization.

What’s in a Name?

While industrial and organizational psychology are often grouped together under the umbrella of I/O psychology, they represent distinct yet interconnected domains within the field.

Industrial psychology primarily focuses on understanding individual behavior in the workplace and optimizing the match between employees and their jobs. However, organizational psychology focuses on understanding the dynamics of groups, teams and entire organizations. Industrial psychology examines how various factors such as leadership, communication, culture and change impact organizational behavior and effectiveness. Both industrial and organizational psychologists can leverage their unique skill sets to excel in consulting roles, albeit often with different focuses and approaches.

What is Consulting?

Consulting as a career involves providing expert advice, guidance and solutions to clients across various industries and sectors. Consultants work with organizations, businesses, government agencies, non-profit organizations and individuals to help them solve problems, achieve goals and improve performance.

I/O psychologists can work as consultants while applying psychological principles and research methods to help organizations solve problems and improve performance. I/O psychologists who work as consultants typically offer their expertise to businesses, government agencies, non-profit organizations and other entities seeking to enhance their operations and effectiveness.

Elmhurst University’s I/O Psychology M.A. Program

The I/O Psychology Master’s program at Elmhurst University is a two-year, part-time program. This program helps students gain crucial insights into how teams work, or fail to work, through projects and field experiences.

Through field experience, they develop the capacity to think critically and communicate effectively. To provide students with the opportunity to gain field experience, the program started a student-led consulting group named Elmhurst Consulting Solutions (ECS).

Who is Elmhurst Consulting Solutions?

Elmhurst Consulting Solutions (ECS) is a dynamic, student-led consulting group within the I/O Psychology Master’s program at Elmhurst University. Their mission is to empower organizations through creative, research-based solutions, while developing critical I/O consulting skills in student consultants through real-world projects. ECS was started with the purpose of allowing students to gain applied consulting and project experiences that will help to prepare these graduate students for applied careers after graduation.

Given that students, who are up to date on the most recent literature, lead these projects, it allows for ECS to be in a unique position to help organizations thrive in an ever-changing landscape. This is achieved by harnessing rigorous research and data-driven practices to promote employee well-being, and diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in organizations.

What sets ECS apart is its unique blend of academic rigor and practical experience. As graduate students pursuing a Master’s degree in I/O Psychology, ECS members possess a deep understanding of human behavior in the workplace, organizational dynamics and evidence-based practices. This expertise allows them to offer valuable insights and solutions to organizations, departments and teams seeking to enhance their performance, productivity and employee well-being.

What is the Scope of ECS Services?

ECS’s consulting services encompass various aspects of organizational development, including change management, learning and development, training, performance management and organizational effectiveness. Current projects students are working on encompass areas like training and development, program evaluation and psychometrics. These projects range in terms of their clientele, and ECS helps a mix of external (from the University) clients and internal clients. ECS members are currently assisting faculty in the School of Education and the staff in the Advising department on campus at Elmhurst through on-going consulting projects.

In addition to consulting work, ECS runs a mentorship initiative within the Elmhurst University I/O program. This initiative trains second-year graduate students to mentor and assist incoming students in achieving academic success. These students organize a range of events, including orientation for new students, networking occasions and informal gatherings.

Moving Forward

ECS is still growing and is continuously looking for new opportunities. Anyone interested in learning more or requesting help with a project should reach out to [email protected]. If you are a student and want to learn more about the I/O Master’s program at Elmhurst University, fill out the information in the form below.

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About the Author

Catrina Notari, Elmhurst University

Catrina Notari earned a B.A. from Rutgers University in psychology and a Ph.D. from Montclair State University in Industrial/Organizational Psychology with a concentration in Data Science. She focuses her teaching and research on the Industrial side of I/O Psychology, focusing on psychometrics, data science, and consulting practices. In addition, Catrina has programs of research in job attitudes and shared leadership.


Posted March 12, 2024

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