School of Science announces new Ph.D. program in applied social and organizational psychology

Release Date: 
Oct 21 2016

Starting in fall 2017, the School of Science will enroll its first doctoral students for the new Applied Social and Organizational Psychology (ASOP) program. 

This degree program will equip students with a strong research foundation and the professional skills necessary not only for conducting research to understand how individuals function within groups and organizations but also for applying research findings to the solution of real-world societal and organizational problems. ASOP

“We are excited to launch the ASOP doctoral program, which draws upon the unique strengths of two core sub-disciplines of psychology—social and industrial/organizational—to provide students with a broader range of employment opportunities than traditional programs with a singular focus typically provide. Very few comparable programs exist nationally or internationally,” says Leslie Ashburn-Nardo, Ph.D., area program head.

Industrial/organizational (I/O) psychology—a core aspect of this program—is among the fastest growing occupations projected through 2022, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The ASOP curriculum will integrate aspects of social and I/O psychology, including attitudes and social cognitive processes, staffing and development, and organizational issues with a heavy emphasis on quantitative methods and supervised research.

ASOP’s concentration in diversity science aims to prepare graduates for the unique challenges associated with today’s increasingly global and diverse workplace. The concentration reflects core faculty expertise in organizational gender and race concerns, as well as group dynamics.

“We are fortunate to have a critical mass of faculty with expertise in the science of diversity and intergroup relations to provide students with competencies that will give them a distinct advantage on the job market,” Ashburn-Nardo said. “The diversity science concentration really sets our program apart from others. There are very few programs like it, despite the rapidly changing demographics in our society.”

The diversity science concentration will prepare graduates for research careers conducting studies on topics such as stereotyping and prejudice, disparities, organizational diversity, and diversity training and education. It will also prepare graduates for specialized applied careers as, for example, diversity officers in industry and academia.

In addition to the required coursework and diversity science concentration, ASOP students will choose an interdisciplinary minors in mixed methods in data analytics for social/behavioral sciences, legal studies for social/behavioral sciences, or they can customize their minor to fit their needs.

The Applied Social and Organizational Psychology program expands on the Department of Psychology’s thriving I/O psychology master’s program, which admitted its first student in 1970 and will continue operating in parallel to the ASOP program. The Society of Industrial and Organizational Psychology nationally recognizes IUPUI’s program as a top choice for terminal master’s programs in I/O psychology.

Over the past decade, I/O students have co-authored publications and presentations in top outlets in the field. Graduates hold senior positions in national and international organizations, including American Airlines, Bank of America, Hogan Assessments, Xerox and Fifth Third Bancorp. Kevin Kabat (MS’81), CEO of Fifth Third, recent established the Kabat Fellowship in Industrial/Organizational Psychology and Leadership, which is awarded annually to a graduate student accepted into the I/O program and will fully fund the individual’s studies.