Prospective Graduate Students

Application Information

I-O group with USF background

Thank you for your interest in USF’s Industrial-Organizational (I-O) Psychology concentration. 

Why apply to USF?

Our nationally recognized training is designed to transform students into experts and leaders in the field, so applicants should be motivated to invest an average of five years in state-of-the-art coursework and top-ranked research projects, including two student-led projects: a master’s thesis and a doctoral dissertation. Our mentorship model is flexible. Some students work exclusively with one advisor, whereas others work collaboratively with multiple faculty members under the supervision of a primary advisor. Please note that this is not a terminal master’s program; all applicants should be committed to completing the course of Ph.D. training. In turn, we are wholly committed to our students’ success. USF students graduate prepared for university faculty teaching and research positions as well as research-oriented positions in business organizations, research institutions, consulting firms, and government. 

How are admissions decisions made?

Admission decisions are made collectively by all I-O Psychology faculty – meaning you are admitted to our program, rather than to one mentor/advisor. These decisions are made via holistic evaluation of each candidate. Both GRE scores and GPA are considered, but relevant research and/or work experience and fit of research interests with those of our faculty are extremely important in our decision-making. Please read about our faculty’s research interests here. We typically aim to admit 4-5 new students for each incoming class. Applications are due December 1st.

Who should apply?

We welcome applications from talented students and postgraduates. Our program recruits both national and international applicants who have a solid background in psychology (i.e., coursework and research experience), research interests in I-O Psychology topics that fit within ongoing research in our program, strong quantitative skills (e.g., coding, statistics), and strong communication skills in scientific writing and presentations. Applicants with an innate curiosity, initiative, a desire to work collaboratively, and a drive to engage in cutting-edge I-O Psychology research will find an excellent fit in our program’s culture.

*Members of minority groups that are underrepresented in the field of I-O psychology are strongly encouraged to apply.  


Below we provide guidance specific to applicants to the I-O Ph.D. program. More information and formatting regarding department-wide application requirements can be found here

  • Undergraduate/graduate transcripts – There is no minimum cut-off for GPA and no required undergraduate major, though Psychology is the most common. We do, however, look for relevant coursework in psychology/research methods. Students entering with a Master’s degree are generally able to transfer credits and a thesis, if approved by the department and university after acceptance into the program.
  • GRE scores – Required; there is no minimum cut-off. The Psychology Subject Test is desirable but not required.
  • Curriculum vitae (CV) – Your CV should succinctly list your educational background and relevant work and/or research experience.
  • A personal statement – Your personal statement is a brief (2-3 pages) narrative explaining your interests within I-O psychology research, the program at USF, your qualifications, and your career objectives. It is an opportunity to distinguish yourself by elaborating on the skills and experiences that will support your success and fit with the program, beyond the information provided in your transcripts and CV. Some students have background, identity, hardships, interests, or talent that is so meaningful that they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, please share these parts of your story in your personal statement. Such information will not only help us get to know you but may be useful in determining eligibility for fellowships.
  • Three letters of recommendation – These professional references will attest to your preparedness for our program, based on your character and past experiences. Letter writers should have significant exposure to you and your work (e.g., a professor with whom you worked as a research assistant or with whom you took multiple classes).

We realize that the graduate school application process can be complicated and stressful. Several excellent resources are available to provide guidance, including Dr. Richard Lander’s blog, the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology website, and how-to books (e.g., Getting in: A step-by-step plan for gaining admission to graduate school in psychology and Graduate study in psychology). We wish you the best of luck, and we look forward to seeing your application.