In general, the Psy.D. curriculum in organizational psychology takes five years to complete. Approximately three years are devoted to course work and to examinations, one year to the dissertation, and one year to an internship. Students usually take their general comprehensive examination in professional psychology during the summer after their second year, the special area examination in organizational psychology during the summer after their third year, and the oral case presentation in an area of their practice whenever they have completed under supervision a project they wish to describe and analyze in detail. The sequence of examinations parallels state licensing procedures. As part of the special area examination, students write an article in American Psychological Association Journal format. As they move through the program, students also qualify for a masters degree, the Psy.M., when they have satisfactorily completed their course work, the general comprehensive examination, and their oral case presentation.
Academic course work balances theory and empirical research with problems and projects involving actual experience. One series of courses addresses the intellectual foundations of professional psychology. These include psychodynamic, behavioral, cognitive, and organizational theories; biological bases of behavior, prevention of alcohol and drug abuse, adult psychopathology; and professional development. A second set pertains to methods for research and intervention. These methods include research design and statistical analysis; observation and interviewing; adult learning and training; group relations and organizational diagnosis; and program planning and evaluation. A third set provides substantive analysis of organizational psychology. These include judgment and decision-making in organizations, the psychology of work and careers, experiential group dynamics, the group psychology of organizations, and community psychology.
Along with their overall education in organizational psychology, students also use a portion of their electives to develop a four-course specialty emphasis in either: (1) individuals in organizations or (2) groups and systems. The first prepares people for work in areas such as individual assessment, stress management, executive coaching, and leadership development. The second prepares students for work on such problems as team-building, intergroup problem-solving, diversity interventions, and organizational diagnosis.
Experiential activities combine fieldwork in organizations with supervision
by professional psychologists. During the first two years, students spend one
or two days per week in practicum settings and participate in weekly group supervision
with faculty. Later in the program, they undertake a year-long full-time internship
with supervision by a professional psychologist who is not a faculty member.
The culminating experience is the doctoral dissertation, an original research
project reflecting the intellectual and practical interests of the degree candidate.
Graduates of the organizational psychology Psy.D. program have obtained employment
as consultants in private practice, professional staff members in large and
small organizations, leader-managers in human service organizations, principals
with consulting firms, and faculty in higher education.