Frequently Asked Questions

What is I-O Psychology?

Simply stated, I-O Psychology is psychology applied to the workplace. I-O psychologists are concerned with applying psychology to the workforce in an effort to identify and improve employee behavior and attitudes and thus help maximize the organization's success.

I-O Psychology is concerned with:

  • Attitude Theory, Measurement, and Change
  • Career Development
  • Consumer Behavior
  • Criterion Theory and Development
  • Health and Stress in Organizations
  • Human Performance/Human Factors
  • Individual Assessment
  • Job Evaluation and Compensation
  • Job/Task Analysis and Classification
  • Judgment and Decision Making
  • Leadership and Management
  • Organizational Development
  • Organizational Theory
  • Performance Appraisal and Feedback
  • Personnel Recruitment, Selection, and Placement
  • Small Group Theory and Team Processes
  • Training: Theory, Program Design, and Evaluation
  • Work Motivation

See this page for more information about required competencies, typical work activities, wage trends, and more.

What is Industrial vs. Organizational Psychology?

I-O Psychology is comprised of 2 branches: Industrial Psychology and Organizational Psychology. Though there is considerable overlap, Industrial Psychology is primarily concerned with issues that are more molecular in nature while Organizational Psychology takes a molar approach.


  • Recruitment
  • Selection
  • Classification
  • Compensation
  • Performance Appraisal
  • Training


  • Socialization
  • Motivation
  • Occupational Stress
  • Leadership
  • Group Performance
  • Organizational Development

For more helpful information, please visit the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology.

What is HRM?

Human Resource Management (HRM) is the management function that deals with the following aspects of an organization, with regards to company employees:

  • Recruitment
  • Placement
  • Promotion
  • Training and Development
  • Change Management
  • Employee Retention

For more helpful information, please visit the Society for Human Resource Management.

What jobs can I get in the HRM field?

  • Human Resource Assistant: Basic HR role involving a variety of generalist HR activities (recruitment, performance management, and employee relations). Experience usually required: Graduate to 2 years.
  • Standard Recruitment Consultant: Involves all aspects of recruitment (interviewing and reference checking, etc). Involves high level of involvement with managers and agencies (depending on individual companies). Experience usually required: Graduate to a few years of experience (depending on role).
  • Specialized Recruitment Consultant: Same as Standard Recruitment Consultant except requires use of specialist field knowledge judgment when recruiting. Experience usually required: At least 12 months experience in the specialized field. Roles require technical knowledge including IT, science, and engineering.
  • Education, Training, & HR Officer: Assessment of the overall company requirements regarding training needs, training programs, and assessment of individual development needs. Experience usually required: A few years experience working in a standard HRM recruitment role.
  • HR Manager: Manages the day to day HR issues. Experience usually required: Many years experience working in a HRM role in a large corporate or professional services environment.
  • Senior HR Services Consultant: Involves empowering managers in the uptake of HR initiatives and development of existing practical and progressive HR and people management strategies. Experience usually required: Extensive number of years experience working in recruitment in a corporate environment.
  • Recruitment Coordinator: Requires understanding of business and the ability to cultivate an environment of trust and collaboration. Experience usually required: A few years experience working in HR recruitment in a management role.
  • Executive Manager- Human Resources: Reporting to the Director of Human Resources and working with a small HR executive team. Experience usually required: Requires many years of experience in HR recruitment in a management role as well as proven HR generalist experience.

What do IOHRM students do when they graduate?

About half of our students go into HR Generalist positions after graduation, with another sizable portion going into HR specialist positions. The other 15% or so go into a broad variety of positions ranging from consulting to data analytics to a variety of management positions. Occasionally, students go on to PhD programs, as well. Visit our alumni page for specific examples.

Do you have an online version? Evening & weekends version for working adults? Can I do the program part-time?

The IOHRM program at Appalachian can be described as "immersive" and best fits full-time students. Our classes generally are scheduled during regular 8AM-5PM hours, but may be outside that time on occasion. We see the program as strongly oriented towards the professional development of our students, and as such, there are a variety of activities beyond class participation that are required. We do not offer online or other forms of distance classes.

What is the program and its culture like?

The IOHRM culture is very supportive and collaborative. We welcome around 12-15 students each year and have 8 dedicated program faculty. For the most part, IOHRM students can generally be described as "traditional" (i.e., straight from their bachelor's degree or with less than a few years of relevant work experience), but non-traditional students also regularly join the IOHRM program, as well. Each class is typically very tight-knit. They are all very dedicated to their professional development (as are the faculty). They work hard, but also enjoy their time at App and most stay in contact as alums.

What makes IOHRM different from other I-O programs?

There are three things which set apart the IOHRM program from others. First and most obvious, we are a program that explicitly prepares students for work in I-O psychology AND human resource management. To our knowledge, we are the only program in the US that complies with the educational guidelines of both the Society for I-O Psychology (SIOP) and the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). Second, we have a large and diverse group of 8 faculty (4 in Psychology, 4 in Management) who are fully dedicated to the IOHRM program. Finally, the culture of our program is unique, in that our students and our faculty are all very engaged and very collaborative.

Is it hard to get into the program?

It is hard to estimate the chance of admissions without information about an individual's qualifications. The IOHRM program is a competitive one with about 120 total applicants each year for 12-15 positions. Over the past few years, the mean undergraduate GPA of our students is about 3.73 (ranging from about 3.10) with GRE scores at around the 75th percentile Verbal and 52nd percentile Quant (ranging from about the 30th percentile). Regarding the numbers, if the applicant's GPA is not quite on a par with our typical students', we look elsewhere for that evidence. Perhaps the student was in another major early on and that brought down the GPA. Perhaps personal circumstances influenced the GPA one semester. Perhaps strong GREs attest to aptitude that wasn't indicated in the GPA.

In short, we take a very close look at each applicant's entire packet; the numbers are part of it, but we also closely examine specific coursework (particularly in quantitative classes), the applicant's personal statement, letters of recommendation, and research and work experience. We are looking for evidence that the applicant will "fit" our program, and for evidence that the applicant will succeed.

What are the deadlines and other important dates?

The deadline for full consideration for the program is February 15, though International students are required to submit some materials earlier (see Admissions decisions are made starting in early March and continue through April. When we consider applicants for admission to the IOHRM program at AppState, we consider ALL applicants with complete application files. Our deadlines exist to give applicants an idea of the appropriate time frame required for them to get full consideration for admissions. We typically send out our first acceptances on March 1. The February 15 deadline allows a little bit of "wiggle room" for a late piece of the application file, and for our Grad School to send each completed application through a clearinghouse that checks the academic background.

If we have a completed application and the clearinghouse check is done by March 1, you will receive full consideration for admission.

The first acceptances are sent out on March 1, but it is usually the case that a second (and sometimes even a third or more) round of acceptances goes out after some of the applicants in our original "accepted" group informs us that they will be going elsewhere. All applications that are complete at the time of the later rounds will be considered for admission, even if the application was not complete at the time of the first round.

What about internships?

We have an internship as an option in the program of study (with a thesis as the alternative), but few students do not complete an internship for credit; it is STRONGLY encouraged. Typically, 1 to 2 students each year do a thesis in addition to the internship.

Do you match IOHRM students with their internships?

We have a number of "warm leads." These are organizations with which we have long-standing relationships, including internships. It is not at all a "plug-and-play" situation, rather a situation where students can expect to receive a good reception for their inquiries. Despite these relationships, more than half of our students earn internships through other means (their own connections, websites, professional networking, etc.). We give them all the support we can, but our students typically work to get their internships. This approach has greatly benefitted our students both in terms of developing good job search skills and in terms of securing excellent internships.

What opportunities for research would I have? Can I do research if I do not elect to do a thesis?

The IOHRM program has many students who are interested in doing research and many of them (1-2 per year) do the thesis in addition to the internship (it simply fills 6 of the 9 elective hours). Many more students engage in other research opportunities with our faculty. All of the 8 IOHRM program faculty are engaged in research, and this gives students ample opportunity to be involved. Also, there is an applied research center in the College of Business, and many of our students do research/consulting work with that center.

Will I get an assistantship? What about financial aid?

We have been able to offer first-year graduate assistantships to all of our students in the past 5-10 years, though this is not guaranteed; the typical assistantship is a 10-hour assistantship paying approximately $5000. In their second year, students are not guaranteed an assistantship, but most students are supported with assistantships in a variety of positions across campus, including teaching in general psychology and psych labs. There are also a limited number of NC Tuition Scholarships (for non-NC residents) and several fellowships. These are highly competitive. Click here for information regarding financial aid.

Do you accept probationary students? Can I take just a class or two?

We do not accept students on a probationary or provisional basis.

Additional Information and Resources

Where Do Students Find Housing?

What Are the Costs?

Appalachian State University Cost and Financial Aid Information

Additional Resources

Still Have Questions?

Contact Current Students

Email Dr. Huelsman, Program Director