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SIOP Passes New Guidelines for Education and Training in I-O Psychology


by SIOP Administrative Office

Students, faculty, and administrators in the field of industrial-organizational (I-O) psychology now have a new document to help them develop and examine I-O curricula.

At its April meeting, the SIOP Executive Board approved the Guidelines for Education and Training in Industrial-Organizational Psychology. These new guidelines, prepared by the Education and Training Committee with input from SIOP’s membership, replace the previous guidelines found on SIOP’s Graduate Training Programs page.

The guidelines replace earlier versions published in 1985 and 1999 by SIOP and have been written to aid faculty and curriculum planners in the design of master’s- and doctoral-level graduate programs in I-O psychology. They may also be useful to potential master’s and doctoral students by providing a preview of training, suggesting criteria that may be used to select a graduate program, and giving students an overview of the competencies they are responsible for mastering during the course of their graduate education.

Education and Training Committee Chair Whitney Botsford Morgan led the revisions of the old guidelines. Other members of the committee include Joseph Allen, Incoming Chair, Stephanie Payne (Subcommittee Chair), Kristina Bauer, Mitzi Desselles, Rhonda DeZeeuw, Camille Drake-Brassfield, Julia Fullick-Jagiela, Jane Halpert, Michael Horvath, Tim Huelsman, Joy Oliver, Ludmila Praslova, Sylvia Roch, Amber Schroeder, Marissa Shuffler, Stephen Stark, Steven Toaddy, Anton Villado, and Christopher Wiese.

The committee started with the most recent versions of the guidelines, reviewed the content for relevance, consulted various sources, and made recommendations for revisions. In addition, the document was revised to be consistent with APA’s guidelines on education guidelines (APA, 2004).

One major detour from previous version is the consolidation of Master’s and PhD guidelines into one document. Due to the lack of empirical evidence to support separate sets of competencies for the master’s and doctoral levels, one set of guidelines was developed. However, according to the guidelines, SIOP continues to acknowledge the following distinctions between master’s- and doctoral-level educations. Most of these distinctions assume earning a master’s degree in a terminal master’s program, rather than earning a master’s degree on the way to the doctorate.

This document is not meant to be a mandatory set of rules for universities planning I-O programs. The term "guidelines" refers to pronouncements, statements, or declarations that suggest or recommend specific professional behavior, endeavors, or conduct for psychologists. Guidelines differ from "standards" in that "standards" may be mandatory and may be accompanied by an enforcement mechanism. Thus, these guidelines are not intended to be mandatory, exhaustive, or a substitute for appropriate professional judgment and they may not always be applicable in all situations. Rather, the aspirational intent of the guidelines is to facilitate the continued development of I-O Psychology.

The guidelines have been sent to the American Psychological Association (APA) and the process has begun for eventual adoption as APA policy.