Open University Certificate in Industrial and Organizational (I-O) Psychology

The goal of the Certificate in I-O Psychology is to offer non-degree seeking students an introduction to theories, methods, and practice of I-O Psychology. Industrial and organizational (I-O) psychology is the scientific study of the workplace. Using psychological theory and methodology, I-O Psychologists contribute to evidence based practice designed to improve understanding and management of human resources and organizational behavior.

The I-O Certificate is designed for individuals who are employed in (or plan to work in) organizations where expertise in I-O psychology is important for career advancement and the success of a business. This includes persons working in HR departments on issues such as talent management, assessment, selection, training, organizational development, performance, employee morale, and work-life balance.

The Certificate in I-O Psychology offers a rigorous introduction to theories, methods, and practice of I-O Psychology. Specifically, students will learn how to apply theories and methods of psychology to issues of critical relevance to organizations, including:
•  Recruitment, assessment, and personnel selection
•  Training needs assessment and design
•  Performance measurement and talent management
•  Organizational development and change management
•  Employee satisfaction, morale, and work-life balance
•  Leadership and motivation.

To begin coursework for the I-O Certificate, students must have earned a high school diploma or equivalent and must demonstrate evidence of potential for completing the academic coursework by their previous coursework and/or work experience. Previous courses in psychology taken at SDSU or at other universities will be considered for credit toward certification on an individual basis, but not to exceed seven units. The Department of Psychology is responsible for the coordination of the I-O Certificate in conjunction with the SDSU Global Campus. Open University registration information may be obtained from the SDSU’s Global Campus website.

The faculty advisor for the I-O Psychology Certificate is Dr. Conte. Interested students need to 1) email Dr. Conte ( before starting classes for the I-O Certificate (please include a transcript if you are trying to transfer credits from Introductory Psychology and/or Introductory Statistics courses) and then 2) submit a transcript to Dr. Conte once classes for the I-O Certificate have been completed.

Classes for the I-O Certificate are only offered during the regular academic year on the SDSU campus (online classes are not available). Students are required to submit an Open University Registration Form each semester to the SDSU Global Campus.

Certificate Requirements:

Complete 15 semester units of coursework to include PSY 101, 280, 319, 420, and 421 (PSY 101 will need to be completed before taking the other required courses). Students may transfer up to 7 credits previously earned in 101 or 280. PSY 319, 420, and 421 must be taken at SDSU (online courses are not available).

  1. Achieve a cumulative grade point average of 2.5 or better. Each class must be completed with a grade of C (2.0) or better.
  2. Complete required coursework within four years after beginning the I-O Certificate.
  3. Petition the SDSU Global Campus for the certificate upon completion of 15 semester units.
    Curriculum Outline and Course Descriptions:
    All required courses are offered regularly as part of the undergraduate degree program in psychology.

Students enrolled in the certificate will enroll as Open University students in existing courses.

  1. PSY101 Introductory Psychology (3 units) – Facts, principles, and concepts which are basic to understanding human behavior.
  2. PSY280 Statistical Methods in Psychology (4 units) – Quantitative methods in psychology for producing, analyzing, and interpreting data. Sampling, basic research designs, describing distributions, correlation, regression, applications of normal probability curve, confidence intervals, and tests of significance. Analysis and interpretation of data using statistical software such as SPSS.
  3. PSY319 Industrial and Organizational Psychology (3 units) – Broad-based survey of various content areas of industrial (e.g. selection, appraisal) and organizational (e.g. motivation, leadership) psychology. Underlying psychological principles that influence human behavior in the workplace. Not open to students with credit in Psychology 420 or 421.
  4. PSY420 Personnel and Industrial Psychology (3 units) – Psychological principles applied to industrial problems of selection, placement and training.
  5. PSY421 Organizational Psychology (3 units) – Human behavior in context of organizational life. Factors related to effectiveness of individuals and groups within organizations, including organization design, leadership and control, motivation, cooperation, and conflict.