Our Program

Our MS in Applied Psychology program is divided into two tracks, both based on the scientist-practitioner model. In this training model, students engage in rigorous quantitative research in psychology and apply scientific knowledge to problems in organizational settings.

Both tracks require 38 units of coursework, a 300-hour internship, and an independent research thesis. These requirements typically take 2 years of full-time work to complete.

Industrial-Organizational Psychology Track

The Industrial-Organizational Psychology track covers core topics in industrial-organizational psychology, such as job analysis, performance appraisal, selection, training, motivation, leadership, stress, job attitudes, and occupational health.

Quantitative Methods Track

The Quantitative Methods track covers core topics in univariate and multivariate statistics in psychological research, including multilevel modeling. Students to choose electives to further tailor their education to match their specific career interests/goals. Electives outside of psychology that fit with this track include linguistics (programming), big data analytics, or statistics.

We accept both recent graduates and individuals who have been in the workforce for a number of years. Some elements of our program that make us stand out:

  • We are a full-time program, so students are making a serious commitment to their graduate training
  • Financial support, in the form of assistantships (e.g., being a TA), is typically available, so that students can give their full attention to their graduate studies

  • Our internships give students the opportunity to apply classroom learning and acquire new skills in an organizational setting

  • Students apply to work with faculty mentors who align with their research interests.
  • Upon acceptance into the program, students are matched with a faculty mentor with whom they will work with on their thesis and other research projects
  • We have four full-time, tenured, research-active faculty who have graduated from prestigious I-O psychology doctoral programs

Faculty Research Labs

Faculty Research Labs

Both tracks in the MS program have a mentorship match model for thesis requirement. Students work directly with a faculty mentor to complete a research project and assist with other research projects in the laboratory. Before applying to the program, learn more about each faculty member’s focus of research and typical projects by reviewing lab websites and past research publications to see if there is a good match. Be sure to mention how your research interests match specific faculty members in your personal statement. Some helpful advice on choosing a mentor in the quant methods track can be found here.

Larissa (Lacie) K. Barber

Larissa (Lacie) K. Barber

B.A. University of Missouri, St. Louis; M.S., Ph.D., Saint Louis University.

Research Interests: Connecting well at work means using technology in a way that promotes sustainable work engagement. How can organizations promote effective work connections for productivity and disconnection to maintain well-being? This lab conducts research on evidence-based solutions for tackling problems with “always on” workplace practices that increase worker stress and burnout given the 24/7 nature of e-work communications. Alternatively, “optimally on” workplace practices allow employees to maximize both their effectiveness at work and well-being.  Typical lab topics include examining issues surrounding work engagement, work inclusion, work recovery, and work-life balance among teleworkers.  This lab also explores effective organizational, leadership, and workgroup practices for creating positive telework experiences.

Lab: ConnectWell @ Work Lab, Currently accepting new MS students

Jeffrey M. Conte

Jeffrey M. Conte

B.A., University of Virginia; M.S., Ph.D., Pennsylvania State University. 

Research Interests: Personnel assessment & selection, personality, psychological testing & measurement, stress, type A behavior pattern, temporal issues, time management, safety factors at work

Lab: Personality Measurement Lab, Currently accepting new students

Kate Hattrup

Kate Hattrup

B.A., University of California, Santa Barbara; M.A., Ph.D., Michigan State University

Research Interests: Cross-cultural I/O Psychology, diversity and inclusion in the workplace, employee well-being, sexual harassment in the workplace, human resource management

Lab: BEST Lab, Not currently accepting new students

Jon Helm

Jon Helm

B.S.,  M.S., Ph.D., University of California, Davis.

Research Interests: Develops and refines statistical models that (1) measure psychological constructs, and (2) analyze longitudinal data. Uses both frequentist and Bayesian approaches to estimate novel multilevel and structural equation models designed to either separate psychological constructs from a variety of method effects, or summarize how psychological constructs unfold over time.

Lab: STATs Lab (Statistical Techniques Applied to Social Science lab)Currently accepting new students

Lisa M. Kath

Lisa M. Kath

B.S. University of California, Berkeley; M.A., Ph.D., University of Connecticut

Research Interests: My research interests always center on worker well-being, most often in the areas of safety and stress. Most often, I have been studying the well-being of healthcare workers, with a recent focus on their experiences of patient aggression.

Lab: POWER Lab, Currently accepting new students

Jörg Matt

Georg (Jörg) Matt

Dipl. Psych., Albert-Ludwigs-Universitat, Freiburg, Germany; Ph.D., Northwestern University

Research Interests: Tobacco smoke pollution and exposure, secondhand smoke, thirdhand smoke, tobacco control policies; quantitative research methods, quasi-experimentation, field research, evaluation research, meta-analysis, generalizability; measurement, fuzzy set theory, cognitive models of self-reports, fuzzy set models of magnitude estimates.

Lab: Measurement and Evaluation Research Group (MERG), Currently accepting new students

Scott C. Roesch

Scott C. Roesch

B.S., University of California, Davis; M.A., California State University, Long Beach; Ph.D., University of Nebraska, Lincoln.

Research Interests: Trait-state models of stress and coping; coping with physical illness, and particularly cancer; cultural, ethnic, and acculturation differences in stress and coping; cross-ethnic measurement equivalence; structural equation modeling, meta-analysis.

Lab: Stress and Coping, Not currently accepting new students

David Marx

David Marx

B.A., U.C. Berkeley; M.A., Ph.D., Harvard University

Research Interests: Research focuses on several aspects of social cognition including stereotypes, social comparison, and attention. One primary line of research centers on defining and refining stereotype threat.

Lab: Stereotyping, Education, and Person Perception (STEPP) Lab, Currently accepting new students


Our alumni get jobs at a variety of public and private sector organizations. Here are some companies that have employed our alumni:

SDSU MS Applied Psych Alumni Logos
  • Visa
  • Grossmont Cuyamaca Community College District
  • Amazon
  • Spotify
  • Activision/Blizzard
  • APTMetrics
  • Center for Creative Leadership
  • San Diego City College
  • Sutter Health
  • Dell
  • Aptima
  • Petco
  • FEMA
  • General Atomics
  • Electronic Arts
  • SHL
  • Intuit
  • Booz Allen Hamilton
  • Pinterest
  • Cedars-Sinai

Featured Alumni

Lauren Farahnak, MS

Lauren Farahnak, MS

I’m a Senior Manager in Accenture Strategy’s Talent and Organization practice, helping external clients develop talent solutions and experiences to achieve business priorities and optimize performance. In my work, I travel across the US to meet with clients, primarily Chief HR Officers and Talent Management Leads, as well as to attend conferences and development programs. My projects and thought leadership focus on topics such as future workforce skills, talent strategy, digital transformation, employee experience, and strategic workforce planning.

The SDSU I/O Master’s program helped me build knowledge, experience, and confidence to advise clients on a range of talent topics and opportunities. These credentials also provide credibility with clients who have similar backgrounds or who have worked successfully with I/O Psychologists. I am extremely grateful to the program and faculty for setting me up for an exciting, fast-paced career in consulting.

Bryan Aasen, MS

Bryan Aasen, MS

SDSU’s I/O Psychology Master’s program prepares you for a wide variety of career paths in the I/O space. You do much more than soak up information at SDSU’s program- you build critical thinking skills and learn how to apply academic research techniques to the business world.

I currently work as a Senior HR Research and Analysis Advisor at SDG&E. Previously, I worked on Qualcomm’s People Analytics team where I analyzed a wealth of people data including hiring, turnover, performance data, and employee surveys. Before Qualcomm, I had a similar role working for Walmart. The biggest challenge in a role like this is how to take a huge amount of data and condense it into concise, useful insights that business leaders can understand and take action on. The critical thinking skills that I developed at SDSU’s program has been instrumental in my success, and I look forward to where my career takes me next.

Entered program in 2023

Simran Bhatia

Maxwell Cain

Amanda Kellaris

Sofija Markovic

Daniela Ortega

Rianna Roush

Entered program in 2022

Brianna Camacho

John Little

Jennifer Le

Anaid Cerón Northcraft

Alexis Rivkin

Hannah Valley

Entered program in 2021

Stephanie Figueroa

Brandon Tam

Andrew Tricarico

Ezekiel Welsh

Entered program in 2020

Alexa Samaniego

Alexa Samaniego

Alex Mangialardi

Alex Mangialardi

Cole Monroe

Cole Monroe

Cooper McAllister

Cooper McAllister

Dishanki Nilesh Savla

Dishanki Nilesh Savla

Jessica Robison

Jessica Robison

Josie Jacobson

Josie Jacobson

Mathew Bayati

Mathew Bayati

Entered program in 2019

Julianna Roy

Julianna Roy

Kat Dinershteyn

Kat Dinershteyn

Shalini Corzine

Shalini Corzine

Sol Bukin

Sol Bukin

Thaddeus Demeke

Thaddeus Demeke

Zareena Shefa

Zareena Shefa

Entered program in 2018

Teodora Vassileva

Mike Ferguson

Catherine Huyen

Rebecca Harmata

Elizabeth Stewart

Christian Woodward

Julie Ton-Vuong

Entered program in 2017

Brandon Himes

Jahnina Moss

Lukas Toroslu

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Maria Tolstykh

Marissa Morrison

Entered program in 2016

Aaron McKnight

Brittney Carroll

Dylan Petze

Elizabeth Davies

Saige Riley

Salvador Rubalcaba

Entered program in 2015

Caitie Jacobson

Christine Dilla

Dustin Abbott

Joyce Hwang

Kristy Kay

Noelle Devlin

Simona Spiridon

Entered program in 2014

Alexa Young

Casey O’Loughlin

Emily Lydston

Julia Brown

Justine Zimiles

Mark Reynolds

Nick Eslinger

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Sandra Martinez

Entered program in 2013

Josh Carlsen

Zachary Duncan

Michael Petty

Sean Tang

Lisa Wright

Entered program in 2012

Bryan Aasen

Sam Courtney

Jonathan Hussey

Mike Kirkpatrick

Elisa Torres

Tim Wolcott

Entered program in 2011

Ashlee Asgharzadeh

Lauren Dlugosz

Seamus Joyce

Renee Pires

Bahareh (Berry) Soltani

Mary Yama

Entered program in 2010

Dominique Mansell

Ian Smith

Melissa Oates

Olivia Bustamante

Fiona Cochrun-Nguyen

Kate LaMons

Jacob Mraz

Dara McIntyre

Entered program in 2009

Chris Atkinson

Lacey Wilson

Morgan Da Costa

Megan Chappell

Leah Bressler

Susan Drobka

Richard Drake

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