Integrated B.S. in Psychology and M.S. in HRER

Integrated B.S. in Psychology and M.S. in HRER

The integrated Psychology B.S. and HRER M.S. program is designed to allow academically talented Penn State students to obtain both the B.S. in Psychology and the M.S. in Human Resources and Employment Relations degrees after five years of study rather than six. IUG students will develop expertise in the human resources and employment relations field beyond that provided by their Psychology B.S. degree.

The undergraduate psychology curriculum potentially introduces students to (1) personnel selection, (2) training and development, and (3) organizational psychology. The graduate curriculum provides for a more intensive, individualized, and focused examination of the human resources and employment relations fields, including (1) the roles employers, employees, employee organizations and public policy makers play in the employment relationship, (2) the complex personal and organizational issues inherent in the employment relationship, (3) the laws that form the legal framework for the employee-employer relationship, (4) the tools needed to analyze systematically those complex issues and evaluate research relevant to those analyses, and (5) human resource management policies and practices that contribute to individual and organizational success. It also provides an opportunity for students to explore a concentrated sub-area of the HRER field in depth. The program culminates with the student either completing a thesis or capstone course.

Upon completion of the integrated degree, students will be well-positioned to assume positions of greater responsibility in Industrial/Organizational Psychology, Human Resource Management, Employment Relations, and related careers as a result of the advanced knowledge, skills, and confidence gained through the program. Completing the IUG program enables outstanding Penn State undergraduates to become better prepared for a long-term career in Human Resource Management or Employee Relations, and to do so in a year less than would normally be required.


The first two to three years of undergraduate coursework follow the same undergraduate curriculum that other students follow in the Psychology B.S. program. The final two years of study typically include graduate program requirements. Students may double-count a maximum of 12 specified credits toward their graduate and undergraduate degrees, thus making faster progress toward each degree.

Student performance is monitored on an ongoing basis by the Graduate Program Director and the Graduate Programs Office. Each student is expected to maintain a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 on all courses used toward the M.S. degree in order to maintain good academic standing and meet graduation requirements. Students are allowed only one “C” on their graduate transcript, regardless of their grade point average.

IUG students must complete a minimum of 39 graduate credits. Twelve credits can apply to both the undergraduate and graduate degrees; at least six of these credits must be at the 500 or 800 level. No more than six 400-level credits can be double-counted, and no more than twelve 400-level credits in total can count toward the graduate degree. The twelve credits for double-counting must be chosen from the following list of approved courses (all courses are 3 credits):

  • LHR 400 Comparative Employment Relations OR HRER 500 Comparative Employment Relations
  • LHR 403 International Human Resource Studies OR HRER 503 Seminar in International Human Resources Studies
  • LHR 460 Human Resource Ethics
  • HRER 501 Labor and Employment Law
  • PSYCH 482 Selection and Assessment in Organizations OR PSYCH 484 Work Attitudes and Motivation OR PSYCH 485 Leadership in Work Settings (only one of these three

To earn the Master of Science degree in HRER, students in the IUG program must complete all the degree requirements for the Master of Science described above, with one exception. Psychology IUG students are not required to complete HRER 502, Human Behavior at Work. Instead, students will choose one additional 3-credit 500 or 800 level elective in consultation with their adviser.


Semester standing 1 – 8
Students complete all requirements for the B.S. in Psychology.

Semester standing 5 – 6
Students should complete at least two courses (6 credits) within the Business Option, group 2, section C (Labor Relations) – these credits will be double-counted.

Semester standing 7 – 8
Students complete two graduate classes (6 credits; it is recommended that 3 of these credits be HRER 504 or HRER 505); an internship is recommended at some time between semesters 6 and 9.

Semester standing 9 – 10
Students who have chosen to complete a thesis, complete 12 graduate credits each semester (to include 6 credits of HRER 600).

How do I apply?

Students must apply to the IUG degree program by October 1 to begin in the spring semester and March 1 to begin in the fall semester (typically the spring semester of a student’s third year). Graduate Record Examination (GRE), Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT), and Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS) scores normally required of graduate school applicants are waived for applicants to the IUG program. For more detailed information about all of Penn State’s IUG programs, please see The Graduate School’s website.

Requirements for admission include:

  • Must be enrolled in the PSYCH B.S. program, pursuing the Business Option, with the successful completion of PSYCH 281, Introduction to Industrial-Organizational Psychology, AND one of the following: PSYCH 482, Selection and Assessment in Organizations, PSYCH 484, Work Attitudes and Motivation, or PSYCH 485, Leadership in Work Settings.
  • Applicant shall be admitted no earlier than the beginning of the third semester of undergraduate study at Penn State (regardless of transfer of AP credits accumulated prior to enrollment) and no later than the end of the second week of the semester preceding the semester of expected conferral of the undergraduate degree, as specified in the proposed IUG plan of study;
  • Applicant must have a minimum overall GPA of 3.2 (on a 4.0 scale) in undergraduate coursework and a minimum GPA of 3.5 in the major.

The application for admission to the IUG program must include the following materials, all of which need to be uploaded within the Graduate School application:

  • Three letters of recommendation
  • A writing sample of an individual paper (can be something you’ve already written but cannot be a résumé or group project/paper)
  • A resume and a personal statement explaining your academic and professional career objectives and how our program will help you achieve them
  • Interested students should first meet with a Psychology Academic Adviser. To make an appointment with your psych advisor, please log onto Starfish, click on Services, use the search box in the upper right for the name of your advisor, then click on the Members tab from search results to find and make an appointment. Together with the adviser, students should prepare a plan of study appropriate to this integrated program.
  • After meeting with their Psychology Adviser, interested students must meet with Erin Hetzel, the Graduate Staff Assistant, prior to applying. To make an appointment with Erin Hetzel, please log onto Starfish, click on Services, use the search box in the upper right for “Hetzel”, then click on the Members tab from search results to find her and make an appointment.
  • A completed graduate school application (for the M.S. in Human Resource Management and Employment Relations – HRER; please mention in the notes section that you are applying to the IUG program).

The Graduate School application must be submitted electronically. This reduces your processing time and ensures receipt of your application. For students desiring to start classes in August, applications are due March 1 (ALL materials including the three recommendation letters must be submitted by this deadline).

If an eighth-semester undergraduate student does not require financial aid, the student does not have to graduate with BS until they have completed their MS requirements, if they so choose. If an eighth-semester undergraduate student requires financial aid of some sort to remain in the program, the student must contact Erin Hetzel, the Graduate Staff Assistant, to discuss their options and ensure that financial aid is not negatively affected by the student’s course sequence. To make an appointment with Erin Hetzel, please log onto Starfish, click on Services, use the search box in the upper right for “Hetzel”, then click on the Members tab from search results to find her and make an appointment.

Please note that applicants to the IUG program are not required to submit GRE, GMAT, TOEFL, or IELTS scores


The Graduate Admissions Committee reviews IUG applications twice a year. Once after the October 1st deadline and notifies admitted students by the end of October. The second review happens after the March 1st deadline. The applicant will be notified by the end of March.

How does the IUG affect my tuition rates?

Undergraduate tuition rates apply as long as the student is an undergraduate. There is no guaranteed financial support in the IUG degree program.