Volume 55     Number 3    Winter 2018      Editor: Tara Behrend

Meredith Turner
/ Categories: 553

The Guidelines for Education and Training in Industrial-Organizational Psychology: 2016/2017 Revision and Curriculum Matrix Template

Jennifer Lee Gibson, Fors Marsh Group, LLC; Joseph A. Allen, University of Nebraska Omaha; Stephanie C. Payne, Texas A&M University; Tim Huelsman, Appalachian State University; & Amber Fritsch, APTMetrics

The most recent update of the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology’s (SIOP) Guidelines for Education and Training in Industrial-Organizational Psychology was approved by the SIOP Executive Board in 2016 and approved as American Psychological Association (APA) policy in August 2017, culminating a review and revision that the SIOP Education and Training Committee began in 2015 (Payne, Morgan, & Bryan, 2015a, 2015b). Given the continued growth of industrial-organizational (I-O) psychology as a career field and APA Division 14 membership, as well as APA’s mission to improve the qualifications of psychologists by establishing high standards of education and achievement, maintaining the Guidelines is as important as ever. The purpose of this article is to share the news of the approval of the new Guidelines and the availability of a curriculum mapping tool for evaluating the alignment of a program of study with the SIOP Guidelines.


SIOP maintains the Guidelines for Education and Training to provide direction for the training of I-O psychologists. The Guidelines describe recommended areas of competence, including general knowledge and skills, core content, and related areas of competence. They may be used by graduate programs in I-O psychology as a plan for content to address in coursework and other forms of training. The Guidelines may also be used by prospective students as a description of I-O training and criteria for evaluating training programs (Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, 2016/2017). The 2016/2017 revision is available at the SIOP website (


SIOP originally published the Guidelines for Education and Training at the Doctoral Level in 1973–1974, followed by a revision in 1985. In 1999, two separate Education and Training Guideline documents were published: one for master’s-level training and one for doctoral-level training. The SIOP Guidelines review process recurs in order to meet the Association Rule 30-8.3 requirement that the policy be reevaluated within 10 years. The 2016/2017 Guidelines were updated from the 1999 version in a number of other ways, including consolidating two sets of Guidelines for master’s and doctoral training into one comprehensive set. References to empirical research were updated and human performance was separated from the human factors competency. Several competencies were renamed, such as health and stress in organizations now titled occupational health and safety.


Within SIOP’s Education and Training committee are a number of subcommittees dedicated to specific concentrations. One of these is the Guidelines Subcommittee, which leads the review of the Guidelines, gathers suggestions for revisions, submits proposed changes, and shepherds the revised Guidelines through review by SIOP membership, the SIOP Executive Board, and APA divisions and committees. The Guidelines Subcommittee members contributing to the revision effort (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) were led by Stephanie Payne (Guidelines Subcommittee Chair) and Whitney Botsford Morgan (Education and Training Chair).


The Education and Training Committee began the process of revising the now-approved 2016/2017 Guidelines by soliciting ideas from current committee members and SIOP membership (Payne, Morgan, et al., 2015b). SIOP members were invited to submit feedback on the Guidelines to the subcommittee. Then, the Guidelines Subcommittee administered a survey of I-O graduate program directors to elicit importance ratings for the competencies and master’s and doctoral training (Payne, Botsford Morgan, & Allen, 2015). Respondents also reviewed revised competency descriptions and provided feedback. The Guidelines Subcommittee prepared a draft of the revised Guidelines and presented them to SIOP membership for comment in 2016. Then, the Guidelines Subcommittee prepared updated Guidelines for review by the SIOP Executive Board, which approved the Guidelines in April 2016. The Guidelines were then submitted to APA for review.


In a related effort, the revised Guidelines and the results of a career study conducted by the Professional Practice Committee were compared by Payne and Oliver (2016). In the career study, SIOP respondents indicated the competencies required for four practice areas in I-O psychology, academia, consulting, industry, and government. Payne and Oliver (2016) noted that nine competencies emerged in at least one of the four “Top Five” lists of required competencies, suggesting some degree of convergence between the revised Guidelines and membership assessment of importance of those competencies for the practice of I-O psychology.


The 2016–2017 Guidelines Subcommittee (Kristina Bauer; Amber Fritsch; Jennifer Gibson; Michael Horvath, Chair; Jane Halpert; Tim Huelsman; Stephanie Payne; Ludmila Praslova; and Amber Schroeder) created a Curriculum Matrix Template, which was revised and finalized by the 2017–2018 Subcommittee (Nykeki Broussard; Amber Fritsch; Jennifer Gibson, Chair; and Tim Huelsman). The template is a tool that program directors, prospective students, and others can use to assess the alignment of a program of study with the Guidelines. A brief excerpt of the template, which in its full form includes 26 competencies and two options for indicating depth of coverage, is presented in Table 1. Curriculum alignment matrices, also referred to in the assessment literature as “curriculum maps,” are employed by educational institutions to match learning outcomes with elements of a curriculum index and review the academic content of a program as it aligns with learning standards. The Guidelines document itself enumerates seven means of training and 26 competencies, noting means of training for each of the competencies in a matrix format.


The Curriculum Matrix Template is a Microsoft Excel file into which a user can input a list of means of training within a program of study, such as formal courses, independent study, and other supervised research such as field research and practica. Curriculum mapping approaches can be applied to evaluate individual educational activities such as individual courses or sets of activities belonging to a curriculum

or degree program. Following this approach, the Curriculum Matrix Template is designed to evaluate a program of study, such as a master’s or doctoral program in I-O psychology. Although any means of education and training may be entered into the template, the Guidelines offer descriptions of the following seven common examples: formal course work, independent reading/study, supervised experience (and field research), on-the-job training, modeling/observation, involvement in funded research, and collaborative research.


For each means of training entered into the template, the user indicates the depth of coverage of each of the 26 competencies by each means of training. For those seeking a general assessment of competency coverage by a program of study, users may simply indicate with an “X” whether a course or other activity is a helpful step toward competency development. For those seeking a more refined assessment, users may indicate the level of competency development as “introduced,” “practiced with feedback,” or “demonstrated on mastery level.” “Introduced” refers to initial discussion and demonstration at a level appropriate for beginner students. It is a focused introduction, and not merely a passing mention of a concept. “Practiced with feedback” refers to opportunities students have to engage in activities of increasing difficulty and receiving constructive comments about their performance. “Demonstrated on mastery level” refers to knowledge or skills demonstrated at the level appropriate for graduation at the specific level of the degree. Demonstration is typically accomplished via assignments such as tests, papers, and projects.


The tool helps clarify and visually represent the relationship between what students do in specific courses and other activities with what they are expected to learn in the program (Allen, 2004). For users considering changes to a program of study, the template can help identify overemphasis or underemphasis of particular competencies, the existence of courses that do not map well onto desired competencies, or lack of a logical progression over the course of a program. The design of modifications to a program may be informed by these findings. It is understood that students and other users will have access to less detailed program information than program directors. When information is limited, users may use “Option 2,” whereby the user simply marks “yes” or “no” for each of the competencies based on recommended coursework in the program.


The template is provided to all SIOP members and other interested individuals ( This tool was designed to help inform decision making about curriculum planning as well as prospective students as they make important decisions about their future. The template was not developed or intended to be used for monitoring purposes. Additionally, it was not created with the intent to assist programs with accreditation, evaluation, or review.


The Guidelines Subcommittee continues to work toward publicizing the updated Guidelines and raising awareness of the Guidelines among potential users. The Guidelines Subcommittee continually monitors online mentions of the Guidelines to assess how and when they are used in education and training settings; it also shared the Curriculum Matrix Template with program directors via email in September 2017. The 2016/2017 revision of the Guidelines reflects changes in the world of work that prompted modifications to descriptions of training topics and methods. The Guidelines Subcommittee and the Education and Training Committee will continue to monitor these changes, such as changes in the legal environment and technological advances, in preparation for the next revision of the Guidelines. The subcommittee also intends to reach out to SIOP members for their opinions about the Guidelines and their usage, but comments on these topics and feedback from those who have used the template are welcome at any time (




Payne, S. C., Botsford Morgan, W., & Allen, J. (2015). Revising SIOP’s guidelines for education and training: Graduate program director survey results. The Industrial-Organizational Psychologist, 53(2), 158–161.

Payne, S. C., Morgan, W. B., & Bryan, L. K. (2015a). Revision of SIOP’s guidelines for education and training at the doctoral and master’s level in I-O psychology. Presented at the 30th Annual Conference of the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, Philadelphia, PA.

Payne, S. C., Morgan, W. B., & Bryan, L. K. (2015b). Revision of SIOP’s guidelines for education and training is underway. The Industrial-Organizational Psychologist, 53(1), 167–168.

Payne, S. C., & Oliver, J. (2016). A comparison of the revised guidelines to the careers study results. The Industrial-Organizational Psychologist.

Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology. (2016/2017). Guidelines for education and training in industrial-organizational psychology. Bowling Green, OH. Retrieved from


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