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M.A. Program Frequently Asked Questions
Can I visit the campus and take a tour?
We would be delighted for you to visit our campus and to get a feel for Teachers College and the broader Columbia community in action. The Office of Admission offers regular tours to applicants. Please check their website for the schedule and for information about how to visit the campus and participate in a tour.
Can I meet with a current faculty member?
Drs. Brazaitis and Buontempo offer in-person and virtual informational Open Houses regularly throughout the academic year and you are encouraged to attend one of these as your schedule permits. The scheduled events can be found at http://www.tc.columbia.edu/organization-and-leadership/social-organizational-psychology/event-calendar/ . During the Open House you will get lots of information about the program, hear from current students and/or alums and have the opportunity to ask any additional questions you might have about the program. You are also invited to email any additional questions directly to our program’s email address: firstname.lastname@example.org where you will receive a prompt response. Drs. Brazaitis and Buontempo are committed to providing all our current students with plentiful advising and as such are not available to meet personally with prospective students.
Can I talk to a current student?
Please email email@example.com if you would like to be in touch with a current students. Members of our student-led organization, OHDCC, will respond to your inquiry and connect you with a current student to answer your questions.
Can I sit in on a class?
Please email Drs. Brazaitis or Buontempo directly (at info_SOP_MA@tc.columbia.edu) if you would like to sit in on a class. We are happy to accommodate you if it is at all possible for us to do so during a given semester.
Are students able to complete the program part-time?
Full-time students typically take 4 classes a semester. Almost half of our students are part-time students opting to complete the program over 3-5 years by taking 1-3 courses per semester (and sometimes in the summer) in order to manage working full-time while going to school. TC classes are typically offered once per week and are scheduled in the late afternoon and evening in order to accommodate students who work full-time. To check out the schedule of social-organizational psychology courses, please visit the course listing page (search for ORLJ): http://www.tc.columbia.edu/academics/resources/courses/. Please note it is not possible to complete the MA program solely by attending classes after 5pm. If you work full-time it is necessary to have at least some flexibility with your employer to attend classes during the day on occasion. Given that classes meet once weekly, working students are usually able to negotiate some time off from the regular work week in order to attend class.
How long does it take to complete the degree?
Full-time students are expected to earn the degree is two years. In very particular circumstances, a small number of students have been able to complete their requirements in 1.5 years, but this is not recommended. While one might technically be able to secure all the required courses and electives in 1.5 years, we have found that doing so limits one’s ability to take desired courses as well as curtails the benefits of the full range of offerings and learning the program can deliver. That is, rushing to finish your degree as quickly as possible prevents you from optimizing all the resources we have to offer and all you need and want to learn while you are here. Further, we cannot guarantee that you can secure all the required courses within a 1.5 year period nor that you will have the expertise and experiences you need in order to be successful on the job market.
Who is my adviser and how do I obtain academic advising?
Dr. Brazaitis and Dr. Buontempo are the primary advisers to all the MA program students. You are welcome to contact them anytime for advising as often as you need it. Advising is plentiful and easily available, all you need to do is ask. Further, all social-organizational psychology program faculty are available for advising and welcome inquiries from MA students to discuss academics, research, practice and the broader issues in the field at any time during the academic year.
How large are the classes?
Most core classes are about 35 students. Elective and seminar classes may be as small as 15 students. The rare, extraordinarily popular class might have as many as 50-60 students, but this is atypical.
How is learning assessed?
Every course is different and over your time here you will be asked to take exams, write papers, make group presentations, deliver client projects, and sometimes a combination of all of those. Group work is frequent and students learn group skills in conjunction with the subject matter of the courses where they are being asked to do group projects. There are numerous opportunities to demonstrate your learning in oral and written form throughout the course of the program. Our Office of Access and Services for Individuals with Disabilities (OASID) also works closely with students to ensure they can participate fully in the TC learning community.
How do students finance their graduate education?
Our students typically fund their studies via working (full- or part-time), student loans, and personal and family savings. Graduate study is costly, as is living in New York City. We regret that the program is not able to offer scholarships, research assistantships, or teaching assistantships at this time to our MA students. We are constantly striving to find more opportunities to help students defray the significant costs of their graduate education and we wish we had more to offer currently. The Office of Admission offers a small number of modest scholarships to a select group of students based on merit upon admission. This is a one-time only scholarship and is not renewable in future years. The Social-Organizational Program, however, does not have scholarships or assistantships to offer its MA students at this time.
What is the relationship between Teachers College and Columbia University?
Teachers College is an affiliate of Columbia University. The College has its own Board of Trustees, administration and budget, while having access to resources of Columbia University, such as the library, health services, recreational center, and so forth.
All degrees are granted by Columbia University.
How many students are in the MA program?
There are approximately 250 students in the MA program for social-organizational psychology. Of those, typically 50% of the students are enrolled part-time.
Where do students typically live?
Students commute from around the Tri-State area. Students who relocate to New York City usually live near the university on the Upper West Side of Manhattan or graduate housing on campus.
What is the average age of new students?
On average, students tend to be in their late-twenties and early thirties when starting the program. However the age range is wide, from early twenties to late sixties.
Where are social-organizational psychology students from?
Social-organizational psychology students hail from all over the United States, and the world, resulting in a richly diverse, and globally-minded community. See below for a depiction of the varied places our students have called home between 2010 and 2017.
Career Objectives and Prospects
What kind of jobs do students get after obtaining their MA in social-organizational psychology?
Graduates of the MA in social-organizational psychology program find jobs in small boutique firms, education institutions, not-for-profits and large global organizations in internal/external organization development, training and development, change management, human resources, research, executive coaching, consulting, and conflict/mediation.
Alumni of the program have assumed roles as Change Management Associates, Research Associates, Human Resources Generalists, Employee Relations Specialists, Organizational Development Consultants, HR Leadership Program Associates, Training and Development Managers, Leadership Facilitators, Senior Consultants, and Certified Mediators.
What are the salary ranges for jobs post-graduation?
Please see the Teachers College graduate student survey (link: http://www.tc.columbia.edu/institutional-studies/internal-surveys/internal-survey-summaries/graduate-student-survey/) for more information.
Are career/placement services available to students?
Teachers College Career Services (TCCS) is committed to guiding all TC students and alumni throughout the different phases of the career development process. Whether you are entering a new field, advancing within your current profession, or changing directions, Career Services will help you identify and develop the skills and resources needed to achieve your career goals.
TCCS is not a placement service but is a resource and assistance center for students and alumni. A sample of the services offered by the office include resume and cover letter reviews, mock interviews, career development workshops, and an alumni mentoring program. In addition, TCCS sponsors “Meet the Firms” each Fall, which provides current students opportunities to network with potential employers right on the TC campus. Past events for the social-organizational psychology program have included networking events, panel discussions and career fairs to name a few.
Are there internship opportunities to enhance my professional standing?
While an internship is not required in the curriculum, it is strongly encouraged. Internship opportunities are listed at TCCS for the Fall, Spring, and Summer – both paid and unpaid. The following are examples of internships and related part-time work experiences of our MA students: OD consulting interns, HR Leadership Program interns, Research Associate interns, Metrics interns, Training and Development interns. Some of the organizations that have partnered with TCCS in the past are Pfizer, Bank of New York, Bank of America, Deloitte, Citigroup, IBM, GE, Johnson & Johnson, Visiting Nurse Service of New York, American Express, General Electric, Colgate-Palmolive, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Donna Karan, Christian Dior, MTV Networks, and NBC Universal.
Do MA students continue their education in doctoral programs?
Although we strongly espouse the scientist-practitioner model, our MA program attracts individuals most interested in a practice-based rather than research-based career. In addition, there are only very limited opportunities for our MA students to engage directly in assisting with faculty research or pursuing their own student research. Therefore, the majority of students in the program do not pursue doctoral studies after completing their master’s degree. However, approximately 5% of graduates annually pursue doctoral studies.
Some graduates of the social-organizational psychology masters program do apply for admission to the doctoral program in social-organizational psychology here at TC. However, successful performance in the M.A. program does not in and of itself guarantee admission. Students who apply become part of the applicant pool for that year and their qualifications are evaluated with equal standing along with the other applicants.
What kinds of activities outside the classroom are available?
The MA program in social-organizational psychology hosts a number of events for students to promote learning outside the classroom and to foster a sense of community within the program. Every semester, we offer networking opportunities, talks and panels to discuss current issues in the field.
Our student-run club, The Organization and Human Development Consulting Club (OHDCC), is a rich and vibrant organization that sponsors numerous initiatives that help its members develop professionally as well as feel connected to the Social- Organizational Psychology community here at TC. OHDCC sponsors a student mentoring program where 1st year students are paired with more experienced students for advice, friendship, and networking. ODHCC also hosts professional development opportunities including talks and panels with leaders in the field, training opportunities including a “crack-the-case” workshop for help with case-based job interviews, social events both at TC and with other NYC universities, and social service projects within the larger Morningside Heights neighborhood. OHDCC also provides members with an opportunity to develop their own leadership skills via project management and governance within the organization.
Our students also join the Teachers College, Columbia University chapter of Psi Chi, The International Honor Society in Psychology. As indicated on the Psi Chi website (http://www.psichi.org), Psi Chi is the largest student psychological organization and includes over 700,000 members in chapters across the world. In addition, Psi Chi was the first student organization to have a formal affiliation with the American Psychological Association. Our chapter of Psi Chi unites all of the psychology and psychology-related programs at TC. In order to be accepted into Psi Chi, students are required to have completed at least 12 credits in their program and achieved a minimum GPA of 3.5. Several membership drives are held during the Fall and Spring semesters and an induction ceremony is held during the Spring semester. Our chapter of Psi Chi hosts both professional and social events related to psychology.
In addition, students are encouraged to join student chapters of professional associations as well as enroll under national memberships for organizations, such as the METRO Applied Psychology, Society for Industrial-Organizational Psychology (SIOP), the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), and OD Network. Students are also encouraged to attend and participate in professional conferences as well as take advantage of opportunities within the Columbia University system and the New York City area.
What is the atmosphere like within the program?
The atmosphere within the social-organizational psychology program can be described as collaborative, friendly, and relatively informal. Students frequently work in groups on assignments and there are many opportunities to get together. Program faculty are accessible to students, and are supportive and open to students’ ideas, questions, and concerns. Students share resources often and gladly with each other including advice and support on classes and coursework, tips on networking and possible internship and job opportunities, and best places to live, study, eat, drink, and play in New York City. Students typically form long lasting professional and personal relationships with their peers, alums, and faculty – relationships that continue to grow and sustain long after graduation. We love to welcome students back to campus for professional events, for social celebrations, and just to say hello. Our program prides itself on our learning community members being part of the Columbia University family for life.
What kinds of student activities/organizations are there at Teachers College?
There are about 25 student organizations at Teachers College, representing various aspects of the school’s diverse student body. In addition, Student Life organizes a range of activities on a regular basis, including workshops, social events, and networking opportunities. For more information, please visit the Student Life website at http://www.tc.columbia.edu/campus/?Id=Student%20Life&Info=Student+Organizations