HR sector benefits from Lingnan University’s MSc in Work and Organisational Psychology
The Master of Science in Work and Organisational Psychology (MWOP) programme is a one-year full-time programme designed for human resources managers and training and organisational development professionals. The programme can also be taken as a two-year, part-time programme.
Healthcare professionals are in demand
Healthcare professionals of all levels are in great demand all over the world, and industrial-organisational psychologists are expected to be increasingly sought-after. “According to the US Department of Labour, there will be a 35 per cent growth in jobs related to industrial-organisational psychology by 2020. (U.S. Bureau of Labour Statistics, 2012-13) Many of these new jobs are likely to be reserved for people with a master’s degree in psychology, or a related field (Novotney, 2011),” says Professor Siu Oi-ling, head of the department of applied psychology at Lingnan University, and programme leader of the new master’s course.
Siu adds that research reveals a substantial number of industrial-organisational psychologists are employed in management, human resources and marketing consulting firms in Hong Kong. Some work as consulting psychologists and internal consultants in large local companies, or in multinational companies. But there are comparatively few industrial-organisational psychologists in academia.
The first one-of-a-kind psychology programme in Hong Kong
Lingnan University noticed the gaps between demand and supply in the talent market, and the lack of a practical, postgraduate programme that gave professionals and psychologists the right skills and qualifications. The university launched the Master of Science in Work and Organisational Psychology for those who seek a role in academia, and those who seek to advance their careers. “Our primary target is candidates who wish to obtain an advanced psychology degree with a focus on business and an organisational setting,” Siu says. “This is the first taught master’s programme on work and organisational psychology in Hong Kong. With both full-time and part-time options, we are able to cater to the needs of fresh graduates and full-time practitioners alike.”
“It fits well with individuals who want to develop a career for managerial positions particularly in the health care sector; they can be trainers, human resource managers, organisational consultants and psychology consultants. The Master of Science in Work and Organisational Psychology programme is also suitable for those who want to further study in the field,” she says.
Experts who improve the health of employees
It’s important for students on the course to learn how to plan strategically to improve the well-being of an organisation and its staff. “Our students and graduates will be able to think critically about solving managerial problems. They will make appropriate human resources decisions with reference to best practices, organisational constraints, and environmental demands. Also, they will be able to implement psychological theories and practice as well as human resource strategies to improve the quality of working life, and to improve the occupational well-being of employees. This is what the profession is supposed to be,” Siu says.
To this end, the Master of Science in Work and Organisational Psychology programme offers modules that emphasise the importance of occupational health and well-being. According to Siu, these are rarely included in similar courses offered by local and overseas universities. “For example, the occupational health psychology module, and the applied positive psychology at work module, are both evidence-based directed modules which enable students to learn strategies to support employees’ occupational health. This knowledge is particularly relevant to modern societies, including Hong Kong, as employees are facing growing strain and tension in the workplace,” Siu explains.
Apply to be a registered psychologist
According to Siu, graduates of the Master of Science in Work and Organisational Psychology programme are eligible to apply to the Hong Kong Psychological Society (HKPS) to become registered psychologists. Networking is also important. “Students will have opportunities to meet international scholars, as well as to study and network with students from Beijing Normal University, our double-master’s programme partner,” Siu says.