Industrial Organizational Psychology Master & PhD Degree Programs
What is a Master’s in Industrial Organizational Psychology
A Master's in I/O Psychology studies working and human behavior through the lens of science. Then applies these concepts to workplace issues facing individuals, teams, and businesses.
Some courses focus on methods to gage, measure and test the ways people act, think and feel at work. Others cover ways to interpret and use data to feed policy and enhance a workplace culture.
written by Rana Waxman
What Can you do with a Master’s in Industrial Organizational Psychology?
Industrial–organizational psychologists typically need a master’s degree to initiate a career.
Industrial–organizational psychologists often need a master’s degree to start a career. Those who do join a growing workforce of 2.54 million people.
Companies continue to need the help of I-O psychologists to select and keep employees. Reducing staff turnover is one way to boost output and efficiency. This demand is fueling, per BLS.gov, an 8 percent increase in jobs from 2016 to 2026. That is about as fast as the average for all occupations.
For those who prefer to work with employees, there are other careers where you might use I/O skills. Training and development managers apply behavior theory in their work too.
There's actually a faster growth rate (10 percent) expected in this field. One reason is that many businesses expect their employees to continue their education. As a result, it is creating demand for workers who can develop training materials.
A career in human resource management is yet another option. This field shows a 9 percent growth. Here, one might find jobs that relate to personnel selection and assessment.
Other jobs may suit those who prefer research and want to work behind the scenes. Those with knowledge of benefits and compensation find work as Job Analysis Specialists. Here too, demand is growing by 9 percent.
Do I need a Master’s in Industrial Organizational Psychology?
In most cases, I-O psychologists need a master’s degree to enter the field. Their role is to function as problem-solvers. Basically, they use the principles of psychology and research methods improve the workplace.
This can mean studying productivity, management and employee morale. Then collaborating with the company to help:
- Plan policies
- Assess job performance
- Increase business efficiency
- Re-tool the organizational structure
- Conduct screenings and training sessions
- Motivate the workforce
- Develop a plan to help a business function at its best
Some industrial-organizational psychologists go on to earn a PhD. This or the PsyD is the typical path to pursue for clinical, counseling, and research jobs. From here, I/O psychologists may seek extra credentials through the ABOBCP.
The American Board of Organizational and Business Consulting Psychology certifies eligible persons. They are now part of the American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP).This may be something to consider if you want to consult. Or, pursue a career in organizational coaching.
Jobs in I-O Psychology
Top States for Employment: Industrial-Organizational Psychologists
Annual Mean Wage
Top Metro Areas for Employment: Industrial-Organizational Psychologists
|Metro Area||Annual Mean Salary||Employment|
|Lansing-East Lansing, MI||$155,870||Not Reported|
|Augusta-Richmond County, GA-SC||$135,930||240|
Most I-O psychologists work in scientific research and as consultants. Others find work in school settings like colleges. Or, in state government and corporate management.
Popular Master’s in Industrial Organizational Psychology Programs
Masters in industrial organizational psychology degrees are reported by the National Center for Education Statistics under the category of Industrial and organizational psychology.
In fact, in the most recent update of the data (2009/10), across the U.S, there were 1,156 industrial and organizational psychology degrees awarded to graduate students. The majority (91 %) of these programs were at the master’s level.
Masters vs. PhD in Industrial Organizational Psychology
The masters and PhD in industrial organizational psychology differ in level and scope. In deciding whether to pursue one or the other, it may be useful to take into account your career plans.
A Masters in I/O psychology often covering 12 courses. In them, you may develop strong data analysis skills in statistics and research. This is to help you approach your work in a systematic and scientific way.
Also known as the scientist/practitioner model, a MA or MS-IO may help you enrich a workplace. You might take away the ability to integrate psychology with organizational life. Side concentrations might further refine skills in areas such as talent development.
Since a master's is the least education needed to enter the field, it may ready you to pursue a career. Some possible areas include human resources, organizational development, training, leadership and consulting.
A PhD in I/O psychology is a research doctorate often covering 20 courses. It often aims to build decision and leadership skills. While covering a broad range of psychology courses, students may also hone expertise. This may be in an area such as human resource management or consulting.
Also, PhD programs expect students to conduct independent research for their dissertation. This may include coming up with intervention tactics for organizations that integrate findings.
Grads may pursue director roles, teach, coach, research or work in consulting psychology. Since the APA recognizes I-O psychology as a specialty, one might pursue licensure as well.
Industrial Organizational Psychology Program Guide
Master of Science in I/O Psychology
I/O Psychology PHD's
Length of Program: 36 credits, 18 months
Length of Program: 60, 48 months
This program blends coursework from the fields of counseling psychology and business. It may help you understand how to foster a more efficient and effective workplace.
This program focuses on the psychology aspect of workplace behavior. It includes studies in group theory, team processes and organizational development.
No specific accreditations (other than regional)
No specific accreditations (other than regional)
Does using the title ‘Psychologist’ or practicing psychology appeal to you? If so, a PhD in I-O Psychology from an APA accredited school may enable you to pursue that goal.
There are also schools that roll a MS or MA in I/O Psychology into a PhD curriculum. These programs may focus on both research skills and business courses.
They may not, however, ready you to pursue licensure. Instead you may come away with strong leadership and consulting skills. These may strengthen your ability to solve workplace problems using data-driven information.
Master’s in Industrial Organizational Psychology Classes
I/O psychology classes focus on the scientific study of human behavior. They look the way individuals and groups act in organizations and the work place. Then apply this knowledge to solve problems relating to morale, performance and training.
A typical curriculum includes a series of research methods, statistics and work psychology courses. These topics often deal with how to assess, measure and test human behavior in organizations.
Other material may touch on themes from human resource management. These may help you understand how to select, hire and train personnel.
Depending on the program you choose, it may also focus on motivation, learning and cognition and group dynamics. These help you understand people in general and how they behave under non-working conditions.
Together, the blend of these curricular elements forms a “scientist-practitioner” model. This means it explores theories and how to apply them to the current realities of the workplace. As such, you may also study counseling and behavioral consulting.
At the end of the program, you may be able to choose between a capstone, thesis or internship. A capstone may be a perfect option if you are working fulltime and want to put class material into action.
An internship may suit someone new to the field. It provides some practical experience in an organizational setting.
Take a look at a few sample classes below.
Applied Organizational Psychology
This class looks at how leaders, co-workers, policies and culture form a context. Also, how this context impacts workplace behaviors, thinking and attitudes. Core themes may cover motivation, group and team performance.
Applied Industrial Psychology
This class studies theory and techniques. It relates to how to understand, predict, and manage human behavior within organizations.
This class covers a wide range of methods that measure and appraise behavior. The emphasis is often on how to manage, interpret and test this data. Some of the behaviors include intelligence, achievement, interests and aptitudes.
Human Resources Development
This class may survey the ways organizations train and develop employees and managers. It may include exercises like role playing and sensitivity training. Emphasis might focus on effective ways of changing actual behavior.
Group Dynamics and Team Leadership
This class may focus on how organizational variables affect individual and group behavior. Some topics may touch on the theory and practice of leadership. Others, on building effective teams, managing conflict and resolving dispute. You may also learn about the nature of relationships within corporate culture.
What Should I know About Accreditation for Industrial Organizational Psychology?
Many accredited schools offer I-O psychology programs. Accreditation shows that an institution or program meets standards of quality. These are set by an accrediting agency who commits to improving the quality of education and training provided.
There are six regional accreditors who review and approve schools in their district. Attending one of these institutions may allow you to apply for financial aid. Also, accredited schools often enable credit transfers.
Another type of quality control is for an I-O psych program. This process involves a review and self-study. These ensure a program teaches relevant skills and ethical practices.
Accreditation of doctoral psychology programs and internships is available through the American Psychological Association (APA) Committee on Accreditation (CoA). Attending an APA-accredited school is key for those who are in pursuit of state licensure.
The competencies for I-O psychology stem from a division within the APA. The Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP) created the Guidelines for Education and Training in I/O Psychology.
It is trying to set norms for accreditation of master’s programs, but this is a work in progress.
SIOP (2002) lists 88 masters programs on its web page for Graduate Training Programs in Industrial-Organizational Psychology and Related Fields. At this time the only I-O program accredited by MPAC is the University of West Florida.
How Long Does it take to earn a Master’s in Industrial Organizational Psychology?
Earning a Masters in Industrial Organizational Psychology usually takes two years full-time. PhD programs may take between four and five years.;
I-O Psychology Programs That Could Be Completed in 24 Months or Less
|University||# of Credits Required||Start Dates||Minimum Months to Complete|
How Much Does an Industrial Organizational Psychology Cost?
The average cost of a of a graduate degree from a public institution is $11,617 per year. This means you will be able to find programs both more affordable and more expensive than the average.
To give specific examples, this visualization shows graduate tuition costs of 4 institutions with I/o psychology programs as reported by the NCES. We have then compared those costs to the typically most affordable and most expensive college options, also as reported by NCES.
Instate/Out Of State Tuition
What are the Costs per Credit for a Master’s in Industrial Organizational Psychology?
Cost per credit of course is different at every College or University. State Universities are also likely to have in state costs vs out of state costs. Below are a few examples of the cost per credit as reported by each one of these institutions.
|University||# of Credits Required||Cost Per Credit||Tuition Cost|
$2,526 per course
Top 72 Industrial Organizational Psychology Programs
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- Online degrees in business, counseling, education, health administration, human services, information technology, nursing, public health, psychology and social work.
- 97% of alumni agree FlexPath provided the flexibility they needed to pursue their degree (Alumni Outcomes Survey 2017)
- No application fee for April & June terms
- Some of the nation's most affordable tuition rates, from a private, nonprofit, NEASC accredited university
- Qualified students with 2.5 GPA and up may receive up to $20K in grants & scholarships
- Multiple term start dates throughout the year. 24/7 online classroom access
Northcentral UniversityPhD in Business Administration - Industrial Organizational Psychology PhD in Psychology - Industrial Organizational Psychology Doctor of Business Administration - Industrial Organizational Psychology Master of Science in Industrial/Organizational Psychology
Purdue University GlobalGraduate Certificate in Industrial/Organizational Psychology MSPY - Industrial/Organizational Psychology Specialization
Southern New Hampshire UniversityMS Psychology w/conc in Industrial & Organizational Psychology
The Chicago School of Professional PsychologyM.A. Behavioral Economics M.A. Industrial & Organizational Psychology: ARP Track M.A. Industrial/Organizational Psychology: ARP Track AND Master of Legal Studies Ph.D. Business Psychology, Consulting Track Ph.D. Business Psychology, I/O Track
Walden UniversityPhD in Industrial & Organizational Psychology - (MS Entry) - Self-Designed PhD in Industrial & Organizational Psychology - (BS Entry) - Human Resource Management PhD in Industrial & Organizational Psychology - (MS Entry) - Human Resource Management PhD in Industrial & Organizational Psychology - (BS Entry) - International Business PhD in Industrial & Organizational Psychology - (BS Entry) - Consulting Psychology PhD in Industrial & Organizational Psychology - (BS Entry) - Evidence-Based Coaching PhD in Industrial & Organizational Psychology - (BS Entry) - General Practice PhD in Industrial & Organizational Psychology - (BS Entry) - Self-Designed PhD in Industrial & Organizational Psychology - (MS Entry) - International Business PhD in Industrial & Organizational Psychology - (MS Entry) - Evidence-Based Coaching
Grand Canyon UniversityPh.D. in General Psychology with an Emphasis in Industrial and Organizational Psychology M.S. in Psychology: Industrial & Organizational Psychology
Keiser UniversityOrganizational Psychology, MS
Liberty University OnlineMA: Applied Psychology: Industrial Organizational Psychology Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology: Industrial/Organizational Psychology
Capella UniversityPhD - Industrial/Organizational Psychology MS - Industrial/Organizational Psychology
Fairleigh Dickinson UniversityMaster of Arts in Industrial Organizational Psychology
University of Southern CaliforniaMaster of Science in Applied Psychology - Organizational Psychology
Sacred Heart UniversityMaster of Science in Industrial/Organizational (I/O) Psychology
Baker CollegeIndustrial/Organizational Psychology - MSIOP
William James CollegeLeadership Psychology, PsyD Organizational Psychology, MA
Stephen F Austin State UniversityIndustrial/Organizational Psychology