Alaska Industrial Organizational Psychology Master & PhD Degree Programs

What is Industrial Organizational Psychology?

Industrial Organizational Psychology is an APA recognized specialty that requires a defined training in human behavior in the workplace.

One of the goals of IO Psychology Graduate programs is to help students develop a versatile skill set so they can use scientific methods to improve performance and productivity at both the employee and corporate levels. Students could develop an ability to problem solve critical workplace challenges faced by individuals, groups or businesses. These may range from absenteeism to workplace aggression and beyond, so it is often possible to tailor an industrial organizational psychology degree program to line up with present and future career plans.

Industrial Organizational Psychology Graduate Programs

Why Pursue a Career in IO Psychology?

Industrial Psychology is growing field. As organizations continue to grow there will most likely always be growth in the IO Psychology field. Graduates with a degree in IO Psychology can expect to be compensated well. The median annual wage in 2017 was 102,530, according to

What Do I-O Psychologists Do?

I-O psychologists solve workplace problems. Their role could include policy planning (E.g. acceptable workplace conduct), talent spotting, and individual assessment. An I-O psychologist might set HR strategy during a merger and acquisition. Or, coach executives so that they could provide solid leadership, motivate staff and make marketing decisions based on a grasp of consumer behavior.

Types of IO Psychology Masters Programs

At the graduate levels, industrial organizational psychology degrees could be sought and conferred through a variety of departments including psychology, business, management, education and human resources. Let's explore some of the various types of graduate level programs below.

Masters in Organizational Psychology Programs

Common Masters degrees are MA or MS in Industrial Organizational Psychology though there are certainly programs that are themed around areas such as educational leadership, human resources and business coaching.

Industrial and organizational psychology masters programs could take upwards of a year and a half to complete (full-time) and may require field work and a thesis. That stated, longer joint programs such as a MA/BA may be available.

Organizational Psychology Masters programs could equip students with the tools and psychological methods to help businesses function optimally. Masters in Organizational Psychology programs could be oriented more towards the social sciences or business practices, so make sure to read course lists.

Applicants to Industrial Organizational Masters programs usually need to show they have earned a baccalaureate degree or its equivalent from an accredited institution. Letters of recommendation and a personal essay are common asks, though guidelines vary between universities.

Some IO psychology schools may set a minimum undergraduate and graduate GPA of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale). Depending on the program, pre-requisite courses in introductory psychology, experimental psychology and statistics may be strongly recommended, and HR experience preferred. Students may GRE scores may also be preferred but not necessarily required.

MS in Industrial-Organizational Psychology

A Master of Science in I-O Psychology could cover a broad range of psychological principles and behavioral strategies that could help students learn the finer points of organizational management, policy planning and employee development.

Participants could learn to accurately assess just how effective a business is and help them successfully implement improvements. These changes could reach into strategies to lower costs and turnover in tandem with methods to boost output and employee satisfaction.

Students in some practitioner-oriented programs might be expected to complete 36 credits of coursework which could culminate in a capstone internship. Course topics could broadly include areas such as executive coaching, theories of leadership and personnel selection.

There is often substantive coursework in statistical methods for behavioral sciences and research design. See below for sample content material, then review industrial organizational psychology graduate schools’ syllabi.

  • Job Analysis and Performance Appraisal: Techniques to measure employee performance
  • Organizational Design and Behavior: To develop knowledge of high performance systems
  • Motivation: Explores a person’s internal disposition to avoid negative incentives and approach positive incentives

MS in Applied Psychology – I/O Psychology

A Master of Science in Applied Psychology could offer students the opportunity to stack a concentration of courses in I-O psych onto core psychology requirements. These central courses could delve deeply into developmental issues across the lifespan. Participants may thus develop a stronger grasp of how to identify and manage psychopathology.

Some MS in Applied Psychology programs might require students to complete about 38 credits which could include a capstone thesis, fieldwork and/or exam. No two programs are exactly the same, but the credits may be divided into a minimum 26 credits of the core curriculum (e.g. psychological science), with the remainder 12 credits linked to elective courses in I/O. See below for some examples.

  • Personnel Psychology
  • Organizational Behavior
  • Job Analysis, Competency Modeling and Criterion Development
  • Employee Training and Development OR Business course

MA in Psychology - I/O Psychology

A Master of Arts in Psychology with a focus in Industrial Organizational Psychology could take a more of a social science point of view than its counterpart the MS. Participants might engage with some of the cultural mores such as race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, customs to see how they impact workplace behaviors.

Students could be required to complete from 36 to 39 credits which may include an I/O internship and choice of thesis or non-thesis option. Additionally, students must usually successfully complete a comprehensive exam in their final semester.

In their course load, students could learn how to apply science to current work place realities with the help of topics such as psychological statistics, psychometrics, research methods and design. Otherwise, curricula often cover theory and work psychology-based concepts. Some examples are provided in the list that follows.

  • Personnel Selection
  • Behavioral Consulting
  • Human Resource Development
  • Human Performance Management

Types of Industrial Organizational Psychology Doctoral Programs

PhD Organizational Psychology programs tend to take either a business administration or behavioral science approach. Most PhD programs range from four to five years (full-time) and require either basic or applied research along with a hands-on component such as an internship and practicum.

Terminal graduate degrees in industrial organizational psychology include the research-focused PhD, practice focused Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) and both research and practitioner doctorates in business administration.

APA accredited industrial organizational psychology programs could include PhD (Doctor of Philosophy) and PsyD (Doctor of Psychology) degree programs, as the APA does not accredit Masters programs. Accredited programs tend to follow some guidelines in terms of how they prepare students for the practice of psychology.

Applicants to Industrial Organizational PhD programs do vary and this has something to do with the degree path pursued. General requirements could include both an undergraduate and graduate degree with a school-set minimum GPA such as 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. Letters of recommendation, a specific background, work history and research interests are among other potential requirements.

PhD Organizational Psychology

A PhD in Industrial Organizational Psychology is typically focused on academic research and study in the behavioral science. As such, students are frequently exposed to more advanced research methods. Apart from a broad theoretical context, each student chooses an area in which to anchor independent inquiry. PhD I-O psychology programs are typically capped with a dissertation or original scholarly work.

Participants in IO Psychology PhD programs could critically examine how key industrial and organizational issues impact organizations. A course plan could include about 110 quarter credits (varies) devoted to core courses, electives, and dissertation research/writing.

What Types of IO Courses Would I Take?

In core courses, students could explore the application of behavioral theories in organizational cultures, which may stress themes like job satisfaction, employee motivation, leadership and team building. Participants might also learn various ways to conduct psychological tests, measure outcomes and analyze the data from their experiments. A sample of other topics is provided below.

  • Talent Recruitment
  • Training and Development
  • Performance Management and Measurement
  • Individual Behavior

PsyD in Industrial Organizational Psychology

A Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) is a clinical doctorate which is often based on practical work and examinations. Due to its nature, a PsyD is often used as a step along the way towards licensure which is required by those who practice psychology (according to the

Participants in PsyD programs may be required to complete about 98 credits. Instead of a scholarly dissertation, students might work on a graduate portfolio and doctoral project where they could. Many programs also include a practicum (E.g. 600 hours) and internship (E.g. 300 hours).

The types of courses required is dependent on the program emphasis, though research courses are typically fused with core and emphasis topics. An emphasis could be devoted to ways to promote resilience in communities after trauma hits, non-profit leadership or neuroscience leadership.

What Types of Courses Would I Take?

Core topics could discuss ethical leadership, neurobiology of leadership and organizational development. In these courses, students are generally exposed to various theories of adult developmental psychology and intervention models. Such models may be directed at individual, groups, and systems level change and used as a framework for diagnosis and consulting clientele with anxiety or differentiation. See below for several sample topics.

  • Team and Group Development for Leaders
  • Process Consultation and Facilitation Skills
  • Addiction in Business
  • International Organizational Systems

DBA in Organizational Leadership

A Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) is a practitioner focused degree that often targets current and potential business leaders and senior managers. Rather than a psychology-infused course list, students could reasonably expect to study things such as human resources, strategy and leadership.

What Types of IO Courses Would I Take?

DBA curricula often revolve around a series of business courses, though students might take courses from the School of Psychology to develop competency in theory, and applications of psychology related to human behavior in organizations. In terms of research, these courses aim to help students fine tune their ability to solve problems based on data input. A sample of potential DBA courses is listed below.

  • Business Strategy
  • Organizational Leadership
  • Information Systems
  • Human Resources

I-O Psychology Certificate Programs

A Graduate IO Certificate program is typically a short-term, non-degree course of study. Some programs take about 5 months to complete, if pursued full-time and may thus require about three or four courses.

Students might take away a stronger grasp of organizational behavior with supportive topics such as corporate ethics and management theory. Key concepts could include motivation, diversity, work stress, conflict and negotiation, decision-making, personality, and attitudes.


Per O’Net, 48% of Industrial Organizational Psychologists have a doctoral degree, 47% a master's degree and 5% post-doctoral training.

What Is the Difference Between Industrial and Organizational Psychology?

One could think of I-O psychology as having two sides and some overlap but also, distinct priorities.

Industrial psychology is the branch of applied psychology that focuses on the efficient management of an industrial workforce and especially with issues faced by workers in a mechanized environment (such as safety). Key areas in Industrial Psychology Graduate Programs could therefore include the following types of courses.

  • Employee Selection
  • Training and Development
  • Selection
  • Classification
  • Performance Assessment and Appraisal
  • Related Legal Issues

Organizational psychology is the branch of psychology that focuses on behavioral science as it is applied to work environments. Organizational psychology programs could thus be tuned into the organizational side and might tend to include the following type of content.

  • Motivation
  • Socialization and Culture
  • Teamwork
  • Occupational Stress
  • Leadership
  • Consumer Satisfaction
  • Group Performance
  • Organizational Development

What Courses Would I Take in IO Psychology Program?

Curricula in Industrial Organizational Psychology Graduate Programs often melds behavioral theories, models and philosophies. Participants may also learn how to conduct tests which could enhance research skills.

Students of I/O psychology usually receive in-depth instruction in several key areas. Common topics covered include:

  • Organizational Culture
  • Attitude Theory, Measurement and Change
  • Career Development
  • Decision Theory
  • Human Performance/Human Factors
  • Consumer Behavior
  • Health and Stress in Organizations
  • Job and Task Analysis
  • Assessments and Tests

Most Industrial Organizational Psychology Graduate Programs include some courses in scientific methodology such as qualitative and quantitative research methods, statistics and data analysis. Students might thus learn how to test, assess and report findings, the evidence of which is then applied to their area of expertise.

In addition, a fluency with ethical, statutory, administrative, case law and executive orders that relate to the workplace is often necessary, and an area that might be featured on course plans.

Research Areas in Industrial and Organizational Psychology Graduate Programs

The wide array of IO psych programs means students could look for one that lines up with professional aims and research interests. Research in I-O psychology could include a myriad of topics that are relevant to individuals, businesses and society. Since trends in the modern workplace continuously are evolving, so are the research areas in which one might study. Some examples include:

  • Sexual Harassment
  • Technology in the workplace
  • Coaching employees and leaders
  • Personality and Hiring
  • Gender and Leadership
  • Organizational Justice
  • Diversity and Cross-Cultural Studies
  • Globalization in the modern workplace
  • Motivation

How Much Do I-O Psychologists Earn in a Year?

Per the BLS, based on May 2016 data, I-O Psychologists earned an average annual salary of $82,760.iv

Industrial Organizational Psychologist Education Requirements

Industrial–organizational psychologists typically need a Masters degree, however research psychologists generally have a PhD in psychology.

Licensing laws vary by state and type of position, so if the goal is to provide clinical and counseling psychology, it is advisable to contact your state board. Most clinical and counseling psychologists need a PsyD, an internship, and at least 1 to 2 years of supervised professional experience. They also must pass the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (according to the

Is Industrial Organizational Psychology in Demand?

Employment of Industrial Organizational Psychologists is projected to grow by 8% from 2016 to 2026, and are expected to face competition for these jobs, based on recent data by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The BLS also states that I-O psychologists with “extensive training in quantitative research methods may have a competitive edge.”

4 Questions You Need to Ask Yourself About Organizational Psychology

With the spectrum of Industrial Organizational Psychology Graduate Programs available, it may be helpful to ask yourself a few questions when choosing a degree.

  1. Do you want to be a scientist? a practitioner? Do you want to incorporate both (say, by consulting)? With this in mind, what do graduates of a given program tend to do?
  2. Does the program provide equal weight to the “I” and the “O” or lean towards one?
  3. What are the internship or externship requirements? Does the industrial organizational graduate school on your list help students find such opportunities?
  4. How accessible are the professors? If the program is online, what type of support is provided?

Can I Earn an Industrial Organizational Psychology Degree Online?

There are 3 formats to look for when it comes to I-O Psychology Graduate Programs.

  1. Campus: Study with others, at set times each week which could include evenings and weekends in a classroom setting. Look for industrial organizational psychology graduate schools in a preferred location – city, state, country with the on-page filters
  2. Online: Study through an online campus program which might connect you to live streaming video or pre-taped classes which you could access anytime, from anywhere. Look for industrial organizational psychology graduate programs online on the menu
  3. Hybrid: Study through a low-residency format that could highlight some on-campus courses where you get to meet faculty and classmates as well as learn independently on the computer. These programs are either listed as ‘hybrid’ on the menu but may be referred to as ‘blended’, or ‘online with some residency requirements’

How Competitive Are Graduate Programs in I-O Psychology?

Industrial organizational psychology schools set their own standards, so some Industrial Organizational Psychology Graduate Programs may be more competitive than others.

More competitive I-O psych programs might require submission of GRE verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning and analytical writing scores. They might also require a personal interview. That stated, this type of information is usually available on a grad school's website or through speaking with admissions.

Top 1 Industrial Organizational Graduate Programs in Alaska​

  • Offering two quality, competency-based online learning formats: FlexPath & GuidedPath
  • With FlexPath, you can earn your master’s degree in 12 months and under $11,000*
  • 97% of alumni agree FlexPath provided the flexibility they needed to pursue their degree (Alumni Outcomes Survey 2017)

*Assumes accelerated pace. Price varies by your pace and transfer credits. Other fees may apply.

  • 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
Sacred Heart University | Fairfield, Connecticut
The Master of Science in Industrial/Organizational (I/O) Psychology program at Sacred Heart University will prepare students to be ethical practitioners of Industrial/Organizational Psychology.
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