San Diego 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.

Industrial Organizational Psychology Graduate Programs in San Diegowritten 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

Occupation

Average Salary

Employment

Industrial-Organizational Psychologists

$102,530

920

Research Consultant

$60,700

11,270

Instructional Designer

$67,940

163,900

Organizational Consultant

$121,730

35,690

Source: BLS.gov

Top States for Employment:  Industrial-Organizational Psychologists

State

Employment

Annual Mean Wage

Virginia

240

$123,640

Massachusetts

120

75,100

New Jersey

40

$107,950

Missouri

40

N/A

Source: BLS.gov

Top Metro Areas for Employment: Industrial-Organizational Psychologists

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 in San Diego

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. 

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ProgramInstitutionDegree Awarded
M.A. Industrial/Organizational Psychology: Internship Track AND Master of Legal StudiesThe Chicago School of Professional PsychologyMA
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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. 

 

MA-IOP, MS-IOP

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. 

PhD -IOP

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

Master of Science in Industrial/Organizational Psychology

PhD - Industrial/Organizational Psychology

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.  

  • Business Ethics
  • Theories of Personality
  • Positive Psychology
  • Human resource Management
  • Workplace Violence
  • Tests and Measurements in I-O Psychology
  • Personnel Selection and Recruitment
  • I-O Psychology (human behavior) 
  • Research Methods
  • Dissertation Course

No specific accreditations (other than regional)

No specific accreditations (other than regional)

 

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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. 

Psychometrics

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 RequiredStart DatesMinimum Months to Complete

Purdue Global University

 

60-75

4

18

Sacred Heart University

 

 

36

Rolling admissions

12

Southern New Hampshire University

 

 

36

Multiple

24

Grand Canyon University

 

 

36

Multiple

20

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

School      

 
 
$11,617 Average Public Institution University
 
 
$14,784 Average Private For Profit Institution Tuition
 
 
$26,551 Average Private Nonprofit Institution Tuition
 

 

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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 RequiredCost Per CreditTuition Cost

Sacred Heart University

36

$880

$31,860

North Central University

10 courses

$2,526 per course

$25,260

Southern New Hampshire University

36

$627

$22,572

Top 16 Industrial Organizational Psychology Programs in San Diego

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